Stonefield founder gets U.S. tuning system patent

Stonefield founder Tomm StanleyStonefield founder gets U.S. tuning system patent

Tailpiece tuning system tailored for electric basses

By David Sands
December 1, 2016

Last month, Tomm Stanley, Founder of Stonefield Musical Instrument Company, achieved something rather remarkable. He received formal U.S. recognition for designing the first new stringed-instrument tuning system since the 1980s.

On Nov. 15, the New Zealand-based luthier was awarded US patent number 9,495,941 for his tailpiece tuning system design, which is tailored for electric basses. He began working on the project in 2010, and it took him roughly three years to create a commercially viable design.

“With the apparent advantages of tailpiece tuning, I felt that what had been missing all these years was a system that’s easy for the user to work with,” Stanley said in a statement.

The tuning system he developed is based on three principles: freedom of string choice (allowing players to use whatever brand they prefer), visual appeal and smooth operation.

According to the Stonefield website, the Tomm Stanley Tuning System offers “better handling and ergonomics” than traditional tuning machines, because “there’s no neck dive as the instrument has a neutral balance; [so] you don’t need to hold the neck up to keep the bass in position, meaning greater freedom for your fretting hand. It’s also easier to string, accurately tune the instrument and more convenient to make mid-song tuning adjustments.”

Stanley received a New Zealand patent for his system on May 3. EU and UK patents are still pending.

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