What if the electric guitar would have been invented in 1895? My client asked me this question, which plunged me onto this fantastic imaginary journey through an alternative past, mashing up actual historic events to science fiction and fantasy. The Captain Nemo guitar surprised myself too – not only by how fascinating ways history and fantasy entwined together in the design, but also by the outstanding tone of the Valvebucker® that I developed together with Jorma Kostamo, the father of Jyrki, my long time team member. Anyways, the conceptual design of the Captain Nemo ended up as a mashup of the Unicorn design and features of violin and classical guitar. I built the guitar personally, except the beautiful tailpiece and headstock wood carvings were made by Jani Rinta-keturi.
This guitar taught me one hell of a lesson. I dived into the project head first, without really considering if it made sense or not. I was just so absolutely fascinated with the story of it. You know, digging up old historic facts of what was going on in the end of 19th century, and conjuring up “the first electric guitar in the world”. It was great fun! The project took over five years to complete, and in one way it was completely senseless. But at the same time, it lead me to the very source of creativity – fun, childlike play. And as a result of all the fun, I happened to stumble on a novel idea of a vacuum tube powered pickup. First I thought it was just a hilarious steampunk gimmick, but it turned out to be so much more. We’re working on new developments on the topic, and if you sign up on my newsletter you’ll be the first to know when I’m ready to tell you more.
The lesson I learned? To trust my gut feeling and not hesitate on taking crazy challenges that don’t necessarily appear to make any sense. Sometimes it’s scary to go where you haven’t gone before, cause you can never quite know what you find until you take the leap. But hey, that’s the trick – if you don’t take the chances, you won’t ever stumble on the coolest ideas, either.
Anyways, here’s a little photo gallery for you, hope you enjoy it!