The Beast Arrives in Bradford

Look at this ridiculous thing. It’s here, and it’s delightful. And also has arrived reasonablyish intact — one of the six string necks has two busted strings and one string on the seven-string neck has weirdly migrated to another string’s slot, and a strap on the frankly ridiculous gig bag has ripped away from the bag itself. But these are all fixable and quite honestly, considering everything involved in getting this from England to Ohio, perfectly acceptable.

I have some work to do on it before it’s entirely ready for an official public debut, including restringing and some other stuff. But, hey! It’s here! And it’s ridiculous. And I love it.

— JS

65 Comments on “The Beast Arrives in Bradford”

  1. Amazing. Any chance or a duet between you and Rick Nielsen? His Hammer guitar only sports five necks so you’d have an advantage. =)

  2. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang Terhune



    It’s like if the doctor who made the human centipede decided to be a luthier.


  3. Hope Griffin Diaz – North Carolina – So, to borrow from a popular shirt, I love Jesus but I cuss a little. Well, a lot. In fact, I just don't believe Jesus really gives a shit about the word 🤬 I am married to the love of my life, Louie (aka Luis) and have an adult child, Christy. Reading transports me to places that are inaccessible to me right now. Whether those places address in space or in areas I'm unable to travel, I am grateful for books and authors who keep my mind occupied. I fancy myself an amateur gardener, I am owned by a large black purr machine maine coon cat named Samwise aka #SamSam and a Border Collie/Australian Cattle dog mix named Daisy. I knit. I craft. I sew. These are at my leisure and are hobbies. I don't take commissions nor do I do alterations. I'm an aspiring human being. I battle several mental illnesses including depression, major panic disorder, agoraphobia, germaphobia, claustrophobia, and some other assorted illnesses. I also have fibromyalgia and have had numerous traumatic brain injuries (into the double digits now). I am not able to drive at night.

    Flabbergasted. What a …. thing.

  4. The Beast would make a great backrest for a throne, kinda like the iron throne in Game of Thrones, but with better cushions and less bloodshed.

  5. I hope this doesn’t turn out to be a gateway drug…

    …a quick look on Google Images reveals–the horror, the horror–that there are eight- and even nine-neckers out there.

  6. …could become an expensive hobby, too…I’m just a cellist, but a decent set of cello strings costs three hectobux–for only four strings. That’s $1200/year if I’m playing as much as I used to pre-Covid.

  7. Now the thrill of tracking down an appropriate amp! A Marshall stack? Something in the round, like a flying saucer, with strobes and a built in smoker?

  8. I think it really needs a kazoo mounted on the external neck.

    Congratulations! May you have many wonderful hours jammn’ with yourself!

  9. Oh you poor bastard—not one but two Floyd Roses to set up? One day you will realize this was the moment when it all went wrong.

    @Geoffrey Hart – Search “Dave Grohl guitar throne”. :)

  10. Dunx – Portland, OR – A writer of code and fiction, a player of games and a cyclist who runs. I think that covers everything except the collection of sharp knives.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so happy. Congratulations!

  11. @John D. Holsinger
    If Scalzi gets a Fishbone double-necked axe, it would mean he’d have all the basses covered.

  12. Man, that’s a LOT of Humbuckers there! Hell, Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen has to be green with envy right now! Even in rural Bradford, Ohio you’ll make a lot more friends with that bad boy than you would with a six-barreled AR-15 (six-shooter?). You entertain so many of your fans with your often lighthearted and humorous fiction that you deserve a few toys with which to entertain yourself. Enjoy that six-pack axe, man. You’ve earned it!

  13. Wow!
    I fear that my complete failure to be able to play any guitar renders me incapable of any rational understanding how that one that one is even playable, much less played, but your delight in it has brightened my otherwise rather gloomy day.

  14. Dear Rick,


    Art is both the most frivolous and most profound of purchases.

    Frivolous because it will neither feed, nor clothe, nor shelter you. Although it may — used properly and for good rather than evil — improve your love life.

    Profound, because it is an expenditure that nourishes the soul.

    People who say, “But couldn’t you have better spent the money… ” do not understand that there is no ‘better’ because there’s nothing to compare it with. There is only different.

    pax / Ctein

  15. You mentioned on Twitter that you’ve scheduled a session with someone at your local guitar shop to tune your new guitar. If you haven’t told this person the hilarious details of this “new guitar,”can Krissy or Athena please document the encounter for posterity?

  16. We will place it lovingly in it’s gig bag and road case, then make sure it goes on the truck, just like any other guitar. Because you love it, we will love it. We promise you this.

    IATSE Local ONE, NYC “The Stagehands.”

    It needs no reason, but your expression of joy gives a damn good one!

  17. If it’s in-person, we need to entice you over to Ohio Valley Filk Fest in Columbus come October so you can make all the other guitarists jealous! (Besides, they have a great closing rock jam.)

    I’d even pay the membership to make it happen. 8-)

  18. What’s the difference between the two 6-string guitars? All I can see is the bridges aren’t the same, and the bridge on the top one is set strangely.

  19. I’m guessing one of the 6-strings is set for slide and the other is normal?

    The other “conventional” use for that is to use alternate tunings, with one the usual Spanish EADGBE and the other something like DADGAD or DropD (makes it easy to do power chords) or something stranger.

    With 40 strings, you risk getting into Tagore’s quote of “I spend all my time stringing and unstringing my instrument and still the song I want to play goes unsung.”

  20. Wasn’t there a band, Walk Off the Earth I think, who had 5 people playing one guitar? You should invite them over to jam…

  21. There aren’t too many things that make an adult feel like a kid on Christmas morning!! Savor it, or savour since it came from GB.

  22. I was able to find video of one of these being played on stage, but only featuring the top two necks. Somebody playing necks five and six down at the bottom, that would be impressive.

  23. lif strand – – I write, therefore I am. Unless I'm taking photos. Or making art. Or not.
    Lif S

    How much does that sucker weigh? 25-30 lbs? More? Are your roadies going to want a raise to schlep that thing around from gig to gig?

  24. Somehow on the previous post I had missed that all six necks weren’t six-string, so I am in fact being amazed by this thing to the exact same extent all over again.

  25. I concur with all the above comments.

    One question: will you have an extension designed for your right arm in order to play the lower strings?

    eagerly awaiting the inevitable video.

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