–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!
When designing and developing RKS Guitars, RKS utilized Psycho-Aesthetics to understand how to prioritize player comfort and balance to foster a positive emotional response during play. The unconventional visual aesthetics of RKS Guitars challenged traditional guitar design, evoking curiosity and excitement. The material choices and attention to tactile experience further contributed to the emotional connection players have with the instrument. By pushing boundaries and prioritizing user experience, RKS Guitars aimed to create a sense of innovation and uniqueness, ultimately enhancing the player’s emotional connection to the instrument.
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.