When we think of a custom guitar, many of us conjure up images of a Gibson Les Paul or the iconic pointed Jackson Randy Rhodes made famous during the Rhodes’ time with Black Sabbath. Yet, there have been countless custom guitar makers in past years, each creating a veritable masterpiece in form and function.
Buying and owning a custom guitar is personal for the artist. No two instruments are the same, and some recent advances are putting more guitars into the hands of artists than ever. For example, innovative use of materials by luthiers and even technology for design has made these instruments both more unique and sometimes more affordable. Here are just three extraordinary custom-made guitars with rare qualities and unmatched style.
Barbecue and Handcrafted Guitars
If you live in the South, and probably even if you don’t, barbecue is something special. In Austin, residents associate barbecue with good times and particularly with music. A local custom guitar maker, Moniker, set out to combine the two with a new line of custom-made instruments.
Moniker’s Texas BBQ Series is a line of custom guitars that plays tribute to the area’s top barbecue joints. These guitars capture the spirit and even the materials of places like Black’s Barbecue, Iron Works, and Stubb’s, even using Black’s barbecue rub in the manufacturing process.
The company launched this unique line in early December with an Austin-style celebration. Guitar creators were on hand, as was Black’s Barbecue and some of the area’s top musical talent.
From Junk Into Funk
Ever considered turning the junk found around your home into a musical instrument? While most people haven’t, a select group of innovative luthiers run the gamut from creating absurd to artistic custom guitars with only items found in the home. The most interesting thing as that they play these guitars, usually sharing their videos on social media.
For example, custom guitar maker, Doni Guitars, created a quirky guitar from a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) console, calling it the NES Paul. Bill Turner of Wunkywerks Guitars makes instruments from recycled or repurposed materials. His 3-string slide glider made from antique living room furniture is functional but shows more like a work of art. Finally, Terry Johnson of the blues/rock band The Swamp Drivers built a six-string guitar from old Harley parts, naming it the Hog-o-Caster.
Long-lasting, Durable, and Stylish
A common theme among many modern custom guitar makers is innovation in materials. San Francisco-based Blackbird Guitars takes this to another level with its biocomposite materials that are both lightweight and make exceptional instruments.
Founder Joseph Luttwak’s goal was to make long-lasting instruments from eco-friendly materials. Luttwak created a natural version of carbon fiber that he named Ekoa. Instruments made from Ekoa have a wood-like texture and tone, are lightweight, and deliver incredible sound. Blackbird offers a full line of custom-made acoustic guitars, travel guitars, and even ukuleles.
Whether you are a professional artist, an amateur, or a weekend picker, there is a probably a custom guitar out there to suit your tastes and budget. Today, custom guitar makers play homage to a city’s landmarks or teams, integrate your favorite hobby into an instrument, and even create instruments with sustainable materials. These over the top guitars give you one more way to showcase your talent and enjoy making music.