FEATURED CREATURE

Here’s the one I have been waiting to share since I found out about it several months back. The Featured Creature hands down goes to Rock Ock. That’s right, Rock Ock. One might just think, what is this Rock Ock? It sounds like Doc Ock on steroids. Truth of the matter is, for a GUITAR, it IS the closest thing to DOC OCK ON STEROIDS. Rock Ock was created “as an over-the-top center piece for the National GUITAR Museum’s Traveling Exhibit”, “Guitar: The Instrument That Rocked The World”.

 

Rock Ock is the only playable guitar that has EIGHT necks. This is no typo. Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick is one guitarist that comes to mind who might be one who truly would want this guitar in his collection as he is known for playing multi neck guitars. Rock Ock comes complete with a Mandolin, Tenor Uke, 6-String Guitar, Fretless Bass, Fretted Bass, 12-String Guitar, Baritone Guitar, and even a 7-String Guitar. My son in law, metal guitarist and shredder, Brent Kuzmanich would love Rock Ock alone for that 7 string neck.

Rock Ock, this one of a kind special instrument was commissioned by well known author H.P. Newquist, former Editor in Chief at Guitar Magazine and Executive Director of The National GUITAR Museum.

 

Rock Ock was designed by famed letter form and logo designer Gerard Huerta, known for such logos in the music industry as AC/DC, Blue Oyster Cult, Ted Nugent, and Boston, just to name a few, as well as brands most everyone is familiar with like Pepsi, HBO, Nabisco, Swiss Army Brands, and mastheads including Time, People, Money, Adweek, and Architectural Digest. The list goes on and on.

 

Custom Luthier Dan Neafsey of DGN Custom Guitars in Fairfield, Connecticut is the man responsible for breathing life into the Featured Creature and taming this eight neck wonder. Doctor Frankenstein had nothin’ on Dan Neafsey as you will soon see.

And so the story goes with words here from H.P. Newquist, about how Rock Ock came to be. Enjoy. – Jack

 

Here’s the cheap and lowdown on the Rock Ock. It’s as detailed as I can remember. – H.P. Newquist

In mid-2010, I was looking for some unusual guitars on behalf of The National GUITAR Museum. I came across a lot of multi-necked guitars, but most weren’t playable or were done as jokes or art pieces. One guitar in the UK was playable and had 6 necks. We tried to buy it, but it had already been spoken for. The luthier in Britain wasn’t willing to build another one because he felt that the 6 neck creation was about as far as he could go.

So I thought “That’s as far as it goes? How about 7 necks, then? Or even 8?”

In July 2010, I mentioned the idea of an 8-necked guitar to Dan Neafsey, and I told him to think about it . . . after he stopped laughing. Plus, his wife was expecting a baby in two weeks, and it wasn’t like he was going to focus on hatching a bizarre guitar in addition to delivering a new son.

 

At the end of the summer at our regular Freak Fest Guitar Party–which involves a bunch of guys getting together and being loud with their guitars–I mentioned it again to Dan, whose son had been born in the interim. I brought Gerry into the conversation to get his thoughts on what the guitar might look like. At first we all joked about it, but as the drink flowed, we started talking about how it could really get done.

 

By the end of the night, Gerry had talked about doing a basic drawing for it, and I think the discussion had devolved to whether such a monstrosity would be painted red or blue (I’ll leave it to Dan to tell you why it’s blue). That was the last we really talked about it for a long time, as everybody kind of went back to reality after they woke up and dried out the next morning.

 

On and off over the next few months, I took to calling this “concept guitar” the Octagon, because of the 8 necks and the fact that it rhymed with Paragon, which is Dan’s line of guitars. I told my daughter the name, and she said it sounded “like something Doc Ock (from Spider-Man) would play.” Now, the name Doc Ock is very catchy, but since this guitar was meant to, well . . . rock, then the obvious choice for a name was going to have to be “Rock Ock.”

 

THE BIRTH OF ROCK OCK

 

Fast forward almost a whole year to the next summer. The National GUITAR Museum is up and running and I decided we should really do this 8-necked guitar and introduce it while the GUITAR Tour is in Orlando, because they were getting thousands of people going through the museum every week. Gerry had come up with a great design and had done some really beautiful drawings for the guitar that were also incredibly detailed, like down to the screw holes for the tailpieces.

