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.
I go above and beyond to make them finely crafted superior instruments. I invest a lot of time in the technical aspects of luthiery and making it work with glass. Before deciding to sell my instruments I went to my local music store and took a few of the most expensive Les Pauls and Stratocasters and played them for a while. I was unimpressed and realized I was creating better guitars than these well known brands. I knew I was ready to start selling my guitars.
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. There’s something elegant about using clear glass and I think it imparts a classic look in my guitars.
I’d like to say a few final things about my work. I build my guitars by hand. I enjoy working with glass. While it is difficult to work with the result is incredibly rewarding. 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. I wish I could keep every guitar I build. The last guitar I finish always becomes my new favorite. It’s an emotional experience sending a guitar away but I am happy to do it for those who appreciate these unique and exotic instruments.
I am grateful that I am able to build glass guitars for a living. I began this endeavor working out of a 25 square foot area in an outdoor laundry room. 90 degree summers with no A/C and the intense Florida sun turning the room into a sauna. I now work out of a modest workshop in my home in Gainesville Fl. I am grateful to my wife Cayla for her support over the years and at the time of this writing 10 years of marriage.
Morningstar Glass Guitars is solely owned and operated by Alex Morningstar in Gainesville Florida.