No Shadows Optics was formally created in July of 2012. Conceptually, it began when a friend, and now fellow luthier, approached our custom guitar shop in 2009 about building a one-off bass with fiber optic dots. As a luthier with ten years’ experience in one-of-a-kind, hand-made instruments, this was a new endeavor. But then, that was our specialty. We were where you went when no one else wanted any part of your “one of a kind madness”! Up to that point, we had done crazy synth systems, amazing crazy body shapes by customer design, and even hand-cut “fanned frets,” but never any type of lighting systems.
We were proud of our work and although my friend fell in love with his new, fiber-optic-upgraded bass, we felt that there had to be something more. This small start sparked the desire for fully illuminated, “shark fin” inlays in a new guitar for me, the owner. After months of research, it became apparent that no one had made truly illuminated inlays (and, as we would learn, for good reason). We found the occasional “LED behind the pearl,” the “glow-in-the-dark” inlays, and even the “array of bulbs glued in the fingerboard” approaches. And, along the way we became quite skilled at installing fiber optic front and side dots. In fact, to date we have done dozens of these installations on all types and brands of instruments. But still we had no solution for our Ultimate Quest: Any-inlay, any-guitar illumination. This led to more years of research and experimentation, as the custom shop slowly turned into more of a laboratory than a guitar shop.
As my frustration grew, I learned that there were about ten solid technical, artistic, process and other reasons nobody had done this sort of work before. So, in early 2012, with little more than a theory – and years of experience building custom instruments and doing top notch repairs – I locked myself in the lab again. Two full months later, just when it seemed that every option had been exhausted, the answer finally presented itself. I emerged with what we believe is the first 100% illuminated inlays. As a result, we are now proud and excited to introduce No Shadows Optics Musical Instruments Lighting Systems!