The Flaming Lips’ Stephen Drozd explains why he converted his doubleneck Epiphone into a singleneck 11-string

Stephen Drozd of The Flaming Lips is used to thinking more off-the-wall than off-the-peg when it comes to electric guitars. He is, after all, the guitarist in a psychedelic rock band marshalled by Wayne Coyne – a frontman who performs bathed in paint, amid explosions of streamers and, failing that, in a Zorb.

This theory is borne out in Drozd’s new rig tour with Premier Guitar, in which he shows off his Epiphone G-1275 Doubleneck – a guitar has been so heavily modded it is now a single-neck 11-string. It is, he notes, predominantly used in “destruction mode”.

The guitarist explains [at approx. 5.21] that they initially removed the six-string neck to resolve “some troubles” they were having with that side of the instrument, before he decided he liked it that way.

“I was like, ‘Man, it's kind of cool-looking,’ you know,” says Drozd. “And Wayne's like, ‘That guitar looks a lot cooler with just one neck,’ so we never put it back on.” 

The electronics and hardware have all been taped off and we have to agree: the singleneck doubleneck look is not without charm. But that’s not where the instrument’s story ends. 

Drozd explains it's since been signed by Stephen Colbert (following an appearance on his show) and a British punk icon, to boot – though the latter almost declined.

“We were at a festival in England in 2010 and Mick Jones from The Clash was there watching Roxy Music,” recalls Drozd. “I was kind of drunk and I was like, ‘screw it, let’s see what happens…’ 

“So I took this guitar up to him and I was like, ‘Hey man, would you sign my doubleneck singleneck guitar?’ And he goes, ‘Mate, if that was really a doubleneck, I wouldn't be seen touching it!’ But he's like, ‘I gotta admit the singleneck on the doubleneck is kind of cool’, so Mick Jones signed it right there.”

The 11 strings, however, was born out of the result of a desire to use the G-1275 through the Line 6 Filter Modeler pedal on the Lips’ The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song (With All Your Power)

Drozd says he loved the scrambled sound as it struggled to track the 12-string’s dual notes, but not on the G string. “I wanted just one string, so it just be solid tone for just that part of the scale,” he notes.

So there it is: Stephen Drozd’s singleneck doubleneck. To hear the guitar in action and see more of his rig, check out Premier Guitar’s full clip above.

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.