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A carbon fibre electric guitar made in South Africa

News International-French

10 Sep 2019

Created by father and son, Roger and Oliver Lambson – both engineers and life-long guitar geeks – the Rubato is the result of three years of intense development to perfect a modern, world-class design that combines everything the pair love about the classic electric guitar, with a few meaningful innovations of their own.

Oliver, mechatronic engineer and luthier, says:

“Like all guitarists, we love a stunning piece of gear, and the smooth, dark, contemporary carbon body, with its light maple wood fretboard more than satisfies that need. However, for musicians, it’s ultimately got to be about its playability and much of our development time has been spent refining the features that most impact the way the Rubato sounds and feels.”

Their idea, he explains, is to provide guitarists with a sublime playing experience, that enables them to focus on making their best music without any limitations from the instrument itself: 

A carbon fibre electric guitar made in South Africa
Strong and rigid structure
The body and neck are integrated into a single, seamless monocoque (shell) and its carbon-fibre structure means: there’s virtually no bend in the neck (even when fitted with 13-guage strings); its conductive properties shield the electronics (which effectively eliminates hum); and temperature and humidity have zero effect (so there’s no danger of warping). And - big plus - there’s no need for a truss rod so, other than intonation, it’s set up for life.

Lightweight and well balanced
The lighter a guitar is, the easier and more intuitive it is to play and, at just 2.5kgs (5.5lbs), the Rubato is comfortable to hold and handle and reassuringly well balanced.

A carbon fibre electric guitar made in South Africa
Full, free, fluid fret access
The music a guitar makes is limited by the frets a guitarist’s fingers can reach, so the Rubato is constructed to give unrestricted access all the way up to Fret 24: There’s no neck-heel joint to navigate around; the shallow, curved ‘C’ profile of the neck sits naturally in the hand; and the hand glides fluidly along the full length of the smooth, satin neck without sticking. Added to which, the fretboard has a compound radius, for cleaner, easier string action. 

Precision pick up 
Wherever guitarists prefer them, pick-ups need to stay in place to nail the right tone, so the Rubato features a robust, securely-fixed pick-up mounting to give more precise control over the string height without the usual wobble or tilt. It’s also backed by a rubber pad to reduce vibration from the guitar body and feedback hypersensitivity.

A carbon fibre electric guitar made in South Africa
Zero-fret string guide
Tuning stability improves when string friction is reduced, so the Rubato features an ultra-low friction string guide, positioned just behind the zero-fret, that holds all the strings at a 6-degree break angle, ensuring they are well seated and won’t stick or bind during play.

Reinterpretation & evolution

Rubato Guitars is about taking something that’s already elegant and beautiful and putting our own stamp on it, says Lambson.

“For this first model - the Rubato Lassie - we’ve deliberately limited ourselves to a few key features that can make the biggest difference to the music we produce and have worked on getting them absolutely right.”

And, consistent with that quality focus, they have sourced premium performance electronics, tuners and hardware from around the world.

The Lambsons say:

“This is Rubato’s first, small, but passionate, contribution from Africa to the great big, wonderful world of music. It’s not intended to replace the much-loved guitars we’ve spent a lifetime playing but it’s a very special addition to our collection and we hope the global guitar fraternity will soon feel the same way.”