Pushing the envelope of guitar design

Date:19 June 2012 Author: Anthony Doman

While researching a feature for our August 2012 10th birthday issue, I was introduced to a whole new world of artistry (well, new to me anyway). Applying their own extreme concepts to the basic guitar layout, these modern-day artists create bizarrely beautiful instruments that are good to look at ““ and to play.

Much of what they do involves solid-body electric guitars, given that there’s not a lot that can be done with acoustic instruments because of the need for a soundbox.

These unconventional luthiers draw their inspiration from a variety of sources that include surreal art and the steampunk movement. Their creations may be designed for aesthetics or they may be designed to incorporate actual working non-musical technologies ““ a revolver mechanism, for instance.

One of those whose work has won acclaim is Gig Goldstein. What started out as a chainsaw-carving hobby has led to intricate designs that showcase a range of influences from surrealist artist HR Giger’s Alien to his latest work, a tribute to Jimi Hendrix in collaboration with several other artists. Watch the video showing the Hendrix tribute guitar…

Hendrix would have been 70 this year; but the revered axeman died a drug-related death aged just 27 after a career lasting barely three years. He is identified most notably with the Fender Stratocaster.

Those involved in the Hendrix tribute guitar are:

* Brian Johnston – Concept, music, Hendrix guitar owner.

* Stephen Casper – Body, neck, electronics, build. (Casper Guitar Technologies, www.casper-gt.com)

* Scott Ouderkirk – Guitar case. (www.scottouderkirk.com)

* Nick Koukotas – Guitar strap. (Double Treble Guitar Straps, www.doubletreble.com)

* Gig Goldstein – Layout, carving, paint. (Gigs Carved Guitars)

Look out for our article on extreme guitars in the August 2012 issue – on sale on 23 July.

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