Have you ever picked up a shovel, held it sideways and pretended to play guitar on it? I can’t be (or at least, I seriously hope I’m not) the only person who’s ever done this. Because, you know, there are times where an air guitar just doesn’t cut it. And really, who doesn’t want to play a shovel guitar?
Some people take it a step further, though, and actually turn a shovel into a real guitar. One such person is international touring and recording artist (and founder of the Roots Music School in Nashville) Justin Johnson, who made his very own 3-string shovel guitar. The thing sounds pretty good too:
Those of you who might be interested can actually buy one of these guitars by visiting his website. It’s not the only guitar made out of an entirely unrelated object he has in his arsenal – he’s also got this surprisingly awesome-sounding guitar made out of a wash tub:
Now if you pay close attention to my blog (as if), you might be thinking “But Ken, you’ve featured shovel guitars in your blog before!” Keen observation, reader. You’re right. There’s a dude name Rob Scallon who is a bit of a YouTube star, and he has built his own shovel guitar… But his is a little different:
He used that shovel guitar to do a cover of Rage Against The Machine‘s Killing In The Name, believe it or not.
As a bit of a music nerd, one thing I really like about his channel is that he’s made a number of different instruments based on guitars that all have different applications. For example, as you’ll see here, he’s using his shovel guitar to go up against a purpose-built “djent guitar” in a djent battle:
What the hell is “djent,” you ask? The first time I heard that term, I wondered too. Here’s what Professor Wikipedia has to say:
Djent is a style of heavy metal music that was developed as a spinoff of traditional progressive metal. The word “djent” is an onomatopoeia for the distinctive high-gain, distorted, palm-muted, low-pitch guitar sound most notably employed by bands like Meshuggah and SikTh. Typically, the word is used to refer to music that makes use of this sound, to the sound itself, or to the scene that revolves around it.
So there, now you know.
There’s plenty of other musicians out there who have built their own guitars. In fact, in the opening to the excellent documentary It Might Get Loud, Jack White shows you just how easy it is to build your own guitar:
Seasick Steve is another musician noted for building his own instruments. He’s got a guitar made of, among other things, a hubcap he says he got from Jack White. He explains the origins of this particular guitar before he starts to rock out on it here:
Another homemade instrument in Seasick Steve’s collection is this Diddley Bow:
See? You don’t have to drop thousands of dollars on some fancy high-end guitar. You could probably just go through your garden shed or even your blue box and find the proper materials to build your very own custom guitar.