The Musician Playing Actual Trash
The Musician Playing Actual Trash

(high pitched music) – [Ken] I always thought,
you know, a snow shoe would really make a great cello. A wooden chair back
makes a cool guitar body. It turns out that one of my most playable instruments is a golf club. I’m seeing that transformative quality in my head all the time. What can I say, I’m attracted to trash. I don’t know why.
(pleasant music) – [Narrator] Check out the
Jimi Hendrix of shovels. – [Narrator] It’s a guitar
made up of lots of junk. – He even plays his zipper, from Brooklyn, New York, please welcome Ken Butler. (applause) – My name is Ken Butler,
I’m an artist and musician and known for building my
own experimental instruments. Since 1978, I think I’ve
made around 400 instruments. This whole thing started
for me when I was in my basement in Portland,
Oregon and I saw a rusty old beat up hatchet, put two strings
and two tuning pegs on it, plugged it into my guitar
amp and was quite stunned that it actually sounded
like a horrible violin. (violin music) The ax violin was the first time that somebody said that’s a cool idea. If I go walking around the neighborhood, everywhere you look, you see such amazing conglomerations
of potential sculpture. There’s crutches, tennis
rackets, parts of furniture, boom, I’m right there with that. Ya know, when I build
stringed instruments, really just need three things, the head, the neck and the body. A spoon has that parameter,
a key looks like a guitar. It has the, you know, and then
there’s the little body. This is from a very inexpensive mandolin. Of course some of the things become crazy Baruch Asambleas of
multiple, multiple necks. It’s ridiculous but that’s how it works. My shovel guitar, I guess
it’s a small snow shovel. It’s just a quirky object and it sounds unbelievably beautiful, the
qualities and characters that the golf club has is amazing. (string music) There’s one that’s made
from a beach paddle that has a ukulele neck and a cane. (string music) Sometimes people think my
intention is humor, it’s not. I think it’s surprising
to people that I can generate genuine emotion
and meaning and real music on something as ridiculous
as a hockey stick or a tennis racket or a broom
or a shovel or a golf club. At the real core of
what I’m doing, it’s to communicate to other people
that the things right around them can be magical and
transformative and even spiritual. Who knows, if I hadn’t found that ax, what would’ve happened. (high pitched music)

63 thoughts on “The Musician Playing Actual Trash”

  1. Exotic Gaming says:

    wow he lived were i used to live!

  2. Adam Shannon says:

    Wow thats amazing

  3. Jamin Norkett says:

    Him: yo, pass the aux cord,
    Me: you better not play trash.

  4. NoAngles 15 says:

    See this. This is modern art, not the toilet on display in the middle of a museum

  5. Ben Rohrbaugh says:

    This video is way to dense. you must've had at least a few hours of footage, why cut all that down to 3 minutes.

  6. The Ali8oras says:

    A guitar-ish gun would rock like nothing else

  7. Zypher says:

    But does it Djent ?

  8. Eesh SinGer says:

    he's super creative i like him

  9. rad dude says:

    Now we now why we call guitars axe's. JK

  10. Anti says:

    most savage title i’ve ever seen

  11. Why Tar-tar says:

    Lil pump

  12. Filipino Mapper says:

    He literally….

  13. paula b says:


  14. Cornelious sanders, A pickle hotdog says:

    Interviewer: so whats so great about you?

    Him: well, music is the key

    Interviewer: care to elaborate?

    Him: *pulls out key and starts playing it

  15. XaZa says:

    I thought this video was going to be about me XD

  16. Spencer Tepper says:

    Where is his viola?

  17. Scooty789 says:

    Me: pass the aux cord
    Friend: you better not play trash
    This guy: L E T M E S T O P Y O U R I G H T T H E R E

  18. toh ping Tiang says:

    This looks like an AK47… it's actually a violin. This look like a shoe… it's my hair dryer. (Desperado This look like a cello but it's my bazooka)The shovel sound very middle east

  19. shawn bla says:

    As long as people like him alive, music will never die❤️

  20. PeteZah Slice says:

    Kinda like Brian May!

