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32-Foot Electric Guitar Created for Discovery Channel Series

32-Foot Electric Guitar Created for Discovery Channel Series


May 22, 2004

A massive 32 foot long, fully functional electric guitar has been
made by a team of builders including legendary pickup guru Seymour W. Duncan,
luthier Matty Baratto, and the “best-of-the-best” craftsmen from the television
series Monster House and Monster Garage.

The guitar was built for the Discovery Channel Network television series BIG!
and will air June 15, 2004. The BIG! series shows how things are made and work
by building the objects over-sized.

“The BIG! Guitar is the third episode in the BIG! series,” said Jeff Kuntz,
series producer. “Each episode brings together builders from the Monster House
and Monster Garage series with industry veterans to build an over-sized object
to show how it works. The building of the BIG! Guitar was the best show to
date. We were amazed at the cooperation we received from the music industry.”

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The BIG! Guitar is nine times to scale the size of a standard electric guitar,
and measures 32 feet 5 inches. The total weight is over 2,500 lbs. It is considered
to be the world's largest, complete to scale, fully functioning electric guitar.

“The record for the largest electric guitar is a 43 foot Flying V,” notes
Chris Stone, music industry consultant for the BIG! Guitar. “However that guitar
uses six standard sized pickups, whereas the BIG! Guitar has a single, 156
pound humbucker pickup designed specifically for this project.”

Matty Baratto designed the original guitar that the BIG! Guitar is based on. “The
design is a hybrid of my favorite '60's guitars,” said Baratto, who has built
guitars for Bucket Head, Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray, and B Real of Cypress Hill. “Building
this guitar was an experience of a lifetime, and it was a complete honor to
work with the man himself — Seymour Duncan.”

Seymour Duncan seconded that sentiment. “Working with all of these creative
people really made it an experience of a lifetime,” said Duncan. ” It was amazing
seeing how these craftsmen were able to work together on this build and complete
it in five days. They truly are the best of the best.”

The BIG! Guitar production includes a visit to the Seymour Duncan factory. “We
wanted to show people where the magic happens and hear a some of the stories
Seymour has about working with greats such as Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Eddie
Van Halen.” notes Kuntz. “Its something that I think both musicians and music
buffs alike will appreciate.”

Baratto and Duncan were joined by the builders from the television series
Monster Garage and Monster House. These builders include: Lisa LeGohn – Master
welder and L.A. Trade Tech Instructor, Reverend Gadget – Steel fabricator,
mechanical engineer and metal craftsman, Wink Eller – Custom fabricator and
bike builder, and Eric Scarlett – Metal fabricator and custom car builder

The team of builders completed the guitar in five days. The pickup, built
separately, took ten days to build.

The BIG! Guitar measures 32' 5″ from end to end. The BIG! Guitar body measures13'3″ and
is made from multiple sheets of Douglas Fir plywood shaped to the exact dimensions
of the original guitar. The sides are made of flex-board, which allowed the
builders to form the sides to the contours of the body. The body finish is
2 gallons of Viper Red car paint.

The BIG! Guitar neck, measures 19' 2″ long, and is made from 7 planks of Poplar
which were glued together then hand shaped. The fretboard is made from 8 sheets
of Walnut. The 21 frets are made of 1″ half round aluminum stock. A forklift
was used to lift the 1,100-pound neck so that it could be attached to the guitar
body using a bolt-on method.

The hardware including the tuning keys, knobs and bridge are custom made by
the builders, milled from aluminum.

Seymour Duncan built the massive 158 pound humbucker pickup for the BIG! Guitar
in his Santa Barbara factory. “I used a '59 P.A.F. pickup as the model for
the big pickup. We included every detail, even the squared out bobbin holes,” notes
Duncan. “I hand wound the pickup on a custom winder built specifically for
this project. The original '59's were hand wound, so that's what we did on
the big pickup that you'll be able to see us winding on the BIG! Guitar episode.”

To test the BIG! Guitar, a massive 36 x 10 650-watt Ampeg amplifier was used.
The head houses 22 vacuum tubes. The amp weighs 950 pounds.

“Because of the scale of this project, we knew it would be nearly impossible
to play,” notes Stone. “So we decided to make the world's biggest slide, tune
to an open E, and had host Frank Payne run alongside with the slide as Seymour
plucked the massive strings. The only way to describe the sound is BIG!”

The BIG! series is produced by Original Productions (producers of the Monster
Garage and Monster House series) for the Discovery Channel Network. The BIG!
Guitar episode will air June 15, 2004 at 9 PM (Eastern and Pacific) on the
Discovery Channel.

For more information on the BIG! series, please see the Discovery Channel
website at or the
BIG! series fansite at

BIG! Guitar Specs:

  • Total Weight: over 2,500 lbs.
  • Total Length: 30' 9″
  • Body: Douglas Fir plywood
  • Neck: Poplar
  • Fretboard: Walnut
  • Body Thickness: 1'5″
  • Body Width: 9'6″
  • Body Length: 13'3″
  • Body Finish: Car Paint, Viper Red 2 gallons
  • Neck Length: 19'2″
  • Fretboard Width at Nut: 1' 2.5″
  • Fretboard Width at Body: 1' 7.75″
  • Number of Frets: 21
  • Fret Material: 1″ half round aluminum
  • Width of 1st Fret: 1' 6″
  • Width of 12th Fret: 1' 3″
  • Hardware: Aluminum and Steel, fully machined from plate, bar stock and
    precut rounds
  • Pickguard: Acrylic

Pickup Specs:

  • '59 PAF style Humbucker pickup
  • Pickup Weight: 158 pounds
  • Bottom Plate Length: 39.4″
  • Bottom Plate Width: 12.9″
  • Bobbin Length: 23.5″
  • Bobbin Width: 6.2″
  • Stud Diameter: 1.6″
  • Stud Length: 4.5″
  • Pole Piece Length: 6.8″
  • Bar Magnet Length: 22.5″
  • Bar Magnet Width: 4.5″
  • Bar Magnet Weight: 21.2 lbs.
  • Magnet Wire: 5,042 turns of 23 awg (for complete pickup specs, go to

Amp Specs:

  • Ampeg SVT 36×10
  • Mechanical Specifications (speaker cabinet & amplifier head):
  • Width: 48 inches
  • Depth: 36 inches
  • Height: 130 inches
  • Weight: 950 lbs.

SVT 36×10 Speaker Cabinet Specifications:

  • Total Power Capacity: 3.6K Wrms continuous
  • Speakers: 10″ diameter, 32 ohm, 100 W, Eminence (Qty. 36)
  • Construction Materials: MarineTech and Baltic plywood,
  • Ampeg classic covering and cloth

SVT 36×10 Amplifier Head Specifications:

  • Circuitry: Vacuum tube pre amp and vacuum tube power amp stages
  • Vacuum Tube Compliment: 12AX7 (Qty. 6), 12AU7 (Qty. 4), 6550 (Qty.12)
  • Output Power: 600 Wrms minimum continuous @ < 3% THD
  • System Gain: 135db @ 1K Hz
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: 80db typical
  • Line Power Requirement: 120 Vac, 60 Hz., 920VA
  • Tone Control: Bass: +/-12db @ 40Hz, Midrange: +10db / -20db @ 220, 450,
    800, 1.6K, or 3K Hz, Treble: +15db / -20db @ 4K Hz, Ultra Low: +2db @ 40Hz,
    -10db @ 500Hz, Ultra High: +9db @ 8K Hz

For more information, visit their web site at

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David Mellor