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Instrument of Murder

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Nothing says evil like a flame-throwing banjo!

"I forgot to mention that when Burroughs plays a requiem, it is always for my enemies. Never for me."
Kanae Otori, Full Metal Daemon Muramasa

So you're an assassin who is also a musician. Unfortunately, you cannot kill people with the power of your music alone, and you're not a Musical Assassin. So what are you going to do? Why, have a musical instrument that doubles as a deadly weapon of course. A step up from Senseless Violins, with no danger of your weapon being discovered if anyone opens your case.

This trope covers weapons hidden in musical instruments. For people that use normal instruments as weapons, see Improbable Weapon User (or Improvised Weapon if it is not a usual occurrence). For assassins who kill their targets with music, see Musical Assassin. For weapons used as instruments, see Instrumental Weapon. See Xylophone Gag for instruments rigged to kill the player. Sort of the evil counterpart to Signature Instrument.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Jiro in the Android Kikaider: The Animation OVA "The Boy Who Carried a Guitar: Kikaider Vs. Inazuman" has a guitar that acts as a machine gun. He can also play it as an instrument and incapacitate people.
  • Blade of the Immortal: The ridiculously skilled Makie Otono-Tachibana, who specializes in Waif-Fu, wields a double-bladed three-section-staff called Haru-no-Okina concealed in a hollowed-out shamisen, a mandolin-like Japanese instrument which she is able to play when not slicing and dicing her enemies.
  • Hagi in Blood+ borders on this trope. He regularly uses his cello case as a weapon/shield. The cello itself is only used to perform music. One does have to wonder how it hasn't been smashed to pieces inside his case though.
  • Genkaku the Hypermonk from Deadman Wonderland has a guitar that can split into a pair of machine guns. Or, alternately, it turns into a gun capable of punching head-sized holes through people. Take your pick.
  • Shoutmon, the headliner Digimon in Digimon Fusion, wields a giant microphone like a bo staff.
  • Zeref's Lullaby demon flute in Fairy Tail, as well as Vidaldus' guitar.
  • FLCL:
    • Haruko wields a pull-string-ignition bass guitar. It can also blast doors in half with some kind of firearm function. It's more a question of what Haruko can't do with her guitar.
    • In the final episode, after absorbing Atomsk's power, Naota dual-wields his own Flying V with Atmosk's Gibson EB-0 1961 Model Bass Guitar.
  • Gintama: The character Kawakami Bansai can use the strings from his shamisen to restrain people.
  • The blade concealed within a Japanese string instrument was popularized by the titular 1969 manga character, Hunter Oryuu, an assassin disguised as a traveling musician. She is better known for her Jidaigeki adaptation from the same year, Female Assassin Hanakasa Oryuu.
  • One villain in Kaiketsu Zorro hides a rifle inside his guitar, which he plays a few notes on moments before shooting his targets.
  • In Kiba, Roya's spirit Afkarel shoots lasers out of her harp.
  • Chandra Sijiema from Mobile Fighter G Gundam has a blade hidden in his flute, which he attempts to use against Domon Kasshu to eliminate him before their scheduled Gundam Fight match.
  • One Piece:
    • The chancellor of Alabasta also uses a firearm/saxophone as his weapon of choice.
    • Caesar Clown use a pair of "Gastanets," castanets that produce sparks when clicked to detonate his explosive gas.
    • Benten of the Oniwabanshu wields a biwa with a gun hidden inside it.
  • Pretty Cure series:
    • Yes! Pretty Cure 5: Cure Lemonade's Symphony Set is a castanet that gives her an upgraded attack.
    • Fresh Pretty Cure!:
      • Cure Pine plays her Cure Stick like a flute when she activates her attack.
      • Cure Passion's weapon is a small heart-shaped harp.
    • HeartCatch Pretty Cure!: Cure Sunshine's weapon is a sun-shaped tambourine that fires a sunflower magic attack.
    • Suite Pretty Cure ♪: Cure Beat's weapon is the Love Guitar Rod. It has two modes; the Guitar Mode, on which Cure Beat uses the Love Guitar Rod as a normal guitar to dispel attacks or protect people from them, and the Soul Rod Mode, on which she uses it to amplify harmony energy and unleash a powerful purification attack.
    • HappinessCharge Pretty Cure!: Cure Fortune's second weapon is a star-shaped tambourine.
    • Go! Princess Pretty Cure: Cure Scarlet plays a violin to summon her Phoenix Blaze attack.
  • Nagisa, of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, wields a trumpet that can blow out a stream of bubbles. It's surprisingly quite effective, with the bubbles apparently possessing concussive force.
  • M.M. in Reborn! (2004) uses vibrations from her clarinet to microwave and melt things. In a pinch, she can also hit people with it.
  • In Saint Seiya, the Asgardian God Warrior Benetnasch Eta Mime, wears a Cloth reminiscent of a harp. As such, he is prone to laying down Razor Floss around the environment as traps, as well as send them flying towards his opponents to entangle them. Note that his harp's strings are strong, and sharp enough, to crack and cut through solid rock, as well as Bronze Cloths and the very human skin of the Saints wearing them.
  • Samurai Champloo: In the first part 'Hellhounds for Hire' Jin is disguised as a woman carrying a biwa (a traditional Japanese instrument similar to a guitar). When asked to play a song on it, he pulls his katana from the neck and reveals that he is actually a samurai. He also happened to have smoke bombs hidden in the body of the instrument.
  • Shattered Angels has one of these in the form of the Mana Buster, a modified cello that provides fire support during the final showdown.
  • Carol’s signature weapon in Symphogear is the harp relic Daurdabla, most often used in the form of a Faust robe. While transformed its primary power is to conjure harp strings that can bind her enemies, work as Razor Floss, and even form solid constructs. On top of that, it has harp-like mechanical wings that can play themselves to magnify her Elemental Powers.
  • The anime adaptation of Tokyo Mew Mew redesigned the Mew Mews' weapons (which were much more plain-looking in the manga) to make them look like musical instruments. Mew Ichigo has a bell that fires energy blasts, Mew Mint has a bow that kinda looks like a lyre, Mew Lettuce has a pair of castanets that shoot water, Mew Pudding has tambourines that encase a target in jello, and Mew Zakuro has a handle that resembles a flute and turns into a cross with an energy whip.
  • Midvalley the Hornfreak in Trigun is mostly a Musical Assassin who tears it up with sound waves from his saxophone, but it's also a complicated firearm that he eventually used to commit suicide... not by shooting himself with it, but by playing it after the B-flat got shot out. It blows up.
  • In the anime adaptation of the light novel Trinity Blood the Rosenkreuz Orden builds a weapon known as the Silent Noise system, an earthquake device that's apparently controlled via a pipe organ and a series of bells. The massive sonic vibrations reek untold destruction in Barcelona where they first tested the weapon before sneaking it into the Vatican for the Pope's uncle Alfonso d'Este to destroy all of Rome.

