In the bag.

What a beautiful sight!

The medallion is now finished! Nearly 19 months after the first sketch was drawn, we can finally see the magnificent results – and it will only look better when it is bound in silver and placed in the guitar.

From concept to execution, this was an incredibly difficult inlay to create. The level of skill required to make it a reality is scarcely fathomable. Just deciding on the materials to use was an agonizingly long process, but it has paid off. Eventually I hope to provide a complete list of build materials and their origins, but here’s a partial list of the more prominent objects, to the best of my knowledge:

• stars and musical notes – sterling silver
• grass – reconstituted Malachite
• path (or is it water?) – Tahitian Black Mother of Pearl
• tree – Lacewood
• skeleton – Mother of Pearl
• shirt – reconstituted Lapis Lazuli
• shirt buttons – 18k gold
• moon – Agoya
• headphone band – Vietnamese Bronze Mother of Pearl
• chair – Spalted Yellow Pashaco

Uniquely, this is the very first time Alembic has ever used Spalted Yellow Pashaco on any of their instruments. With over 100,000 tree species, I guess it’s not that surprising – but still, it’s nice to see them always looking to something new for inspiration! The grain of the chair is from the wood itself and not something painted on (actually there is nothing painted on the medallion at all – everything is the natural texture and coloration of the materials used), and it just works perfectly.

We are inching ever closer to the day when Jack’s inlay is placed in the guitar.

Stars aligning.

Here is a fantastic picture of the near-complete medallion. All the major components are now safely in the “background” disc. The black globs are drops of optically clear epoxy, used here to secure many of the sterling silver stars.

Once the remaining stars are glued into place (you can see where their positions have been drilled through the Ebony), the entire medallion will be sanded and ready for the next step, where it will be attached to a backing and encircled in a ring of sterling silver. This ring will help differentiate the border between the medallion and the top wood of the guitar. Once all this occurs, the entire piece can be inlaid into the body of the guitar. The only element that is not represented here is the smoke from the pipe, which we have chosen to eliminate.

It is amazing to see this come together, after such a long planning process!