Assembly is fast, setup even faster, and on a scale of precision never before realized. The Railboard accommodates all 10-string custom tunings, including our recommended Stick 4ths/5ths tunings,
also my recommended new "Raised Matched Reciprocal" tuning (both bass and melody sides up a whole step from Matched Reciprocal).
There are only ten parts to the Railboard (as shown above), each precision machined and molded to assemble into an easy-playing clear-sounding, sleek-looking new Stick model. (For more information about each
item, just click on the photo).
The Railboard in its entirety: more innovations and specifications:
Total instrument length is 45 3/8 inches
from bolt-on headstock tip to the rounded tail
end of the aluminum neck beam where the ball ends
of the strings are tucked in. Total length of our
standard long-scale 12-string Grand Stick is 46
1/8 inches, 3/4 of an inch longer than this
10-string Railboard model.
This new model's "scale length" (bridge to
nut) is back to 34 inches, two inches shorter
than the present 36 inches on standard hardwood,
bamboo and graphite models, but the space from
nut to "X-fret" is expanded by 1 3/4 inches to
provide lots more room for the left-hand fingers
and rear thumb at that first fret. The X-fret
space with damper is thus stretched to 3 3/4
inches from the standard 2 inches, providing a
full and uniform tone and a consistent "feel" at
this first tapped position.
The first marker remains at the same
distance from the Flaps (the nut) as on all
current Stick models, that is, up two Rails in
pitch from the X-Rail, (physically the third
space on the fretboard). Thus for any tuning, all
notes are at their same positions relative to the
nut and fretboard "bowl" markers. All string
gauges also remain the same. Only the "reach" of
the finger span is very slightly reduced by the
return to our old 34-inch scale length.
As on our long-scale Stick models, a span of
25 Rails provides a two-octave range for each
string, from the first tapped note at the
"X-fret" by the nut to Rail #24 nearest to the
bridge. The first fret is not numbered (and is
designated "X") because it substitutes for the
nut where "open" strings vibrate freely to
produce notes on guitar and other stringed
instruments. The Stick's damper prevents such
open ringing, so the X-fret provides the first
clear notes by tapping and all tunings are
reckoned from there.
AN OPTIONAL HIGHER TUNING
With this new model, I also recommend a new
tuning that I've been using on my bamboo
Ten String Grand and now on my blue anodized
Railboard. I call it
Raised Matched Reciprocal and it's up a whole
step from regular Matched Reciprocal to high
melody D, and low bass D, with correspondingly
thinner strings to match the higher pitch. This
thin aluminum Railboard has an inherent
brightness and this higher tuning seems to make
it come alive. I like medium gauges best and the
low bass D at the 6th position is very resonant
at .106" (106 gauge). The high melody D is a 9
gauge string (back to Classic as seen from the
melody side alone).
ASSEMBLY AND SETUP
Assembly: All parts bolt onto the main structure, the Railboard neck beam.
Dressing the Rails: The collective tips are
machine trimmed to an even plane with some bass
relief, then hard anodized.
Setup: String heights are adjusted at the bridge
saddles and Flaps (at the nut end). Pickup
heights are set for balanced volume. Intonation
for true octaves is adjusted at the bridge's
SlideBlocks. Truss tension is independently
adjusted at each end of the divided rod to
precisely shape the plane of collective Rail tips.
Setup work is minimized. Maintenance is
simplified. Precision is raised to a new level.
Costs are cut. Features include all improvements
on my wish list. As for tone and touch, we'll
soon have a demo video with some surprises.