Building a road guitar to withstand extraordinary abuse.

Vegas Wierdo
Registered User
Joined: 01/28/06
Posts: 239
Vegas Wierdo
Registered User
Joined: 01/28/06
Posts: 239
07/27/2006 5:22 am
I like hardcore. I like thrash metal. I like grindcore. I like noisecore. I like the kind of music that 99% of normal human beings absolutely positively hate. I like an infinite amount of other genres, too, but out of all things (aside from Black Sabbath, AC/DC, and other classics, as well as latter-day mimicry such as Wolfmother as long as it's done well) that is what gets me going the absolute most.

And I especially like it when the guys on stage go absolutely violently granmol siezure apesh*t.

I have seen more bands than I could ever, ever recall... everything from symphonic black metal to avant-garde free jazz to anally-virtuosic jazz fusion to avant-garde string quartets to you-bloody-name-it. Though more than 50% of the time, it's been down-and-dirty back alley hardcore punk rock, thrash punk, death rock, and other such loud and violent underground schlock. Hey, less than 5 bucks if anything to get in, just across the street... thursday night... and I'm bored as hell... so what the hell?

The best show, not the 'best band' but the best show I have ever seen in my entire freaking life was this metalcore/hardcore band called Showbread.

Everybody was too stunned to mosh. It was certainly not because it wasn't that kind of crowd... there was literally blood on the floor from the two previous bands, and there were about a dozen heavily-muscled skinheads in there tearing everyone and everything up. I got catapulted when two of them clotheslined me... after being launched four vertical feet my back slammed onto the wall with my feet about five feet off the floor (because I curled up reflexively), and then did an involuntary frontflip and landed on my bottom. But I was so hopped up on adrenaline and rage that a half second later I was on my feet and chasing after them! I also ripped my pants really really bad at some point that night, enough to literally get arrested for indecent exposure, and I didn't even realize it until the last band was finished!!! That's how hardcore of a crowd, and how violent of a show on either side of the stage that this was.

And when Showbread came on (at first we were like... what the **** kind of name is that? But the instant they got going... :eek: ) we were so blown out by what we saw that we couldn't even move! I almost crapped my pants at the spectacle. It was a good thing I hadn't eaten a bite all day. And even if I would have crapped my pants, I can guarantee that I wouldn't have cared!!!

I told a friend about it afterwards and he swore they must have been on PCP or meth or something... and he's a veteran metal musician who's worked with System of a Down and many others, so he's been around and seen it all.

I can't even begin to describe what it was like... they had two singers who were thrashing around like they were having granmol siezures... as in... on the floor like holy roller fishes out of water!!! They were beating each other, throwing each other, slamming each other against the wall and onto the floor, clawing and gnashing at each other like enraged pitbulls, all at hyper-violent super-speed velocity! You know, like the zombies from "28 Days Later", all hopped up on 'Rage.' Yeah, literally, like that!!! They were leaping off the stage and landing at f'ed up angles on their shoulders or something as the panicked crowd receded to get out of their way... five feet below... and then scrambling back up just as quickly without a hint of injury.

The guitarsts (there were three of them) and bassist would start swinging their instruments over their heads like medieval battlefield flails!!! They were missing each other's heads by mere inches! Most of the time one of them would just start doing it at random, and sometimes two of them... but at one point... all four were doing it and it was perfectly choreographed! If one of them would have let go, the guitar would have flown about twenty feet and literally killed somebody, that's how fast and violently they were doing it!

Even when they weren't using their guitars as troll-slaying blunt objects, they were thrashing around in a frenzy, throwing themselves against the wall and onto the ground, smacking their guitars together like headbutting rams, thrashing their torsoes downwards and grazing the stage with their foreheads, gnawing on the strings with their teeth, kicking and punching and bodychecking each other, smashing down onto the strings with their bareknuckles as if they had a hated opponent in a headlock, and so on and so on and so forth.

If and when I start a band, I don't know that we'd ever go anywhere near that far...

...but I would call it a dang good night if we made someone in the audience crap their pants and not care!!!

I'm just that kind of a maniac. :D

So anyways... I know what I saw. I hardly exaggerate... they really did swing their guitars around like flails, by either the straps or the headstocks (yes, the headstocks), and they really did pound the dog*** out of them like angry gorillas.

So if you're touring out of a van cross-country (the show was in Orange County, CA, and these guys were from somewhere back east), playing $8 multi-band hardcore punk shows in sleazy underground backalley concert halls where there's between 80 and 200 heads in the crowd, and if you're living off of McDonald's and Taco Bell while, on a show by show basis, earning gas money at best ...

...and if you're going that crazy on stage night after night after night...

...what's going to happen to your guitars?

And what can you do about it?

And finally, just what kind of abuse-taking beast can be constructed that will still sound good enough for hardcore thrash punk in a sleazy underground concert hall where everyone's too pumped up on booze, rage, and/or meth to care? Or, if they're going that crazy, is it kind of moot?

And what if you still want your guitar to sound kind of good? I.e. you're doing avant-garde noisecore with jazzy licks thrown in, or if you're trying to pull some weird Malmsteen-type solo or something?

In general, how do you build a maximally road-tough guitar? Someone in here once told me that if your stage show is, and I quote directly from memory, "particularly violent or acrobatic" to go with bolt-on over a set neck... so I guess that's a start.

I hope nobody's too weirded out by this post... I'm not trying to provoke anybody, nor am I trying to pull some "look at me look at me aren't I so hardcore and bad@$$?" type stunt... I'm just describing what it is that I dig, and am referring to an experience that has profoundly influenced my sense of... uhhhhhh... performance.
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