    Comic Books 
  • Cacofonix in Asterix uses his ordinary lyre as a blunt instrument whenever he fights, be it in a village brawl or combat with the Romans.
    • In his case, this is arguably less cruel than playing it at them.
    • On a different note, he can also make it rain when he sings in later issues of the comic.
  • Batman:
    • While doing a Jack Benny homage, the Joker uses a violin bow with a razor blade instead of a string.
    • One-shot villain the Maestro (Batman #149) uses a number of gimmicked instruments, including a harp that shoots arrows and horns that fire bullets.
  • In Black Canary #6, Bonfire — the guitarist in Bo M — attempts to barbecue Dinah with a flamethrower hidden in her guitar during a battle of the bands.
  • The Dazzler villain Johnny Guitar wields an electric guitar that fires sonic blasts. He has a partner in Dr. Sax, and you can probably figure out the rest on your own.
  • The Minstrel, one-time foe of Doll Man, who wielded a flame-throwing banjo.
  • The Fiddler, a Golden Age The Flash villain, was primarily a Musical Assassin. However, he would occasionally use gimmicked violins containing blades or guns.
  • Brazil once had a superhero, Golden Guitar, who used a gizmo-filled electric guitar to fight crime.
  • The golden age Green Lantern foe named the Harlequin had a weighted mandolin that served as a club (and a vaulting pole!).
  • One Justice Society of America foe (from All Star Comics #38) masqueraded as Nero and carried a fiddle that spewed strangling gas.
  • In Lori Lovecraft: Back to the Garden, Elston Gunn uses an electric guitar that fires blasts of eldritch energy to attempt to kill Lori.
  • The preferred weapon of Minstrel Maverick, a Western character from DC Comics, was a reinforced guitar that he used to whack owlhoots.
  • Musical intruments are typically used in Spanish comic book Mortadelo y Filemón as improvised weapons. In its first story, El Sulfato Atómico, they use a trombone to silence an enemy.
  • Although seldom used as a weapon in the comic, Captain Clarinet's clarinet from PS238 does possess a number of combat functions, chief among them being that it's made from the metal from his father Argo's (a Captain Ersatz of Superman) spaceship, making it nearly indestructible.
  • The Simping Detective: Jack Point used an electric guitar to kill raptors. Justified in that loud noises are the only thing they are vulnerable to.
  • Spyboy: Yoma Ma - a villain on Spygirl's TV show - uses his violin to fire bows like arrows.
  • 'Superman: In one of his early appearances, the Prankster used a miniature gun concealed in a playful-looking flute.

