Quad Chopper
Michael Gaughan
electric guitar parts, magazine collage, parachute harness, ball bearing spinning unit
5' x 5' x 1'
While working out plans for the helicaster guitar I was drawing blades and blades spinning, and I realized it would be very cool to have a guitar that was like a propeller. I came up with a 4 neck guitar design, and a 5 neck guitar design that was shaped like a pentagram. The 4 neck guitar was the one that materialized because with the pentagram guitar, I couldn't figure out where all the pick ups and bridges would fit. The 4 neck guitar ("quadchopper") would be able to spin, I could play any neck and keep spinning it, and people from the crowd could come up and play this guitar too. Friend and artist, Toby Lawson helped weld the ball-bearing spinning unit in this guitar after my attempt to use a BMX bike hub failed due to weight issues. My friend Steve Davy was working on making his own one-man hot air balloon out of two parachutes sewn together and he had this military parachute harness for that project. It was a lot more heavy duty than the back pack I was originally intending to use, so I ordered a used military harness, turned it backwards, bolted the wooden base with the ball-bearing unit on it, and was ready to spin this guitar like crazy. The 4 guitars are wired to the same input jack, and that is connected to a wireless unit. When I first started playing this guitar at shows we didn't have a van yet, so we would have to drive to shows with it completely out the window, it didn't fit in my small car, so Katie would dive and I would sit in the passenger seat with it completely out of the car resting on the door while I held onto the parachute part holding the whole thing up. The strings would make the most interesting sounds (blue notes) when we would drive fast. When we played in Chicago at Cal's. (which is in the heart of downtown, one block from a taxi cab dispatch, two blocks from the sears tower, and right in the middle of hundreds of offices with wi-fi and other radio signals) the wireless guitar unit just would not work. It was picking up weird frequencies and taxi cab conversations but would not transmit any of my guitar notes. It was very much like in Spinal Tap when they played at the military base. When we played at the 7 ply culture party we got so carried away that I spun it so hard the ball bearing unit broke and the guitar went flying and one of the necks broke off. Toby helped me make a more heavy duty, stronger weld and we have played dozens of shows using this guitar.