The AK-47 Guitar

Building a fully playable guitar from a real AK-47

"The AK is responsible for about a quarter-million deaths every year. It is the firearm of choice for at least 50 legitimate standing armies and countless fighting forces from Africa and the Middle East to Central America and Los Angeles. It has become a cultural icon, its signature form -- that banana-shaped magazine -- defining in our consciousness the contours of a deadly weapon." *

Cut this "weapon of mass destruction" apart to build an instrument as a sign of peace.

After a little research, I found a gunsmith in Austria who sells real but "deactivated" Russian AK's. This means that the rifle barrel is welded, the trigger is blocked and so on...
So you can't shoot the rifle but it's still real.

After some measuring, I found that the size and form of this gun is nearly perfect for this kind of project in relation to scale length, bridge size as well as pickup placement.

Day 1

The first thing i needed to do was to cut off the welding points to be able to disassemble the whole thing. Now it is possible to look and measure out the perfect place for the guitar neck as well as the hole for the pickup and bridge position. Also i can think about the wiring.

Day 2

My next goal was to measure out the best position for the guitar neck. As you can see in the picture to the left, I decided to cut in a box shape under the sight for a perfect blend between neck and rifle.
As a bonus, I don't have to cut off the sight.=) So it fits just above the neck and looks awesome!
Now to the hard part, after marking the cutting spots it's now time to take an angle grinder (Flex) and cut off the barrel!!!

Let's take a closer look at the box for the neck.
As you can see, the sight stays on and the neck fits in nicely underneath. Now I just have to weld in a standard neck plate with four screw holes and the front end of the guitar is done!

Day 3 & 4

After cutting the pocket for the neck it was time to weld in a proper neck plate for the standard 4x4 screw mounting.
At this point, we (my dad and I) had to be very careful because neck placement is a critical thing. A wrong angle of the plate would make the guitar impossible to play.

The AK came without a gun stock, so I bought a replacement stock from an old M16 rifle.=) The cool thing about it was that it is hollow, which helped me a lot with the wiring and the placement of the Stratocaster Jack.

The next thing was to prepare the bridge. I decided to use a Telecaster bridge but only half of it because I don't need the hole for the Tele bridge pickup. Drilling six holes at the back allow me to fix the guitar strings instead of the "string through" Telecaster design.

The Pickup

Fitting in a standard single coil or humbucker would be very destructive and complicated, so I found the Schaller Jazz Pickup 3280 which is only 7mm thick and fits easily underneath the strings. This Pickup is very special due to the way of how you mount it. Originally designed for acoustic Jazz guitars it's only fixed with a clamp at the neck.
Just weld on a proper angled steel plate and done!

Wiring

After all the welding work was done it is time for the final wiring and putting it all together.
Just a simple electrical circuit is needed because of the single pickup version. One volume and one tone control. As a little gimmick I put them into the rifle magazine.

Time for the great moment of putting it all together and adjusting the string height as well as the action.

Pictures say more than a thousand words, so I hope you like my guitar project as much as I do and enjoy the result.=)
At this point, I want to say thanks to my dad for helping and supporting me with his technical knowledge and abilities.

Without him, this would have not been possible.

* Weapon Of Mass Destruction
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/24/AR2006112400788.html