Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
Gosh, I’m tempted to snag myself one of these. I love the idea of musical instruments made out of unusual materials, and vintage oil cans are like — why didn’t I think of that?! As you can hear in the clip below, they sound great too, perfect for blues.
Guitar maker Joe Filipovich of Hayburner Guitars, along with his business partner, Mike Jenson, find vintage oil cans on Ebay n’ such, then clean them and fit them with high-quality electric guitar parts, like hand-wound Humbuckers and Orange Drop capacitors. Good stuff. Joe says the metal cans react to the magnets in the pickups, producing a rich, unique tone.
Above and beyond that, though, these things are fricking art. I’d hang one on the wall, though it’d probably wind up spending more time on my lap.
People have been making guitars out of all kinds of things forever, including cigar boxes, skateboards, license plates, and snare drums. I don’t know what possesses someone to do it — necessity sometimes, as in the case of a lot of the old Delta blues guys — but I’m glad they’re driven to be so creative. Makes things interesting for the rest of us.
I asked Joe how he got started with Hayburner, and it turns out that it’s one of those cool garage-based operations à la the “maker movement.” He had some old guitar parts lying around last September and put Mike’s soldering skills to work on a prototype with an old oil can as the guitar body. It took a little while to build “an instrument that made noise,” as Joe puts it, but they succeeded. Joe’s a terrific blues/roots guitarist too, so he plays Hayburners in his own shows.
In school I once made an instrument out of a funnel, part of a turkey baster, and a comb and wax paper. It was a kazoompet. Sounded awful, but it was definitely a conversation starter.
Check out more pics at Hayburner and watch some of the demonstration videos. Joe and Mike are busy out there making things interesting for the rest of us.
[Photo by Joe Filipovich, reproduced with permission.]