How to Mosaic Guitar Tuners
Beautiful or unusual tuners are the perfect finishing touch to a detailed mosaic guitar
When I mosaic a guitar to transform it into an art piece, I like to mosaic all features of the guitar, the bridge, the hole, the neck, and the tuners.
Some of the mosaic guitars I see don't have tuners or strings. The body is mosaiced and sometimes the neck. The tuners are left as is. They look unfinished to me. I am compelled to mosaic the neck, the tuners, and the strings before I am satisfied.
Installing glass beads to represent the tuners, covering up the hole, and installing strings that are sturdy yet aesthetically pleasing are the most stressful and time-consuming parts of creating a guitar mosaic.
Mosaicing the body of a guitar is the fun part. On this particular guitar, I illustrate one of my favorite songs, "Conquistador," the dramatic 70s song by Procol Harum, written and performed by the musical genius Gary Brooker. I wanted it to be as perfect as I could possibly make it.
Inspired by the lyrics, the turquoise blue glass and the shell represent the sea and the various pieces of silver jewelry represent the accoutrements of a conquistador who dies alone in on a foreign shore.
On my first mosaic guitar, Celebrating Texas Women in Music, I left the original tuners on it, since they were shiny chrome and in good shape. On the Rhythm and Blues guitar, the beads I used to represent the tuners had large holes, so I found the right sized dowel, cut it to the right length, painted it gold, pushed it through the holes and glued a bead on each end.
On other mosaic guitars, I have successfully used glass drink stirrers; there are some cool ones out there featuring little red peppers and stuffed green olives.
However, on the Conquistador, my current project, I had my heart set on using these lovely turquoise glass beads that have a tiny hole (see first picture above).
I wasted three days trying to figure out the best way to install these beads, so that they looked good and were straight and not likely to fall off. I tried jewelry findings (too flimsy), copper wire (wouldn't stay straight), considered knotting strong metallic thread and pulling it through and trying to tie it off somehow - - nothing seemed to work. I drifted around the house, taking apart ball point pens and checking out the handles of the children's dental flossers, digging in old bins of stuff in the garage, and was getting ready to go to the hardware store and poke around on the shelves.
This morning I had an ah-ha moment, as Oprah would say. The side pieces on eyeglasses, called temples, are strong, straight, and not big around, and I have a sack of old eyeglasses waiting to be donated. I selected my old sunglasses with thin wire frames. Using wire cutters, I nipped the temple off close to where it was attached to the glasses. My husband used pliers to pull off the black rubber thingy (the temple tip) on the other end.
I cut bamboo chopsticks to the correct size, and pushed two pieces of that through each hole in the guitar. I then put a tiny drop of MAC glue on a bead, placed it on a temple, threaded the temple through the hole, where it rested comfortably in the groove made by the two pieces of chopstick, placed a second bead on the other end, nipped off the protruding bit of metal with my wire cutters, and saturated the area with MAC glue. Later I will paint the chopsticks black.
It's difficult to make this clear with words, but hopefully the first photo illustrates what I am describing. You can see that I have installed two of the tuners and the wire protruding from the bead on the right will be nipped off with wire cutters. The second photo shows the finished area.
The design process for this guitar is discussed here:
The guitars mentioned, along with other work, can be viewed on my blog, www.mosaicroad.blogspot.com.