Team Guthrie_2013 Waukesha GuitarTown ArtistsTeam Guthrie

(Willis, Jim & Ryan)

Waukesha, WI

● Willis: MD (Art) from the University of Iowa – student of Grant Wood, Imerity Art Professor from Carroll University.
● Jim: BA (Education) from UW Milwaukee
● Ryan: Graduate Waukesha West Highschool.


GuitarTown guitar – “The Log”

Team Guthrie_The LogWe chose to pay homage to the skills and innovation of Les Paul by modifying the fiberglass form with a variety of items and ideas that reverence his ingenuity. Les Paul was an early developer of the solid body guitar which acquired the not so affectionate name of “The Log”. Our “Log” has numerous references to Les Paul’s pension for tinkering and his notion of reuse and substitute.

Guitar Front:
We used a piece of cherry slab wood with a limb hole that allowed a location for a pickup that was created to mimic a recording studio microphone; Les Paul’s first pick-up was the microphone taken from his mother’s telephone. The bridge is a reproduction of a railroad spike like those found on the railroad rail instrument Paul created to show that truer sound can be had from a string attached to a solid base. The double bitted axe of course is a reference to almost any guitar. The control knobs are from an Atwater Kent radio an item familiar to almost everyone in the 30’s and 40’s.

Guitar Back:
The back of the guitar has another piece of slab wood from the same tree as the piece on the front of the guitar. All the wood parts were given by Lee Guthrie who possessed them for more than 30 years waiting for a worthy project.

Neck & Headstock:
The head stock was reworked to accommodate tuning pegs created from plumping parts and the heads from a welders slag hammer; parts left over from last years’ guitar which used the handles of the hammers. Installing tuning pegs also allowed us to include strings. The fret board was reworked in order to accommodate a graphic that uses newspaper headlines and articles relevant to Les Paul’s long career as an innovator musician and sound guru.