    Comic Strips 
  • Spy vs. Spy sometimes has weapons disguised as instruments.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders: When attacking the Gotham Palace, the Joker uses an electric guitar that fires entangling streamers that tie up the audience.
  • In Coonskin, Sonny uses a machine gun disguised as a banjo to try and kill B'rer Rabbit. He only succeeds in wounding B'rer Bear and dies after being run off the road by Rabbit.
  • Despicable Me 3: Balthazar Bratt has a keytar that produces powerful sonic blasts that blow the victim away—literally.
  • At the climax of Rock and Rule Omar uses his curiously-shaped, futuristic guitar as an axe to severe the power cables of Mok's machine.
  • In The Spongebob Squarepants Movie, Spongebob uses a laser-shooting electric guitar to destroy the citizens' mind control helmets - and he plays a pretty damn catchy Triumphant Reprise of the Goofy Goober song while he's at it!
  • In Trolls: World Tour, the Rock Trolls use shooting guitars to fight the other Troll tribes, although not to kill.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Matt Helm movie The Ambushers. An assassin tries to kill Matt with maracas that have built-in guns.
  • In Amusement, The Laugh kills Rob using a metal scope Victrola that fires a dart out of its horn once the tune finishes playing.
  • El Chinchinero, one of the Carnival of Killers in Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman, is a One-Man Band who uses guns concealed in his bass drum.
  • The Blind Man in Circle of Iron has a staff/walking stick that is also a flute. And he fights with it. It has its limitations, though, as he once remarks, "It's hard to kill a horse with a flute!"
  • The City of Lost Children has a music box that controls a circus flea, making it inject its host with a nerve agent. The affected person then turns violent and attempts to kill whoever they happen to be with.
  • Mudy from Comic 8 has a guitar that doubles as a machine gun, and the case doubles as a bazooka.
  • The magical lyre of death in Deadful Melody, which can cause massive qi explosions, overload its victims with insane amounts of qi energy and remove heads, arms and limbs. The sheer existence of the instrument can destroy the world of martial arts, and Snow’s parents – its guardians – considers it a forbidden weapon that must be kept sealed, and never be used. It’s final and most powerful attack, the "Heavenly Dragon Eight Notes", can utterly wipe out an army in under a minute, as Snow demonstrates in the climax by unleashing the lyre’s full power.
  • Demon of the Lute: True to it's title, the eponymous lute houses a dangerous demon that can destroy the world. Whomever wields the lute can gain access to the demon's powers. Most of the film revolves around the heroes' efdorts to destroy it before the demon can be unleashed.
  • Downplayed in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, where Edgin the Bard occasionally uses his lute to bonk his enemies over the head. Supplementary material reveals that his lute has been reinforced, presumably to enable this purpose, also explaining why it hasn't shattered to pieces after a few uses. However, Edgin himself is a Non-Action Guy who prefers to let his buddies do the fighting for him, so it seems the intent was to only ever be for use in a last-ditch emergency.
  • In Evil Roy Slade, Bing Bell has a guitar which also doubles as a gun.
  • The Fastest Guitar Alive, a humorous Western from 1967, stars Roy Orbison (!) who wields a guitar/rifle.
  • In the movie The Forbidden Kingdom, Golden Sparrow has throwing blades disguised as the tuning pegs of her pipa.
  • The mastermind in Holmes & Watson plots to assassinate Queen Victoria with a bomb concealed in a kettle drum.
  • In Home Sweet Home, Jay mangles Mistake's electric guitar and portable power supply, and electrocutes him with them. It is the most well lit night scene in the entire film.
  • In The Invincible Fist, Southern Geese Peng Yun-chiang, who uses a pipa as his weapon. The instrument's strings are made of Razor Floss and it contains hidden projectile launchers on it's front.
  • James Bond:
    • In Casino Royale (1967), Ursula Andress uses the old machine-gun-in-the-bagpipes trick.
    • The Living Daylights featured a boom box built by Q, which had a built-in rocket launcher.
      Q: Something we're making for the Americans. It's called a Ghetto Blaster!
    • The World Is Not Enough had a bagpipe flamethrower being tested in Q's lab.
      Bond: I guess we all have to pay the piper sometimes.
      Q: Oh, pipe down, 007!
  • In John Wick: Chapter 2, the violinist assassin attacks John with a gun hidden in her violin.
  • During the final showdown in Light The Fuse... Sartana Is Coming, Sartana calmly waits for the bad guys by playing a pipe-organ in the middle of the dusty street. When the bad guys appear, he pulls some levers in the organ which reveal machine guns, a GATLING GUN and A FRIGGIN' CANNON. And the pipe-organ is a fully functional instrument. Holy crap.
  • In Mad Max: Fury Road, Immortan Joe's in-movie soundtrack provider the Doof Warrior plays a double-necked electric guitar that has a built-in flamethrower. He mostly uses it just for spectacle, but in the final battle it does end up getting used as a serious weapon.
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie: More like "Instrument of Destruction": When Ivan Ooze says to Zordon, "It's time... to pay the piper," Ooze takes out his piping flute and plays a bit like a literal piper before using the flute's electric powers to damage the entire Command Center and weaken Zordon to a withering mortal.
  • One of the assassins in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation has a rifle disguised as a bass flute.
  • The Mariachi from Once Upon a Time in Mexico used a guitar that doubled as an assault rifle and grenade launcher in the opening shootout/flashback. The narrator freely admits that the details have been... embellished. "Just read between the lines." The character himself doesn't actually have one, instead using the old "guns concealed in a guitar case" trick. His friends both have weapons disguised as guitar cases, specifically a flamethrower and a remote-controlled car with a bomb.
  • In Our Man Flint, Gila tries to murder Flint with a poison dart fired from a harp that she uses like a bow.
  • The Pink Panther Strikes Again. An assassin uses a blowpipe disguised as a clarinet (or possibly uses a clarinet as a blowpipe, the movie isn't clear).
  • The wuxia fantasy film Portrait In Crystal has a high-level assassin who wields a pipa made of human bones. When played, unfortunate victims within vicinity ends up collapsing and frothing from their mouths, unless their qi level is high enough to resist its power.
  • The Ray Gun that Riff Raff shoots Frank with in The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again is also a guitar.
  • Banjo in the western Sabata hides a repeater rifle inside his, well, banjo.
  • Sivaji: The Boss: During the "Athiradi" song, Sivaji's guitar case falls to the side, then rotates and opens, the guitar pulled towards him as if by telekinesis. Sivaji strums a few chords and blasts away two groups of thugs by firing from the guitar, sets the guitar on the ground in front of the remaining thug, and kicks it at him. And dances.
  • The killer in Slumber Party Massacre II film uses an electric guitar infused with a power drill.
  • Temple of the Red Lotus: The eponymous Lute (actually a guqin i.e. zither) from The Sword and the Lute counts, being an enchanted weapon that can fire poisoned needles from it's front upon being played. Gui-wu in an early scene notably uses this lute to kill ten mooks who tries robbing him in seconds.
  • The Town That Dreaded Sundown has a particularly infamous kill which involves the Phantom stabbing a woman to death using a bayonet attached to a trombone. He plays it to make the blade go in and out of her.
  • Amongst the weirdness in Wild Zero are katanas hidden in the necks of the band Guitar Wolf's guitars, and guitar picks thrown like shuriken.
  • The massacre at the end of the first Wishmaster film has a pianist attacked by his own piano, which rips his head off with its wires.

