Millennium Falcon Guitar
My college friend Travis S. built a guitar that is also a Millennium Falcon, Han Solo’s starship of choice. It lights up. It plays music. It’s an impressive feat of nerdly craftsmanship.
She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts, kid. I’ve made a lot of special modifications myself. – Han Solo and also probably Travis S.
I interviewed Travis about how he made this rocking, fully functional Star Wars-themed electric guitar.
How long did it take you?
I made the guitar on weekends over the course of about a month. If I had all the materials available and nothing else to do I could make one in under a week.
Tell us about the guitar’s construction.
I used a vintage Millennium Falcon toy / playset for the body. As it’s an electric guitar, the body material is relatively unimportant (in comparison to acoustic instruments) so i just had to concern myself with building the necessary structural elements of the instrument into the toy.
Since the aging plastic wouldn’t be able to withstand the tension of the strings, I pieced together a maple block running from end to end inside the ship. The bridge, neck, and strap pins connect to this piece; while attached firmly with some powerful glues the toy itself is almost entirely cosmetic.
The top of the toy has been routed out for the electronics, including some switch activated LEDs. Those required separate battery packs, which I made accessible using the structure of the toy; one pack is hidden in the original battery compartment while the other is attached to the ramp door that was designed to open.
Finally, to save time I bought a used guitar neck online, figured out the scale length, built a block coming up from the maple piece (through the top of the ship) to attach the bridge, and made various essential adjustments. After a paint job based on images of the movie prop and some design ideas I had (the lightspeed peghead with a Micro Machines Millennium Falcon truss rod cover) it was basically finished.
There are some things I would change the next time I build one, but overall I’m very pleased with the result.
What inspired you to create the guitar?
I’ve always been a huge Star Wars fan / nerd. I’ve amassed a sizeable collection, and based on my coexisting love of guitars it seemed like a natural combination.
Initially, I found a picture of a bass guitar neck attached to a Millennium Falcon toy on an online guitar forum, where the challenge was issued to make a fully functional version. The idea that virtually no one has built one before was kind of exciting (although after some searching I found one that may have been built in California); I thought it might put me in the annals of nerd history.
I started building electric guitars with my father in high school; having built some instruments from scratch, this was relatively easy. Within the last year I have repainted several electric guitars with a Steampunk theme to sell on eBay, and this is my latest creation. After this I’m creating a Lord of the Rings bass for a friend.
Can it play?
It is designed to play. To keep the ship looking ship-ish, I only installed one pickup; this was a humbucker that took the same amount of space as a single-coil. I installed a switch to split the coils and provide some different sonic options.
Can she do .5 past light speed?
You know, I’ve gotten it to make point five past lightspeed, but every time I try the Kessel Run I just can’t get my time under 12 parsecs. I guess there is something to be said for years of experience as an intergalactic smuggler with a gigantic furry copilot.