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This ingenious guitarist invented an adjustable Lego fretboard that's fully playable - and educational

Over the years there have plenty of YouTubers who have built electric guitars out of Lego.

But Tolgahan Çoğulu is the first one to use Lego to craft a guitar’s fretboard, rather than just its body.

The result is an instrument that, unlike other Lego builds, doesn’t just look cool, but actually has unique functionality both as a playable instrument and a teaching tool.

Essentially, the acoustic Lego Microtonal Guitar is an extension of another of Çoğulu’s creations, the Adjustable Microtonal Guitar.

(Image credit: YouTube/Microtonal Guitar - Tolgahan Çoğulu)

As Çoğulu tells it, two years ago, his then seven-year-old son, Atlas, created a Lego version of that guitar’s fretboard.

That gave dad an idea.

First, he designed and 3D printed a Lego fretboard base plate into which pieces could be inserted, then he measured locations of standard guitar frets and put bumps for microtones in between them. Lastly, he glued the fretboard on the guitar.

Then, he says, the “fun part” began, with his son Atlas (and Atlas’ cat) searching for Lego pieces to fill in the fretboard.

(Image credit: YouTube/Microtonal Guitar - Tolgahan Çoğulu)

Finally, he completed the fingerboard by adding 3D printed frets.

From there, Çoğulu demonstrates how pieces can be moved on the fretboard in order to sound various microtones.

Even cooler, Çoğulu realized that the guitar could be used to teach music theory. He removed all the frets, and then put back on the ones that outlined different scales, be it C major or minor, or even a Balinese pentatonic scale with three microtones.

"I hope this design will be used for teaching the music of different cultures and also used for standard guitar education," he says. 

For more information, head over to Çoğulu's official YouTube channel (opens in new tab).

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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.