  • In Joe Abercrombie's Best Served Cold, the main characters hire a band of thugs who pose as musicians. One of the thugs has his lute built around an axe, on the theory that the lute will break on impact, leaving only the axe in his hands. It almost works, but he gets so tangled in the wreckage that he's unable to pull it free from his first victim to defend himself. He dies.
  • One of the possible solutions to the murder suggested in Death in the Clouds is that a flute had been used as a blowgun to launch the dart. It wasn't.
  • In the Fables novel Peter and Max, Peter Piper ends up killing his evil brother Max Piper, the Pied Piper of Hamelin with a magic flute. It was made of a giant's finger bone and very sharp — his brother was gloating and off his guard, and Peter stabbed him.
  • The end of Friday the 13th: Carnival Of Maniacs has Jason going on a rampage at a music video recording he was being used as a prop in while comatose. He kills one of the band members by throwing a cymbal with enough force to slit the guy's throat.
  • Indexing: Mentioned when a magically created thought of using a flute to kill people crosses a Pied Piper's mind. It's supposed to be a Musical Assassin, but she hasn't internalized her power yet:
    If I had my flute, I'd show them, she thought viciously, and froze, trying to figure out where the thought had come from. Show them what? How to play "Hot Cross Buns" one-handed? A flute wasn't a good blunt instrument, and it was an even worse lock pick.
  • The Erich Zahn violin in The Laundry Files. "This machine kills demons" indeed. In fact, it takes extreme skill and luck (and often costs sanity) to limit its killing to just demons, as it actually is one itself.
  • The novel Mothstorm by Philip Reeve has hostile aliens whose primary weapons seem to be sedative-tipped darts blown from things that are consistently described as looking like bagpipes.
  • One of Samuel R. Delany's Nova protagonists has senso-syrinx, a complex futuristic instrument capable of projecting holographic images, complete with sound and odours. The thing is, it includes a laser to create holograms, has a very sharp focus and runs on near-inexhaustible batteries. As the bad guys learn the hard way, with its maximum output focused on a person, it can knock them out with horrible stench, blow their eardrums out and not only blind them with a laser, but set them ablaze.
  • In the Phryne Fisher mystery The Green Mill Murder, the mute in a cornet is used as a blowgun.
  • In Star Trek novels (building on background material from the Original Series films), the Andorians often carry a flabjellah - a combination sidearm and musical instrument.
  • In Star Wars Legends, Mandalorian instruments can often double as these. Their idea of a flute has a sword blade attached.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Eaglebones Falconhawk and his brother Eagleclaw from The Aquabats! Super Show! duel against each other with guitars that shoot lasers.
  • One enemy agent in The Avengers (1960s) has a clarinet with a blade that slides out of the bell when the right key is pressed. He uses it twice: once to kill a fellow he catches trying to steal the MacGuffin, and once in an unsuccessful fight with Steed... who remarks that the instrument probably plays "sharp".
  • The CSI: NY episode "Stuck on You" has a member of a girl band use the handle of a guitar to smash a victim's throat, crushing his larynx so that he couldn't breathe.
  • The Cactus monster's guitar also shoots like a rifle in episode 20 of Dai Sentai Goggle Five.
  • Doctor Who:
  • An episode of Friday The 13th: The Series features a cursed violin. The violin itself isn't used as a weapon, but the blade hidden in the bow certainly is.
  • Game of Thrones: After using his trusty horn for the purposes of psychological assault during the past few episodes, Ramsay repurposes it for physical assault in "The Bear and The Maiden Fair" by hitting Theon in the face with it hard enough to knock him to the floor.
  • Get Smart has a gun hidden in a violin, and a double-barreled flute that acts as an airgun.
  • The Goodies: In the episode "The Stolen Musicians", the Goodies use a euphonium as a cannon, only to be outgunned by the Music Master's pipe organ that doubles as a multi-barreled artillery piece, but are saved when the symphony orchestra arrives shooting bows from their violins.
  • The villainous Basco from Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger has a trumpet that when played with Ranger Keyes inside, can summon those keys as mindless evil copies of those rangers. The trumpet is also capable of stealing the Ultimate Power from past Sentai who carry it.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • All of the Riders in Kamen Rider Hibiki use these. Hibiki straps a taiko drum to the monsters and proceeds to beat them to death with taiko drumsticks (and even without the drum, the drumsticks can shoot fireballs). Todoroki uses an electric guitar that doubles as an ax. Ibuki has a gun that can transform — by shifting the parts around — into a trumpet. Ibuki's actually works in reverse from normal: he uses the gun to implant bullets in the Monster of the Week (who is naturally Immune to Bullets) then switches to the trumpet to create a resonance that blows it up. It can get fairly silly with some of the minor Oni Riders, who use weaponized tubas and triangles.
    • The Kamen Rider 555 Hyper Battle DVD had the Faiz Sounder, a boombox that transformed into a powerful sonic cannon. This was the winning contest entry Toei had for a new weapon for Faiz, which like all other weapons in the show, was based on a real-world object.
  • Luke Cage (2016): Maria kills Cottonmouth with a microphone stand.
  • Midsomer Murders: The first Victim of the Week in "The Curse of the Ninth" is a violinist who is strangled with one of his own violin strings. The second is a violist who has the strings of his viola covered in powered strychnine, causing him to inhale a lethal dose as he plays.
  • In the M.I. High episode "The Visit", the enemy spies use an alpine horn that spews knockout gas.
  • Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries: "The Green Mill Murder" (adapted from the Literature example above) has the mute in a cornet used as a blowgun.
  • One sketch of The Muppet Show features a performance of the William Tell Overture that ends with the cellist firing the bow from his cello to shoot an apple off Beauregard's head.
  • An early Murder, She Wrote episode, "Death to a Jazz Beat", offers an inversion; a jazz clarinetist who's planning on firing his back-up band before signing a huge recording contract is murdered by a poisoned clarinet reed.
  • Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger has the Ninjamisen, a Swiss-Army Weapon that functions as a gun, a rock guitar, a shamisen and a means of summoning Revolver Mammoth for giant battles.
  • Raising Hope: Burt uses a guitar as a club to take out Smokey Floyd.
  • Robin Hood: Will makes these as part of a plan to break into the castle in "For England..!", including a dart-shooting flute and a lyre that conceals a bow for Robin. Each outlaw gets a weaponized instrument except for Little John, who gets... bells. Just regular bells. Not even the big bells you can use to hit people, no, just tiny, cutesy bells. So he promptly tacks them on the top of the staff he regularly wields.
  • Spider-Man (Japan): Goh Tachibana carries around a guitar with a gun hidden inside.
  • Victorious: In the short film that the group of friends made in "The Slap Fight", Robbie's character has one: a violin with a knife hidden in it, or a "stab-olin."
  • A sketch of You're Skitting Me has a girl attempting to return a recorder that acts as a blowgun. In the end, the store swaps it for one that fires a disintegrator ray.

