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Keith Richards, Guitarist for The Rolling Stones

Reinventing the electric guitar to drive sustainability and increase usability for the optimal playing experience.

What We Did

The RKS team incubated RKS Guitars in the year 2000 as an internal project, which quickly turned into a guitar company that was building and selling guitars out of the factory RKS engineered as its own production and custom guitar demands in California. The design team, all lovers of all types of music with many guitar players themselves . This love for music and a friendship with Rock-N-Roll Hall-of-Famer Dave Mason sparked the idea of reinventing the electric guitar for the first time in decades. Through this collaboration, the team benchmarked the competitive landscape of guitars utilizing our Psycho-Aesthetics methodology to identify the critical interactions and touch-points of the guitar to identify areas that can be improved and leverage Dave’s expertise to understand what had to be the same. The results created a new guitar system platform with intellectual property around a perfected “Neck Through” core , neck and headstock, that attached to a conductive Aluminum ribbing system to enable a platform to interchange the outer shells while providing the tonal quality and range they have become known for. Additionally, the new RKS guitar was the first “sustainable” and removed the need for exotic tonewoods that are responsible for much of the deforestation.By collaborating initially with Eastman Plastics and later Weyerhauser to utilize their Tenite, a material made from the wood pulp of farmed cottonwood trees and scrap wood bi-product. RKS and Mason prototyped and tested in studios and in concert for years until they created that electric guitar tones and play that musicians would fell in love with. The RKS Guitar was featured on the cover of BusinessWeek as “the Best Design of the Year”, is played by Guitar Heroes and has empowered guitar players in a new, fresh, sustainable and great sounding way, doing something that’s never been done before!

Different designs of RKS Guitars
RKS Guitars Kama Sutra guitar


Product design is more than just winning awards; it’s about creating emotional connections between the product and the user. Our human-centered approach, Psycho-Aesthetics, helps us understand and quantify these connections. Our design firm uses it to create innovative products, technologies, services, brands, and more. We aim to create solutions that are relevant and impactful, using our approach to grow our clients’ businesses. With Psycho-Aesthetics as our foundation, we work with clients to establish a common language that can be used throughout our relationship.

The process of developing RKS Guitars was born out of a passion for music and a desire to revolutionize the electric guitar. In the year 2000, RKS embarked on an internal project that evolved into a thriving guitar company based in California. Combining our love for music with expertise in industrial design and human factors, the team set out to reinvent the electric guitar for the first time in decades.

Utilizing our unique Psycho-Aesthetics methodology, the team thoroughly analyzed the competitive landscape of guitars. Collaborating closely with Rock-N-Roll Hall-of-Famer Dave Mason, we identified critical interactions and touch-points of the guitar, seeking areas for improvement while preserving essential elements. The result was the development of a new guitar system platform built around a perfected “Neck Through” core, neck, and headstock, which seamlessly attached to a conductive Aluminum ribbing system.

The culmination of our dedicated efforts and collaboration with Rock-N-Roll Hall-of-Famer Dave Mason led to the extraordinary result of the development of the RKS Guitar. RKS Guitars swiftly evolved into a renowned guitar company based in California, fulfilling the demands for production and custom guitars. Comprising a design team of music enthusiasts and avid guitar players, their shared love for music ignited the spark to reinvent the electric guitar, breaking new ground after decades of stagnation.

Beyond innovation, RKS Guitars embraced sustainability as a core principle. By shunning exotic tonewoods responsible for deforestation, they forged collaborations with Eastman Plastics and later Weyerhauser. Through the utilization of Tenite, a material derived from farmed cottonwood trees and wood scrap bi-products, 

we achieved a remarkable milestone: the creation of the first truly sustainable electric guitar. Years of prototyping and rigorous testing in studios and live concerts culminated in the realization of electric guitar tones and playability that musicians instantly fell in love with.

The exceptional achievements of the RKS Guitar were recognized by prestigious publications, with BusinessWeek featuring it on the cover as “the Best Design of the Year.” Today, this instrument is cherished by Guitar Heroes and empowers guitar players worldwide in an unprecedented, sustainable, and sonically captivating manner. The RKS Guitar has broken new ground, redefining the boundaries of industrial design, and remains a testament to the unparalleled combination of artistry, functionality, and environmental consciousness.

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