The Masai 827 was designed as a stripped-down test-bed for several new ideas. The challenge: build a guitar with extended range on both axes of the fretboard and provide full ergonomic access, without sacrificing weight-balance, tone, or a proportional aesthetic. One of the nicest features that came out of the project is the "compound heel-less neck joint;" an s-curve that mirrors the thumb contour of the ebony Masai, but with a rounded half-heel joining the body that allows unrestricted availablility of all 27 frets.
Another first for us is the fretboard treatment. Believe it or not, it's maple. Many players tend to prefer the sound and feel of a maple fretboard to rosewood or ebony, but are ultimately dissuaded by the blond color (or vintage association) in contrast with the rest of the instrument's composition. Through a multi-stage process, we were able (without use of any chemical stains) to yield durable coloration somewhere between rosewood and ebony. Not just that, but the original figure in the maple is still visible (this one has a birds-eye fretboard!)