It Might Get Weird: Shawn Bowen’s OmCaster Guitar

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.

“One day the idea just came to me,” Bowen says. “I thought it would be a cool guitar design, so I drew it on paper. Even my crude pencil drawing of it looked awesome.”

The finished guitar, which Bowen calls the OmCaster, is a collective effort between him, Bezl Labonte, who carved the initial body shape and assembled the guitar, and Lada Barta of SPC Guitars, who did the decorative carving, finishing and inlay work. “Bezl made a few cool guitars, so I knew he would do a good job,” says Bowen. “I was really impressed by Lada’s custom finish work. He does amazing distressed finishes.”

The OmCaster is a seven-string guitar with a pecan wood body, a maple neck with a bubinga center strip, DiMarzio Blaze humbuckers and a kill switch. Custom decorations include a maze near the controls and a Sanskrit inscription that reads Om Mani Padme Hum (a Tibetan mantra), both of which are inlaid in Luminlay material that illuminates under a black light.

“My band Didges Christ SuperDrum does a highly theatrical show with lots of UV light and costumes,” Bowen says. “With all the black lights we use, the fret markers appear to be electric and light up really good! All of the symbols on the guitar as well as the Om shape of the guitar serves to deepen my connection with the instrument.”

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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.