A little closer.

But we’re not quite there yet.  This is the latest control layout, and it is almost right on.  I’ve asked Alembic to lower the 5-way pickup selector more toward the bottom of the electronics cavity, and slightly curve the switch layout, so it follows the contour of the guitar.  The only other thing I’ve asked them to do is to move the MIDI scroll buttons down so they align with the bottom of its volume knob, and about 3/8” to its left.

I’ve already been told that all of these requests are doable, so I’m just awaiting a final drawing.  The next drawing to come will be a more accurate representation.  Alembic won’t actually drill the holes until they send me pictures of the control layout on the actual piece of wood, as cut, and I approve it.  They’ve already started cutting the top and back laminates, so I should have assembly pictures soon.

The inductor is connected to the… single-pole triple-throw switch. The single pole…

…tripple-throw switch is connected to the… amplifier.  The amplifier is connected to the… buffer.  The buffer is connected to the capacitor.  The capacitor…  and THAT’S how the whole thing works!  Almost.  We have completed the circuitry design for the guitar, and you can see the very cool, hand-drawn schematic by Ron Wickersham himself!  In the world of guitar circuitry design, it’s kind of like having Beethoven write music just for you.  Really.  I have asked for some very slight modifications to the circuitry, but nothing major.  The important part is, Alembic has proven they can get the necessary electronics to fit in the cavity of the guitar.  That means that now they can start cutting and assembling!

Also delivered was a very preliminary layout of the controls.  Although the layout will be changing, everything must start somewhere.  I’ve given my suggestions to Mica, who will respond with an alternate layout.

I might need a shoehorn.

I was really expecting to have some more pictures by now – things in clamps, oozing with glue, etc., but I just hit the first of what will probably be several snags along the way.  As of today, no additional wood has been cut for the guitar.  Ron and the rest of the Alembic electronics team have been sitting around trying to figure out how to get the custom electronics compliment to fit in to the body!  Apparently, nobody has asked for my exact combination of electronics to fit in this body shape.

They think they’ll have some answers for me by the end of the week, but some options to get everything to work right include:

  • Make the body shape slightly bigger – Even though they say I would never notice the increased size unless they told me, I’m not sure I want to do that just yet.
  • Have Alembic hardwire some of the electrical connections, instead of using modular connectors – Alembic usually uses modular connectors in their wiring schemes, to make servicing easy.  These connectors take up space, though, and space is at a premium in the body cavity.  Since I’m handy with a soldering iron, I’m pretty confident that this option could work… but will it yield enough space.
  • Simplify the electronics compliment – surprisingly, I’m open to this option.  The Alembic electronics afford a lot of pickup combinations (typically 27!), and I’m not so sure I need to tweak at that level.  It’s more important to me to quickly dial in the sound I want.  I’m going to talk with Alembic today, and give them my thoughts on this.

In order to test out the placement of electronics, Alembic is using a dummy body, the same size and shape I originally called for.  Smartly, they don’t want to cut the wood I selected until they are absolutely sure everything is going to fit!