Guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen is as renowned for his guitar-smashing skills as his impossibly fast picking, but it seems he’s finally met his match at the hands of the world’s first unsmashable guitar.
In the documentary video above, Malmsteen can be seen attempting to break the guitar in a host of different ways - none which were successful. That’s pretty impressive, given the virtuoso has smashed over 100 guitars in his 30-year career.
Produced by global engineering company Sandvik, the 3D-printed metal guitar utilises a range of cutting-edge techniques to ensure its strength.
“This guitar is a beast!” Malmsteen admits. “Sandvik is obviously on top of their game. They put the work in, they do their hours, I can relate to that. The result is amazing. I gave everything I had, but it was impossible to smash.”
You can see how the guitar was put together in the video below.
“We don’t make products for consumers, so people don’t realize how far in the forefront our methods are,” says Klas Forsström, President of Sandvik Machining Solutions.
“Creating a smash-proof guitar for a demanding musician like Malmsteen highlights the capabilities we bring to all complex manufacturing challenges.”
Traditionally, the weak point of any guitar is where the neck meets the body; Sandvik addressed this by milling the neck and main hub of the body as one piece.
Andy Holt, of Drewman Guitars, teamed up with Sandvik’s engineers to design the guitar to meet Malmsteen’s exacting standards.
“We’ve had to innovate from the top down,” Holt says. “There’s not a single part of this guitar that has been made before. It’s a piece of art, really.”
The guitar’s 3D-printed body employs Sandvik’s world-leading expertise in metal powder and additive manufacturing - lasers traced a design in beds of fine titanium powder, fusing layers of material one on top of the other, each thinner than a human hair. The volume knobs and tailpiece were also 3D-printed.
One solid block of recycled stainless steel was used to create the guitar’s neck and fretboard, which kept them as thin as possible - and proved necessary given Malmsteen’s preference for a scalloped fretboard.
To strengthen the construction, a new, super-light lattice structure - made of Sandvik’s hyper-duplex steel - was sandwiched between the neck and fretboard. The lattice structure is the strongest in the world for a given weight.
“Collaborating like this, working together to solve even more complex problems is key for the future,” said Tomas Forsman, product development specialist at Sandvik.
“Our customers’ challenges continue to grow more and more complex. We need to bring our expertise to work hand-in-hand with our partners and customers to invent new ways of meeting those challenges.”
Read about the entire project at the Sandvik website.