Rock guitarists sometimes have a strange relationship with their instruments. The Who's Pete Townshend has smashed many guitars throughout his long career, Jimi Hendrix set fire to his psychedelic Stratocaster at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, and more recently Muse's Matthew Bellamy sacrificed 140 guitars during one tour. But when Sandvik decided to make an unbreakable all-metal guitar, naturally the company asked fellow Swede Yngwie Malmsteen to try and destroy it.
"We had to design a guitar that is unsmashable in all the different ways you can smash a guitar," said Sandvik's Henrik Loikkanen. "The engineering challenge was that critical joint between the neck and the body that usually cracks on a guitar."
The neck and scalloped fingerboard on the Sandvik guitar has been fashioned from recycled stainless steel with an Isotropic Lightweight Structure made from hyper-duplex steel sandwiched inbetween using a fine-tuned welding process. The neck extends into a rectangular block designed to sit inside the instrument's titanium body.
The body was formed using 3D-printing technology, where lasers fired into titanium powder to fuse together wafer-thin layers until the lightweight but durable Les Paul shape was formed.
"Additive manufacturing lets us create lighter, stronger and more flexible components with internal structures that would be impossible to mill traditionally," explained the company's Amelie Norrby. "And it's more sustainable because you only use the material you need for the component, minimizing waste."
Once completed, the guitar was shipped off to Malmsteen in Florida, who played several songs with it at a gig before using it to attack equipment on stage, pounding it on the floor and generally going wild. The guitar survived the brutal treatment, living up to its smash-proof moniker.
"This guitar is a beast," said Malmsteen after admitting defeat. "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."
The video below show the guitar virtuoso's attempts to smash the Smash-Proof Guitar.
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