Arc SG is an assistive fretboard attachment for the Epiphone SG line of guitars designed to enhance power and reduce pain in the hands of guitarists with peripheral neuropathy.
Peripheral Neuropathy describes symptoms of nerve damage occurring outside of the brain and spinal cord. These symptoms include impaired muscle movement, pain in the wrist and fingers, and a loss of sensation and dexterity. Peripheral Neuropathy is a major issue In a study of university level string musicians, researchers found that 1 in 5 musicians had developed peripheral neuropathies as the result of chronic overuse and mechanical overload. With guitars accounting for 30% of global string instruments sales, there is a significant need for products like ARC. However, the current products on the market don't address the (mechanical?) needs of guitarists with peripheral neuropathies, they restrict guitarists by greatly reducing the amount of playable notes, draw unwanted attention from poorly considered aesthetics, and many of them sound terrible.
ARC reconfigures the guitar's playing surface to maintain the ideal positioning of the hand and wrist at all points along the fretboard. The device promotes a wrist extension of 35 degrees and an ulnar deviation of 7 degrees, to maximize strength in the user's fingers and reduce the craning of the wrist and fingers. Arc encourages the ideal hand position by elevating the playing surface off of the fretboard, a rotating it towards the user's digits, and integrating a curvature that follows the natural progression of the users hand along the fretboard Arc easily attaches and detaches from the guitar with 4 push button release latches in order to facilitate easy access to the strings and truss rod for maintenance. Each of Arc's 132 silicone capped keys have a 1-1 relation with the fret below them to allow access to all notes without altering playstyle or affecting the unique tonal qualities of the instrument.
Peripheral neuropathies such as carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel are a daunting challenge for guitarists due to the high levels of finger and wrist strain required to properly form chord shapes and play intricate riffs. Existing products restrict guitarists by greatly reducing the number of accessible notes, compromising sound quality, drawing unwanted attention to poorly considered aesthetics, or forcing them to completely relearn a new method of playing their instruments. In contrast, Arc SG increases power, control, and comfort in the hands of guitarists without detracting from the overall experience of guitar playing.
Often exacerbated by years of guitar playing, peripheral neuropathies cause guitarists to experience weakness, numbness, and pain in their hands. The problem occurs most commonly and most severely in the musician's fretting hand. Guitarists that experience these symptoms are often forced to give up playing entirely. Arc SG gives players the comfort and confidence to continue expressing themselves through the instrument they love.
Arc SG's reconfigured playing surface facilitates hand positioning that reduces pain and enables the player to apply more force to the guitar's strings. The top contour of the device follows the natural arc of the hand as it travels along the fretboard, helping players navigate their instrument more comfortably. Unlike other products, the device does not limit the number of playable notes. Arc SG's keys are wider than the strings of the guitar and overmolded in a soft, slick silicone rubber. This increased surface area eliminates pain caused by pressing one's finger into thin metal strings. The silicone contact pads attached to each key help to maintain the guitar's original tonal qualities by dampening vibrations and mimicking the touch of an actual finger.
Arc SG attaches to the guitar using quick release latches that keep it securely fastened and prevent misalignment between the keys and the strings below. This design also provides easy access to the fretboard in the event of a broken string. Instead of calling visual attention to itself, the aesthetics of Arc SG fit within the classic form language of the guitar.
Arc SG is designed to attach to the SG line of guitars manufactured by sister companies Epiphone and Gibson. Epiphone and Gibson SG guitars are one of the most widely retailed guitars in the United States. Arc SG uniquely bestows these brands with an edge on the competition by offering the first fully integrated adaptive product in the industry.
Loyal customers of Epiphone and Gibson are afforded the ability to continue using their beloved SG guitars, both in the comfort of their own home and on the big stage. This extends the overall lifespan and reach of Epiphone and Gibson products.
Arc SG is meticulously designed to meet the dimensional and aesthetic specifications of the SG line of guitars, meaning the two companies need not take any additional action when adding the product to their lineup.
For many musicians, music is more than just a pastime. It's a form of communication; a way of expressing ideas and emotions which would otherwise be challenging to articulate. It's also a form of storytelling which documents and describes the world in an attempt to better understand it. Music can be a positive force for change and the world is better off when everyone is afforded the same opportunity to use it to create something meaningful.
Ironically, skilled guitarists with decades of experience have the highest risk of developing peripheral neuropathies of the hand. This condition devastates their ability to play by weakening their fingers, impairing fine motor control and dexterity, and creating a painful numbing sensation where agility and sensitivity are needed most. Finding oneself unable to do that which has become second nature can be devastating. Arc SG reconnects guitarists with their ability to express themselves musically.
The ability to make music is a source of peace, focus, and enjoyment that is in our best interest to protect and preserve. Arc SG does just that. It was crucial that players feel comfortable using Arc SG in front of a live audience or fellow musicians. Too many of the existing products in this market segment look misplaced or downright childish when attached to a guitar. Arc needed to seamlessly fit within the form language of the guitar it's attached to and be something that any guitarist would be proud to use. To do this, we selected one of the most popular guitars in the United States, the Epiphone SG, as our pilot model.
Arc SG's attachment points correspond to this guitar's unique blend of angular and rounded contours. The device uses fret markings reminiscent of those found on a guitar's fretboard to help users quickly navigate the keys. Arc also uses color and texture to further blur the line between attachment and guitar. The housing and main playing surface are detailed with a wood grain pattern and colored to match the finish of the neck and fretboard respectively.