Maxmonte Guitars

extremely flexible
stunning results
easy to work with
super fast installation

AST-headerlogo-280x70ZipFlex is the world’s first and only flexible purfling strip made from genuine abalone or pearl. It was created in the demanding, real-world environment of Kevin Ryan Guitars as an answer to the technical challenges posed by inlaying shell into the trim of guitars and other musical instruments. It's produced by AST - Advanced Shell Technology in the USA. For more info check out the FAQs below


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Shell types

blue pauaBlue Paua
Possibly the most colorful and iridescent of any shell in the world. The greens (and many blues) are rich and intense. This selection favors blue hues. 

select green abaloneSelect Green Abalone
More delicate colors than the Paua and Blue Paua, the SGA has pastel reds and blues and greens. This is also a very popular shell and works beautifully against darker woods such as rosewood, western red cedar and redwood because it is lighter in color and the colors are not as dark or intense.

mother of pearlMother of Pearl
For a more traditional look, white and iridescent.


ZipFlex comes in 15'' (38cm) long strips, is 0,055'' (1,4mm) thick and is available here in three widths:

bullet pp 20,047'' (1,2mm): this is the smallest size, it works beautifully to frame wooden rosettes. It is also ideal to install on the bottom of the binding to ornate the sides of the guitar body.

bullet pp 20,064'' (1,6mm): a wider size to frame the soundboard and back. Its flexible structure makes it easy to contour to cutaways and tight waists.

bullet pp 20,079'' (2,0mm): for an extra bold look! May be installed without additional framing purfling.


What is ZipFLex?
ZipFlex is a genuine abalone inlay strip that has been engineered to be very flexible. It can easily flex enough to go around the edge of virtually any soundboard (including cutaways). It can install in approximately 1/10th the time it takes to install the traditional shell materials when being inlaid around the edge of a soundboard, sides or back.

Is it real shell?
Yes, ZipFlex is real shell. It is made from Abalam®.

What is Abalam®?
Abalam® is real shell that has been manufactured into the laminate known as Abalam® or Ablam. Chuck "The Duke of Pearl" Erikson and Larry Sifel invented and patented Abalam® years ago and it is in wide use all over the world as a superior alternative to solid shell blanks. Abalam® is used widely by the biggest factories and by many of the world's finest individual luthiers.

Is Ziplex easy to install?
Yes, ZipFlex is extremely easy to install. Just tape it in along with the purflings and you're done. It is as easy as that. It easily forms and bends around every curvy part of your guitar, whether on the soundboard, the back or the sides.

How do I glue ZipFlex into the channel?
You can use your regular glue since you are ultimately gluing the shell to the channel. Cyanoacrylate (superglue) has been used for over 20 years by leading guitar manufacturers and individual luthiers and it is especially suited for ZipFlex. (Be sure to seal the ledges with vinyl or lacquer sealer before using superglue to attach purflings, otherwise the superglue will wick into the end grain of soundboards and make it darker.)

How much ZipFlex will I need to go around a guitar soundboard?
Four (4) of these 15" segments will complete one soundboard.