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Ronnie James Dio ‘Devil Horns’ Guitar Commissioned for 2021 Bloodstock

Ronnie James Dio ‘Devil Horns’ Guitar Commissioned for 2021 Bloodstock

The Bloodstock festival has already paid tribute to metal icon Ronnie James Dio in the past with a stage named after him for their annual music weekend, but for this year’s event fans will also be able to check out a specially commissioned guitar paying tribute to Dio with the instrument mirroring the look of his famous “devil horns” gesture.

The instrument was the creation of artist and musician Oliver Andrew who goes by the name Cynosure, and he spoke with Music Radar about the instrument, one of two new pieces he created for this year with the other being a Jimi Hendrix “Purple Haze”-inspired instrument.

Photo credit: Cynosure

Every year, Bloodstock has hosted a bespoke RAM art gallery curated by festival founder Paul Raymond Gregory and he reached out to Cynosure for the specially commissioned instruments to display. Given that last year’s festival had to be pushed due to the pandemic, there will actually be four new guitars from Cynosure on display with the creator choosing to keep the other two a mystery.

“Paul [Raymond Gregory] and I had a back and forth about things, but I guess everything came down to what Ronnie James Dio was really known for, and essentially the guitar is a 3-D carved representation of the iconic hand gesture which he helped popularize,” stated Cynosure to Music Radar.

When asked about the challenge of making the instrument, he replied, “It was a pain in the bloody arse! Ha ha! It was exceptionally difficult, but we could not think of anything more iconic and synonymous with Dio. It’s instantly recognizable. If you walk into a gallery and see this guitar on the wall, you don’t need to be close to recognize what it is. But in terms of playability and ergonomics, it was a complete pain!”

He later added, “It does look somewhat like a Fender Stratocaster but with two hollow sides, the spaces between the wood and the metal. That allows for a lot of the other creative aspects of the guitar. For instance, the volume control and the input jack are actually on the side of the ‘wrist’, I guess you would call it, not where you would expect on regular guitars.”

The creator continued, “Ronnie was very well known for the contrasting elements within his music, heaven and hell for instance, these polar opposites, and that’s something that’s represented in this design. It’s a very simple set up. One pick-up, one volume, that’s it! But it’s a show-piece. It’s something that’s made to be played onstage. The humbucker, the tuners and the bridge are rainbow colored. It’s slightly garish but not too much! So it’s all very contrasting and there’s no other guitar like this in the entire world!”

Photo credit: Cynosure

The 2021 Bloodstock Festival is set to take place Aug. 11-15 at Catton Hall & Park in Walton-on-Trent in Derbyshire, England. This year’s lineup includes Judas Priest, Devin Townsend, Kreator, cradle of Filth, Skindred, Saxon and many more. Get ticketing info here.

To see more of Cynosure’s guitar work, head here and learn more about the Jimi Hendrix guitar he created for Bloodstock at this location..

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