  • The video for "Mr. Spock" by Nerf Herder has Linus shoot a beam from his guitar and kill a Red Shirt.

  • Scoring during certain Super Feature modes in Aerosmith prompts an animation of one of the band's members firing shots from his guitar.

  • Jetjammer: The turtle bartender of the Spicy Tuba also has a tuba on display, which you must never ask him to play. Because when he does, he activates the flamethrower inside.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Any tabletop RPG with rules covering the use of Improvised Weapon allows this. As long as you don't mind breaking the instrument you're using.
  • The Bard class in Dungeons & Dragons qualifies as a variety; while they aren't using the instrument itself as a weapon (although certain rule interpretations can allow for this), the instrument acts much the same as a Wizard's spell catalyst or a Cleric's holy symbol as a tool with which they cast their magic, meaning that any offensive spells they cast are caused by the instrument they use.
  • In Silver Age Sentinels, Feedback is a rock star turned superhero who wields a guitar that focuses his powers into energy blasts.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Noise Marines can do this. If blasting the enemy with The Power of Rock doesn't work, they can simply beat the enemy to death with their daemonic, spiky guitars and superhuman strength.
    • The Sisters of Battle have the Exorcist tank, a mobile church organ on a tank chassis that plays inspiring hymns and shoots missiles at enemies.
  • Practitioners of the Silver-Voiced Nightingale Style in Exalted can use the Weapon-Tuning Resonance Charm to attune weapons to the style, so long as the weapon in question has “harmonic qualities.” For example, a sword crafted out of chimes, or a bow equipped with flute-toned arrows.

