What happens when a luthier starts daydreaming…
One of the best things about knowing the principles of lutherie is that suddenly you realize the potential of anything to become an instrument of some sort. Of course, you’re always going to come back to the conclusion that our forefathers were right about the wood thing, but the off-the-wall innovations people come up with are too entertaining to ignore.
For the most part, the instruments you’ll see are for novelty’s sake, but that doesn’t diminish the potential for each to make beautiful music. That’s entirely subjective, of course…beauty is in the eye of some guy with really crappy taste, but I stand by my statement.
Let’s take a look at some of these strange contraptions that all seek to answer the question: “what happens when the wood runs out?”
This one is the only guitar on this list that holds a certificate of authenticity from Fender. All of the wood has been replaced by corrugated cardboard – even the fretboard.
It still uses standard Fender hardware, but that doesn’t really matter once you’ve gone through the effort of fretting a cardboard neck that holds itself in tune – we’ll let that one slide.
Well, this one might be my favorite DIY “guitar”. I put guitar in quotes because it’s 3-stringed and fretless. Also, it’s a shovel.
The guy who built it (playing in the video) goes by the name Isaac “Shovelman” Frankle. The buzz from his youtube video lead to a request from Rob Scallon for Shovelman to build a 1-string version with an EMG pickup. The results are hilarious and awesome.
The AK-47 Axe
I don’t believe there’s much that needs to be said about this one because the video takes you through the entire construction process – it’s very difficult not to watch the whole thing.
You can see Wyclef Jean giving some artsy fartsy reasoning as to why he wanted this AK-47 guitar here, but since we’re not stupid, we know he just thought it’d be badass. And it is. But Wyclef Jean is a turd for trying to pull that.
This video here seems to be the best example I could find of a skateboard-guitar. The video itself sucks, unless you like annoying noodly 8-bit MIDI music. But if you put it on mute, it’s just a cool little slideshow of what I believe to be the best skateboard-guitar I’ve seen yet.
There’s a few companies recycling skateboard decks into guitars, but instead of simply just stripping and reforming the plywood from old skateboards to cut a body shape from, this guitar is actually built around the skateboard’s form.
This guy has made a nice little niche for himself fusing classical car parts with electric guitars to pay homage to the vehicles.
The designs borrow their lines from the flared tail ends of a Cadillac or the arched wheel wells of a Corvette Stingray, which makes for a very cool instrument.
I’m most interested in this hubcap guitar in this video though.
These things are pretty cool, but I have to say that they’re pretty much just cigar-box guitars with the cigar box replaced by an oil can. It makes for a different sound, and this Bohemian Guitars company has gone a step further by making them into full-scale guitars.
That’s all for now! If you have something to add to this list, be sure to tell us about it in the comments below.
If you’re looking for more upcycled guitars, take a look at what this guy is doing with abandoned houses in Detroit and the alien-like Gittler guitar!