CAS Innovations
Originally intended as an enhancement to Starjammer Airshows' night performances, the CAS I Guitar was a highly modified Fender Stratocaster Squier. With 72 experimental super-bright LEDs embedded in the head, neck and custom polycarbonate top plate, this prototype was the first guitar to make lights articulate to what was being played. Barry Smith, of 3DParz, designed and made the "brain" that turned notes into light patterns, and Elgin did all the woodworking and wiring inlays. It was soon apparent that this novel instrument was more than just a novelty - every guitar player who's seen it has asked where they can get one (and so have many non-players!) The mission of CAS Innovations has become to reinvent popular items, such as musical instruments, so that they add new dimensionality to their customary uses.
The first step toward making a truly revolutionary guitar was creating a body shape that was ergonomically superior and extremely comfortable to play, while preserving much of the asthetics of the traditional Torres shape. Beginning with an extra-thick wood blank, Elgin gradually shaped the corpus until it "melted" into his body, and was as easy to play, when seated, as it was when standing.
Using similar neck and bridge dimensions to a Stratocaster (Elgin's favorite-off-the-shelf electric guitar), the CAS II incorporates Baggs bridge transucers (for an "acoustic" sound) and three "Humbucking" style magnetic pickups for a huge variety of electric sounds, along with a custom hexaphonic pickup for controlling lights and external sound sources.
The new design called for cover plates for the front and back, made from carbon fiber, into which LEDs and other lighting arrays could be mounted. The wooden blank shown here served as a mold for the custom cover plates, before it was routed for the inner components. The process we invented for making the plates required its own patent, and it produces innovative visual textures that are unique to each guitar. These plates provide unparalleled RF (radio) shielding for the electronics, and serve as a flush mounting surface for the lights.
Additional features of the CAS II prototype include a new, digital WiC wireless transmitter
(courtesy of Paul Raley of
PRA Audio) integrated into the body, tuning machines that automatically trim excess string lengths when they are changed, a hexaphonic output for MIDI capability and string-specific external device triggering and stereo output.

Please visit us often, as we will be adding pictures, audio clips and video of the CAS II and other CAS products.
Pre-orders for CAS guitars and percussion lighting systems will soon be accepted!

Some earlier CAS instruments
by Elgin Wells

Left: "Nautilus" electric guitar

Right: (from left) Electric 5-string
Violin/Violas, Guarneri and Stradovari

CAS Innovations - built by Professionals for Professionals!