    Video Games 
  • During one mission in Assassin's Creed: Revelations Ezio and the other Assassins pretend to be minstrels to infiltrate a party and protect Prince Suleiman from Byzantine killers. Towards the end, one of them charges Suleiman, but Ezio breaks his lute in half and stabs the killer in the heart with the handle.
  • Lyude in Baten Kaitos uses a weird trumpet/gun as his weapon. His Magnus cards reveal that it's actually a weapon specifically designed for use by assassins. No comment on why the Honor Before Reason party member is using it.
  • The first Bayonetta featured an item called the Magic Flute, which looks like a golden conch shell that used to be played by the mythical Sirens and can be used by the titular character for a powerful Area of Effect attack. In the first game Affinity angels can also sometimes drop Exclusive Enemy Equipment Trumpets that are actually a Wave-Motion Gun, and in the sequel Acceptance angels sometimes drop Harps that are actually bows that fire a Rain of Arrows.
  • In Brütal Legend all magic is powered by kickass guitar shreds. All factions have a character who is a guitarist, and who uses that guitar to rain fire and lightning on their foes and inspire their friends to new badass feats. It should be said that Brutal Legend is set in a universe which has '80s metal album covers instead of physics.
  • One boss in Castle Crashers plays a pipe organ with cannons for pipes.
  • The titular band in Charlie Murder each uses their instruments in their special attacks or to give themselves and teammates a temporary stat boost by strumming a chord, banging on the drums or screaming into a microphone.
  • In Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, one of the coolest available weapons is Nevan, a guitar that shoots lightning, controls bats, and turns into a scythe.
  • Big Bad Lord Fredrik in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze uses a magical Viking war horn that can change in size in order to fire various Abnormal Ammo such as balls of ice with enemies inside them and ice dragons, including a gigantic ice dragon that freezes DK Island in the opening cutscene.
  • Aliciaconda from Dusty Revenge, one of the bosses, uses a flute as her weapon. Which she can use as a flamethrower and a Blow Gun.
  • The Hero from Ephemeral Fantasia has a sword hidden in a guitar.
  • A couple of characters in Eternal Sonata use musical weapons, such as a clarinet/gun/mallet and a fencing rapier shaped like a conductor's baton.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV Archers are promoted to Bards upon reaching Level 30, gaining Magic Music but retaining their archery skills. Their high level (Relic and Anima) weapons are either bows with a harp/lyre built into it... or a very large harp that doubles as a bow. note 
  • Gaia Crusaders have a recurring enemy in the China stage; ladies playing an erhu which can summon fireballs at you.
  • I-No of Guilty Gear uses a shapeshifting electric guitar. She can either smash people with it or create cacophonic sounds to defeat her opponents.
  • Rocketbilly Redcadillac's electricity-shooting guitar from Gungrave: Overdose. The artbook says its name is "B.L. 20,000V". ("Blue Lightning 20,000V"). Made by the Electrigger Company! Despite being weak with melee fighting, Billy can do a little dance that causes his guitar to spin around him, bludgeoning mooks.
  • Heidelberg 1693 has zombie musicians whose violins can fire projectiles shaped like musical notes. Which damages you on contact.
  • In Heroes of the Storm, E.T.C. (Elite Tauren Chieftain) is a Musical Assassin that wields a guitar that doubles as an axe as his primary weapon.
  • In Hyrule Warriors, Marin from The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening attacks enemies using the Sea Lily's Bell, and proves just as ludicrously lethal with it as the other warriors are with legitimate weapons.
  • Will from Illusion of Gaia bonks enemies on the head with his flute.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Equipping Xigbar with the Mystery Gear in 358/2 Days makes him wield a pair of trumpets in the stead of his Arrowguns. They shoot musical notes, accompanied by the appropriate sound effects.
    • In both Kingdom Hearts II and 358/2 Days, Demyx uses a weaponized sitar in conjunction with his power over water.
    • In Birth By Sleep, the Symphony Master is an early-game boss that uses a drum, a trumpet, and a violin as Attack Drones with sound-based attacks and increasingly Turns Red as each is destroyed.
  • Some of the ranged weapons in Kingdom of Loathing are musical instruments that double as weapons. Also, the Stolen Accordion is the default weapon of KoL's bard class, the Accordion Thief. The Accordion Thief also has singing as a basic attack.
  • There was an old Christian-themed computer game called Knights Of Virtue which featured among its weapons the "trump of fire" and "trump of lightning", a pair of trumpets that, if pointed at your enemy and played, wouldn't make a note (just a "ffffff" noise like someone blowing into a tube, fancy that), but would rain down fire or lightning on them.
  • Almost all of the main villains in Lollipop Chainsaw are Musical Assassins, but Lewis Legend also wields a guitar with a built-in machine gun.
  • Kaph's guitar doubles as a gun in Luminous Arc 2.
  • In Mabinogi, one of the weapons you can have is a lute with spikes on it, useful both for hitting enemies with and casting Magic Music. There's also Sadie, the Breeze Witch, uses a trumpet as a weapon. It's surprisingly effective.
  • In Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story, Tsukasa Amane primarily fights by enhancing herself with her Magic Music and then hitting her opponent with her flute.
  • The AI Weapons in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker are primitive Vocaloids put into big, heavily-armed tanks.
  • Orc bards in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor carry around a playable lute but with an axe blade attached on the side.
  • Suzume in Mini Ninjas uses her flute both as a close combat weapon and an improvised boat paddle.
  • Monster Hunter 2 (dos) introduces the Hunting Horn weapon type, which can be used as a large club in addition to allowing a Hunter to buff himself and his party members.
  • NetHack features the Frost Horn, the Fire Horn, and the Earthquake Drum. Yes, they're Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Kimmy Howell of No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle has a flute that turns into a double-ended Laser Blade.
  • A rare weapon in Nuclear Throne is Fish's Guitar, which is about as strong as a sledgehammer but has fast reload speed, making it one of the better melee weapons in the game. It can only be found at the camp site if you loop as Fish or as a default weapon in the Weekly Run.
  • In Ōkami, Waka has a flute that turns into a Laser Blade.
  • In Ōkamiden, Kurow has two Laser Blades in his flute. He only uses them after he does his Face–Heel Turn, though.
  • Bards and their more powerful counterparts in Ragnarok Online fight with their musical instruments. What doesn't entirely make sense is how they manage to throw/shoot arrows (depending on the skill) by swinging it at their opponents. They can also be Musical Assassins by spamming songs, but it takes more effort, mana, and time.
  • Motochika Chokosabe from Samurai Warriors 2/ Warriors Orochi 2 rocks out on his shamisen to attack.
  • In Shadow Hearts: From The New World, the last party member you acquire is a Mariachi with an arsenal in his guitar. Shotgun, flamethrower, multiple rocket launcher rack, machine gun... all packed into a single guitar which, oddly enough, still sounds just as sweet. Clearly based out of the Mariachi from Once Upon a Time in Mexico.
  • Implied in Shin Megami Tensei I, where the three strongest 'sword' weapons are a violin, a trumpet, and a bell.
  • Somewhere on the border between this and Senseless Violins, there's a brief cutscene in Shogun: Total War that shows a ninja assassinating his target with a poison dart blown out of a flute.
  • Skullgirls:
    • Big Band takes this trope to a whole new level. All of his attacks are based on band instruments ranging from standard drums to wind instruments and even firing missiles modeled after trumpet mutes.
    • Eliza's weapon of choice (aside from her parasite Sekhmet) is a microphone stand that doubles as a Sinister Scythe.
  • Melody of Smashmuck Champions uses her keytar. Her playing is so infamously loud it causes sonic waves, has literally brought several houses down, and once woke up the dead. (Said dead is now trying to date her.)
  • DJ Octavio of Splatoon pilots a (usually floating) weapons platform that is operated by (wasabi-spun) turntables.
  • The Engineer in Team Fortress 2 has the Frontier Justice's "Dischord" taunt, where he pulls out his guitar, plays a chord, and then smashes the area in front of him. If an enemy player is within range, they will get killed and the corpse of said enemy will have their head pounded into their chest.
  • One of the power-ups in Total Overdose are two guitars that act like machine guns, in a clear homage to the Once Upon a Time in Mexico example above.
  • One of Rockstar Bonnie's kill quotes in Ultimate Custom Night states that he's going to impale you with his guitar.
  • The Arcanite Ripper of World of Warcraft fame is an axe that doubles as a guitar.
  • The second boss of Zool is an electric guitar that rains fireballs on you. You also face violins that shoot their fiddles at you.

