Keith Medley has been a master guitar builder for most of his adult life, and while he has created custom instruments for many famous musicians, his most impressive guitar is the one he made for himself.
If you’re missing a guitarist or two for your band, stop worrying, because the 27-string guitar Keith Medley invented has the power to make them obsolete. The only trick is learning how to play it. That’s in fact the biggest problem, White House-based Medley had to overcome, as well. “Building this guitar turned out to be the easy part,” Keith explains on his site. “The hard part has been learning to play it. Through two years of bittersweet struggle between myself and these 27 strings, I determined it would not defeat me but would play the music I heard in my heart.”
But why would anyone need a 27-string guitar, when most guitarist seem to do very well with just 12, or even 6? Keith says the music he hears in his head is more than can be played on six strings, so after many sketches and nights of contemplation, he came up with this unique 27-string instrument. He claims it’s like playing three instruments at the same time, but that apparently isn’t good enough since he’s now working on a guitar with 34 strings.
27 strings sounds impressive, 34, even more so, but believe it or not, Keith Medley hasn’t created the guitar with the most number of strings. In 1984, Linda Manzer and Pat Metheny designed and created a 42-string guitar called the Pikasso. You can see it in action in the last video, at the bottom.