Everything Cigar Box Guitar – How to Build, How to Play, News & More

Cigar Box InstrumentsWelcome to CigarBoxGuitar.com, the headquarters of all things related to Cigar Box Guitars and the homemade/handmade music revolution! 

Here are some handy links to help you find what you need on this site:

World War I Trench Cello Played for the First Time

Trench Art Cello

World War I Trench Art Cello recently strung and played for the first time. Photo courtesy of the BBC (www.bbc.com).

During the dark days in the trenches of World War I, soldiers created all sorts of amazing pieces of “trench art” to help pass the time. Shell casings, empty cartridges, gas cans and all other sorts of military garbage were crafted into sometimes amazing works of art, from ash trays to lamp stands, drinking glasses, vases and more. Some photo evidence suggests that the humble cigar box guitar also made appearances in the trenches of Europe. (For more info on the subject of trench art in general, check out the Wikipedia page here).

This story recently appeared on the BBC web page about one particular piece of trench art, a cello crafted from a metal gas can. As the story goes, it was built by a British soldier during World War I and was never played… until now. Check out the full article (click this link or the photo to the left) for more of this great homemade/handmade musical instrument’s story.

New Historical Patent Posted – Double-necked Dulcimer from 1880

Click the image above to view the knowledgebase post and full PDF of this historic patent.

Click the image above to view the knowledgebase post and full PDF of this historic patent.

Here is the latest cool old U. S. Patent we found to share with you – #223318 from way back in 1880!

This one shows a double-necked Appalachian-style dulcimer, with a rectangular sound box, which was granted a patent in 1880.

Believe it or not, this style of dulcimer actually played a roll in rural courtship rituals… do you know how? Check out the knowledgebase post to find out!

Want to try your hand at building your own dulcimer out of cigar boxes? Check out this post where dulcimer-whiz Diane shows you how!

Learn to play “Cocaine Blues” on the Cigar Box Ukulele

Click the image above to view the ukulele lesson entry in the knowledgebase!

Click the image above to view the ukulele lesson!

The latest video how-to lesson from One-hand Dan walks you through playing the classic blues song “Cocaine Blues”, in the style of Townes Van Zandt. This is the fourth in the series of ukulele how-to play vids Dan has done, and we’re glad to be able to host them here on CigarBoxGuitar.com!

In other cigar box ukulele news, we have been busy adding some new cigar box (and other custom) ukulele models to the lineup of finished instruments over at the C. B. Gitty store. Click here to check them out!

Historical Musical Instruments Patents Series – From game-changing inventions to just-plain-cool oddities

Patent - 1923 - US1446758 - Gibson Truss Rod Screen ShotWe have just posted the first in what will be a lengthy series of historical U. S. musical instrument patents. In this series we will feature historically significant inventions (the innaugral post is what we believe to be the first adjustable guitar truss rod, awarded to Gibson in 1923), as well as other interesting, inspirational or oddball musical inventions from the last 150 or so years.

Our hope is that cigar box guitar builders and other homemade & handmade instrument crafters will find these patents useful and even inspirational. We often find that looking at what has been done in the past can be a great starting point for coming up with new innovations.

We hope you enjoy this new feature of the CigarBoxGuitar.com knowledgebase!

Ho Hey by The Lumineers – New Cigar Box Ukulele lesson from One-hand Dan

60-008-01 Product Image 3In this new video lesson from One-hand Dan Russell, he shows you how to play the popular modern song “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers. Only four basic chords (C, F, Am and G) are needed, so this is a great one to try if you are just getting started on the ukulele.

Click here or on the photo to the left to go to the knowledgebase entry for this great lesson!

Ever wanted to know how to build a One-string Cigar Box Violin?

W. C. Fields and his one-string Cigar Box Violin

Click the image above to view the knowledgebase post.

One-string cigar box violins/fiddles played a big role in early vaudeville performances, and if you’ve ever thought about building one, here’s your chance! We just added a new entry to the “Historic Plans” section of the knoweldgebase – a great old magazine article from 1948 showing you how to build a simple one-string cigar box violin.

We even included a link to a video post over on Cigar Box Nation where you can see W. C. Fields making quite a todo over playing one of these instruments.


How to build Shane Speal’s Mailbox Resonator Guitar/Dobro

Shane Speal may be King of the Cigar Box Guitar, but he doesn’t just stop there – he has built and collected an amazing variety of crazy homemade instruments. In the article linked below, he walks you through how he built a dobro (resonator guitar) using a cheap metal mailbox. I’ve seen him play this monster on stage and it really has a great sound, so if you have been looking for something cool and different to build, click the image below and check it out!

Click the image above to see the full article on ShaneSpeal.com

Click the image above to see the full article on ShaneSpeal.com

New Cigar Box Guitar History Section – Historic Plans

Click on the image above to view the Historic Plans knowledgebase category.

Click on the image above to view the Historic Plans knowledgebase category.

We have created a new knowledgebase category here on the site, specifically dedicated to historic plans for building cigar box guitars, ukuleles and other homemade instruments. These vintage plans from long-forgotten publications helped keep the do-it-yourself instrument hobby alive through the years, and without them who knows if we’d have a modern cigar box guitar revival!

Click here or on the image to the right to check out the category. We will be adding many more entries in the near future, so be sure to check back often. And if you know of any such plans, be sure to let us know!

New Cigar Box Guitar History section – Historic Photos

World War I Homemade InstrumentsWe’ve just added a new category to the Cigar Box Guitar History section of the knowledgebase here on CigarBoxGuitar.com – historic photos! In this section we will archive a range of historic photos and illustrations showing not only cigar box guitars but also other homemade/handmade instruments.

If you have or know of any such photos, be sure to send them to us or send us a link of where we can find them!

New Tablature for Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir by Guest Contributor Ben “Uke” Rouse

Click the image above to view the knowledgebase article for this tablature.

Click the image above to view the knowledgebase article for this tablature.

A few days ago we shared an awesome video of UK-based Ben “Uke” Rouse playing Led Zeppelin’s classic song “Kashmir” on a 3-string cigar box guitar. Well after a huge hue and outcry, Ben has worked out tablature for his arrangement, so that now you can try your hand at it too!

Ben has been a professional ukulele player and mandolinist in the UK for years, and only recently (VERY recently – he first picked up a CBG only a couple of days before creating the Kashmir video). You can find out more about Ben here on his FaceBook page.

We’re very happy to feature this here on CigarBoxGuitar.com, and hope to be presenting more of Ben’s tab arrangements soon.