1000 Aluminium Cans Cast Into A Guitar

Aluminium cans are all around us, and are one of readily recyclable. While you can turn them into more cans, [Burls Art] had other ideas. Instead, he turned roughly 1000 cans into a custom aluminium guitar.

Both the body and neck of the electric guitar are made out of aluminium. It’s an impressive effort, as manufacturing a usable neck requires care to end up with something actually playable when you’re done with it.

Producing the guitar started with a big propane furnace to melt all the cans down so they could be cast into parts for the guitar. 38 lbs of cans went into the project, and were first dried out before being placed into the furnace for safety reasons. Aluminium cans aren’t made of the best alloy for casting, but you can use them in a pinch. The cans were first melted down and formed into ingots to be later used for producing the neck and body.

[Burls Art] then built sand casting molds for his parts with a material called Petrobond. Wood plugs were used to form the sand into the desired shape. The neck casting came out remarkably well, and was finished with a grinder, hacksaw, and sandpaper to get it to the right shape and install the frets. The body proved more difficult, with its multiple cavities, but it came together after a second attempt at casting.

Fully kitted out with pickups and hardware, the finished product looks great, and weighs 12.3 pounds. It sounds remarkably like a regular electric guitar, too. It does pick up fingerprints easily, and does have some voids in the casting, but overall, it’s a solid effort for an all-cast guitar.

We’ve seen some other great casting projects over the years before, too. Video after the break.

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Lego Guitar Is Really An Ultrasonically-Controlled Synth

The phrase “Lego Guitar” can be a stressful one to hear. You might imagine the idea of strings under tension and a subsequently exploding cloud of plastic shrapnel. This build from the [Brick Experiment Channel] eschews all that, thankfully, and is instead a digital synth that only emulates a guitar in its rough form factor.

The heart of the build is a Lego Mindstorms EV3 controller. It’s acts as the “body” of the guitar, and is fitted with a Lego “fretboard” of sorts. A slide is moved up and down the fretboard by the player. The EV3 controller detects the position of the slide via an ultrasonic sensor, and uses this to determine the fret the user is trying to play. The button the user presses on the controller then determines which of five “strings” the user is playing, and the selected note is sounded out from the EV3’s internal speaker. It’s strictly a monophonic instrument, but three different sounds are available: a bass guitar, a rock guitar, and a solo guitar, with all the fidelity and timbre of a 90s Casio keyboard.

It’s a fun and silly instrument, and also kind of difficult to play. The slide mechanism doesn’t offer much feedback, nor are the EV3 buttons intended for dynamic musical performance. Regardless, the player belts out some basic tunes to demonstrate the concept. We doubt you’d ever be able to play Through The Fire and Flames on such a limited instrument, but [Brick Experiment Channel] used their editing skills to explore what that might sound like regardless.

We’ve seen some other great synth guitars before, too. Modern microcontrollers and electronics give makers all kinds of creative ways to build electronic instruments with unique and compelling interfaces. Some are more successful than others, but they’re all fun to explore. Video after the break.

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Retrotechtacular: Gibson Factory Tour, 1967-Style

If nothing else good came out of 2020, we can say that we at least have “Instrument of the People” — some 1967-era footage of Gibson Guitars’ “craftory”, which was discovered sometime in the fall of 2020. It appears a bit boring at first — a suit slowly approaches the camera on a dimly-lit factory floor and you half-expect an ‘oh, I didn’t see you there’ type of introduction, but no. When he reaches the foreground, he finds a candy apple-red Gibson semi-hollow body guitar waiting for him. After giving the thing a quick once over, he assesses the straightness of the neck and then begins shredding on it, fingerpicking style.

If you like this or any type of guitar music, then hang on to your headstock, because it lilts nonstop throughout this 20-minute tour as we see a parade of nameless, and often headless, players showing their stuff on various styles of Gibson both electric and acoustic.

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DIY Square Guitar Is Anything But

One of the greatest things about this place is how y’all constantly feed off of each other. And while this isn’t exactly an example of that, it’s pretty darn close — we feature a square guitar build one day, and get a tip about another way different and perhaps more functional one the next.