    Web Animation 
  • In Helluva Boss, Millie ends Asmodeus' musical number by smacking Fizzarolli over the head with her husband's guitar. She then gives the instrument back to him to finish his love song.
  • Homestar Runner: One of the selling points of Strong Bad's "monster truck" (read: The Cheat stuck in a tire) rally is Strong Mad smashing Marzipan's guitar over Homestar's head...who is oddly okay with it.

    Web Comics 
  • In Girl Genius, Sleipnir O'Hara has the 'Hot Pipes', a set of bagpipes that shoot fire.
  • Penk in Guilded Age uses his drum as a weapon. Wav can also use his keytar in combat, at least against the Eldritch Abomination summoned by cultists, since its form is disrupted by rhythmic harmonies.
  • Keychain of Creation has the deathknight Resonance Ben, who just recently upgraded to an entire band.
  • Telv's steel-plated banjo from Planescape Survival Guide.
  • In one Skullkickers side story there's a whole band of those. Axe blades in a lute, hidden sword in a flute, harp doubles as a bow, and hurdy gurdy is a flamethrower.
  • Soul Symphony: Enemies in Charlie's Soul World literally fight by swinging microphones and electric guitars around.

    Web Original 
  • The Ongoing Saga of Fritz the Unfortunate follows a troupe of musicians who all wield these.
  • SCP-298 is a pipe organ, believed to be from around 1400 (as it has no stop controls, which is consistent with organs made before 1450) which, when played, causes the audiences' blood to expel itself slowly from the body, while taking on a solid appearance and amazing elastic properties, until 47 seconds after playing is stopped, when it returns to its more fluid state. This will usually kill everyone in the audience apart from a two-metre radius around the console. This appears to be sonic in nature, as people who can't hear it don't seem to be affected. If the organ is used for parts, some of its properties can spread to other organs.
  • Survival of the Fittest had Isabel Guerra making a shiv out of a trumpet and broken piece of glass. It's called Partario.

