Reminds me of the Rondo Retro that I wanted so badly in a bass version. It's interesting, that Lace seems to have been motivated partially by environmental factors:
The Helix bass is equipped with the revolutionary Alumitone pickup, designed by Jeff Lace. These Alumitones are a 'current driven' design, rather the traditional voltage based pickups, allowing the musician a higher fidelity or 'broad-band response' that helps to create a tighter top-end, more mid-range and a huge bottom end. This passive pickup outperforms many active systems, and the sonic output level generally exceeds that of similar preamp equipped basses. With today's increased environmental concerns, Lace also wanted to create a lightweight, advanced pickup that doesn't contribute to pollutants caused by discarded batteries. "By using the Alumitone, the need for conventional pickups with a preamp and battery are eliminated, and you lose almost two pounds of weight, without compromising output or performance," states Jeff Lace.Ignoring the marketing-speak, I hope that this is something more luthiers will start to keep in mind. I doubt that the industry is equivalent to e-waste in terms of impact, for example, but the use of exotic hardwoods has often been something that made me wince about Warwick's basses, for example.
It's not terribly expensive, either. The bolt-on version is $420 at Musician's Friend. Not that I need another bass.