 

We printed out full size templates of Gerry’s drawings. These were about 4 feet long and 6 feet wide. Dan and I went and picked out the wood for it, and Mojo Music Supply sent the hardware. As a side note, there is an incredible amount of hardware on the Rock Ock–I think the hardware alone weighs about as much as a full-blown Telecaster.

 

 

 

Over the next several weeks (or maybe it was one all-night bender) Dan cut the wood down and pieced everything together. It wouldn’t actually fit in his shop in one piece, so we’d take it out to the garage and lay the pieces out there.

 

 

 

 

And one day in September 2011, he called me and said “It’s done. Come get it.” I never thought that call was going to happen because it had been something we’d joked about for so long. I went over to Dan’s with Al Mowrer, a really ingenious craftsman who built a lot of the handcrafted interactives on the GUITAR Tour, and we measured the Rock Ock from stem to stern. Al custom-designed a Rock Ock case/crate (some people think of it as a cage) and that alone was like building a mini-storage shed for the thing. The combined weight of the Rock Ock and its “case” is about 120 pounds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That should be the end of the story, but as we were packing it up, I was having drinks with Doug Seirup, a filmmaker who did the promotional videos for the GUITAR Tour and was also a member of this group of FreakFest guitarists. He said “You could make this thing go viral if you could get 8 guys to play it all at the same time . . . and then post it on YouTube.”

 

While it was a great idea, there was a huge problem. I was leaving for museum business in 5 days and Doug was going to Oklahoma to do some film work in 4 days. After that, we wouldn’t be able to get together until New Year’s. And I’d already promised to have the Rock Ock delivered to Orlando in a week.

 

I frantically called everybody I knew who had been part of the museum design or planning–and who played guitar–to see if they could all show up and play one song a night before Doug and I took off. By the time the emails went out, we had two days to choose from and finally narrowed it down to one night, with about a one hour window in which to play. Not all of these guys knew each other, either, so we’d have to pick something simple to play that everybody could jump in on. That eliminated most of the Yes and King Crimson catalog, and just about everything except a 12-bar blues like “Crossroads.”

 

 

With two days notice, we were lucky to find 8 guys who could all be in the same place at the same time. We had Doug doing the filming, and then there was me, Gerry, and Dan. Dave Hill, who did all the computer programming for the museum interactives, showed up. Two guys who had been the standard bearers for FreakFest, Kent Haehl and Billy Perlman, also came. They’d been cheering us on with this thing from the start. Finally, Glenn Levinson–whose business had helped in the transport and storage for the museum while it as being built–came along and brought his son, Connor. So we got 8 guys of varying shapes and sizes in one room, with about a full hour of time to get a decent take. Actually, it was more like 20 minutes, because it took almost half an hour to tune the Rock Ock.

 

 

Everybody showed up knowing that they were doing a blues in A. Some guys played instruments they’d never even touched before, like the 7-string or the baritone. But everybody jumped in, literally, and played whatever they could reach. It was not the easiest thing in the world by any stretch of the imagination, kind of like Twister played on steroids and beer. But it was a Hell of a lot of fun. Three takes and we were done. Two weeks later, Doug had edited the video and it was on YouTube where it hit some incredible number of views, like 30,000 in 6 days.

 

 

 

By that time, the actual Rock Ock was on display in Orlando. And that describes the birthing process of the Rock Ock. Coming soon to a city near you, as they say.

 

Gerard Huerta, the designer of Rock Ock had this to say,” I had designed a guitar and did a rendering for Dan to build with full-size plans.

Harvey saw this in Dan’s shop and asked if I could put together a drawing of an eight-neck guitar. We went back and forth a bit on the positioning of instruments, then I did a color rendering of what it might look like. We then printed up a full-size black and white drawing of it. It then went to Dan.

 

Dan Neafsey could not be reached for comment so his part of the story was not available to me at Post Time. (This is beginning to sound like The Kentucky Derby). Dan has been EXTREMELY busy and I’m hoping to add his part of the story as soon as it becomes available.

 

Here is the band Biohazard becoming acquainted with Rock Ock. No fingers were lost during this meeting and the Featured Creature was not harmed in any way, shape, or form. We have the video here at Jackaboutguitars courtesy of Fuse TV. Enjoy. – Jack

 

 

 

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