The Pretzel

Here’s the first “neck through” instrument that I made in early 1969, a year before I co-founded Alembic and brought lutherie to that company. I call this “The Pretzel” for obvious reasons.

The Pretzel was mostly built without the use of power tools other than a Sears electric hand drill and maybe a drill press. The neck is laminated mahogany, walnut, and maple; the body is carved mahogany, the fingerboard is ebony. I hand wound the low impedance pickups, hand made the brass parts, and this has the very first Alembic preamps with passive hum-canceling for the pickups. At that time I cut abalone slabs out of shells on a diamond saw to do inlay work, and I used the same saw to cut ceramic magnet material for the pickups. I did the metal work when working for a jeweler, Anne Dick, ex-wife of science fiction writer Phillip K. Dick; Anne had set three of us up as cottage industry sub-contractors in the Pt. Reyes Station area, and I learned to do light forging, welding, and silver soldering from her.

This guitar went into an exhibit of American Crafts, 1945 to 1970 at the Museum of Art and Design in New York in the Fall of 2011. It was also featured in a show, “Far Out, Bay Area Crafts, 1968 to 1972″ at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1999.

There are no plans to reissue the Pretzel though I see near copies from time to time! unless…

Rick Turner