In August 2019, South African start-up Rubato Guitars launched its fully carbon fibre
electric guitar – the Rubato Lassie – to the international music media and received an
encouragingly enthusiastic response.
Their premise is that there’s always a better way to do things. And that applies as much to
the materials and design processes they use to deliver an ultra-premium playing experience, as it does to the instruments and parts that come out of their workshop in Johannesburg.
Having spent the last two years building custom-shop carbon guitars for discerning collectors around the world, Rubato has now opened up its unique instruments to a wider musical audience, with the introduction of a full carbon fibre bolt-on neck for the Partscaster market.
Conforming to the same scrupulous quality and design standards as the Lassie (more on
this over the page), the neck is currently geared for Strat and “offset” bodies with more
models in the works, including a Tele pocket option.
About the Rubato Bolt-On Neck
Rubato’s first carbon neck is a typical Strat/Tele 25.5” (648mm) scale length and shares
many of the same premium features as the Lassie guitar:
- Custom stainless steel string guide and zero fret
- Signature Rubato compound radius fretboard (from 8.7–14.5” / 220–370mm)
- 22 stainless steel medium-jumbo profile frets with signature Rubato ball ends
- Familiar C-shape neck profile (vs the Lassie’s proprietary C-to-D profile)
- Fretboard in classic Maple or modern Richlite (available in 16 different finishes)
- Oval dot inlays
- Classic dot or high-visibility bar fret side markers
- Grover locking tuners
- Satin or gloss finish
- Unique aluminium neck heel for a perfect pocket fit
Like the Rubato Lassie, which is constructed from a full carbon fibre monocoque (not a skin), the bolt-on neck has the inherent strength to need no truss rod and the stability to ensure it is unaffected by any changes in weather. (There’s virtually no bend in the neck, even when fitted with up to 13s in standard tuning.) And, at between 0.6–0.7kg (slightly lighter than a wood neck), there is no issue with balance or neck dive.
“The result”, says Oliver, “is an ultra-premium quality neck. It’s stunning to look at but, more important, it’s easy and comfortable to play. And because we’ve eliminated the constant hassle of having to fiddle with a truss rod, and deal with set-up changes, it can be picked up and played straight away after any amount of downtime.”
Price: US $925 (excluding shipping & taxes)
About the Rubato Lassie
With its lean, sleek, full carbon fibre body, the Lassie is easy on the eye and, ergonomically,
even easier on the player. And her signature articulation and clarity – and range of throaty to mellow tones – means she sounds as good as she looks and feels. All down to a number of innovative features that make a real impact on the guitar’s performance:
- Light Weight
At under 2.5kgs (5.5lbs), the Rubato Lassie is comfortable to hold and handle – and
reassuringly well balanced – making it easier and more intuitive to play.
- Strong, Rigid Structure
With its body and neck integrated into a single, seamless monocoque (shell):
• there’s virtually no bend in the neck, even when fitted with 13-guage strings
• its conductive properties shield the electronics (effectively eliminating hum)
• temperature and humidity have zero effect (aiding tuning stability and avoids warping
due to weather)
• and there’s no need for a truss rod (so, other than intonation, it’s set up for life).
3. Full, Free, Fluid Fret Access
Since the music a guitarist can make is limited by the frets their fingers can reach, the
Rubato Lassie is constructed to give unrestricted access all the way up to Fret 24:
• there’s no neck-heel joint to navigate around
• the proprietary ‘C-to-D’ profile of the neck provides familiar comfort around the lower
frets and allows for dexterous fingering in the upper register
• the player’s hand glides fluidly along the full length of the smooth, satin neck without
• plus, the fretboard has a compound radius, for cleaner, more even string action.
4. Precision Pick-Up Mounting
To keep pick-ups in place, and nail the right tone, the Rubato Lassie features a robust,
securely fixed pick-up mounting combining custom brass mounts with large stainless-steel
screws to give more precise control over the string height. (None of the usual wobble or tilt.) The pickups are isolated from the body using a unique rubber backing, which contributes to Lassie’s distinct sound and articulation by maximising the potential to sense string vibrations.
5. Zero-Fret String Guide
Because tuning stability improves when string friction is reduced, the Rubato Lassie features an ultra-low break angle string guide, positioned just behind the Zero fret. It holds all the strings at a sub-6-degree break angle, keeping them well seated and preventing any sticking or binding during play.
Meticulously handcrafted at the foot of Africa, the Rubato Lassie comes standard with Maple or Richlite fretboard and is fitted with precision electronics, tuners and hardware sourced from high-performance suppliers around the world.
“Early interest in Rubato has been gratifying”, says Oliver, “and we get a kick out of knowing our guitars are being played, and enjoyed, on at least four continents.” (Africa, Australia, America and Europe, so far). “Not exactly world domination but we’re excited to be building a global community of carbon guitarists who are passionate about owning an evolutionary instrument that, they tell us, happily stacks up with the best in their collections.”
Price: US $4,300 (excluding shipping & taxes)
For more information visit www.rubato.guitars