Ethan’s Main Project Inspirations

I have been working on playing my guitar more often this semester.  One thing that has helped with this is having my acoustic guitar on a stand in the living room of my house making it easy to pick up for a few minutes here every day as I walk through that room.  While I enjoy playing any guitar my true love is for the electric guitar, but this requires the setting up of an amp, running cables, getting effects pedals set… In short it is a bit of a hassle when I may only have a few minutes to play.  One way I see to rectify this is by building all of the necessary amplification equipment into the guitar itself.  The basic idea is to build a pre-amp (designed to shape and amplify the sound) and a speaker (or power amp, designed to amplify the sounda  After a little more research this is incorrect.  A power amplifier amplifies the signal for the speaker) into the empty body space of an electric guitar.

Now, I would be lying if I said I started with this idea.  My starting point was centered more on an aesthetic which was the inspiration for making use of a guitar.  This inspiration is one of the most rock ‘n’ roll traditions of all time, destroying a guitar.


The above video is a compilation of Pete Townshend of The Who.  He is without a doubt the most iconic guitar smasher in rock history but others have contributed to the aesthetic.  Jimi Hendrix famously lit his guitar on fire at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.

Jimi, standing next to his own fire [1]
Eddie Van Halen also contributed in a more aesthetic way with his “frankenstrat.”  THis was a stratocaster guitar he had custom modified (for sound reasons) and then covered in stripes of electrical tape giving it a look of being assembled from many different guitars.

Eddie Van Halen with the horrible amalgamation of wood and electronics he calls the Frankenstrat [2]
Like Eddie, I hope to build something new and awesome while trying to make it look old, beaten, and road worn.




destruction, Guitar, Inspirations
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7 Comments. Leave new

  • […] Inspirations […]

  • […] 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 […]

  • Chip Bollendonk
    February 29, 2016 10:01 pm

    Hi Ethan –

    We talked about most of this during our meeting, but I think you’re off to a good start with this idea. I think that this project lends itself well to “messy experimentation”, as you will undoubtedly need to try some different things to get all of the electronics right, get the speaker fitting (and not feeding back), and making it look cool… luckily, your “Mad Max” aesthetic will definitely play right into this.

  • I think this is a great idea, I look forward to seeing how this progresses! I wonder if you could add bluetooth to the amp so you could play through any bluetooth speaker?

  • Sreyas Krishnan
    February 27, 2016 8:07 pm

    great concept! I really liked your guitar smashing idea too, I think you were onto something with that. “Frankenstrat” has a lot of potential though. Interested to see this one as it develops!

  • Thomas Brunsgaard
    February 25, 2016 1:37 pm

    This is a really cool project idea. It reminded me of a series of videos that Pete (from Sparkfun) made where is build pickups that you could move around the body of the guitar (skip forward to the end of this video: ). It looks a lot like Eddie’s guitar, with wires hanging all over the place. I have always had ambitions of making a programmable effects pedal myself, so I look forward to seeing where you end up going with this project.

    • That is an awesome video! I really love that the pickup is movable to adjust the sound. Makes me think of something Jimmy Page might do during an extended solo. Haha


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