See photos and hear the stories behind Force-powered custom instruments!
Music has a strong presence in the Star Wars universe. Whether it's the infectious stylings of Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes or the smooth vocals of Sny Snootles in the Max Rebo Band, it seems standard for a bar or gathering place in the galaxy far, far away to feature live performances. While I haven't come across any functioning replicas of musical instruments from the films, I have seen instruments from our world modified to pay tribute to Star Wars characters, symbols, and scenes.
Guitars seem to be the most popular choice for transformation, and I reached out to three fans who made or altered theirs to make them Star Wars guitars. One design was carved into a guitar and painted, another was made from a toy, and the final design was hand-painted on.
Anthony Colucci got inspired and turned an ESP LTD Lynch Kamikaze guitar into Darth Maul. Colucci first saw Star Wars in 1977; he didn't really want to see the movie but was convinced to give it a try when his older brother showed him photos from the film in a magazine. Luke Skywalker is his favorite character overall, but Darth Maul really stood out to him as the best of the characters in the prequel trilogy. Colucci originally painted the guitar to look like Maul, but he decided it wasn't enough. He was inspired by George Lynch's skull and bones carved guitar and wanted to make something similar:
"I stripped the paint, drew on the image with adjusted horn placement (as those areas where they are now placed are referred to as the horns on a guitar), and used a Dremel tool to start carving away. The teeth were done with the Dremel using an engraving attachment and an X-Acto knife. After painting, I sprayed on a clear coat to protect it, then covered with a two-part epoxy to give it a really thick protective coat. The logo on the headstock I designed and printed on a water slide decal. Finally, for the volume and pickup selector knobs, I used a Darth Vader and Darth Maul head from Gentle Giant's Bust-Ups line, modified to fit."
A friend was able to get the guitar to Ray Park at a convention so it's signed by Parks as well as George Lynch.
Brian Fisk took a different approach with his Star Wars guitar and used a Power of the Force Millennium Falcon toy for the casing. He loves Star Wars and first saw A New Hope when it was released in theaters before the prequels. He decided to build a Millennium Falcon guitar because he was inspired by one he saw online. It didn't matter that he had little experience with making instruments, he decided to jump right in and give it a try. I have a feeling Yoda would be proud of him.
Fisk said, "The building process took quite a long time. I had no experience building a guitar so I had to learn everything as I worked. This resulted in nearly every part of the guitar being made several times until I finally got it right. It was a long process of trial and error. The entire project took about three months of building in the evenings after work. It started with a blank guitar neck and a Power of the Force Millennium Falcon plastic toy. The biggest challenge was finding a way to mount the neck to the Millennium Falcon body in a way that didn't destroy the plastic material under the pressure of the guitar strings. This was achieved by constructing a hard wood support system on the inside of the toy body that attached to the guitar neck. The other challenge was making sure everything lined up in a way that both looked pleasing and allowed the guitar to sound halfway decent. It's true the guitar isn't the world's best sounding instrument, but I was thrilled with the way it turned out considering the materials it was made from."
Thomas Limb of DarkShines Art painted his friend's guitar with an image of Boba Fett. The bounty hunter is Limb's favorite character from the Star Wars films because he likes that we don't know a ton about Fett. As far as painting the guitar, Limb says, "The process of making the guitar was pretty simple. It was my friend's guitar, and he asked me to do the paint job. He stripped it of everything, so it was just the wooden body left, I started by spray painting it black then used a multitude of different paints and inks before varnishing it, I then gave it back to him and he put the electronics back together."
I'm impressed by all the details in the background and the shading on Boba Fett's armor. He mostly used acrylic paint but also watercolor and oil paints.
And those guitars weren't all the Star Wars musical instruments I saw around the Internet. Here are some honorable mentions for you to check out: a Rebel Alliance bass harp by George Lewis, a violin painted with a detailed mural of Coruscant by John Pompeo, and screen printed Star Wars drums by Matthew Bustillo.
Amy Ratcliffe is a writer obsessed with all things Star Wars, Disney, and coffee. You can follow her on Twitter at @amy_geek and keep up with all things geeky at her blog.