My name is Martin Epding and Inverse Guitars is a matter of heart, art and craftsmanship. In my childhood I learned to work with different materials, preferably wood, by building models. In my youth, electronics came into play, especially synthesizers. At the age of 15 I built two synthesizers and made music with my friends. At the age of 17 I discovered punk, bought my first bass and in the rehearsal room of our band it was all about loud and fast. The bass was very heavy and I started thinking about how to improve the instrument.
In 1982 the first draft of a new bass was created on the drawing board at home. Full of enthusiasm that I had created something revolutionary, the headless bass, I visited the Frankfurt Music Fair in 1983. At one stand I saw an exhibitor whose stand was completely empty except for two chairs, an amplifier and a paddle-shaped headless instrument. The man was demonstrating the mechanical stability of the bass by sitting on it between the chairs. That was Ned Steinberger and his bass. I realised that the headless idea wasn't entirely mine. In terms of design, I couldn't get anything out of the instrument and realised that Steinberger was relying on his own proprietary hardware, such as tuning machines and special double-ballend strings. The following year, Steinberger's stand literally exploded, his success was immense, many musicians were using his bass. I decided to let the headless idea rest for a while.
I decided to study electrical engineering, did an apprenticeship as a carpenter and spent the rest of my life studying airbrush art and advertising technology. However, music has always been a part of my life and I learned (or rather tried) to play the cello and the guitar.
To this day I find headless instruments aesthetically very unsatisfactory, hardly any instrument manages to finish the neck at the head end satisfactorily. The special tuning mechanism for headless instruments does not convince me either. A few years ago I thought it was time to put my iconic designs for stringed instruments into practice. The first instrument based on the plans I forged as a young adult was successfully built entirely by hand in my home workshop.
Fascinated by the possibilities offered by modern computer and CNC technology, I began to create my designs in CAD programs. I built a CNC milling machine, bought a 3D printer and started making prototypes.
As the design process progressed, I kept coming up with new ideas, and today I have more than ten different models and designs, and it seems I never run out of ideas.
All driven by the idea of redefining the guitar from an ergonomic and aesthetic point of view. I don't want to negate the knowledge of traditional guitar construction, but to enrich it with new aspects.
I try to use local European woods for my instruments, especially European spruce for its strength, weight and acoustic qualities, although I do have a stock of mahogany. As my instruments are completely handmade, please feel free to ask for individual wood combinations, pickup configurations, etc. I welcome enquiries about customising the instrument in terms of finish, woods, hardware, scales, number of strings, string spacing or whatever you wish.