the ONE guitar by Michael Spalt / the one guitars collection part 2


"It is one guitar, but also a multitude.

It is complete in its single embodiment, but also as a collection."

Michael Spalt


Michael is well-known for his forays into the art world. He never seems to run out of inspiration for his unique collage-art he uses on his Totemguitars. But never one to be confined to one style he has always made a variety of very different instruments. Emerging out of his ‘Hybrid’ models came pieces like ‘The Barefoot King’ and the ‘Red Twist’ that garnered a lot of attention at previous events.


This year’s ONE guitar was inspired by a video Michael made about another of his installations and is a culmination of an idea from long ago of building a guitar which can completely change its appearance. Michael had a vague image of what he wanted to build, but it only crystalized during the talks within the group -- and the final idea emerged as he was forging the piece and working on it. And in the end he also seized the opportunity the online format with its many video presentations offers to display such a complex piece.


The heart of the guitar is a solid piece of Rosewood with a twisted headstock. The free form intrinsic inlay work on the neck gives it a shine and a Mokume Gane styled metal plate seems to harbor old secrets and gives it a certain martial appeal. Integrated into it are all the electronics and a singular Catalin knob control. This core piece, this spine, can be dressed up in four very different 'cloaks'.


Going through the finishing and recording process Michael began to realize that what he had created was actually a court. Held by the spine are the King, the Lady, the Warrior and the Wizard.



The King is carved out of very old mahogany, inspired by primitive drawings. Covered in gold leaf, a forceful patina signifying royalty, the blunt form suggests power but also radiates a quiet and self-assured wisdom.



The Lady in lively, shiny green and gold appears with graceful beauty in soft forms and depth. 



The Warrior has a gothic Samurai vibe, his  appearance  has a stark beauty with uneven surfaces and textures representing valor and strength.



The Wizard, reminiscent of a Japanese-style lampion, shines with a light of wisdom and spirit.




The parts might seem disjointed, almost alien, but they all fit with the spine in their own way, each manifesting a distinct personality. The cross fade of the rotating guitar in the video enables the viewer to experience the unity of the design. The materials have natural textures and structure and come together in a harmonious quality. The aluminum cross matches all cloaks and connects them to the spine.


"The One Guitar is a physical object; the sound and feel emerge through touch. It is so very strange not to be able to have you hold and play the instrument right now!"



Follow us on our Social Media Channels