Late last year, after stumbling across an extraordinary performance of While My Guitar Gently Weeps on YouTube, we caught up with accomplished Italian guitar player Luca Stricagnoli to take a closer look at the novel slide guitar attachment he used in the video. Now the Reversed Slide Neck has undergone some modification ahead of production.

As you may remember from our previous coverage, over the last few years Stricagnoli has had his ideas for custom acoustic guitars brought to life by luthier Davide Serracini. These have included a monstrous three-necked instrument that hosts a standard six stringer, a seven-string soprano neck and a three-string bass neck. The latest evolution in Stricagnoli’s guitar journey is the Reversed Slide Neck (RSN).

Where a player draws a glass, ceramic or metal slide up toward the body from the nut end of the neck to raise the pitch, the RSN is mounted so that the slide module is pushed in the opposite direction to achieve a similar effect. The player picks a string ahead of the module to sound it and can either slide up or down, let it ring or mute it after picking.

The idea is that you’d tap out a melody using the fretting hand and use the slide to voice lead or vocal parts of a song at the same time. You can also alternate between picking and fretting, and tapping and sliding. And in Stricagnoli’s hands, the results are simply beautiful.

The production-ready Reversed Slide Neck is reported easier to play, thinner and more versatile than the propotype
The production-ready Reversed Slide Neck is reported easier to play, thinner and more versatile than the propotype

Luca Stricagnoli

But the original RSN prototype required some serious modification to the host guitar before it could be mounted. Since our chat last year, Stricagnoli and Serracini have been refining the design to make it ready for commercial release. And that moment is almost upon us.

The most notable of those design tweaks is that the RSN no longer needs a player to drill a hole in the host instrument. This pin and hole setup from the prototype has been replaced by a magnetic mount at both ends of the slide attachment.

The player will have to secure two powerful magnets to the underside of the soundboard inside the body of the host instrument though, one to the front and one to the bridge end. And it’s these magnets that hold the RSN in place during play. The finish of the host guitar shouldn’t suffer any damage during mounting or removal thanks to protective layers at the attachment points on the RSN.

“Although the dimensions of the RSN is always the same, it can be accommodated to different guitars by placing the magnets on the host instruments in the proper way,” Stricagnoli told us. “The system is very stable and safe.”

The new RSN has also lost its head. To reduce its overall length and make sure it doesn’t get in the way of the fretting hand when playing the host guitar, the headstock of old has been replaced by wrap-lock headless tuners.

After months of experimenting, the four bass strings of old have gone too. Now the RSN has four higher-pitched strings for a thinner aesthetic, and to make the attachment easier to play. The metal slide unit still runs along tensioned string rails, there are fret markers (but no frets) to help with positioning, and there’s a Mama pickup at one end that outputs to a jack at the other.

Stairway To Heaven (Led Zeppelin) – Luca Stricagnoli

As you can see from the video above, playing is pretty much the same as before. Players can sound the host guitar using a combination of picking/strumming and tapping techniques, the picking hand can move down to the RSN for slide sound when needed while the fretting hand can continue a tapped melody. Impressive stuff.

The RSN will go on sale shortly for a promotional price of €1,199 (about US$1,450). Each unit is hand-made and equipped with custom-made components.

Source: Luca Stricagnoli

Audio New Atlas