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ANTI TANK GUITAR

The ATG

 

Anti Tank Guitar is a large multi-stringed instrument that can express tones including and beyond the chromatic scale.

 

The most notable A.T.G. was designed by Matthew Schultz in 1989. It was based on a conceptually designed instrument by experimental musician Brad Braun. Since 1990, Schultz has created five variations, named Mark I, Mark II, Mark III, Mark IV and Mark V respectively. It was most notably used in two musical projects; Lab Report and Pigface. They have appeared on 18 albums. It was described by Pigface vocalist Chris Connelly as "a large rail-way sleeper with piano wire which was stretched over the guitar so that it could be played..." Sonic Boom Magazine stated "The Anti Tank Guitar is still ever present as the bowel movement inducing tones that have made Lab Report more of an acoustic terrorist movement than a band since their inception." The instrument creates a wide array of sounds from mimicking a guitar and bass to massive percussive blows that often shut down public address systems during live performances.

ATG Mark I-V

 

Unfortunately, there are a limited amount of photos of these instruments. It has been 20 years since their inception. Several have been cannibalized to build the latter versions.

 

My first ATG, the Mark I, was a behemoth a 4-inch x 4-inch x 8-feet wooden beam fitted with turnbuckles for tuning and supported by altered snare drum stands. At eight feet it weighed around 40 pounds. It was actually two side-by-side “guitars.” Each had active EQ pickups. One side contained bass pickups and the other contained guitar pickups. The bass side used single 18-gauge wire and employed woven garage door cables for extreme low-end percussion. The guitar side utilized single gauge wire ranging from 18 to 24 gauge. It's neck was 5 feet, bridge to bridge.

 

The Mark II was the same instrument cut to fit in a travel case. Its length was allocated by the width of a storage area of our tour bus. This was the instrument I used with Pigface. Still a monster in size, it shut down several PAs with its low end frequency sound waves.

 

The Mark IV and V are the ones that I now possess. Having stripped the components from the behemoths, I welded streamlined frames. This cut the weight and mobility back substantially. They both fit into PVC tubes for transport and weight only a few pounds. The difference in design was important as they can now be played with a cello bow.

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