Every guitar player likes to talk about their axe, so I thought it might be fun to look for 50 of the strangest, most bizarre guitars ever created for us guitar players to talk about. Enjoy, and ask your friends which one they think is the weirdest!
Let’s face it, if you are going to play this guitar, you will need to know more than the G chord. Also plays a mean Stairway to Heaven.
The ESP Angel Classic V series, or Cupid Guitar. Is there any better instrument for breaking into a shredding solo over ‘The Power of Love’?
Not sure about the color, or the general shape to this creation, but still, nice axe, dude. Maybe this was from his first day in the workshop.
The backwards neck guitar: It was probably just one of those days – maybe day two in the workshop. Coming to an outlet village near you.
Important note for all south paws: When you go into a guitar store, be sure to ask for a ‘left-handed’ guitar, not a ‘left-hand’ guitar. And, of course (knowing lefties’) luck, they still made this one right-handed!
- The Brooklyn Paper – Will Yakowicz
This is New York subway performer, Ben Simon, playing all 19-pounds of his guitar-keyboard-drum-machine behemoth. It also boasts 10 knobs and five speakers (surround-sound compatible).
Interesting concept for this one, but it probably wouldn’t be very nice to meet what’s on the other end of this appendage.
With a hard case as wide as a door frame, this broad-sword guitar isn’t the most convenient of instruments to bring on the road gig circuit. Still, it may come in very handy for slaying demons lurking in the dark corners backstage.
Officially, the cheesiest guitar around. Just don’t leave it out anywhere that has mice.
The old reliable Colt Peacemaker. For any fan of the Wild West – turn it on its side and you have also got a very cool looking ice-hockey stick.
Legendary master of legato, Michael Angelo Batio, is easily the most celebrated double-guitar finger-tapper on the planet – perhaps the only one, too.
Long before the days of Rock Band, behold the Sega Dreamcast Bass – there is playing a games console and there is ‘playing’ a games console.
“Hey the World Cup has just started – wouldn’t it be really cool to customize my guitar so the body is a big giant soccer ball?” Maybe not.
For anyone with a passing interest in weird guitars, you will know there more than a few machine-gun monstrosities on the market. ‘Rubber Bullets’ by 10cc anyone?
Is this DeGennaro creation a waste of good sculpture, or a waste of good guitar parts? Either way, best not have this one poking out of a soft case when you’re walking down the street.
The infamous harp guitar – two bridges we can just about handle, but surely three is a bridge too far?
Well it had to be done at some point – a fully functional guitar made out of Lego. The inspiration for Michel Gondry’s legendary White Stripes’ video maybe?
Not many people could to claim to master the love-heart guitar. It’s probably even one fretboard too many for Michael Angelo Batio.
- Stephen McSwain
Here American luthier Stephen McSwain combined two of his favorite passions – cars and guitars. This 1965 Pontiac GTO body boasts working headlights and rolling wheels. Yours for approx. $5,000 USD.
Mmm, juicy, although not exactly an ideal design (or shape) for the body of a Gibson bass. Hopefully that’s the last time this luthier looked to the fruit bowl for inspiration.
Practical? No. But impressive? Oh yes! This composed-looking gentleman shows how the mermaid guitar can actually be played – well, maybe only when kneeling on the floor.
Star Wars fans will immediately recognize this as the Millennium Falcon toy spaceship, and those LED’s sure make a nice finishing touch.
This could be the only guitar out there that can be played by both righties and lefties – maybe even at the same time.
Now if this interesting creation could also drive you to the gig, we could be on to a winner.
It’s not very often you get to see the head of a Kramer guitar on MTV these days.
Apparently the bizarre guitar craze is not a recent phenomenon. This elegant gent is holding one mean-looking axe – who knows what sounds this beast could have unleashed.
Here QOTSA’s Josh Homme is playing one of Fred Mangan’s more interesting contraptions, the Satellite guitar. When he brought it out on stage, it got a great reception (ouch).
If there ever was a guitar for 80’s nostalgia freaks, it has to be this reincarnation of the first ever computer game celebrity, Pacman. He does make a good body shape.
As interesting as long-necked Egyptian Cat may be, surely there is pretty cool-looking giraffe guitar out there somewhere.
Behold the Pikasso guitar, a 42-string work of art, made by celebrated luthier Linda Manzer. This was presented as a gift to jazz virtuoso Pat Methany. “Erm… thanks, Linda.”
