The Lace Cybercaster Electric Guitar – A Guitar With A Twist

The Cybercaster electric guitar contains a subtle but significant improvement to fretting hand ergonomics – a 10.8 degree neck twist at its lowest fret which straightens out as you go up the neck.

Similar in concept to the Xavier Padilla ergonomic bass guitar from Little Guitar Works, this twist reduces the amount of wrist flexion necessary to fret. This results in less stress on the joint and reduced risk of Repetitive Strain Injury.

Despite good reviews (including these player reviews from Harmony-Central) stating the benefits of both the guitar and its neck design, Lace Music Products ultimately removed the design from the market. Fortunately, they can still be found in a number of guitar shops, on eBay and on the web.

15 Responses to “The Lace Cybercaster Electric Guitar – A Guitar With A Twist”

  1. I had a Kramer Pacer Deluxe which developed a twist in the neck exactly like the Lace. I threw the neck away – damn!

    Seriously, it became very difficult to play, as I had to crane my neck further forward to see what I was playing – so ergonomically definitely
    not for me!

    Rob Fawcett

  2. LOL. I imagine it was a bit different as this is an engineered approach as opposed to a neck warping. Keep in mind that this is twist is only 10.8 degrees and straightens out as you go up the neck. That said, you bring up an important consideration. You have to consider the totality of your playing and practicing and think beyond just what your hands are doing. When we play, large portions of our bodies are involved indirectly – neck, shoulders, back, arms, etc. All of these have to be considered. If all we do is shift the stress unto another part of the body then we’ve wasted our time.

  3. Quite right, Rob – and I do suffer (human!) neck problems. I think the point is that many guitarists play the guitar in a less-than-classical position, meaning the wrist has to flex a long way to correctly fret the strings – particularly for barre chords. Think Jimmy Page. How the hell did he play the guitar so well when it was nearly touching his knees?! If the guitar is high enough in the playing position, it should not be a problem.

  4. Wow, I’d forgotten all about that twist neck! He should have gone with a more conservative body style. More folks may have bought ’em and given the neck technology more exposure. Perhaps this isn’t the place to discuss conservative guitar designs– but you know how the overall market is. Most of the custom builders out there stick to Strat/Tele designs.

    I run into fanned fret stuff now and then. Don’t recall if that’s more for intonation than ergonomics. Maybe both.

    I think playing position/height & angle can make exponential difference. The individual’s relaxation level is also a factor.
    Style of music is another factor. Robben Ford had some tendonitis issues that he handled with some kind of oriental therapy. He also quit playing Strats for awile.
    Leo Kottke stopped performing for quite awile, until Bob Taylor created a neck profile different enough to allow Kottke to recover and perform again. In Kottke’s case, music style was definitely a factor.

    Consider SRV– his only problem was keeping tread on his fingertips. By all rights, he shoulda suffered other physical stresses from playing. Possibly he did. EVH didn’t know he had hip probems till he dried out. Much can be said for drugs and alcohol as a factor too.

    If Jimmy Page were in the shred era/genre, he would undoubtedly suffer… at least when sober.

  5. Stratocat – I agree market considerations are a factor. That said, Lace also had the California Twister – essentially a Strat copy. Unfortunately, many guitarists tend toward conservatism in their choices.

  6. I have been looking at the relationship among the two strap-attachment points on the guitar and the nut. The guitar hangs best when the body is most compact (335s being among the worst due to the large area behind the bridge) and when the neck is short-scale and/or set well into the body so that the lower frets are easier to reach. Of guitars I’ve seen recently, the Michael Kelly Valor is the best in these regards. Thoughts?

  7. I haven’t given strap button placement too much thought at this point as much of my thinking has been around the sitting position where most of us spend the majority of our time. However, I do agree that a compact body is probably a good thing as it helps to keep the weight more centralized around the guitarist’s body. In terms of my build, I used the same position as the Klein for the lower strap button and found a position for the upper button that would be out of the way when high on the neck. It works well. I’ll have to give it some further thought when I move onto my next build.

  8. The thing I’ve heard with Lace – the guitar that is – is problem fretting out when bending strings in certain areas. It would be more appropriate on bass where not much string bending is going on anyway.

    Same thing with fanned fret guitars. Bending strings in certain palces yield peculiar results.
    That’s why fanned frets mostly comes on basses.

    1. I’ve heard mixed information about bending on twisted necks or fanned fret guitars but hope to have some additional input on this soon. I’ve been talking to a few builders trying to get some specifics. Stay tuned…

  9. I would think that twisting the neck the other way would be better. At least for me, as I usually sit while playing and hold the neck quite high. I have to bend my left wrist (I am right handed) backwards a lot in order to have my palm against the neck.

    Might it be that if you have the guitar’s neck low, you benefit from a twisted fingerboard like the cybercaster, if you have it in average height, a straight fingerboard is good, and if you (like I) hold your neck high, you could use a fingerboard twisted the opposite way of the cybercaster?

  10. Hmm. The typical problem is one of excessive wrist flexion – the palm bending toward the forearm – in which case the Cybercaster’s twist makes sense. I thought about what you were describing and it sounds like you’re sitting reclined with the guitar which is probably not the best position to begin with. I sit with the guitar in classical position with the neck practically at a 45 degree angle and don’t encounter this even with a rock guitar left hand position.

  11. You are right about my playing position. I often sit in a sofa when I play. But I still would like a guitar, which is suited for my cosy and unambitious style.

    1. Understood, Alex. It’s just that it’s tough enough to get luthiers to address ergonomics in more “structured” environments. 😉

  12. I own a Lace California Twister and notice two differences. (1) I can pay longer without fatigue. (2) .011s feel like .010s or .0095s. I have never had a problem fretting out. I believe that to be a setup issue. I’ve owned many guitars (well over 50) and the Twister plays as well as any of the high end USA Strats (which is what it was modeled after).

    Question to Rob: Why buy a high dollar guitar if you have to look to see where you are on the fret board?

    1. Johan – Welcome to the blog and many thanks for your observations on the instrument. The question about fretting out comes up often and its good to hear it isn’t an issue directly from an owner.