Engineering Two Guitars from 2000 Colored Pencils

Industrious Maker creates Stratocaster and Telecaster from art supplies

As someone who considers himself a “maker,” I was extremely incredulous when I first learned about this video. I’ve been building guitars for about 10 years and there is no way this would work. I’ve built guitars from sourced components, but most I’ve built from raw lumber.  Its all about using high quality wood, materials, tools and processes. These are precise instruments of rock n’ roll, right?  There’s no way this guy is going glue a bunch of colored pencils together and that’s going to be strong enough to hold a neck and string tension…is there?

About 30 seconds into the first video the strangely-satisfying matrix of colored pencils begins to take form. For the “Strat” style guitar the colored pencils are in a random pattern, which creates an interesting beige-color. He remedies this with the second build by create a “fase” using a matrix of black, blue and white pencils cut on an angle. By this point in the series I was all-in.

Its built by cutting the pencils to a uniform length and standing them in a square mold. Once the pencils are in place, two-part epoxy resin is added to bond it all together. This was what I assumed would be the primary fail point. Colored pencils are made from very light and soft wood. I didn’t think there was any way to create a strong neck pocket, but the resin creates surprisingly strong mounting surface. In the “questions answered” video, he creates a fixture to test the strength of the neck pocket and officially puts my concerns to rest. That’s some strong goo.

Once the pencils are released from the mold, they basically create a big block of “wood” – this is where this begins to be a traditional guitar build. The body is cut out using a band saw and trimmed with a router. The inner channels are carved using router templates, the body is sanded flush and finished with clear. The most impressive part of the project is that it’s built with inexpensive tools. He does a great job improvising with the equipment he has, which is what these kind of builds are all about.

Finally he wires it up, slaps some strings on it and makes some noise! It sounds pretty good too. He has a jazzy playing style that showcases the clean sounds of the guitar nicely.

This is a great video, but not because the world needs more 10 lb. guitars made of colored pencils (that’s about 25% heavier that’s a typical Stratocaster). This video is great because it inspires other makers to think outside the box. What other cool things can we create with the “wrong” materials?


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Adam Beck

Director of Marketing at CADENAS PARTsolutions | A Marketing graduate from the Miami University, Farmer School of Business in Oxford Ohio, Adam has years of experience in marketing and design for a variety of industries.