Rolf met Matthias because they both wanted a polyhonic (hexaphonic, separate string) pickup and since piezo had some obvious advantages, they learned from how to build them and soon they sounded more like the string than any other… up to date!
Polybass can be built into any guitar with a polyhonic (hexaphonic, separate string) pickup
Out of the box, plug and play, it only works in guitars with RMC Polydrive system, mainly the Godin Multiac’s that provide a 13pin Roland compatible output: SA/ACS/Spectrum/Jazz (not Duo, not Encore).
This helps a lot for those who sometimes tune down the lowest string. our version is much easier because the other notes on the neck stay the same!
Its much harder to create a headless nylon than steel string. the screw system as Ned Steinberg spread it in the 80ies does not work because the nylon string extends about 5 times more. so Rolf found a way to include standard tuners into the body
We wanted to optimize the separation between strings on the piezo pickup, so Rolf built a bridge where each string sits directly on the body. when he designed the Ibanez AFR bass, he also used this system and Ibanez patented it together with him and called it MonoRail. now they use it even without piezo pickups!
Its hard to imagine now that until 1992 there was no tool on the marked which could do the most common Livelooping command: Tap-Play-Tap-Repeat – usually called Record. but the LOOP delay was not only the first tool with this function but it had most functions that later were offered (except multi track, because we did not have the processor power) and many functions that never became copied because all later loopers had a different memory configuration (read more here)
After Rolf worked as a machine designer for 10 years, he had all the skills to design the entire guitar in 3D (I doubt that anyone else did that in 2005) and this gave him the prcision to route precisely enough from the back to make the top suficiently thin to react similar to a glued together acoustic guitar
This project failed because it aparently was too complex for the users and really, few years later FireWire was completely abolished, so we learned to not build short life electronics into long life instruments. nevertheless the instruments possibilities were amazing:
our clean and deep sound of the Polybass was 30 years old by then, but new was that someone create a board that can be placed into someone elses guitar, without soldering! It was Tom Maiers idea. he wanted to improve the noise of the guitar and found that instead of only improving the preamp, we could also add our favorite effect. and Philipp Scheidegger created the discrete noise free preamp and we redesigned the suboctave effect completely to make a single 9V battery last nearly as long as the preamp did!
I met e-guitar maker Frank Deimel in Berlin and when he showed his Leslee effect we had the impression that I could do it better. I ended up developping a completely new version with very few components and now pickup load and a special JFET distortion compensation to run it all from a supercap! no battery, no preamp in the guitar, just plain switching with a great variation of speed