[Craig Lindley] had no idea of his luthier powers until an email from StewMac inspired him to build his own guitar. Rather than strip a perfectly good axe or two for all the parts, he bought the hardware and a pre-made neck, and built the body himself. The Bo Diddley-inspired boxy body is an ice cream sandwich of sapele, inlaid with white ash around the perimeter which is quite the classy look. Speaking of looks, [Craig] worried that all-gold hardware would be too flashy, but we think it looks great.

Not hard-mode enough for you? Well, here’s a guitar made from scratch, (more or less). If you’d rather have more of a teaching guitar, behold this LED-laden axe.

There’s Nothing Square About This Rectangular Guitar

We kind of already knew this, but it seems that [Uri Tuchman] really can build absolutely anything. This fall, he was asked to compete in the Great Guitar Build-Off competition, which involves a fully-customizable kit guitar sent to each entrant as a starting point. In order to allow for maximum creativity, the wooden parts like the body and the headstock are square. And quite creatively, [Uri] kept them that way. Square, that is.

While yes, the body rising out of the squareness is in fact a Les Paul profile, there are a ton of details that make this a [Uri Tuchman] instead. For starters, everything is square, beginning with the custom brass knobs for the volume and tone potentiometers. We’re not sure if it came with humbuckers, but that sure is a happy accident if so. If only the neck blank had been square, [Uri] could have made a lap steel. Once it was finished, [Uri] took it to a luthier to have it set up, fine-tuned, and assessed for quality. Of course, it passed with flying Vs colors.

There are plenty of other [Uri] hallmarks, like the bird on the neck plate, and another hiding in the hand-drawn and hand-carved pickguard, so be sure to check it out after the break.

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Electric Guitar Shocks You For Missing A Note

Rocksmith is a popular video game that works like Guitar Hero, but with a real guitar. You have to play well and hit the right notes, or the game penalizes your score. [Lightwing] took the stakes up a notch, though, adding a system that shocks the player every time they fail.

To achieve this, it was necessary to detect when the player missed a note. Initial attempts involved using Tensor Flow AI to detect the game state from the screen, but it was unreliable. Instead, the game’s memory was read to achieve detection. When the player misses a note, a certain section of memory changes, and a script reads the change in game state. It then sends a signal to an Arduino which triggers the stun gun’s fire button, which shocks the player holding the guitar.

As you might expect, the documentation for this project includes a video which involves plenty of gratuitous electric shocks when [Lightwing] makes mistakes. Fair warning — there’s plenty of colorful language when the stun gun fires. Generally, a powerful shock ends with screams a dropped guitar, and too much fear to continue.

It’s painful enough that it’s probably not a useful teaching tool for learning the guitar. We’ve seen similar shocking builds before, too, like this simple wire game.

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Building An Old Guitar From A New One

Anyone who’s ever played guitar to at least the skill level required to form a terrible garage band knows the names of the most legendary guitars. The driving sound of the Gibson Les Paul played by Jimmy Page, the upside-down and smooth Fender Stratocaster from Jimi Hendrix, or the twangy Rickenbacker made famous by George Harrison are all lusted-after models. The guitar that [Frank] really wanted was a Danelectro DC59 and since they’ve been steadily creeping up in price, he decided to build his own.

The body of the clone guitar is hollow and made from effectively scrap wood, in this case plywood. As the original guitars were in fact famous for using the least expensive materials possible, this makes it a great choice for a clone. [Frank] made the guitar using almost exclusively hand tools and glued everything together, but did use a few donor parts from a modern Stratocaster-type guitar. With most of the rough shape of the guitar finished, it was time to add the parts that make the guitar sound the way that a real Danelectro should: the lipstick-style pickups. He purchased these completely separately as they are the most important part to get right to emulate the tone and feel of the original.

With everything finally soldered and assembled, [Frank] got right to work recording a sample audio track which is included at the end of the video. It certainly sounds like the original to our untrained ears, and for around $100 it’s not a bad value either. If you’d like to see a guitar built from the ground up without using another as a clone, take a look at this build which brings a completely original guitar into existence, entirely from scratch.

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