Students from Lund University's Malmo Academy of Music are believed to be the world's first band to all use 3D printed instruments. The guitar, bass guitar, keyboard and drums were built by Olaf Diegel, professor of product development, who says 3D printing allows musicians to design an instrument to their exact specifications. Matthew Stock reports.
These Swedish musicians say they're the first rock band to perform concerts playing only 3D-printed instruments. Featuring a 3D-printed drum kit, keyboard, bass and electric guitar; the four-piece are all students from Lund University's Malmö Academy of Music. Olaf Diegel, a professor of product development with a sideline in 3D printing, designs and prints the instruments. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OLAF DIEGEL, PROFESSOR AT LUND UNIVERSITY WHO CREATED THE 3D INSTRUMENTS, SAYING: "Every instrument I make is unique; it's made specially for the musician. And that's something you can't do with traditional manufacturing.....if the musician says 'I want something more neck-heavy like a Gibson SG', we can digitally shift the weight around to give them exactly the balance they want for example. Or if they want to scallop here to fit their arm better. And that's the beauty of 3D printing, you can just change as you go along, hit print and eleven or twelve hours later you've got the next version ready to go." The band love their new instruments. Lead guitarist Mikel Morueta Holme (pron. Hol-meh) is particularly enamoured with his Steam Punk inspired design. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MIKEL MORUETA HOLME, GUITARIST, SAYING: "The body is designed with moveable parts. So they print it in one piece, and you can switch it (on), it spins around. So, I think it's maybe the coolest guitar I've ever seen." Bassist Hugo Lundwell says any worries of inferior sound quality are unfounded. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HUGO LUNDWALL, BASSIST, SAYING: "I guess some Fender puritans would be offended that I'm saying that the body doesn't affect the sound or the playing that much." Diegel wants to convince notoriously headstrong musicians that 3D printed instruments are a viable alternative to their beloved Fenders and Gibsons. He says he's slowly winning over the music community. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OLAF DIEGEL, PROFESSOR AT LUND UNIVERSITY WHO CREATED THE 3D INSTRUMENTS, SAYING: "After they get over that initial suspicion that it's a gimmick - it looks cool, but it's not going to sound good - and then they play them and realise that they do sound like electric guitars, it swings them over. Now, what we really need is some big names to pick them up and run with them." Diegel's current guitar models will set you back around three-and-a-half thousand dollars. The likes of Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Carlos Santana might take some persuading to make the switch, but for this band, at least, their 3D printed instruments are hitting all the right notes.