  21. Korewa Krusader says:


  22. Jemzo Maclain says:

    *makes guitar out of brass instruments*

  23. Iris Chen says:

    I thought the title meant that he plays horribly not with actual trash

  24. Stethan says:

    oh I read the title as "musician playing viola"

  25. Caitlin Humphries says:

    Bro I want the gun violin

  26. wiggly fruit says:

    I know his music is bad isnt it

  27. Schmebuloc McSchmebuloc says:

    I died when he started playing the pencil 😂

  28. hehe _ says:


  29. Tomato Tom says:


  30. MrStarry86 says:

    he reminds me of Fallout

  31. Balatikak Senyum says:

    Can it djent

  32. Kpooper Things says:

    This is literally what my grandpa did when he was a 7 year old kid, he had a rich uncle. Once my grandpa saw his uncle eating crabs and other Yu stuff and he was standing in the doorway stomach growling but his uncle threw a rock at him and shooed him away. My grandpa was really really really poor back then. He wanted to play instruments but didnt have money, his mom couldn’t afford instruments or lessons so he made some out of random junk. Mainly string and woodwind instrument s

  33. Amazing Havlect / ABFDie says:

    That is literally trash (in a good way)

  34. Liam Keary says:

    One mans trash is another mans treasure

  35. Liam Keary says:

    One question……… mayonase an instrument

  36. Narasimhan Iyer says:

    This guy and Marie Kondo would make a good team :p

  37. Uncle Merlin says:

    Me: gimme the speaker cable
    Friend: you better not play trash dude

  38. Oh Boi says:

    I’m gonna be honest the title is me in a nutshell

  39. Nicholas Wheeler says:

    Did anybody else get an ad before this video for apple and t mobile that was playing last rites by megadeth?

  40. Raja says:

    You know what else has a neck, a head and a body? A pe-

  41. Rameshwar Kharwa says:

    One day all this instruments will be kept in museum

  42. oopsiee says:

    patrick : is mayonnise is an instrument?

  43. Hugo Zuidweg Redondo says:

    Friend: What instrument do you play?

    Me: Well, it’s complicated…

  44. HPD1171 says:

    "i am attracted to trash" you must be a violist by heart.

  45. Nero • says:

    I thought they said the guy played like… Bad music lol

  46. Gamehedgehog says:

    Omg this is so trash, it’s complete garbage…

  47. I says:

    It's not surprising I found this video looking for viola jokes

  48. Edge Gaming says:


  49. maya says:

    “what can i say, i’m attracted to trash, idk why”


  50. Youmana Al lawendy says:

    is mayonnaise an instrument

  51. Elena Vianca says:


  52. RYAN DO3S STUFF says:

    Why am I not one of the instruments in this video!
    I’m trash!

  53. Heru- deshet says:

    Wonder what he could do with a pair of waders?

  54. Ланс Аперкот says:

    Guitar from machine gun. He can play and shoot at the same time. Thats cool.

  55. Omkar Gharat says:

    Person: you are crazy.

    Me: keeps an axe head over my neck and starts playing with the strings.

  56. Retro Plus says:

    I love that, it's so awesome. I'm right on board with this.

  57. Joe Rodriguez says:

    This is old hat. Comes from the hillbillies

  58. Sam, I guess says:

    Steampunk I hear?

  59. Bethlehem Eisenhour says:

    I would throw away the guns..

  60. Bobspineable says:

    Them: You better not play trash
    Him: I do

  61. David Berquist says:

    The swamp drivers are alike home made insyerments

  62. MarioMan says:

    Friend: excuse me, you're playing complete trash!
    me: thank you. How kind of you

  63. Webical says:

    Was expecting to see Jinbao horns. But still wasn't disappointed.

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