Six Guitars That Break All the Rules: Bart Hopkin's "Guitar-Like Things"

Bart Hopkin is one of the greatest modern minds of musical instrument design.  His writings & recordings, especially his seminal Experimental Musical Instruments Magazine have influenced everyone from Tom Waits to our own Shane Speal, who says "there may not have ever been a cigar box guitar movement had I not discovered Bart Hopkins back in the late 1990's."  

Pictured above: The String Lattice Guitar by Bart Hopkin.

Recently, Hopkin has been uploading video demos of his massive trove of instruments to his Youtube channel, giving short descriptions.  This latest video features his "Guitar-Like Things," stringed instruments that resemble guitars, but have otherworldly features.  We describe these as "breaking the rules" because Hopkin uses some radical designs in each, including guitar strings that branch out into a Y, guitar bodies made from wobbly steel and bridges that excite strings quite differently than conventional ones.

Pictured above: The Wobble Steel Guitar by Bart Hopkin.

Most of these instruments were created with a one-piece neck/body that was simply fretted.  We've listed each instrument after the video and linked to more information on his website.

  1. Y-String Guitar
  2. Deep Guitar - feat. a magnetic pickup that behaves like a contact pickup.  The pickup acts as a floating bridge
  3. Wobble Steel Guitar - feat. a bendable steel body
  4. Elastic String Guitar - similar to Ashbory Bass or Kala U-Bass guitars
  5. Floating Bridge Guitar - feat. a bridge that does not make contact with the body.  
  6. Tin Foil Rattling Bass (no extra link)

Let it be known that these six instruments are some of the "safest" Bart Hopkin creations.  He has created everything from woodwinds, percussion, Blue Man Group type creations and even The World's Most Irritating Instrument.  You've been warned...

Dig deeper into Bart Hopkin's instruments on the Instrumentarium Page of his website.

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YEP. The most annoying I've heard...EVER!

Very interesting.  Bart has a lot of skill and imagination.  Thanks for showing this.

I've been following his YouTube channel, and these "Guitar-Like Things" are a testament to his creative genius. The idea of guitar strings branching out into a Y shape and unconventional materials like wobbly steel for the bodies is mind-boggling. It's like he's redefining what a musical instrument can be.
If you're as intrigued as I am by these "Guitar-Like Things," I highly recommend checking out more about musical instrument design and innovation in this guitar guide at It's a great resource for anyone looking to explore the world of unconventional instruments and creative design.


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