Anyone can impress their friends and family by playing a musical instrument, but a real musician knows when to break the mold and crank it up a notch or five.

Justin Johnson has played his fair share of guitars over his career, so it only made sense for him to make one no one else has played before. His 3-stringed shovel guitar is exactly that: a hand-wired shovel with frets, pickups, strings, and the capacity for a hard-rocking good time.

Three tuning knobs are drilled into the handle of the shovel, while the strings run down the shaft. As for the pickups, Johnson makes these specifically for the shovel guitar. He solders and sets all the parts before testing the ax… errr, shovel, himself.

3-String Guitar

Other features which make this shovel play more like a guitar than a grave-digging apparatus are fret markers along the side of the “neck” which help you know where to place your fingers. The guitar even comes with a volume knob, chrome hardware, and a standard quarter-inch jack which makes it compatible with most guitar cables and amps.

The shovel guitar can be played on your knee, but unless you’re trying to make it as a country singer, it might be better to attach a guitar strap on the strap pegs to rock out while standing up with your leg on a chair, small speaker, or large dog.

3-String Guitar

While we would expect all y’all to make one of these yourself, you can opt to buy an “Official” shovel guitar for $450 on Johnson’s webpage. For $40 extra, you can get an instructional DVD and a signature guitar slide (three sizes available).

You can find more videos of Justin Johnson rocking out on his shovel guitar over on his YouTube channel.


Carlos wrestles gators, and by gators, we mean words. He also loves good design, good books, and good coffee.