Junk Guitar – truly HEAVY METAL!

The post you are about to read is one that modern day fairy tales are made of.  Never in my wildest dreams could I have ever imagined something like this could happen for me!  It all stemmed from a single post I put up on instagram. That post then got shared by a local business (our Habitat for Humanity Restore)…then it got noticed by a local interior designer and well the rest is history!  When she contacted me and asked if I would be willing to meet to discuss some possible projects.  I was floored…we met, we talked, we planned and then I sent some sketches and pitched a few ideas for the things we had discussed.  The piece I am sharing with you was so fun to make, so much fun it never ever felt like work.  I made the entire piece mostly from junk I already had in my shop and had to purchase only a few things (like more welding wire!).

The “initial plan” was to plasma cut a guitar from a flat piece of steel and somehow make it  look like “trees” as the location for the project was the Seasons Lodge in Nashville, IN. A very cool little town full of log cabins and surrounded by the wooded rolling hills of southern Indiana. 

After talking with the designer about her ideas..I said “I like your design and I can do it, but can I pitch a different idea?” All the while in the back of my mind was a guitar made from junk! I mean like entirely from junk! The strings, the frets, the neck, the main body all of it…JUNK! I was pretty sure I could construct it from the piles I already had hoarded in “my stash”! I sketched her my idea and she gave me the go ahead to run with it! She took a huge risk and I am forever grateful!

Why the shape of a guitar? Well that’s partly because the hotel sits directly across the street from the Brown County Music Center and Nashville-Brown County is known for its music festivals and good old fashioned bluegrass and country music! I was asked to incorporate as many different interests as possible but was asked to specifically include bike related things (chain, sprockets, etc) as Brown County Indiana has one of the largest mountain bike trail systems and is a huge motorcycle destination particularly in the times of high color during season changes!  It is also a large antique and vintage marketplace so anything I could add that was older than I was would a good thing! The town is also known for its numerous artisans and craftsmen who’s work can be seen with a stroll through town.

I started the entire project by tracing around my own flat top guitar…then I just started adding in the pieces and figuring out where they best fit.  I ended up with about 110 individual pieces not counting the individual chain links, pins and things like that.  I counted those as only one item. How many items can you name?…and YES, there are a few VW parts cleverly worked in!

In the end it weighed approximately 42lbs, was 43” long and wasn’t something someone would want to hold up for very long! Lol

I also had to design the bracket system to hang it on the wall.  I wasn’t going to trust just any hook so I used 1.5” angle iron welded to the guitar back.  I then welded a nut to the angle pieces getting attached to the wall and used Alan head bolts that had to be shaved to get in between the honey comb weave on the sides.  I also had to design a special tool to tighten and loosed the bolts.  The tool is cleverly disguised as part of the guitar and stays put with rare earth magnets so it doesn’t get lost.  If I’ve learned anything in life it is that if a tool doesn’t have a specific place to live it will always be lost when you need it most! On the back of the guitar to fill the “dead space” I welded random bicycle sprockets. On one of them it was stamped “Made in England”…I engraved “Ruined in the USA” of course no one will ever see that part…but knowing it’s there makes me smile.

I always have fun in the shop, but THIS project will always be one of the favorites created in my tiny little shop.  You can watch my thought process on the build and see the “end result” on my YouTube channel just search “heavy metal guitar” on the marcijunebug channel or click on the video below! The guitar can also be seen in person at the Seasons Lodge in Nashville, IN hanging in the bar! Go check it out if you are ever in the area and tell them Marci sent ya!

P.S.  I also built a few custom “bearing” related tap handles that are directly below the guitar to highlight their signature beer on tap “Bearings”