Top 10 Bizarre Guitars
November 10, 2010 | Lists
In the Keith Richards autobiography, Life, it was revealed that as a teen Keef slept with his first guitar—understandable, given that no other instrument in the history of music has led to so many getting laid it was only natural to give something back.
Guitars and performers are often inextricably linked, if not necessarily by sexual congress. There is BB King and Lucille, those furry, spinning axes used by ZZ Top and the Honky Tonk Man and whatever cheap Yamaha he’d slug across the head of unsuspecting opponents in 80s wrestling—giving them a tinnitus hangover when they came to.
The following instruments would not be linked to anyone and would not be fought over now matter how bitter the divorce proceedings in this our list of 10 Bizarre Guitars.
A worthy entry in our Gifts for the Patriot who Has Everything, this instrument has its pickup resting on Nebraska and Kansas and an eagle headstock. Everything’s bigger in Texas, except your knob, but you can turn down the rhetoric there should they decide to secede from the Union. This bass has a fine cut out for Lake Michigan and until someone designs a Lincoln stove pipe hat guitar, this will be the most patriotic and First Amendment rocking in-your-face bass the world has ever seen.
9. Steve Vai’s Heart Guitar.A young Vai was conscripted as the “stunt guitarist” in Frank Zappa’s band; these stunts however, didn’t include wailing on an ambidextrous, impossibly ugly heart-shaped guitar that does not fit into any traditional guitar case (perhaps a good thing as you would not want this particular instrument leaving the privacy of your home let alone gracing a stage).
For a mercifully brief period, the band Whitesnake topped the charts. They were fronted by leonine wailer David Coverdale, who was dubbed “David Coverversion” because if you closed your eyes they sounded like a very bad version of Led Zeppelin.
They did not play any snake instruments, which is unfortunate as it might’ve provided another talking point besides their being the butt of bad music jokes.
In Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Documented an Era and Defined a Generation, author Chris Turner called Itchy & Scratchy “a hyperbolic extended parody of classic cartoons”. One of these, of course, was the surreal silent film era pop icon Felix the Cat, referenced in an episode in which Bart befriends a hobo (voiced by Kirk Douglas) who claimed to be the original creator of Itchy & Scratchy.
Felix’s first appearance was in a short film in the early 1900’s, “Feline Follies”, and it spawned a transition to print and syndication in 250 newspapers.
Speaking of the Simpisons, Bart Simpson remarked, “everyone knows all the best bands are affiliated with Satan.”
With ouija guitar, you can play in the spirit of, or with the spirit of, Jimi Hendrix.
The ouija board has a notable, perhaps apocryphal tie-in to rock ‘n’ roll. Apparently, the less than rocking legal name Vincent Furnier was dropped in favor of the moniker Alice Cooper after a session with a ouija board that spelled out the name of a 17th century witch.
Long before all the bellyaching over rap, any blues/country musician worth his stripe would brag about or threaten to shoot someone in their lyrics.
In an excellent version of the 1920s hit CC Rider, Lonnie Johnson sings “I’m gonna buy me a shotgun, long as I am tall. I’m gonna shoot you pretty mama, you’re the cause of it all.” Jimmie Rodgers, whose Meridian Mississippi birthplace we accidentally visited while lost on a road trip to New Orleans, sang “I’m gonna buy me a shotgun, with a great long shiny barrel, gonna shoot down that rounder, that stole away my gal.” And of course, there’s Hendrix’s Machine Gun.
To add some extra heft to these antecedent gangsta lyrics, you can aim this guitar, the collector’s item “Hondo M16”, into the crowd and hope they’re more receptive to an encore than they are streaming to the exits.
Lord Francis Bacon, who never got a chance to cast his eyes on this horrible axe and might have changed his mind if he had, opined “We ought to make a collection of all monsters.”
According to the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, bigfoot (or Sasquatch) enthusiasts fall into two camps (and judging by the nature of these beliefs, they’ve sustained head injuries in the fall): those convinced that the creature is flesh-and-blood, an animal yet unknown to science and those who believe it is a paranormal entity existing in another dimension and traveling by astral projection (!). We unequivocally believe in the existence of this six-string abortion.
As we noted in our 10 Unique Implements that have Killed People in Horror Movies, the film Slumber Party Massacre II (spoiler alert: people attending a slumber party, are systematically massacred) features a cheesy serial killer—think Andrew Dice Clay—who wields a guitar with an electric drill on the end of it. He bores everyone in every sense of the term.
The killer does interminable dance numbers before his killing sprees (including the worm, which really doesn’t fit into anyone’s idea of the rockabilly aesthetic) and sings lyrics like the following:
“You say why, I say because, so let’s buzz!”
Springfield Elementary famously funded Otto’s double-necked guitar when the Simpson’s school struck oil. This axe ups the ante though with a call to arms that is 5 necks.
This instrument one was famously played by the guitarist in Cheap Trick (Surrender/I Want You to Want Me) and is a morbidly obese roadie’s nightmare. Hauling it around for the duration of a show would result in a quicker call to a chiropractor than Katy Perry bobbing for apples.
This Canadian rocker hit it big with Fantasy, a G power chord rocker with trebly distortion and a guitar with the ability to perform Lasik eye surgery (please see the excellent video here).
Fitting that the axe shoots lasers as the song features one of the most annoying and quite piercing lead guitar breaks in all of rock ‘n’ roll (1:40 mark).