When people see the outcome of this project there are a few things I want to come to mind:
- Rock and Roll
- Road worn
My intent is to make something that looks like it was put together in somebody’s garage or basement. It should be clearly a labor of love, something made out of passion, but also look like it was crudely thrown together with whatever was available.
What I am building is an electric guitar with a built-in speaker. The goal of this is to be able to play an electric guitar without the need to plug into an amp. A cord with a plug for a wall outlet will come out of the guitar to provide power to the on-board amplifiers. I think that both the object and my vision lend themselves well to a post apocalyptic aesthetic. Functionally I hope to amplify the sound of an electric guitar up to reasonable levels to allow for playing along with music or simply listening to oneself.
My inspiration is drawn from classic rock ‘n’ roll musicians who were abusive of their instruments such as Pete Townshend smashing guitars at the end of shows, Jimi Hendrix lighting his guitar on fire or Eddie Van Halen cannibalizing his stratocaster to insert his own electronics (for more on this see my previous post). One of my favorite things about this era of rock music and the culture and aesthetic that go with it is that nothing is clean. Things and people are dirty and well used. Many of the most iconic objects from TV and movies appeal to this. For example Indiana Jones’ hat and leather jacket never appear to be clean or new but instead can be seen to be creased and dirtied from frequent use.Seeing an object transition from new and pristine to old and worn builds a bond between the object and the user. Objects that have experienced this are often said to have character and are usually of high quality to have lasted so long. Most objects that people hold sentimental value for appeal to this “road worn” quality. Although there is clearly value in seeing the object go through these changes gradually I often find myself wanting to accelerate the process with items that are known to age well such as wool coats, anything made from leather, and even guitars. Because I see the value in having this happen over time I have avoided trying to accelerate the process with any of my objects, but decided to take this project as a chance to give it a try.
Although my inspirations are mainly aesthetic my biggest challenges are likely to be functional. I have a fair amount of experience working with electronics but never in audio and not enough to feel fully comfortable diving into such a project. I have already ordered parts to begin putting together the amplifier circuit. This is definitely the make or break part of the project. Without a functional amplifier and speaker all I will have is a beat up looking guitar with some extra holes in it. Speaking of extra holes, my other biggest concern is creating the cavity for the speaker to be mounted into. There are a couple of reasons for this. 1. Electric guitars are pretty thin (~2 inches) so this could turn into quite the packaging challenge. 2. I am currently a bit unsure of how I will be cutting this hole as most of my previous work with on campus fabrication has always been in metal or plastic.
To complete this project I need:
- Entry Level Guitar – $99
- Power Amplifier Board – $8
- Pre-Amplifier Electronics – $8
- Speaker – $25
- Total – $140
- Parts ordered – 3/2
- Circuit Built and tested- 3/16
- Guitar modifications complete – 4/1
- Assembly complete – 4/8
- Finishing touches/buffer – 4/20
Edit: Presentation Video