Most people who visit Mississippi are likely to spend time gambling in Tunica or Biloxi or soaking in authentic blues mojo in Clarksdale. While Seattle guitarist Danny Mangold did his fair share of the latter during a month-long trip there, he also spent much of his time combing the streets and riverbanks for scraps to build a guitar.
Many guitarists have often wondered, How can I play eight different string instruments during a song? By many, we actually mean one guitarist, specifically Justin Stone, who conceived his eight-neck Rocktopus guitar while absent-mindedly scribbling on a scrap of paper.
When friends of Evanescence guitarist Ben Moody were looking for a special present for him, they didn’t want to get him an ordinary guitar. Instead, they commissioned Travis Stevens to build a one-of-a-kind Han Solo in Carbonite guitar for Moody, who is also a Star Wars fanatic.
“I’ve been reading Guitar World since I was 12,” Xavier explained. “I’ve always had issues lying around my house. It’s a well-printed magazine with vibrant colors and good-quality paper. I cut the pieces from 12 to 15 different issues, but I had to get multiple copies of certain issues to have enough pieces of colors I liked.”
Anyone who has traveled to the Pacific Northwest or even watched an episode of Portlandia knows that, next to microbrewed beer, people in Oregon love two things: bikes and recycling. Jacob Chapman of Bend, Oregon, ingeniously put the two together when he realized that the carbon-fiber frame of a Trek Y bike might make a decent guitar body.
Dr. Evil may have never gotten his sharks with “frickin’ laser beams,” but Taiwanese rock god Leehom Wang had no such problem when he asked Irish luthier Alistair Hay of Emerald Guitars to create the Bahamut, a guitar in the shape of a metallic dragon, complete with laser eyes.
For inlay work, builders often use all kinds of exotic materials, including shells, hardwoods, semiprecious stones and precious metals. When building his Dueling Dragons guitar, luthier Virgil Mandanici of Virgil Guitars utilized all of the above, but he also incorporated two more unusual materials: teeth from prehistoric sharks, for the dragons’ teeth and claws, and puppy teeth, for the dragons’ horns.
Rock stars like Eric Clapton, Slash and Billy Gibbons inspire many custom guitar builders to make instruments, but William Gelvin’s Dice OPS guitar was influenced by an entirely different kind of celebrity: comedian Andrew Dice Clay. “I made a comment to Dice about him being a rock and roll comedian,” Gelvin says.
It’s not unusual to find a guitar with a “hockey stick” headstock, but a guitar made out of actual hockey sticks is an entirely different matter. For luthier and lifelong hockey fan John Burgess of London, Ontario, it made perfect sense to build a guitar body out of the implements, although doing it proved more difficult than scoring a goal against Henrik Lundqvist.