The Great Guitar Build Off provided luthiers with a kit to create any electric they wanted - and the results are insane

The Great Guitar Build Off 2020 featured eight luthiers competing for charity
(Image credit: The Guitar Guitar Build Off 2020)

Do you love a good, and sometimes bonkers, electric guitar design?

Then feast your eyes on the Great Guitar Build Off 2020, a competition featuring eight luthiers doing their best to one-up each other, and raise money for a variety of charities in the process.

Rules for the Build Off, sponsored by the UK’s Crimson Guitars, were simple – each luthier built from the same base kit within a limited time frame, with the finished guitar being auctioned off with 100% of the proceeds going to a charity of the builders choice. 

Big D Guitars electric guitar

Big D Guitars electric guitar (Image credit: The Guitar Guitar Build Off 2020)

From there, anything goes.

Crimson provided the luthiers’ kits used in the competition, and the contest was free of rules, allowing each builder to decide how to customize and complete their guitar – which is how instruments like Texas Toast Guitars’ three-necked electric came into existence.

The participants in the competition included: Ben Crowe, Master Luthier and CEO at Crimson Guitars; Derek Lenard of Chicago’s Big D Guitars; Texas Toast Guitars’ Matt Flaherty; Phil McKnight of the “Know Your Gear” YouTube channel; Angove Guitars’ Brad Angove; New York-based designer, builder, maker and teacher Jimmy DiResta; 3x3 Custom’s Tamar Hannah; and “Guns and Guitars” YouTuber Dan Thompson.

3x3 Custom electric guitar

3x3 Custom electric guitar (Image credit: The Guitar Guitar Build Off 2020)

“The Great Guitar Build Off is going to be a dog fight – shop vs. shop and lots of techniques going head to head,” said Texas Toast Guitars’ Flaherty. 

“We’re going to see if these other guitar builders are the real deal. Things might get a little heated on the Internet from time to time, but if you’re a real guitar builder, you share the same passion that we do. We build guitars because we love it.”

Voting runs through September 12, with the winner announced on September 26.

For more info, and to check out videos of each luthier’s creation, head to The Great Guitar Build Off.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.