Novax Guitars
The Fanned-FretĀ® Originators
Ralph Novak, luthier

Novax Guitars: Charlie Hunter 8-String, Multi-Scale, Fanned Fret®

Information: Concept

The Fanned-Fret® Concept

Novax instruments have several unusual design features; these features, while offering an appealing and unique aesthetic, are primarily performance enhancers. Novax has redesigned the guitar to be more playable, more versatile, more in-tune, and more “open” and “alive” sounding. The playing experience is enchanting and addictive - it sounds so good and feels so natural that you’ll want to play more!

The powerful combination of the Fanned-Fret system coupled to our proprietary individual bridge system results in an instrument with exceptional articulation, a unique tonal signature, and natural playability.

An appropriate analogy might be found in the evolution of the automobile: until now, guitars have been like early cars that had carbureted engines and primitive suspension. Makes and models may look different, but under the hood, they all work the same. Novax guitars are like cars designed with fuel injection and independent 4-wheel suspension: advanced performance and way more fun!

How does the Fanned-Fret system work? By combining scale lengths customized for string tension and harmonic response, instruments with greater “fidelity” are possible. Our technical page has in-depth information about scale length if you’re interested further, but a simplified explanation would be “Imagine six one-string guitars each with a scale length optimized for the pitch and tone of that string. If a chord was formed by striking all of the one string guitars at once, how might that sound compared to one six-string guitar?”

The Novax Fanned-Fret system offers the following advantages:

The Novax Proprietary Individual Bridge system contributes to the unique tone of Novax instruments by acoustically isolating each string. Here’s how: the continuous metal “base plate” that characterizes most modern guitar bridges allows the saddles to “crosstalk” between strings which makes the tone “muddy”. Strings lose their individual harmonic character, or “voice” in a chord. 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”.

Combining the harmonic complexity of the Fanned-Fret system with the Novax Proprietary Individual Bridge system is synergistic; the result is breathtaking and musically inspiring.

Novax research and design philosophy is all about enhanced musical performance. While aesthetics and “gimmicks” can sell guitars to the mass market, discerning musicians recognize the benefits of an instrument that goes beyond “quality materials and construction” as a standard and embraces advanced design concepts. Vintage designs are classic, but have limitations; our “enhanced performance” design concepts elevate the musical experience, removing some of the limitations and allowing greater freedom of musical expression.