The Art of the Double Neck Cigar Box Guitar (Pt. 2)

If one neck is awesome, two necks are even better!  We continue our weekly double-neck cigar box guitar feature with this great build from 2010 by Cigar Box Nation member, Phil Delpierre.  It features a diddley bow neck that was made with two dowel rods (similar to John Lowe’s Lowebow cigar box guitars) and a three string neck on the other.  Note the curled forks which serve as trapese tailpieces.  Continue reading “The Art of the Double Neck Cigar Box Guitar (Pt. 2)”

Vintage Homemade Bass & Lap Steel [the Legacy of Our Instruments]

both

 

I recently purchased this Beatle bass and mahogany lap steel guitar from two different sources.  I got them because I have a fascination with homemade instruments, cigar box and otherwise.  These two are prime examples of a person wanting a very specific instrument to play and then taking it upon themselves to build their own.

The tragedy of this story is that neither builder signed their work. Continue reading “Vintage Homemade Bass & Lap Steel [the Legacy of Our Instruments]”

Junk Pickin’ and Dumpster Diving for Cigar Box Guitar Parts

junkin

The art of the junkyard pick…

The beauty of rusty things…

These make up some of the most exciting parts of cigar box guitar building.  It’s not just about putting a stick through a box.  No, it can be a lot more, especially when you challenge yourself to use as many discarded materials as possible.

Ben Baker has spent a lot of time combing the junk shops and strange alleyways, looking for inspiration.  He’s written a great two-part series on junking and guitar building:

Gitty’s Guide to Junkin’ and Pickin’ for Cigar Box Guitar Building

The Fascinating World of Ed Stilley’s Guitars

In the pantheon of great guitar makers, Ed Stilley’s work stands alone like a castaway on its own musical island. Imperfect, bizarre and some even un-tunable to the modern equal temperament scale, his crudely made stringed instruments would make the most adventurous guitar collector shudder. Continue reading “The Fascinating World of Ed Stilley’s Guitars”

Henry Wood’s Cigar Box Violin – 1940’s Historical Account

From A Sawdust Heart: My Vaudeville Life in Medicine and Tent Shows – by Henry Wood as told to Michael Fedo:

Near the end of the book, Henry Wood talks about performing in the famous WLS Barn Dance in Wisconsin back in the 1940’s. As master at the musical saw, Wood went on to describe the act he created for the Barn Dance:

“Sometimes Mr. Statz would tell the audience that I’d taken over everything in the barn — cowbells, pitchforks, tin cans, milk pails, saws and chains to make music with, and there were no tools left for work. He said he fixed me. He’d lock them all up.

Well, I’d go into the audience and see if anybody had a cigar box. We’d have a plant there ho did, and I’d borrow the box and cut a hole in the top. I’d get a broom handle and attach it, then string a wire across the whole. I’d snatch a violin bow from one of the fellows int he band, and I’d play that one-string fiddle while Mr. Statz would try to make his announcements.

It always brought down the house, or more accurately, the tent or barn. When he’d grab my fiddle and break it, the band would start in and I’d still have the stage, doing a comic jig or buck-and-wing dance. ”