Best of 2021: We all like an electric guitar fitted with a nice bone nut and saddle. But how about one that’s just, well, bones?
Meet YouTuber Prince Midnight, who constructed a guitar with a body built from an actual human skeleton.
The skeleton, as Prince Midnight tells Guitar World, belonged to his uncle, Filip, who passed away in the ‘90s in Greece.
“He originally donated his skeleton to the local college and was medically prepared for the school,” Midnight says.
“After 20 years, he ended up in a cemetery my family had to pay rent on. Like, literally in a wooden box. It’s a big problem in Greece because orthodoxy religion doesn’t want people cremated.”
Prince Midnight proceeded to contact the proper authorities, including the state department and state attorney’s office, in order to repatriate his uncle’s remains.
“So I got the box of bones from Greece and didn’t know what to do at first – bury them? Cremate them? Put them in the attic? All seemed like poor ways to memorialize someone who got me into heavy metal,” he continues.
And so Prince Midnight decided to turn his uncle into a guitar, which, he says unsurprisingly, “proved to be challenging.” After doing plenty of research – he even consulted with two people at Dean Guitars in Florida, who eventually “got cold feet,” Midnight built the guitar – dubbed the Filip Skelecaster – we see before us.
As for the biggest challenge?
“Making sure it was actually playable,” Prince Midnight says. “The hardest part about building an instrument is constructing it a way that it will stay in tune.”
Regarding the skeleton guitar’s performance,” Midnight says that it “plays fine," though it also has its quirks.
“You have to strum inside the rib cage, so there are no sweeping chords like Pete Townshend of The Who. You can only strum as wide as the ribs will allow. There’s a certain unexplainable quality to it,” he says.
“I believe part of my uncle Filip is still there, literally and figuratively. Just a warm presence, maybe enjoying his next life as a totally metal guitar.”
He continues, “Now Uncle Filip can shred for all eternity. That’s how he would want it. I’m super-proud of the project and how it serves to honor him, his life and his influence on me.”
To hear Uncle Filip in action, check out Prince Midnight’s cover of Darkthrone’s 1994’s black metal classic, Transilvanian Hunger, above.