How to Make a Guitar
another glimpse into my process of creation.
After my successes with the Grand Piano and Red Violin II, I was
searching for the next project. I was at a friendís house and saw her
guitar sitting on a shelf. Perfect! The guitar was the first instrument I
learned to play.
Before starting to construct my version of the instrument, I spent
several days researching guitars to see how they are made. For this piece,
I wanted the instrument to actually be playable with real strings. So, I
needed to engineer the piece to be strong enough to support the taut
(Yes, I know, there is only one string on this guitar. But, trust me,
since taking this photo, I have attached all the strings.)
my other sculptured instruments, I used foam core as the structure. Using
my friendís guitar as a model, I created two separate pieces for the
front and the back of the body of the guitar. The front slides over the
back like a snug fitting box lid.
The sides of the body
are foam core strips that are scored every inch or so to bend them to the
correct shape. The sides are duct taped to the front and back body pieces.
I created the head and the neck. It canít bend, so I duct taped a flat
metal bar along the entire neck, bending it where it meets the head. I
glued some wood pieces on the head to give some support where the tuning
pegs are attached. (Yes, these are real guitar tuning pegs purchased from Elderly
covering with fabric, I attached the head and neck section into the body
of the guitar. A bit more structural support was added to the body before
the two halves were glued together. Then the entire piece was covered with
my collaged music fabrics.
all the fabric is glued on, the fret board, the tuning pegs, the nut, and
the bridge were added. Lastly, I attached the strings and I have made a
Now, for the
most important question: does it play? Well, yes, but I donít think youíll
want it for your next concert.
piece is currently on display at the Art-A-Fair
Festival in Laguna Beach, CA. Over the summer, many musicians perform for
the patrons of this art show. I have allowed a privileged few to play my guitar
and professional hands have actually been able to elicit sounds that could be
construed as music. Unfortunately, the joint where the neck meets the body can
bend inward giving the guitar a "wa-wa" sound. Although, I suppose
that could be a feature.)