After posting photos of Vicious SID and Katsuki Bakugo guitars I had a few different friends ask me about creating other superhero guitars, and this led to the idea behind Old Glory – which was originally designed to have a Captain America shield mounted in the body behind the bridge. During that project, I brainstormed an Ironman-themed Stark Strat and Punisher.
Who SHOOTS a Guitar?
The basic design of Punisher was pretty simple – just custom paint on an Epiphone Les Paul Jr. after a quick sanding and satin black spray. Although it would be pretty cool, that’s just not a Punk Daddy Guitar build unless we do something crazy.
We tried a 9mm and .38 caliber, the 9 did too much damage to our test guitar body (lucky we had a broken Epi LP JR in the shop!) while the .38 with a wadcutter round created the perfect sized hole and both the entry and exit holes were pretty clean. Brad only had one shot to put it in the right spot and he nailed it.
Patching the “Wound”, Paint, & Finish
Once I got back to the shop to check out the (intentional) damage, I cleaned up some small fragments (note: not enough!) and painted the front and back of the gunshot with red. I’ll admit, it looked a little too realistic before I applied the epoxy and set in a fresh 9mm slug. Yes, I know it’s a .38 caliber hole, but the wadcutter was silver and I wanted a brass slug. The epoxy set way faster than I expected, and positioning the bullet was a huge hassle, leading to more air bubbles than I’d hoped for. There was still some small fragments of wood inside the hole that floated down to block the hole while it was drying, really ruining the look. Luckily, I had always planned to drill it out from the front to keep an actual hole. The fragments, bubbles, and castoff from the drill bit made the epoxy less clear than I wanted, these things happen and I’ve learned to create and adjust.
Once that was set I took to painting the front, splattering some red paint, and creating a few little neat elements. I chose a humbucker pickup I had used in my Nightmare Les Paul build and covered the sealed top with vinyl, a few sprinkles of red paint, and covered with a mist of satin clear. The bridge was chrome and I really wanted to make it look old & worn like a pipe Frank would pick up and use in a fight, and that consisted of sanding down the chrome, self-etching primer, ceramic gray, and hammered metal paint with a few drops of red and flat black.
The final pieces I loved to add were the shotgun shell knobs and shotgun shell hull for the output jack cover along with a bullet casing for the truss rod cover.
All-in-all it was a blast to create (pun intended), and it sounds and plays like a hot rodded Epiphone Les Paul Jr with a ton of Frank Castle’s attitude.
Currently Available For Purchase
While I created this from feedback from friends, it was not commissioned for a specific buyer and is now available for purchase.
Also, it should be noted that this is a one-of-a-kind guitar, I will not be making any other guitars with this same design. Although I’m leaving the door open slightly that I may do some variation of a Punisher theme on a future build, it will absolutely not be the same as this one.