PHOTOS: Element™ headstock, redefined. Single billet machined aircraft grade aluminum. Stainless steel fastening system. Book matched cherry wood body with quarter-sawn spruce.
PHOTOS: Proprietary OEM DiMarzio pickups designed for me by Steve Blucher & Eric Corpus. ToneStyler studio-grade EQ. 5-way rotary switch. Carbon fiber pick guard. Machined solid stainless steel patented Intonation Cantilever™ individual string bridges.
Late afternoon sunlight spills in through the shop window across my workbench, lighting the task at hand. For a moment concentration is broken as I pause, enchanted by light at play. I reach for the Nikon as shadows noticeably drift in these fast few minutes before sunset.
Cherry is a joyful wood to work with. A subtle scent, stable temperment, easy on tools. Bearer of berries and blossoms. Plus...those colors.
October reminds me that a year ago last month, I began making significant changes regarding the business. One realization is I am faster and more responsive to the market when I am the sole decision maker. For this reason, among others, I ended all business development collaborations. Business is now conducted only with independent sub-contractors, on an immediate cash payment basis.
Intellectual property, marketing, designs, materials methodology — including components and hardware — is exclusively owned by Rick Toone | Luthier, LLC. There are no licensing agreements with any entities.
Systematically, this last year, I have been refining the beautiful machined components...
First focus was the patented Intonation Cantilever™ individual string bridges. Bridges were made more compact, featuring greater mechanical coupling with the instrument soundboard, for increased sustain and frequency capture. The string receiver accommodates guitar and bass size ball ends. I changed the material to solid stainless steel throughout. The revised bridges first appeared on Chambered Flame Maple Spearfish™.
Even if you have been following my journey for a while, you may not realize the full attention to detail that is invested into each of these instruments. As one example, the volume and tone knobs are my own design, and machined from the same aircraft grade aluminum as the neck and electronics plate, to ensure surface and finish color consistency. Stainless steel set screw securely locks the knob to the potentiometer shaft for precise actuation. Dual industrial grade rubber O-rings provide excellent low-effort finger grip even while sweating on stage. This year, I've improved the geometry of the knobs as well.
Most recently I redesigned the Element™ 6-string neck. As seen here for the first time in public, this headstock is a complex piece of practical art. Changing to a 4 vs. 2 string arrangement provides immediate visual tuning feedback for the strings with matching 5th fret harmonic structures: EADG. G-string tuner is now on the top row. With the 5th fret harmonic pattern break, changing to B and E strings on the lower row makes logical sense. Tuning is faster. Restringing is faster...with easy access to the DGB strings due to the central open curvature.
I love these improvements.
Who is the right match for this guitar?
Solid cherry body is a fruitwood, an American hardwood, and provides incredible sustain. Clear, distinct mids combine with deep lows, for musical depth. The highs are sweet and singing. Attack onset is immediate, percussive, with a smooth even decay.
I can absolutely hear this guitar in an ensemble context, cutting through the mix with a balanced modern sound. Equally, this guitar would excel in the studio with its precise repeatable control systems and even response. I can also imagine a solo player falling in love with the tonality, due to the balanced high-fidelity frequency response, especially someone who plays open sustained chords or uses two-hand tap techniques.
This guitar has heft, weight. It feels solid and body balanced. Right thigh seated position offers a horizontal neck posture for thumb-over playing. Left thigh seated position offers classical neck posture for thumb-centered playing. In standing position the body ergonomics flow around your torso and the fretboard tilts slightly upward for extended eye contact. This is a perfect onstage performance guitar for the player who is seeking a stable platform that locks to and moves with your body, especially during two-hand tap playing techniques.
PHOTOS: Machined solid stainless steel patented Intonation Cantilever™ individual string bridges. Unrivaled frequency capture and string-to-string separation.
PHOTOS: Soundholes aren't just for acoustics. Rick Toone | Luthier premium components. Proudly machined in USA.