There are very few things in this world that I love more than hockey. I specify “things,” because there are plenty of people I love more. One of those things is my favourite guitar, my G&L ASAT Classic Semi-Hollow. It’s a gorgeous sounding Telecaster-style guitar that plays like a dream. When my wife married me, she knew she’d be sharing me with that guitar.
I also have a Washburn electric, an Epiphone hollow body from the 70′s, and half of another hollow body currently under repair, to go with a bass and an acoustic. While that seems like an appropriate number of guitars to me, it doesn’t to my wife, who didn’t agree to share me with all of them.
What I’m saying is that I love guitars, so when I saw the above Team Canada guitar combining that love with my love for hockey, I had to find out more.
The Team Canada guitar was built by Reed Hein, a drummer and amateur guitar tech from Winnipeg. He built the guitar at the beginning of 2011 in recognition of the 1-year anniversary of Canada’s gold medal win in men’s hockey at the 2010 Olympics. Amazingly, it’s the first guitar he has ever built.
“The Team Canada guitar was the first one I have ever built, although I have taken a lot of guitars apart and put them back together, so that was the easy part, “explained Hein. “The most difficult part of it was probably painting it because I haven’t painted much before, so there was a lot of guess-and-check work.”
Fortunately, Hein had a little experience painting some of his older guitars. As you can see, the paint job is fairly crisp and clean where it counts.
The body of the guitar is basswood, cut into the shape of the Team Canada ice hockey logo and combined with parts salvaged from a Pro Aria II JS-series guitar from the early 90′s. The slightly hockey stick-shaped neck and headstock of the JS-series fit in perfectly with the design. The pickups, a humbucker and two single coils, are EMGs from that same guitar. “Because of the combination of the pickups and the density of the wood, it has a very bassy, bluesy tone,” says Hein.
My only concern with playing the guitar would be stabbing myself repeatedly in the stomach. Still, I want one. Badly.
Hein’s guitar isn’t the only collision between hockey and the six-string. There have been a number of guitars built out of broken and discarded hockey sticks. Vincent Latulippe made one for the 2009 Montreal Guitar Show by gluing and cutting sticks into a Les Paul shape and using the blade of the stick for the headstock and he has made others since. Other guitar builders have gone a slightly more MacGyver route, turning a single stick into a three-string blues machine and a bass guitar respectively.
There was even a line of officially licensed NHL telecasters in 1999 that were limited to 100 for each team, though they evidently made far fewer than that. They were simply standard Telecasters with an NHL logo paint job, however, and weren’t all that exciting. Guitars in the shape of those logos? Now that would be awesome. Hein’s Team Canada guitar is the first I have ever seen in the shape of a hockey logo.
As a die hard Jets fan, he knew he had to make a Jets guitar as well. He decided to use the alternate logo worn on the shoulder of the current Jets jerseys, which makes for an intriguing shape. He sent along a couple pictures of the guitar in progress, which he hopes to have finished in about a week or so.
“For now, building guitars is just a hobby, but I would be really happy if I could turn it into something more,” says Hein. “I would love to build sports team guitars for a living, but I would have to get licensing for the logos.”
I, for one, would love to see an NHL team partner with Hein or someone like him to make official logo-shaped guitars. I would love to see a punk band get kitted out with Philadelphia Flyers logo-shaped guitars. It doesn’t just need to be limited to electrics, either. Imagine a Boston Bruins banjo or a Montreal Canadiens ukulele.
This needs to happen, people. Bettman, as soon as you sort out this whole CBA nonsense, get your lawyers on approving logo-shaped guitars.