Back in the mid 1990’s, Shane Speal played a primary role in the rediscovery of the cigar box guitar. Drawn to their primitive, raw sound and power, and how far removed they were from the main-stream musical establishment scene, he declared the start of the Cigar Box Guitar Revolution.
These days, 20 or so years into the modern CBG revival, people sometimes roll their eyes or scoff a bit when we still refer to this movement as a revolution. I am here to tell you it still is, and I just a reminder of why this morning.
A couple of days ago, I posted a knowledgebase article on Zero Frets, with the goal of introducing cigar box guitar builders to this often overlooked or misunderstood topic. This morning I found in my inbox a comment from a man who is a luthier, and runs a website dedicated to luthiery. I will not name him or his site, that is not the point of this blog post. Suffice to say, it is the sort of site where the subcellular structures of certain strains of Sitka spruce grown in certain soils, and the effects of all of that on tonal quality, are discussed.
His comment on my zero fret article was this, and I quote: “Utterly wrong. Sorry. Indefensibly so. Back to the drawing board.”
Check out the new knowledgebase article here on CigarBoxGuitar.com, in which Ben “C. B. Gitty” Baker explains exactly how to achieve the popular “Open G” GDG tuning on your cigar box guitar.
This tuning is the de facto standard for playing the blues on cigar box guitars, and in this article Gitty walks you through the 4 different ways that you can tune to GDG, and covers the string gauges that you’ll need for each.
Plus there’s a bunch of other good info in there about strings and tunings, to help you start figuring some of it out for yourself!
Cigar Box Guitar enthusiasts have been busily recording original and tribute/cover albums for years, and over at CigarBoxNation.com Dan Sleep has diligently been organizing all of it into a single page of free downloads. In this post we are featuring the tribute album to the Rolling Stones that Cigar Box Nation member “407bug” organized last year.
Like most of the albums organized by CBN members over the years, this one mostly features homemade instruments and a wide range of styles and methods – and did we mention it’s free?
Click here to visit the Cigar Box Nation Free Albums Download Page, then scroll down a little to find the Rolling Stones tribute link. Clicking on the download link will take you to an external site where you can download the ZIP file that holds the MP3s (because of copyright issues the actual tracks can’t be hosted on CigarBoxNation itself).
We have just added a new how-to article by Ben “C. B. Gitty” Baker to our knowledgebase, which deals with the topic of zero frets. Zero frets are sometimes considered an arcane topic by cigar box guitar builders, and in this article Ben tries to demystify them, showing you in simple terms and clear pictures what they are, why to use them and most importantly how to use them.
Glenn is quickly becoming one of the most active and insightful voices of the cigar box guitar and handmade/homemade music movement. His mixture of inspiration and humility, humour and plainly stated how-to information can be useful and instructive for both new builders and veteran CBG-ers.
We have just posted a two-part article to the new Sourcing Materials section of our knowledgebase, in which Ben “C. B. Gitty” Baker shares some of what he has learned about finding great stuff to make cigar box guitars and other homemade/handmade instruments out of. Ben shares with you the sort of rusty gold he looks for, where he looks for it, and how he goes about the art of effective buying.
This is the third year for the Chicago Cigar Box Guitar Festival, and check out that line-up! Click on the poster image below to go to the site where you can get all the info. This festival has quickly grown into one of the best ones in the country. C. B. Gitty is helping to sponsor the event this year, and rumour has it Ben “C. B. Gitty” Baker will be flying out to take part in the festivities. Be there if you can!
We’ve been diligently adding new song tablatures for one-string canjos to our knowledgebase. If you haven’t looked it over lately, you should! If you don’t own a canjo, well you either need to build one or check out the American Canjo Company store page and get one, so you can get busy pickin’!
Take a few minutes and watch the new addition to our knowledgebase here at CigarBoxGuitar.com – a well-done video how-to lesson from CBG Guru Glenn Watt on how you can get started on making your own cigar box guitar fretboards with just a few simple tools!
Ben “C. B. Gitty” Baker was recently called out to do the ALS Ice Bucket challenge. Never one to just pour a bucket of icewater over his own head all willy-nilly, Ben gathered up the C. B. Gitty crew and headed up to the roof of Gitty Mills to sing a little blues and take care of business.
In the next few weeks Ben and the Gitty workshop crew will be making custom guitars from those paint cans, and listing them for sale at $100 each on the C. B. Gitty web store. Half of the proceeds of those guitars will be donated to the ALS Foundation.
If you haven’t seen/heard this yet, you have to check it out. Shane Speal and Aaron Lewis, a member of Shane’s Snake Oil Band, belt out an awesome bluesy version of the King of Pop’s “Billie Jean”. This was recorded at a Pennsylvania public radio station. For more vids and clips of Shane Speal’s Snake Oil Band in action, visit www.ShaneSpeal.com!
CigarBoxNation.com – the home of the Cigar Box Guitar movement on the internet, with over 15,000 members around the world. Talk to other builders, get advice and tips, ask specific how-to questions, view and upload pictures and videos, and generally have fun.