- bass guitars
- electric guitars
Ralph Novak (1933-2022) founded Novax Guitars in 1989 when he was awarded the US patent for his multi-scale fretboard (fanned-fret) design. Novak had been repairing and customizing guitars since the early 1970s, working in 48th Street in down-town Manhattan in LoBue/Guitar Lab, We Buy Guitars, and Alex Music, He moved to California in 1978, and began working in Subway Guitars in Berkeley before starting his own shop in Emeryville. This was when he had the idea for a multi-scale guitar and developed and patented the invention. He noticed that longer scale instrument had better tone on the bass strings, but shorter scale instruments had a warmer tone on the treble strings and this forms the basis of his multi-scale fanned-fret design.
Ralph Novak retired from actively building custom instruments due to deteriorating eyesight but continued to offer design and consultation services to other companies interested in producing Fanned-Fret instruments. He died in 2022. Novak's patent has now passed into the public domain, and multi-scale concept have been produced by several large companies.