Argentine luthier turns beat-up skateboards into electric guitars

Wed Oct 22, 2014 2:49pm EDT
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By Magali Cervantes

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Working a pedal-powered carpentry machine, Argentine luthier Ezequiel Galasso is giving beat-up skateboards a new lease on life, recycling them into electric guitars coveted by the likes of American rock band Pearl Jam.

In one corner of his workshop in Almagro, Buenos Aires' up-and-coming tango district, skateboard decks stripped of their black grip tape and wheels are piled high.

With his bushy beard and haze of long, dark hair standing on end, Galasso, 32, looks every bit the inventor. The idea to convert the boards into guitars, he said, came from a conversation four years ago with Spanish-born professional skater Gianfranco de Gennaro.

The skater told Galasso he traded in his scratched and bashed boards, made of maple hardwood, every two weeks.

"He told me (the board) has a lot of energy within it from when you take the sheet of wood, dye the layers, compact it," Galasso said. "There is also a designer, the graphics, and the skater leaves his or her mark on it."

Galasso pairs together two boards, one for the guitar's body, the other for the neck.

"All of this energy ends up in the garbage can. And so we saw this resistant material with colors and ... we thought, can we make a guitar from this?"

They could and they dubbed the result the "skate guitar". Buyers were often musicians looking for a guitar with a difference, and one that could take a knock.   Continued...

Argentine luthier Ezequiel Galasso shows a skate guitar and a double neck one, both made by him, at his workshop in Buenos Aires October 17, 2014. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci