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Novax 8-String Guitar
by Tim Yu
on 27 November 2007
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Not since the '40s has the basic design of the guitar undergone such a major change as it has with the Novax. The brainchild of master luthier Richard Novak, he designed his trademarked fanned-fret system for six, seven and eight string guitars, allowing bass strings and regular guitar strings to combine in one instrument. Classicists may think the Novax 8-string is an an oddity, but the versatility such an innovation lends to the standard axe is undeniable.

The fanned-fret neck creates balanced tone and perfect intonation for both bass and standard strings in one guitar design. Where usually frets on a bass guitar are spread farther apart than on a standard guitar to accommodate the lower frequency of vibration, the Novax' angled fret design compensates for this difference. Two outputs—one for the bass strings and one for the regular guitar strings—prevent distortion or weak sound. With enough skill, a musician can play pitch-perfect bass and treble notes at the same time. Of course, having the talent on top of that to play the bass and rhythm line simultaneously is another story. To see the 8-string in action (and at its best) go see jazz musician Charlie Hunter, who worked with Novax to develop these amped-up instruments.

Novax stocks a few of their guitars, but most need to be special ordered so they can be made to your exact specifications. Visit Novax for more info including pricing.

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