Building a guitar from scratch used to be just something on my bucket list. I never thought I’d build my first one out of glass but it was a result of my life taking me in an unexpected direction. I have a bachelor’s degree in biology and worked in a few laboratories before being unfortunately laid-off. I struggled to find a job in my field so I ended up working in a window and glass repair shop to make ends meet. I learned how to cut and handle glass and read through product catalogues and trade magazines during down time. I was surprised at what could be done with glass and being surrounded by an unlimited supply of glass made me wonder if a guitar made of glass could be built. Figuring out how to build the body was simple enough, but the neck posed a challenge. When I stumbled across a half inch thick sheet of glass stowed away in the corner of the shop I thought “that’s a guitar neck!” Through much trial and error I figured out how to build a functional guitar out of glass. After figuring out how to make a functional glass guitar I then focused on its form.
Most important is playability and quality. Which I suppose is more related to function rather than form but I’d like to touch on it here. A glass guitar is interesting on its own but as someone who plays guitar I want to make instruments that are worth playing. I invest a lot of time in the technical aspects of luthiery and making guitars that are comfortable to play. Using high quality parts and materials not only makes a guitar play better but makes it more durable as well. Grover tuners, stainless steel frets, Seymour Duncan pickups, construction grade glass and adhesives all combine to create a long lasting solid instrument.
I don’t really think of myself as an artist however I think the nature of my work forces me into that position whether I like it or not. Also in continuing to build glass guitars I have developed an underlying philosophy that guides my work. I find the green/blue hue of ordinary float glass to be beautiful on its own. I haven’t had much desire to work with colored “art” glass for that reason. There’s something elegant about using clear glass and I think it imparts a more classic look in my guitars.
If you’re still reading this I’d just like to say a few more things about my work. I don’t use water jet cutting or CNC routing in my process. I build my guitars by hand. I enjoy working with glass. While it is difficult to work with I prefer to do it all myself. My goal is not mass production. Working on only a few guitars at a time allows me to devote my full attention to each one. I take great pride in and love my work. It’s an emotional experience sending a guitar away but I am happy to do it for those who appreciate unique and exotic instruments.
Morningstar Glass Guitars is solely owned and operated by Alex Morningstar in Gainesville Florida.