Eight Is Enough: Justin Stone’s Rocktopus Eight-Neck 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.

“I drew a cross and thought to myself that a guitar with four necks would be pretty cool,” Stone says. “Then I drew an X over the cross and thought that an instrument with eight necks that were each different kinds of stringed instruments would be even more incredible. Right away, I thought of an octopus wrapping its tentacles around it, and the ideas kept snowballing.”

The Rocktopus, which Stone describes as “a functional piece of art,” consists of three electric guitars (tuned to E, D and F), an electric 12-string, bass, cello, five-string banjo and acoustic guitar attached to a central body. “Connecting eight 45-degree-angled wedges — two of which are hollow — to fit perfectly together as a single body was the biggest challenge,” Stone says. “The octopus is carved out of wood and encrusted with rainbow abalone shell and steel suction cups.”

Because the Rocktopus weighs 40 pounds and is six feet in diameter, Stone waits for special occasions to assemble it.

“Playing it isn’t difficult,” he explains, “but the setup is. It takes about three hours to affix the necks, put on strings and stretch them.” Perhaps someday Stone can hire the Octomom’s brood to tend to the Rocktopus.

More details about the Rocktopus can be found at hollandaisejunkshop.com.

Photos: Neil Zlozower

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Chris Gill

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.