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YouTuber builds an entire guitar using reclaimed ocean plastic

Burls Art
(Image credit: Burls Art / YouTube)

An infinity mirror guitar studded with LEDs, a six-string built entirely using epoxy resin, and a guitar made using 14 skateboard decks. These are just some of the wacky six-string creations born from the mind of YouTuber Burls Art.

As you’d expect, the intrepid luthier has amassed a considerable following for his adventurous builds – over half a million subscribers, to give you an idea.

Now, in a bid to push the boat out for his latest design, Burls Art has teamed up with 4ocean – a company which aims to end the ocean plastic crisis – to, rather inspiringly, make an electric guitar using reclaimed ocean waste. His latest video charts the guitar’s creation. Check it out below.

He begins the process by joining 4ocean on a diving trip in South Florida to hunt for suitable plastic, before taking it back to his warehouse, melting it down and forging it into a large workable block. 

Next, he attempts to make the guitar’s neck using solid pieces of plastic cast inside epoxy resin. However, when he tries to add the frets, the neck splits. This is because these two materials don’t bond together well, and thus weak points are created at points in the neck where there are large pieces of plastic.

Back to the drawing board, Burls Art opts instead to use plastic straws filled with epoxy resin as the guitar’s neck material. This time, when adding the frets, he heats them up with a blowtorch before adding them to the neck, so that they melt into the epoxy in the neck when they are fitted.

To finish the build, he adds a pair of pickups: a humbucker in the bridge position and a single coil in the neck.

“This was easily the most challenging build I’ve done so far,” Burls Art says. “But it was a fun project where I got to use different methods I haven’t tried yet, and overall I think it came out looking pretty good.”

“I want to say thanks to 4ocean for teaming up with me on this project. They’re doing good work out there cleaning up our oceans, so it was a really cool opportunity to work with an awesome company on this build.”

To see more from Burls Art, head to his YouTube channel, or visit 4ocean to find out more about its mission.

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Sam is a Staff Writer at Guitar World, also creating content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.