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I’m going to go ahead and start this article out nice and bluntly. Bob Ironside is the Drew Struzan of guitar carvings.
Not necessarily because they have similar styles, but Bob Ironside, much like Drew Struzan, has a real knack for telling a story with the images he’s carves into guitar bodies and headstocks.
Straight out of unsuspecting, old Ontario, Canada, Bob Ironside has been carving guitars since 1990 using templates as well as specifically requested bodies as his canvas where he chips away at any excess wood that gets in the way of his unbelievably detailed artwork.
Above: Ironside Guitars – Click to Enlarge
His pieces aren’t really like a lot of carved guitars out there that simply look cool, but rather they can really convey something with all that’s happening on the body. Of course that can kind of depend on who’s requesting he carve what on the guitars, but never the less. They still have an air of excitement to them.
For example. The guitar titled Lucifer’s Fall. The Telecaster-shaped canvas displays quite well an interpretation of how the discrepancy between God and Lucifer regarding their personal opinions on how things should be handled and what came of it all in the aftermath.
Following suit with the religious theme, he has carved a double neck titled the Lord’s Supper, which chronicles the life of Jesus from the manger to the cross. What I find coolest about that one is that it’s not just a typical 12-string/6-string guitar, but rather it’s a telecaster and a Les Paul merged into one body. That’s a neat trick you don’t see every day.
I’m just thinking out loud here, but it would be pretty cool to see him pull off the Sistine Chapel ceiling. I wonder how many necks the body of that guitar would have to fit everything in.
If I were to single one more guitar out for this occasion I’d have to draw attention to the Stratocaster modeled Life, Death, and the Futility of War. Seeing as there’s a knight with a Templar shield, I’m going to be presumptuous enough to make connections between this and the crusades. Perhaps I’m reading a bit much into it, but name and imagery aren’t exactly unrelated what with the knight at death’s knees with demons writhing around and holy men up top no doubt weeping over the results of questionable ideologies. Just a guess.
Anyway. Bob Ironside doesn’t just carve cool pictures into guitars. He tells stories with it all and nearly brings it all to life, and for that alone he’s more than worth bringing up in conversation.
He has plenty more guitars worth checking out at his website. Give them a look.