In the other patent thread, a few people expressed interest in discussing a new patent that Gibson has been granted. So here goes! The patent: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-...2,450.UREF.&OS=ref/4,852,450&RS=REF/4,852,450 Before I start, let me say a few things: - I'm not a patent lawyer. - I'm a guy with an engineering background, and an interest in basses, which has led me to some interest in guitar-related patents. (What a nerd!) - I'm learning about the patents as I go along. I will always try to point out when something is my opinion/interpretation. That being said, there is a huge new patent by Gibson that deals with several issues in building a neck. There are 69 claims in the patent! Best wishes to anyone who fights their way through the whole thing. I've done what I'd call a "detail skim through." Here's my summary of some of the major points of the patent. Of course, I might mischaracterize some things in summarizing, but I'll do my best. they give a lot of background material on temperament systems, scales, and prior art. claims PART ONE -- formulas applied to fret placement (note: the "parts" are mine for clarity, and not part of the patent): People from Gibson have done some serious research and calculation regarding strings. They have developed formulas for modelling a real string (as opposed to the standard "ideal string"), with non-zero bending stiffness and longitudinal stiffness parameters, with a defined core size, with compensation for the fact that tension rises as the string is stretched toward the frets, and with compensation for the fact that string linear density decreases as the string is stretched toward the frets. They also account for real (non-ideal) boundary conditions at the ends of the vibrating length of the string. this is the first that I have heard of anyone doing this work. it is my impression that you cannot patent a mathematical formula or equation. there is nowhere in the patent (IMO (in my opinion)) that Gibson is making any claims to the formulas and calculations themselves. they do claim the following: placing frets on a fretboard to the "perfect positions" for a given real string, as determined by using the equations, as opposed to using the standard placement determined by the "rule of 18" or 2^n/12 method, which is what is normally used, based on an ideal string. they include the case where "stretch tuning" is incorporated into the calculations and fret placements. they include the cases where various scale temperaments other than twelve-tone equal tempered (12TET) are incorporated into the calculations and fret placements. they include the cases where the frets may end up nonparallel, curved (if I remember correctly) or even fanned eek as a result of such fret placement methods. they use the equations to show how "off" the intonation would be for a real string, if the conventional method is used. The even show the result of a standard intonation compensation saddle-move. This is cool information, but is not one of the patent claims. I was impressed at how well the model reflects my experience-- that a properly-intonation-adjusted standard instrument is very close to perfect, up until the 20th fret or so, where it starts to go a few cents sharp. claims PART TWO -- 3D shape of fingerboard they describe, and make claim to, a fingerboard where the shape along any string, and as a result also the 3D shape of the entire surface across many strings, is determined by maintaining a constant angle, at each fret, between (a) the path from that fret to the bridge, and (b) the path from that fret to the next higher-pitched fret. they also make claim to any similar fretboard that (a)involves that same angle, and (b)instead of maintaining the angle at a constant value, uses "a smooth formula" to determine a changing series of angles a you go up the string, thus also producing a particular 2D path under the string, thus producing a 3D surface across the many strings of the fretboard. it is my impression that the PLEK system of fret dressing, used on Ritter and others' basses and guitars, might already use the equal-angles method mentioned two bullets above. They may possibly have a European patent on it. If they do, that patent could possibly apply only to fret dressing as opposed to original manufacture. claims PART THREE -- other areas fretboards combining the "part one" and "part two" items are covered. in what seems to me to be wholly bizarre, they claim (claims # 55 + 56) not only placing frets on a fretboard by method of "part one", and a fretboard created by such method, and an instrument incorporating such fretboard, but also: "producing notes of a musical scale" by making an instrument according to some of the previously claimed methods and "plucking the real string" or "vibrating the real string." eek: ) Thoughts?