Introducing the (extremely) limited edition Dean Powder Puff Zee. No poodles were harmed in the making of this instrument.
Ok, maybe not the best bass to walk out on stage with, but that snake does look pretty real. Like the DeGennaro ‘four-hands’ guitar, make sure this one isn’t peaking out of your gig bag.
More crimes against guitar design here. Oh well, at least there are plenty more fish in the sea – and hopefully that’s good thing.
Before you question the authenticity of this photo, yes, this somebody actually built this backwards peculiarity. But what’s more surprising is that someone actually chose to play it.
What are the odds one of the Scissor Sisters has this piece of design hanging up above their fireplace? Quite high, probably.
Want to find a good use for your old Sega Genesis (or ‘Megadrive’ to our European friends)? Easy – just stick a guitar neck on the end and hammer a pickup into the games-cartridge slot.
The “Jaws versus Spinal Tap” mash-up never did live up to expectations at the box office.
It’s hard to know what to do with this one – ride it or played it? But surely most would agree this would be a pretty sweet lap-steel guitar.
The Skelatar-Horizon. A word of advice: don’t bring this instrument along to your next jazz-quartet audition.
Surf’s up. Now, a bit of Ventures or Dick Dale and the Del Tones would have to sound great on this board.
The Excalibur is simply a must for all medieval-battle-re-enactment enthusiasts. Found in the home wares section of your local department store.
This Taylor boot guitar is pretty impressive for what is evidently a home-made project. Put two together and you would have a very fine pair of comedy stilts.
This guitar would be perfectly suited to some almighty and fearsome Norse God. Unless, of course, he was more into country-folk.
It appears fictional heroes from childhood do make for excellent guitars in later life. But this must really start to pull at your shoulder after a while.
Not the most bizarre instrument on this list, but a very accurately-crafted outline for the body of this USA bass, and, it does have an eagle’s head.
The coke bottle has served as an irreplaceable aide to many guitar players over the years – anyone see Jack White’s slide at the start of ‘It Might Get Loud’? It’s doubtful this one made it into his collection.
At last, a winner for the most practical instrument ever to be invented – the toilet-seat guitar. The toilet-paper strap is simply genius.
Formerly a Rhoads Jackson V, the Villianizer was a concept realized by Phillip Torronne, who perhaps stumbled upon the best use for abandoned copper pipes and random gadgetry that end up at the back of the garage.
This star-like creation, known as ‘Glory Arms – Lake Placid Blue’, was the brainchild of Japanese artist Yoshihiko Satoh, who likes to take everyday objects and turn them into something completely of the wall. Job done, then.
A close relative to Yoshihiko Satoh’s ‘Glory Arms’ piece, ‘Present Arms (a name probably inspired by the firing squad) actually appears to be playable!
Hat tip to Joe from the comments section for this one – a giraffe-inspired guitar with a built in amplifier. Apparently the amp is buzzy, but can be bypassed if you have your own.
great an in its own school of true art.thank you
More proof that there will always be guitars built based on how they look with how they work being of far less value……
By the way the McSwain isnt a Corvette………
Yea, I picked up on that too. Looks more like an early Pontiac GTO or Tempest.
“Here American luthier Stephen McSwain combined two of his favorite passions – cars and guitars. This 1958 Corvette body boasts working headlights and rolling wheels. Yours for approx. $5,000 USD.”
OOPS! That is a 1968 Pontiac GTO, not a 1958 Corvette.
I’m sure glad I wasn’t the only one that saw it wasn’t a ‘vette, thought maybe my eyes were failing me!
Also, beside’s ALMOST loosing my mind, I’ve come close to buying a few of these! And a friend of mine traded… TRADED… his Les Paul for one of those ‘Norse God’ guitars!! I guess there’s a shape for everybody!!
I also thought one of the guitars would be the Roland GR-700 Synth guitar, the hockey stick looking one from the late 70’s, which I have an unusual red one…
Art is within the beholder; function is not.
Can you dig it? I SAID, CAN YOU DIGGGGGGGGGGGG IT?
The CAR GUITAR is a ’65 or ’66 Pontiac G.T.O. not a ’58 Corvette. Wazzamatta you goin’ blind ‘r somethin?
You missed John Fogerty’s baseball bat guitar he uses when he plays the song Centerfield!
Jonathan……Loved the research and personal touch for
your fans out there, but where the heck is that phone #.
Did you get the address? Well, along with it was a
Gonna call a friend in Nevada who is long overdue for
a phone call catch-up. He is from BC.