    Western Animation 
  • In Adventure Time, Marceline the Vampire Queen has a bass-guitar shaped like an axe. It tends to get used like a guitar, though, which is not to say it hasn't been involved in ass-kicking.
    • If her father is to be believed, the instrument started life as an axe and was turned into a bass-guitar later.
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Triangle", Leslie tries to sabotage Darwin's slide-whistle solo by using a dart gun disguised as a flute.
  • The Music Meister from Batman: The Brave and the Bold had a smoke-spewing pipe organ he used to cover his escape and laser-firing microphones that formed part of his Death Trap. In fact, any weapons he had followed this theme.
    • And in "Night of the Batmen!", the Vigilante has a guitar that doubles as a rifle.
    • In "Powerless!", the Scottish Joker in the Jokers of Many Nations has a set of bagpipes that fires missiles.
  • Bob's Burgers: Banjo from the Spaghetti Western that Bob and Gene watch in "Spaghetti Western and Meatballs" has a banjo that shoots bullets.
  • Danny Phantom: "Fanning The Flames" has a melee fight between Danny and Ember in which the former uses a microphone stand while the latter uses her guitar.
    • Ember McLain's guitar in Danny Phantom had many different functions, one of those being the ability to produce energy blasts.
  • The King from Darkwing Duck has a guitar that fires destructive energy beams.
  • Duck Dodgers brings in Dave Mustaine to help fight the Martians' Smooth Jazz dreadnought. When the Martians try to attack the band, they find out that Dave's guitar has a built-in laser cannon.
  • Grojband: In "Dreamreaver", Grojband confronts a dream version of themselves inside Trina's mind. Dream-Corey uses his guitar as a lance on a dirt bike, Dream-Kin's keytar fires energy blasts, and Dream-Kon's drums create earthquakes.
  • The Inspector Gadget episode "A Star is Lost" has a dart-shooting piano and an electrified harp in MAD's music studio.
  • Dr Agon uses a laser trumpet in the first episode in Lavender Castle.
  • The Cosmic Guitar from Loonatics Unleashed which, amongst its other powers, could fire energy blasts.
  • In the Miraculous Ladybug episode "Guitar Villain", Guitar Villain wields a guitar that fires devastating sonic blasts. It can also make people dance.
    • Volpina has a flute that creates illusions. These powers are based on that of the Fox Miraculous, which also comes with an illusion-casting flute.
  • Quick Draw McGraw, in his occasional disguise as the masked vigilante El Kabong, would whack his opponents on the head with a guitar.
  • The Regular Show episode "Trash Boat" had former rockstar The Urge, a time traveller who used an electric guitar that could shoot energy beams in order to kill Rigby (who changed his name to Trash Boat, which ended up killing The Urge's fame). After Rigby changes his name back, another musician time travels to the past and kills The Urge with his own instrument of murder. This repeats ad infinitum as more and more rockstars enter the scene and kill each other.
  • Rick and Morty featured a minor villain named Concerto who used a giant piano to execute his victims.
  • In Samurai Jack, the bounty hunter Jujunga uses a blowgun disguised as a workable flute; he lures a victim close with his music before using it to ambush with.
  • In the Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get A Clue! episode "Operation Dog and Hippie Boy", the evil hippie robot Groovy Don carries a laser beam firing guitar.
  • In the Silly Symphonies short "Music Land" the Land of Symphony shoots weaponized musical notes out of giant cannon-like organ pipes and the Isle of Jazz does the same with brass and woodwind instruments. The notes impact like small cannonballs.
  • In SilverHawks, Bluegrass wielded a sonic blaster guitar as a weapon while his Evil Counterpart Melodia had a keytar that fired laser blasts shaped liked musical staves. Got a Shout-Out in the Galaxy Rangers ep "Battle of the Bandits" where the Rangers and a pack of Slaverlords started firing their "modified" guitars at one another.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Homer of Seville", Homer's stalker Julia uses a blowgun concealed in a conductor's baton.
  • Total DramaRama: In "Robo Teacher", Harold makes a blowgun out of a recorder; which doesn't help in the slightest against the aforementioned Robo Teacher.
  • Transformers: Animated's version of Soundwave has an electric guitar that turned into his attack bird Laserbeak. At least until Prime used him as an axe. (Sorry!) While some examples of this trope can look rather silly, most fans agree that this is the version of Soundwave that is, aesthetically at least, the most awesome.
    • Soundwave also has a keytar that transforms into Ratbat. Both Laserbeak and Ratbat can be used as sonic weaponry, and Ratbat can also be used to produce Mind-Control Music.
  • Simon Bar Sinister, a principal adversary to Underdog, built a weather machine modeled closely after a pipe organ. Each key on its keyboard could lose some kind of weather phenomenon, including typhoons and earthquakes. However, early tests of the device tended to wreck Simon's laboratory first, so he and Cad Lackey hijacked a moon rocket to install the device on Earth's airless satellite.

    Real Life 
  • The shakuhachi (Zen bamboo flute) of Japan; initially it was just a normal flute, no military applications attached. However, when the samurai that normally used it became unemployed and unable to use their swords by law, they beefed the flute up to be strong enough to be used as a club, thus becoming their main weapon of defense.
  • A sufficiently hard instrument case works as a decent Improvised Weapon, if you're not too worried about the instrument inside - it hurts plenty to be hit in the head with a flute case.
  • And then there's the 1812 Overture. No less than 16 cannon shots are written in that piece. Possibly an inversion, as a weapon is used as an instrument instead of the other way around.
  • Gene Simmons' bass looks like an axe. Unfortunately, it's only functional as a bass.
  • The shawm (an ancestor of the oboe) was used as a weapon from time to time.
  • An unspecified spy service apparently at least once modified a flute to fire a single pistol round. The instrument was still fully functional for musical purposes.
  • This is an Invoked Trope for some military weapons, due to their many rows of barrels resembling an organ's pipes, leading to the weapons being referred to as such:
    • The Katyusha, the original Soviet MRLS artillery piece, was nicknamed "Stalin's Organ" by the Wehrmacht.
    • The "Organ gun", also known as Ribauldequin or infernal machine, was an early form of field artillery. Its name derives from its appearances - several small-calibre barrels placed in a row, which were then fired in lethal volleys. It also appears in Medieval II: Total War and Warhammer.
    • Some Allied World War II tanks carried a similar rocket array, certain models of which were dubbed "calliope" in certain areas.
  • Inverted with the escopetarra, where an assault rifle is converted to a harmless musical instrument.
  • Marcelo Fabian Pecollo, a Argentinian music teacher who was released from prison early after being convicted of child molestation was fatally beaten with his own trumpet after an Angry Mob of his victims' parents confronted him in a church where he was playing the trumpet.
  • The ancient Chinese musician Gao Jianli was a skilled zhu player who gained entrance to the court of then-king Qin Shi Huangdi. After the king found out he was a former friend of Jing Ke, an assassin who had nearly killed him, he was blinded but allowed to stay on as a court musician. He bided his time until the king let his guard down, then filled his instrument with lead and tried to assassinate him with it. He failed and was executed.


Video Example(s):



The leanan sidge pledges her aid to Dante after he defeats her, transforming into an electricity-slinging bat-summoning electric guitar/scythe.

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