As mad as 2020 was, we were stunned by the range of crazy guitar gear that surfaced over the last 12 months. Instruments made of salt and concrete, a time machine guitar, retro 80s gear and pedals shaped like puzzle pieces. And there was a guitar with a tiger on it. Here’s our list of the weirdest guitars and pedals of 2020!
A self-plucking guitar? Yep, that pretty much sums up the Circle Guitar. It plucks away and never skips a beat. Blending the traditional electric guitar with what could be considered a hardware sequencer, this (ahem) plucky little instrument was a highlight in the Bizarre Gear Of The Year category for obvious reasons. And it’s pretty awesome.
It even allows you to interface with other technology via USB so you can sync it to your DAW for flawless timing. A very cool guitar – I’d love to hear how people are suing this guitar to write their music.
Possibly not the first guitar you think about when the term “vintage” is bandied about. The Casio EG-5 made a brief comeback this year when Look Mum No Computer decided to hunt one down and modify it. A classic of the 1980s with a built-in cassette player, this plastic fantastic was certainly another oddball appearance in 2020.
LMNC mashed up retro chic with synth modding culture, dragging a long-forgotten classic out of the depths of various auction sites and into the the glaring light of the public gaze in 2020. It put a smile on all of our faces here at Gearnews. And if anyone has one for sale, contact us – Bob from our staff badly wants one!
Yes, someone made a Strat-style electric guitar from concrete and yes, it was pretty damn heavy. The basic build provedure was to pour concrete into an ST-shaped mould!
I’ve seen some strange guitar builds this year but this was up there with the nuttiest. Will this guitar give you the heaviest sounds?
Himalayan Salt Guitar
How about a guitar made from Himalayan salt? It may be heavier than the concrete guitar – and arguably it looks a little prettier than the big grey lump. This one was a Burls Art creation, a man that has gained quite a reputation for building guitar out of weird materials. Previous builds have used pencils, paper, Styrofoam and coffee beans. But this was insane, even bis his standards. As usual, the video documenting the build is a relaxing, informative watch.
Normally, Burls Art uses resin to cast objects into a shape that he then cuts into a body, but the salt guitar was a different approach that used a solid piece of salt. Weird, wonderful and entertaining.
PRS Private Stock Snarling Tiger
Words failed me when I first saw at this monstrosity of an instrument. The PRS Private Stock Snarling Tiger looks like someone took a high-end guitar and pasted on a cartoon caricature of a tiger. I nearly choked on my Frosties! I was sure it was a bad Photoshop attempt by a 6-year-old. Alas, no.
Some poor soul somewhere on this planet thinks it is cool. I say, “Kill it with fire!” and the internet agreed with me. It looks like something the Tiger King would have in his bedroom hanging above his bed.
Revehō The Slite
The Revehō Slite is a new way of building travel guitars. It’s on this list because the design is so different to other travel guitar concepts. Normally, people make them smaller and/or cut away the body. But this is on another level. You slide bits onto it and fold it up into a suitcase when you are finished. A unique design.
I don’t travel enough to warrant one, and since most of the planet was locked down in 2020, I doubt anyone else is in desperate need for a travel guitar either. But the concept looks sound and it looks weird, so it’s on the list.
DeLorean/Time Machine bass guitar
This one was just cool, cool and more cool! The DeLorean/Time Machine bass guitar is a great design. It’s easy to see that this was a labour of love and a homage to a someone’s favourote ’80s film franchise. Made by Doner Designs, everything about this bass is epic. It took three years for this father and son team to complete. Steve Doner and his son Richard put over 300 hours of work into this bass and it shows.
I enjoyed all the attention to detail in this build. Not only is this a great piece of work, the proceeds benefitted a good cause, too. This bass was auctioned off and the proceeds given to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
Swarovski crystal-encrusted Gibson Zakk Wylde Les Paul Custom Bullseye
I have no idea why anyone would think that this was a good idea. To me, it looks completely daft and surely all those stones will fall off at some point. Why the world needs a Swarovski crystal-encrusted Gibson Zakk Wylde Les Paul Custom Bullseye is beyond me, but here it is.
The guitar was made for a fashion show and incorporates 4,000 Swarovski crystals. I know nothing about fashion, but I do know when something is stupid enough for a Crazy Guitar Gear 2020 list! Hopefully, the Murphy lab at Gibson doesn’t get wind of this, or we could see relic versions in 2021…
I love Puzzle Effects. Sure they are totally impractical and you can digitally model just about any effect these days. But there’s something wholesome and sweet about this, with a touch of nerdy cool thrown into the mix for good measure. The concept is super simple: make some effects and let them interlock without any extra patch cables.
It has been done before, but never in such a stylish way. Well done, Puzzle Effects! A quirky design that put a big smile on my face this year. Make sure you check out the Puzzle Effects Instagram page, as it has some great pictures. Please follow these guys and follow the progress of these cute stompboxes as they evolve further.
Some of the things on this list I love, and others… This is possibly the silliest guitar gear idea we’ve seen in the last 12 months. The RockBoard PedalSafe system is essentially a condom for your effects pedals.
I have run out of ways to explain why I think the system is a total waste of time. I’m sure some people will think it is genius, but for me this is a solution looking for a problem.
Rainger FX Minibar Pedal
Back in January, we stumbled across this amazing pedal at the NAMM Show. The Rainger FX Mini Bar is an overdrive pedal that analyses liquids placed in a sensor and uses the properties of any liquid to give a different overdrive sound. Made in the UK, the Mini Bar delivers drive tones like no other effect pedal we’ve ever seen.
Put some liquid into the little plastic container on the top and the pedal generates a unique overdrive tone using characteristics like opacity and conductivity. It’s completely crazy and utterly adorable.
- Circle Guitar: YouTube/Anthony Dickens
- Look Mum No Computer Casio EG-5: YouTube/Look Mum No Computer
- Concrete Guitar: YouTube/ Crafted Workshop
- Burls Art Salt Himalayan Guitar: Burls Art/YouTube
- PRS Private Stock Snarling Tiger: Willcutt Guitars
- Reveho The Slite: Reveho
- DeLorean/Time Machine bass guitar built by Doner Designs: Doner Designs
- $20k Swarovski crystal-encrusted Zakk Wylde Les Paul Custom Bullseye: Reverb/Pat Guitars
- Puzzle Effects: Puzzle Effects
- RockBoard PedalSafe: RockBoard
- RaingerFX Mini Bar: Twitter/TokyoPedalSummit