“I never thought I could actually play a solo on this thing”: YouTuber creates a ‘neckless’ guitar – and even manages to record a song with it

YouTuber Bernth plays a neckless Ibanez guitar
(Image credit: Bernth/YouTube)

YouTuber Bernth Brodträger is well-known for his wacky guitar experiments.

To name just a few examples, he's used dental floss and rubber bands as guitar strings, recorded his amp underwater, put sparklers in the soundhole and at both ends of a guitar (and set them off while playing it), drilled dozens of holes into an acoustic guitar... Bottom line is, Bernth isn't afraid to try crazy mods to get interesting new sounds from the guitar. 

His latest experiment, though, may just be his craziest yet. 

A video posted to Bernth's YouTube channel late last week shows the guitarist unscrewing the neck of his Strat-style Ibanez electric guitar from its body, sawing the headstock off the neck, then stringing the Ibanez's electric guitar strings back through the guitar's headstock – but without the neck.

Impressively, Bernth not only manages to play the mangled beast, he writes and performs an original composition – titled, appropriately, Levitate – with the neckless wonder.

Despite the obvious limitations of a guitar without frets, Bernth is able to impart a surprising amount of range into Levitate.

Holding the headstock out himself to get at least some string tension, Bernth begins the instrumental with some djent-y tones – played fingerstyle on the top strings. He's also able to manipulate the pitch of each string by yanking on the guitar's headstock.

As Bernth describes in the video's caption, maneuvering the headstock affords him a surprising amount of tonal variety. By shaking it, he simulates “extreme vibrato”; by pulling it back behind the body – and therefore tightening the strings against the body – Bernth is able to get higher pitches.

“I never thought I could actually play a solo on this thing,” Bernth writes, but by using “crazy, whammy-like bends” via the headstock, that's exactly what he does.

Aside from being a successful YouTuber, Bernth is also an Ibanez signature artist. If anyone at Ibanez happens to be reading this, could we maybe get a neckless signature guitar? Just a one-off? As a treat? 

Anyhow, for more of Bernth's wild mods, visit the guitarist's YouTube channel.

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Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.