The team at Blocks, the monthly LEGO magazine for fans, knows the LEGO Group’s history of sets like the back of our hands. Of course, as writers, it’s clear music is sometimes the antidote to the clacking of computer keys and bitter silence – if it doesn’t distract you or cause you to tap your feet. Combining the LEGO hobby with an interest in music is a perfect match, something the LEGO Group has been leaning into in recent years.
What does it take to make the perfect musical LEGO set aimed at the 18+ audience? Ample detail and a well-paced building experience that you can jam to is ideal. Take note, musicians and music lovers – these three music-related sets will have you singing their praises.
21329 Fender Stratocaster
There’s something about strumming that pulls at your heart strings. The famed Fender Stratocaster has been played by a slew of master guitarists – Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Randy Bachman to name a few. The ‘first Strat hero’, Buddy Holly, popularised the guitar after appearing on the Ed Sullivan show in 1957. He even has a visual of the guitar engraved on his tombstone.
21329 Fender Stratocaster may lack some of the star power – we don’t think George Harrison and John Lennon had matching copies of this LEGO set – but it’s nonetheless a fantastic work of art. The set includes the beloved Stratocaster Guitar, a Princeton Reverb amp with chips and a massive speaker build inside, a foot pedal to add uniqueness to every number, and a simple guitar stand. The reverb amp and foot pedal are static, though their accurate detail and interesting techniques make these more than just a box and a mini build. There are even pieces to choose between building a red or black guitar body.
For something a little more ‘electric’ (don’t worry, we’ll stage dive ourselves out) the Fender Stratocaster itself is a sure-fire way to start a conversation. Using advanced studs on the side building techniques, long LEGO strings and a fabric shoulder strap, it’s a pretty model that you can actually ‘play’, though it is silent. The strings can be strummed and the ‘tuning pegs’ can be tightened by turning the studs. Finish it off with LEGO rubber tubing to represent real wires – and an included sticker large enough to put on a real Fender Stratocaster – and you’ve got a masterpiece made from 1,074 pieces.
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10312 Jazz Club
Do you like jazz? This long studied and often spontaneous genre of music has a massive amount of history behind it. From its early roots in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana to the advent of vocal scatting, soloing and improvisation, jazz music was quick to influence music as a whole. The genre has been the basis of many films, including Disney/Pixar’s Soul, The Fabulous Baker Boys, La La Land, Whiplash, Born to be Blue … the ‘lick’ goes on.
10312 Jazz Club is the perfect place to enjoy a slice of pizza and a drink while watching a jazz ensemble or quartet rule the stage. There’s a patterned floor, several seats, studs to place chairs and LEGO minifigures on, and tiny wall lamps indicative of early to mid-20th century. The platform in the back is shrouded in curtains and bathed in stage lights, but the venue feels much smaller and cosier than a cold auditorium. The limited interior space may be owed to the modular building construction style, but it works exceptionally well here.
This set uses 2,899 pieces, including the beautiful marquees and that gorgeous neon sign. They’re just one instance of how the set bursts with colour and style without resorting to complicated prints … let alone stickers. When you’re done with the show, you can visit the pizzeria, travel to the tailor’s, or even journey to the rooftop greenhouse. Once retired, this set won’t just be a modular building lover’s prize – it’ll be desired by jazz fans across the world for decades.
31204 Elvis Presley ‘The King’
Ah, Elvis Presley – The King of Rock and Roll – in the plastic. His singing talent and daringly provocative dancing style turned him into a gyration sensation. Elvis upended the music world and even starred in 31 films (of varying quality) – King Creole, Jailhouse Rock, and Flaming Star to name a few. His untimely passing at just 42 rocked the world harder than any ballad.
Despite this LEGO set’s early retirement, 31204 Elvis Presley ‘The King’ reigns supreme. One key factor is the ability to combine three separate boxes of the set for a larger art piece. In a single box, you’ll find 3,445 pieces waiting to be turned into the musical monarch’s portrait. In three boxes, you can construct a tall, vertical masterwork of him strumming on his acoustic guitar. Hail to the king, baby.
The building process is identical to any of the other early art sets – you place 256 1×1 round tiles on a baseplate, then repeat nine times. It’s monotonous to some, but to others, it’s the perfect opportunity to put on some Elvis hits and destress. It may have vanished from retail stores at this point, but it can still be found online in third-party marketplaces and potentially in independent LEGO stores. If you’re a rock and roll fanatic, only a few other singers deserve a place on your mantle.