Perhaps only the most dedicated connoisseurs of bizarre Japanese guitars can tell that a mid-Sixties Inter Mark Cipher model lurks beneath the trinkets and ornaments covering Shawn Mayo’s customized guitar. In fact, for many years Mayo thought it was a Harmony model, due to the Harmony neck that a previous owner used to replace the original neck.
When Brian Carrier started building and customizing guitars 15 years ago, he toyed with the idea of making cigar-box guitars but wanted to make something more durable and long lasting. “I wanted to make something that a touring musician could play and tour with,” Carrier says.
We’ve seen many weird guitars made out of strange materials (a bull’s skull, a girl mannequin and a toilet seat, to name a few), but a film reel is one of the most unusual items we’ve ever encountered used for a guitar body. What’s even more unusual is that this highly unorthodox guitar, called the Filmocaster, was conceived and built by Nicholas Frirsz, who has specialized in building violins for four decades.
The Om symbol means so much to Shawn Bowen that he has four tattooed on his body. When he decided to design a custom guitar to play with his bands Didges Christ SuperDrum and Stones of Madness, it was pretty much predetermined that he would make it shaped like the Om symbol as well.
Probably 99 Percent of the guitars built with graphics inspired by Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon feature the album cover’s iconic prism design. Mark “Gig” Goldstein’s Dark Side of the Moon guitar also includes the prism, but it is just one small detail in a larger tableau that he carved into the front of a Gibson SG—a scene that tells the album’s entire story.
With its hand-carved grim reaper figure standing upon a field of skulls next to a cluster of gravestones, Ben Bauer’s Death of Decency guitar gives one the impression that it was made in prison by some tattooed Danny Trejo lookalike. However, a closer look reveals that the gravestones are not marked with the names of victims awaiting vengeance but rather words like love, hope, trust, honor and courtesy.
The ancient Egyptians' numerous cultural achievements included the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx and the Telecaster. What? Actually, Scott McMahon of McMahon Artistry built this Telecaster adorned with Egyptian hieroglyphic carvings during the 21st century. He also gave it an appropriate name: the Ankh.
If you agree that guitars and women are two of the sexiest things in the entire universe, then the Marilyn guitar is for you. It considerably ups the ante by combining the two, with a hand-carved body that perfectly duplicates every curve and detail of Marilyn Monroe’s famed pinup photo in the 1953 debut issue of Playboy magazine.