Who’s gonna be first?
I’m a Christian musician, and I design guitars, too. They are not so strange as these, though! Check out the photos on my musician/band page on Facebook. (Do a search in the box at the top of your Facebook page.) My band’s name is, “Only One Way.” While you’re there, you can check out my music, too! There’re songs in three different styles, so, hopefully, you’ll find something you like!
Good 4 You!
I recognize several guitars from the ESP custom guitar shop Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Most of the McSwain detractors are incorrect in their “corrections”. It’s definitely a ’65 Pontiac GTO. The hood scoop was not available on a Tempest.
I stand corrected with my “correction”. Thanks for the info Jim.
Thanks Jim – and everyone else who noticed this! I’ve corrected the post now…
Two words- Cheap Trick!
Tom Waits must have seen some of these when he wrote “The ice man’s mule is parked outside the bar, and a man with missing fingers plays a strange guitar” from “A Little Rain”DB
Peter Tosh had red AK 47 assault rifle model guitar,does anyone know where it is now?
I had to know and Wiki knew:
In 1983, at the Los Angeles stop on Tosh’s Mama Africa tour, a local musician named Bruno Coon went to the hotel at which Tosh was staying, claiming to have a gift for him. The gift was a custom-built guitar in the shape of an M16 rifle. Tosh accepted the gift personally. The guitar was subsequently lost by the airlines when the tour went to Europe but was recovered when Tosh’s public relations agent placed an article about its loss in Der Spiegel. Tosh went on to perform on stage with the guitar.
In 2006, it was announced by the promoters of the Flashpoint Film Festival that the guitar would be auctioned on eBay by Tosh’s common-law wife Andrea “Marlene” Brown. Tosh’s sons, Andrew Tosh, and Jawara McIntosh, prevented the sale, claiming ownership of the guitar. In 2011, Andrew Tosh, said that the guitar was in the custody of a close friend, awaiting the opening of a museum dedicated to Peter Tosh.
The Peter Tosh Museum was opened on Peter Tosh’s 72nd Birthday on 19 October 2016 in Kingston, Jamaica.
I’ve seen some strange guitars, but none like these!!
Great fun article. Now be sure to include me in your next feature,”50 of the Most Bizarre Guitarists.”
NOW THAT IS DEFINATELY SOMETHING DIFFERENT ERROL
Facts regarding the bass where the body is shaped like the headstock and vice versa:
Owned and played by Danish bassist Stig Pedersen of Danish rock group D:A:D (formerly known as Disneyland After Dark)
Only has two strings. The reason? Stig is quoted for saying: I only use the two first string (E and A), so no reason for having the last two.
This is not the only custom designed bass he plays. He also has one designed as a rocket and one designed as an olive (which I by the way played for a minor soundcheck. Hard thing to do, as Stig is left-handed)
You mentioned a giraffe shaped guitar on this page and I was lucky enough to find one but can’t find any info about it or who made it. I don’t see many photos online of them either. There are currently a couple at online Goodwill store auctions. It measures about 19 inches from the nut to the bridge. It has a built in amp but it’s kind of buzzy. You don’t need to use the amp if you plug it into an amp, though. I don’t think I can add a photo of mine here but here’s a link to an online photo:
Great page you have here though I wish the photos were bigger or linked to bigger versions. I think you have a spelling error in the name Pat Methany unless there’s a jazz guitar virtuoso named Pat Meheny.
Thanks Joe, I’ll add the giraffe guitar to the list! Thanks for the heads up on the spelling error too, I’ll correct that.
The Heart shaped double necked guitar was Steve Vai’s. I believe he used it while playing with David Lee Roth. I remember seeing it in Mtv videos back in the day.
those are just plain WEIRD. is there any shape that just WONT PLAY? must admit i did like the coke bottle one.
where did you get that girrafe guitar from
Backwards Guitar (BASS – only two strings) one of the many straaange ones owned and played by Stig from the danish ROCK band DAD (formerly "Disneyland after Dark") who have been playing for 35ish years. Youtube their – "I won't cut my hair" "Sleeping mt day away" "and if you're into the harder stuff "RECONSTUCDEAD" and other of their probably over 100 songs.
The purple axe is one that the zaku use in the anime mobile suit gundam. I think it looks really cool. Anyway, hope you have a great day!
Je trouve que ces idées de guitares customisés sont très intéressantes
Ils y en a pour tous les goûts et je te remercie d'y avoir pensé et de l'avoir partagé