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Great photos Rick. I'm liking the design of V. 2.0. Keep stretching!!


Chris Buono

Quite a day, lemme tell ya. SO looking forward to what's next!


Well, I was hoping for an update soon, and this was clearly worth the wait. What fun! So is the forthcoming production guitar body shape finally ready to be carved and cloned en masse?

Rick Toone

Roger — We're ready.

Everything about V.2.0 is an improvement over the first version. Improved neck heel access. Improved upper fret access. Improved balance. Improved stability against your body in both seated and standing positions. Elimination of pressure points against the human torso. Improved control locations. Smaller, lighter, more compact. Fits within a standard dimension hard case.

For the past several months I took detailed photos and notes as many different guitar players (styles of guitarists, males & females) played the original prototype...and combined all of those changes into the new body shape.

I created eight variations of the new shape to refine the geometry and make it really fit. I am absolutely confident this is my best ergonomic shape so far.

Matt Gillis

Looking great, Rick! After seeing so many irregular shapes shown on your blog, its cool to see something that distantly resembles a strat.

Two questions:

1) Ola Strandberg's guitars are more "grounded" in the traditional strat shape than your instruments. I know the two of you have met and swapped ideas before, but have you ever discussed the merits of the strat design? Ever thought of pushing the strat design further, into "superstrat" territory (as Ola has done)?

2) You've experimented a lot with "3D" ergonomics in the past--Orchid and Dove are prime examples of this. To be honest, I haven't really seen that sort of design offered by any other guitar luthier, it's sort of the "Rick Toone" signature in a way! But in recent designs, you seem to have moved away from this sort of 3D sculpting. Certainly, oblique shots of Sketch and Viceroy reveal that they are plenty sculpted, but more so in the way traditional guitars are, with bends/carves for the picking forearm. I realize this could have been the result of the feedback from the players. But do you have a preference in terms of your design philosophy? Orchid is very "bulbous," the later guitars are more "bent" out of a flat plane, if you know what I mean. One seems to hug the body, the other seems ergonomic still, but able to be played in a wider variety of positions. I'm just wondering if you can share some insights on the ergonomic potentials of each.

And finally...

In the last and second to last pictures, Tom Monda appears to be barely holding the guitar, and yet the neck is in the perfect playing position (incredible!). I like how your designs sit as if they are in the "classical" position, yet rest on the right leg, thus bringing the neck closer to the torso (this is a disadvantage to the classical position using traditional guitars--you're moving the playing surface AWAY from your body as you shift it to your left leg).

The addition of the upper horn appears to balance the design better, and further allows the player to "hug" the instrument with their chest a bit, much like a traditional strat shaped guitar. Do you think incorporating traditional guitar horns to your designs (as you've started to do here), will help increase how comfortable the instruments are for players? I like how Monda appears to be resting in the last photo--as anyone would be after hours of practice. It's simpler to design shapes for an ideally positioned body, but we all face fatigue eventually. The upper horn seems to help with that--at least that's what the pictures are indicating. I'd imagine the first prototype wouldn't be as forgiving for such slouching?

Rick Toone

Matt ~ What an observant and thoughtful comment!

With this new shape, one objective I set for myself was to blend traditional aesthetics into the ergonomic design elements that make the V.1.0 prototype so successfully comfortable.

It is quite interesting how the upper 'horn' changes the visual impact of the outline, isn't it?

The playing experience is quite different from other instruments with which we are all familiar. I think the controls set an entirely new standard for intuitive use. Both hands adapt instantly.

Regarding sculpting...each scale length and playing position brings its own variables. To hold one you will discover all of these shapes are contoured with surprising subtlety in ways that are difficult to convey through photographs.


Will V.2.0. be the only shape available? I really do love the look of the first prototype and design of V.1.0.!!

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Rick Toone

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