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Escopetarras were invented in 2003 by a Colombian peace activist named César López. At a gathering after the El Nogal Club bombing in Bogotá, he noticed a soldier holding a gun like a guitar and got the idea for it. The first escopetarra in 2003 was made from a Winchester rifle and a Stratocaster electric guitar.
López made five escopetarras, four of which were given to Colombian musician Juanes, Argentine musician Fito Páez, the United Nations Development Program, and the city government of Bogotá, while one was kept for himself. Juanes later sold his escopetarra for US$17,000 at a Beverly Hills fundraiser held to help victims of anti-personnel mines, while the escopetarra given to the UN was exhibited at the June 2006 of the UN Conference on Disarmament.
In 2006, López got 12 more decommissioned AK-47s from Colombia's peace commissioner's office. After they are turned into guitars, he plans to give them to popular musicians such as Shakira, Carlos Santana, and Paul McCartney, as well as political figures such as the Dalai Lama. However, a member of the Dalai Lama's staff rejected López' offer, saying it is not appropriate to give a weapon as a gift; López has said he will try to explain his purpose more clearly.
- Torrone, Phillip (2006-03-11). "Guitar made from AK-47 - The Escopetarra". MAKE: Technology on Your Time. http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive/2006/03/guitar_made_from_ak47_the_esco.html. Retrieved 2007-01-31.
- Colombian musicians organise online, BBC News, 1 June 2006
- Making music out of menace: A Colombian musician has fashioned guitars out of rifles to help spread a message of peace. Miami Herald, March 7, 2006
- Latorre, Héctor (2006-01-24). "Escopetarras: disparando música". BBC World. http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/spanish/misc/newsid_4644000/4644028.stm. Retrieved 2007-01-31.
- Conte, Gabriel (2006-06-15). "La escopeta transformada en guitarra del músico César López será exhibida en la ONU". Desarme.org. http://www.desarme.org/publique/cgi/cgilua.exe/sys/start.htm?sid=16&infoid=5025. Retrieved 2007-01-31.
- Sites, Kevin (2006-04-24). "Killer Sound". Yahoo! News. http://hotzone.yahoo.com/b/hotzone/blogs3860;_ylt=AtqLBf1cY4xDT9Yr.HLpoSqLFMsF;_ylu=X3oDMTBjM3FjYjBzBHNlYwNibG9nLXN1bQ--. Retrieved 2007-01-31.