Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson's ongoing struggle with arthritis has been one of several factors in the band's decision to scale back on future tours — but he might soon be able to play with less pain.

That's the hope expressed by instrument designer and longtime Rush fan Jody Michael, who tells Classic Rock Magazine that he wants to use technology developed by his company, Artisan Bass Works, to create a guitar that will allow Lifeson to keep performing while alleviating some of the symptoms of his condition.

"We'd love to build Alex an instrument or co-design an instrument with him," said Michael. "We have clients that have rejuvenated their careers because of our instruments."

Citing a combination of independent testing and client feedback, the company's head of operations, Scott Heath, adds that Artisan's distinct neck design could offer Lifeson relief. "Eliminating the need to hold up the instrument, in conjunction with a more anatomically correct position, has helped many of our customers with such issues play longer, feel less pain, and extend their careers," Heath claimed. "We have every reason to believe the Mr. Lifeson would receive the same benefits, extending a career millions across the world would love to see extended."

For Michael, the opportunity to give back to Lifeson would be a particularly sweet capstone to decades of musical enjoyment that date back to Rush's early days. "In 1973, a group of friends and I sent cassette recordings of Rush to the radio station and called repeatedly requesting Rush songs. We're not claiming we had a hand in their success, but deep inside, in some way, I hope we helped," he mused. "How cool would it be, if by chance, I may have helped start Rush’s career and possibly extended it more than 40 years later?"

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