Top 5 Creative Guitar Makers

As a purveyor of fine and ridiculous instruments, I present to you my list of the five most interesting luthiers who consistently design completely abstract, non-conventional, fully-functional works of art.

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Top 5 Creative Guitar Makers

Billy Rhinehart - USA

Working out of Athens, Ohio, Billy Rhinehart designs, carves, and paints all of guitars by hand. They’re most definitely “one-offs”, and each one is a work of art. They look better suited for hanging over the mantlepiece rather than playing around with - but that’s only because they’re so intricate and interesting to look at

Teuffel Guitars - German

Ulrich Teuffel makes some interesting electric instruments - some of his models look like someone stringed up a few pieces of smashed up art nouveau furniture. But his Birdfish model (and subsequent Prodigy series) made an impression with Kirk Hammett, Billy Gibbons, and Hans Zimmer (among others). It’s a minimalist design using as little wood as possible, utilizing the strength of a metal frame to suspend the hardware and give a futuristic appearance.

(Bonus: Hammett with another Teuffel design)

Spalt Instruments - Austria

Michael Spalt’s guitars are some of my favorites in the “abstract” genre. That’s because each of his instruments are more of a controlled abstraction that comes from the hands of a perfectionist - he is a tasteful artist and a gifted engineer. His more fantastic body designs utilize an aluminum framing, but unlike Ulrich Teuffel’s guitars, he opts to keep the wood in the mix - the results are simply awesome.

Blindworm Guitars - USA

Andrew Scott’s shop in Colorado may resemble an art exhibit more than an instrument shop, but as you can see by the many videos provided on his site - they are definitely made to be handled. The designs are probably a little bit excessive for a touring musician to feel comfortable swinging around on stage every night, but I’m a fan of Scott’s wood combinations and preference for natural finishes…aside from the obvious wood carving talent!

Auerswald Instruments - Germany

Ever wondered where you could get your very own Prince-symbol guitar? Jerry Auerswald in Germany can help you out there. I recommend you go to his website and just let the slideshow play through to get an education in his contributions to the world of “impressive yet mental” instruments.

If you've got any nominations for this list, I'd like to hear them - write a comment!

-Joel Bennett

27 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I've probably never seen so many ugly guitars at once in my life.
    Teuffel seem to have the right ideas as far tone and as ergonomics are concerned. The rest of these just look silly and impractical.
    First of all i would like to congrat the people of this (forum) comment section...I was just thinking that the resilience present in the mood of you guys here is incredible. It's like when one is pissed at one moment (and makes a bad commentary), but then at the other is at a better mood and makes a good one, you guys upload the comments too...I'm not sure if i made myself clear but, i think not only the internet but, the world needs more of this understanding... And second, on a non-related superficial comment, i think it would be nice if one of the guitars was about an Abyssal Creature...Those look awesome, and make you question how can some fishes have such similarity to human expression... Cheers!
    You have to check out Etherial I believe they are the most creative.
    Thanks for the heads up - they're on my radar now
    not a problem been following them for awhile they have a good facebook presence and post on questions asked, you could also check out 660 guitars another aluminum one and and theres a guy in Detroit making guitars out of torn down houses he's saving the wood also there is a whole niche market now for cigar box guitars its amazing