One of Don’s first production jobs was developing a pickup with Fender that had a low rejection rate during production. In the mid 1980's, Don came up with the Lace Sensor. The Sensor was a uniquely designed single-coil pickup that reduced hum. Fender used it on their Lace Sensor Stratocaster and on other well known artist models.
Don and Jeff’s latest innovation is the Alumitone series of pickups.
We will talk about this new design and Lace pickups some other time. For now, the focus is on a unique guitar that Lace produced in the earlier part of this decade.
In an effort to make an ergonomic guitar, the Lace brothers came up with the idea of twisting the neck slightly to make playing feel more natural and match the position of the wrist and hand. They called this the Lace Cybercaster with the Lace Helix neck.
It bears a slight resemblance to a Fender Jazzmaster that has been run over by a steamroller. The body is ash; the bolt on neck is maple. The bridge pickup has a Tele-style aluminum plate. The input is like that on a Fender Stratocaster. It comes with one volume and one tone potentiometer and a three way throw switch on the lower bout. Gotoh makes the tuners. The truss rod cap is also aluminum. The scale is 25.5” with 21 frets on the natural maple fretboard.
I know that Lace still produces the Cybercaster in several variations, but I am not certain if they have continued with the twisted Helix neck.
This allows for ease of playing, since the string tension is reduced. By fanning the frets this creates a more even harmonic response.
Novak compares his method to that of a grand piano or a harp. These instruments not only use strings of different diameters, but also different lengths to achieve their sound. Novak has applied this to the guitar.
He also utilizes the Novax Proprietary Individual Bridge system that he describes, “Our individual bridge system overcomes this by separating each saddle and “base plate,” taking advantage of the natural acoustical damping properties of wood vs. metal. The signature overtone series of each string in a chord remains intact, making the chord sound more “in-tune” and keeping the harmonic interest of the different voices.”
Most Novax guitars come with seven or eight strings. He makes bass guitars as well. Other manufacturers, such as Jeff Traugott and Eric Schoenberg, use a similar fan fret process .
Therefore, by slanting the frets and compensating by changing the angle of the bridge, it would make for ease of fingering.