Project Fire Guitar

This summer I decided to do something fun and build my own quick version of the doof guitar from the recent Mad Max movie Fury Road.

 The challenge was to make this.

The challenge was to make this.

The prop itself is a beast of an item and I knew that I was going to be in for a fun adventure in building this thing because like the original I wanted to make it fully functional. But there were things to consider like cost and the chances of me setting myself on fire. But hey whats a little risk to make a project worth all of the effort.

There are some great reads about the guitar and some of the back story;

  • http://screenrant.com/mad-max-fury-road-flame-guitar-doof-warrior-origin-story/ 
  • http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/heres-the-character-backstory-for-doof-aka-guitar-flamethrower-dude-in-mad-max-fury-road-20150520

I wanted to be accurate but I also wanted to make sure that it would be usable be myself and anyone else that wanted to give it a go. So the big thing to consider was weight. The one from the film is independently suspended allowing for its function to not be burdened by the awkward weight. So for me this meant skipping a 1 to 1 build in favor of the spirit of the original. In a way I liked this much better because I felt like it gave me the room for artistic expression and ownership of its look. I also wanted to make sure I wasn't going overboard in cost. I had never built a guitar before let alone know how to play one so it was off to the local thrift store and music store to round up parts. After many trip and evaluations of what would work I ended up with the assortment below and much more.

So then I started to work on the build rough shaping the dual guitar out of the guitars I had found for about 20$ a piece.

With the main body knocked up and the hardware going back in it was now time to start figuring out how to wire this whole thing together. Since I had never done this I spent a good while learning about how guitars actually work and understanding the function of the parts. I ended up building a whole new electrical layout and control panel.

Next came the design and build of the fuel rail to support the fire business action of this whole project. I wanted to make something that supported the full weight of the guitar and would solidify the union of these two thrift store axes. So it was of to the garage to get welding and this is what I came up with and then affixed to the back.

With the fuel line in place I started working on the design elements of the prop since all of my structural work was complete. I tried to get into the mindset of what if I was building thins thing in that element I would really only be using what I could find so I applied the same practice. I just grabbed what ever I could that was laying around the shop along with some paint and distressing to give it a good feel.

Now that the build was done it was time to figure out the fun part of the fire. In the original it was a traditional flame thrower that uses liquid fuel but I really didn't want to deal with that because I wanted something that was a quick setup and clean up and dealing with diesel was really the furthest from that. So I settled on propane and build a traditional tried and tested "poofer" know that it would give me sold reliable safer results.

The end result was beyond the limits of fun, nothing quite puts a smile on your face like a giant guitar the shoots a wall of flame. So it was time to pack it all up and head out to burning man to go out and see how it survived the northern Nevada high desert.

Now that it was built I had to figure out how to actually play the guitar because I seriously wanted to be able to rock it out. I was able to get help from my good friend Ben who showed me the ropes and gave me a primer on getting that mad max sound and feel. I also found the following video by the guy who wrote the music from the movie quite helpful in getting that feel.

What was really awesome is I got reposted by Junkie Xl the guy who wrote the music, I couldn't describe my elation that the original creator like and appreciated what I had built.

Here's my results after my first week of practice it wasn't bad bad  and it was a ton of fun to learn. I worked on learning how to play while the process of the build was going on so your seeing the guitar in its raw stage in this video without its fire rail and the dressing of the final look.

The results and the experience was amazing! The highlight was being asked to ride on the hood of the lead car for the Mad Max inspired camp. It really gave me a real sense of what it cold be like to be riding into battle playing a flaming ballad through the dust storm rich fury of a post apocalyptic world. (working on getting the original video for better quality)

Thanks to my good friend Hank I for taking the following photos of that day visit the link with the photos to see all of his awesome work. ( https://www.flickr.com/photos/espressobuzz/ )