Guitar Made Out Of Metal

author: Steven Bayes date: 12/13/2012 category: general music

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Guitar Made Out Of Metal


A proposal for manufacturing of a guitar mostly made from light yet strong metal such as aluminum or, on more expensive models, titanium alloys largely used in aviation, aero space and military industries. The fingerboard may remain made out of wood.


High quality metal alloys and stainless steel are becoming less and less expensive and available to the general consumer. Aluminum and titanium alloys, predominantly used in aviation, aero space and military industries before are now used elsewhere such as in consumer industries, car manufacturing, tools etcetera. An important point is the high performance metal alloys are less expensive than even simple wood and significantly more inexpensive than exotic wood such as mahogany, ebony and rose wood. Careful analysis may show a metal guitar may prove to be less expensive to manufacture than one made out of simple wood such as walnut and maple. The machinery for working with these metals is also largely available and becomes more and more inexpensive even a back yard mechanic can afford. These exhibit excellent mechanical qualities such as strength and aging resistance yet remaining very light in weight. Electromagnetic interference reduction and hence noise reduction in the audible range, mainly in the 50 / 60 Hz frequencies may be reduced. Easy installation of devices, such as on board guitar computer and analogue and digital sound processors may found to be friendly in such models. Even a partly shielded hum bucker or a microphone (for acoustic versions, if any) may yield better signal to noise ratio. Installation of strong and reliable mechanical supplement devices such as tremolo bar and axel (these may come in digital variation as well), string lockers, string sliding wheels, tunable bridges, self tunable machines, etcetera may become easier. Mounting of an LED / LCD monitor of the on board guitar computer may be more easily performed. For simple applications, guitars without bodies may also be more easily and reliably manufactured. A metal guitar may provide for an easy possibility for part exchange and replacement, I. E. the customers may purchase a given body and a few necks, for example, and change this accordingly. Such a guitar can even be made to be easily and quickly assembled / disassembled by the customer and thus transported or carried easily resulting in a less bulky transportation case. The case, of course, can also be made out of aluminum as presently available but not extremely popular due to the higher price defined by the market principles rather than the price of the materials, labour and machinery.

The Neck

The neck of the guitar may be solid on the expensive models or casted hollow with vertical supporting bars thus eliminating the necessity of a truss rod which may remain optional, sold as a package and removable by the customers. On less expensive models, the neck may be assemblable with rivets or machine bolts, washers, lockers and nuts as opposed to cast or molded. A possibility for custom configurable neck where extra positions may be added also exists.

The Head

The head also gives possibilities for imagination but better remain solid. The machines better be centered as closely as possible to the general direction of the strings regardless of whether there would be string lockers or optional string lockers on the upper bridge or not. Self tunable machines made out of a non rusting strong metal, such as titanium alloys, with an option for manual tuning are always desirable. The angle between the neck and the head may also be custom adjustable.

The Bridges

Each string will glide through rough surface wheels on the upper bridge to prevent unintentional locking (tangling) during tuning with an option for intentional locking by individual string lockers on every sting. The string lockers may either be the standard bolt type or a push type subject to a closer mechanical evaluation. There is always a possibility to make the actual core of the upper bridge (the place where the string touch the bridge) made out of wood or nylon to prevent noise from the vibrating string which noise may not be so obvious in electrical guitar applications but may affect the performance of the string. The same ideas may be applied to the lower bridge plus a full bridge tenability. Apart from the standard way of tuning the height and the length of each individual string, the bridge may be made movable and positionable everywhere throughout the guitar body length on rails. Guitars without bodies may also use this method.

The Tremolo

An existing high performance bar and axel tremolo may be made much tinier in size yet much stronger and assembled directly onto the movable bridge and be movable in relative to the bridge too. In other words, the bridge (with the tremolo apparatus as part of the bridge) can move up and down relative to the guitar and the tremolo apparatus can move up and down relative to the bridge thus ensuring full tenability. Similar scenarios can be played on the upper bridge. Even an upper bridge tremolo assembly can be put for whatever reason if at all.

The Guitar Body

The guitar body can be made as a simple enclosure where the electrical, the electronics, the lower bridge and the neck can be assembled. Solid metal option with the necessary cutouts is also available where extra strength is needed or if found to positively affect the sound. Of course, the traditional wood is also an option as well as the acoustic electric hybrids, guitar without bodies, etcetera.

Electrical and Electronics

Custom selected type and number of humbuckers, availability of an on board guitar computer with an LED / LCD touchscreen, voice activation (on a separate microphone or when not on stage), network / USB sockets, analogue outputs are very welcome. Digitisation would take place immediately after the humbuckers and simple analogue electronics and the processed by the guitar computer for noise reduction, filtering, digital signal processing, streaming and communication, effects and sound synthesis, etcetera.


There is nothing wrong to look into a possibility where the fingerboard would also be made out of metal at the expense of some banging noise when the string is pressed. There is nothing wrong to put glass, fiber glass or strong, scratch resistive plastic. However, for the guitar buffs who insist on wood, the traditional mahogany, ebony, rose wood fingerboards are also available with a possibility for exchangeability. For example, one may initially go for rose wood and then replace the fingerboard with ebony or mahogany. The fingerboard can either be bolted to the neck at the diamond points with the bold covered with the traditional plastic or whatever they put there or the fingerboard can be glued to the rough surfaced neck. When a glued fingerboard is to be replaced, the old one can be pried out, and filed off and the new one reglued.


All or as many parts as possible must be molded or casted and not welded, riveted or bolted as much as possible. Melt and mold as opposed to weld. A very good idea may be to look into a possibility for manufacturing also of a fully or mostly plastic guitar.


A more versatile, stronger, customizable, reliable, inexpensive guitar made out of metal may easily be manufactured. The principle "hardware as software" can be applied to the guitar too, in this case, the principle would be "guitar as software". By Steven Stanley Bayes
More Steven Bayes columns:
+ String Lock With Gibson Bridge and Individual String Height Adjustment Gear Maintenance 11/11/2013
+ A Tuning Machine for Each String (or Each Type) Gear Maintenance 10/08/2013
+ Hand-Crafted Guitars and Drums General Music 09/11/2013
+ The Importance of Guitar Lacquer Paint and Plastics & Metals General Music 09/10/2013
+ How to Adjust Truss Rod General Music 09/04/2013
+ Holding the Pick The Guide To 04/03/2013
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