Fans channel their passion for any given subject in all sorts of ways, including modifying their guitars. Why would you play a plain guitar when you can rock on an instrument that looks like Darth Maul? I’ve seen guitars built from the ground up with a geeky purpose in mind and ones modified with paint and clay. I imagine it’s tricky to make alterations without damaging the functionality of the instrument and rather than take that risk, some fans go to professionals and commission nerdy guitars. We’ve got designs that fall into all of those categories in our list of ten awesomely geeky guitars that we are dying to shred on. Take a look:
10. Darth Maul
Anthony Colucci turned an ESP LTD Lynch Kamikaze guitar into the ferocious Sith from The Phantom Menace. He really liked the character and though he started with a simple Maul paint job on the guitar, he decided to take it to the next step and carve Maul’s face using X-acto knives, a Dremel, and sculpting tools. Just look at those teeth! He added modified versions of Gentle Giant’s Bust-Up Darth Vader and Maul heads for the volume and pickup. This is one of the few times that I advocate following the dark side of the Force.
9. Adventure Time
This Adventure Time guitar design by artist Renate Pommerening probably makes any music played on it more magical. She added the colorful paint job to a friend’s guitar, and it not only features some pretty backgrounds from the Land of Ooo, it also has tons of cast members. Jake the Dog, Finn the Human, the Ice King, BMO, and the list goes on. The design started with pencils, and she used paint markers to fill in the lines.
8. Hylian Shield
Ben Groenen of Rock ‘n’ Roll Customs went on a Legend of Zelda style adventure to craft this Hylian Shield guitar. No, he didn’t have to battle monsters or toss back magical potions, but he did have to work with power tools. Groenen made this guitar from scratch by shaping the body from compressed wood panels with a jigsaw to carving in lines for the fret wires. He used both paint and nail polish to add color.
If the Doctor was to join a rock band, he’d be obligated to jam on this GuiTARDIS design by Rice Custom Guitars. It’s a beautiful recreation of the blue box that travels through time and space in Doctor Who, and I’m amazed that the guitar still functions given how detailed it is. Chris Rice came up with the playable TARDIS and details the process from concept to creation in the above video.
6. Map of Westeros
When you play the Game of Thrones, you sing for your supper or die. Okay, that’s not true, but wouldn’t it be fun if a bunch of bards were vying for the Iron Throne? Anyone who played on this guitar covered in a map of Westeros would surely have a leg up on the competition. And fortunately, it’s available to purchase on Reverb! The map design is on the front and back of this Kramer guitar that was restored with 25-30 year old hardware.
5. Klingon Bat’leth
If you want a playable instrument that doubles as a weapon, consider a Klingon Bat’leth guitar. This Star Trek–inspired guitar is one of two made for a charity auction held at Trek Fest XXX. They were played by Trek actors J.G. Hertzler and Robert O’Reilly.
4. Lord of the Rings
All hail the Sharpie skills of artist Vivian Xiao. I suspect she has a ring of power that lets her wield the permanent markers with precision. She spent about 25 hours adding memorable sights from Lord of the Rings onto this acoustic guitar with nothing but Sharpies. You can spot Rivendell, Bag End, the Eye of Sauron, Lothlórien, and more. The back of the guitar is just as lovely.
3. Koopa Troopa
Koopa Troopas might be the enemy in the Super Mario games, but they’re still cute little creatures and this guitar shows me that Koopa Troopas should be featured prominently on all guitars. The snazzy and functional electric guitar was made by Redditor SpatulaMaster, and since it’s a right-handed design he plays the Koopa Troopa on its back so it looks like it’s been stomped.
Toby Bailey is skilled at the art of pyrography and adds his custom wood burning work to all kinds of surfaces, including guitars. A friend of his built a guitar from scratch and commissioned Bailey to add some H.R. Giger art in the form of a Xenomorph from the Alien films. It looks both elegant and creepy.
I am vengeance, I am the night, I am a Batman guitar. This beautiful Bat symbol guitar belongs to Eric Carroll. He purchased the guitar – branded as a Six Flags guitar – and added the strap and yellow strings.
What guitars did we leave out? Head to the comments and tell us about the nerdy guitars you like the most or send me links on Twitter.