I’ve done a lot of unusual stained glass pieces in my life, but I believe that a stained glass heavy metal electric guitar has to be the most unusual!
Elliott Rubinson, CEO of Dean guitars, approached Jimmy Fallon with the idea of producing a custom guitar for him and was asking for design input. Fallon’s answer was, “I love stained glass and I love guitars, so how about a stained glass guitar”. Rubinson agreed and the design challenge began.
Given my 30 years experience with stained glass design, I was asked to produce the glass panel.
The actual profile of the guitar and thus the required panel posed the first challenge. The panel had to have a large hole in the center of it as well as holes ground out for control knobs. For this reason I chose the copper foil technique that Tiffany used wherein the cut glass is wrapped in thin copper foil which is then soldered together.
Because Fallon wanted a “cathedral” look, I used the rich, deep colors traditionally associated with stained glass church windows. But because of the radical profile, the design had to be abstract and contemporary.
For a bit of flash, I used “dichroic glass” for the rainbow-looking curved sections. Dichroic glass is created by a highly technical vacuum deposition process whereby multiple micro-thin layers of metal oxides, quartz crystals and others are vaporized with an electron beam gun mounted at the bottom of an airless vacuum chamber. This produces a “interference filter” that creates the varied colors we see, similar to what happens when viewing hummingbird or peacock feathers.
The other challenge was, obviously, lighting it effectively within an extremely shallow depth. The first attempt was using a photoluminescent sheet which is a thin sheet that can literally be cut to any shape and emits light when plugged in. There were two drawbacks to this….the fact that it would require an AC cord, and also that the sheet itself had a limited number of hours it would light up. The final solution was LED lighting.
To my knowledge, this is the first fully functional stained glass guitar created!!! It was the first piece of stained glass I’ve created since I’ve been the designer for Luna Guitars and I realized how much I miss it.
See Fallon’s reaction here: