Gibson guitars, one of the worlds leading guitar manufacturers, is literally at death’s doorstep as it struggles to consolidate its debt and assure shareholders. Among the many reasons why Gibson Guitars is in tatters is a commonly held belief that although buying a Gibson is comparable to buying a car, the quality of guitars has declined.
Maybe, then, with the increasing realization that the guitars produced by a once well-respected and revered name in the industry aren’t worth their outrageous and exoprbitant proce tags, many musicians are seriously considering making their own homemade guitars.
What we have here is a rundown of some of the coolest and quirkiest homemade guitars that have surfaced online. First, though, we have to ask: what the hell happened to Gibson?
The End of Gibson Guitars?
There arguably wouldn’t be any Rock and Roll -or at the very least it wouldn’t be what it became in the 20th century- without Gibson Guitars. The classic American guitar company, started by Orville Gibson in 1902, have made the instruments of choice for players in genres that run the entire gammut of guitar-based music, from boogie woogie to black metal.
And you don’t have to be a guitar nut to be familiar with the various models that bear the Gibson name and logo on the headstock. For starters, there’s the iconic Gibson Les Paul which was designed by the legendary jazz guitarist Les Paul, and then went on to become the axe of choice for Jimmy Pagem from Led Zeppelin, Guns n’ Roses guitar slinger Slash and many others. Angus Young from ACDC and Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath used the Gibson SG almost exclusively and James Hetfield played a Gibson Explorer during the heyday of Metallica.
So why, then, is a seminal and embematic guitar company facing financial ruin? Well, it would appear that the company has been skimping on quality components; choosing, for instance, handcrafted metal potentiometers and capacitors with plastic circuitoard and hoping that nobody would notice. The problem is that there’s plenty of guitar nerds that did notice. Couple this skimping on quality with notorious mismanagement and now Gibson finds themselves on the ropes.
It doesn’t help either that homemade guitars are becoming all the rage. Just have a look at these stunning DIY musical instruments.
One of the most popular methods of making homemade electric guitars involves salvaging old, broken skateboard desks. Once you’ve found an old deck that snapped near the tail or the nose, you then procede by cutting out slots to mount the neck and the bridge, and others to install the pickups, toggle, and volume/tone controls.
Just check out this video from luthier Dan Lybarger where he shows off not one, but two of his handmade skateboard guitars.
Oil Can Guitars
Although DIY electro-acoustic instruments have become super de rigeur with bearded North American and European hipsters, African musicians have been making cool guitars from recyclable “junk” for generations.
One of the most popular African contributions is the Oil can guitar. They’re relatively simple to make too if you’re relatively handy.
For an electric, you can buy the neck, bridge, pickups and other parts seperately online or at your local Guitar Center style corporate music store and then follow these instructions for making a cool electric oil can guitar.
Hollow oil cans naturally make great resonating bodies too. So, if you have an old, broken acoustic guitar with a bridge and neck that are still in relatively good condition you can use an oil can to breathe new life into them by following this step-by-step tutorial.