12 String Guitar. Heard but Unseen. Mr. Stilley is unique in how he solved the various problems he encountered while constructing his instruments. I've come to think of his process as "Stilley-fication". As a classic example, in his attempt to build a 12 string guitar, Ed used three rows of four tuning keys on the headstock of this instrument.
Teardrop Guitar. Heard but Unseen. This X-ray is typical of Ed Stilley's experiments with springs, saw blades and pot lids to create resonance is his guitars. By trial and error Ed's combinations produced a surprisingly full and haunting reverb. Asked why he installed these parts Ed replies: "To more clearly speak the voice of God."
The First Build. Heard but Unseen. This is Mr. Stilley's first attempt at making a guitar. It was constructed with hand tools since he did not have access to electrical tools at that time. He used nails for bridge pins and an aluminum sauce pot for a resonator. It is interesting to see how his methods evolved from this crude start.
The Final Gift. Heard but Unseen. Ed Stilley received a calling from God to make instruments and give them away for free. He did so for 25 years, building over 200 instruments and never accepting payment for his gifts. His hands no longer have the strength to work the tools so Mr. Stilley has retired. This guitar is the last one he gave away and exhibits all the classic details of his uncommon artistry and ingenuity.