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. ”

Awesome Classical Cigar Box Guitar Album Reviewed

Captain Nemoff Cigar Box Guitar Album

Check out the review of this amazing album by cigar box guitar virtuoso Captain Nemoff. If features a range of Classical-style instrumental songs arranged for and performed on cigar box guitars and other homemade instruments. Shane Speal has this to say in his review: “ In my honest opinion, this is one of the greatest cigar box guitar albums in the history of the modern movement.  Not only is Nemoff an incredible guitarist with one foot in the classical tradition, but he’s also got one foot firmly in the cigar box guitar ethos… mixing lo-fi acoustic and electric tones brilliantly in each piece.  My heart is overjoyed as I listen to this album.”

Click here or on the image above to read the full review on CigarBoxNation.com and get the direct CDBaby preview/purchase link. This album needs to be in your cigar box guitar library!

Beatles “Come Together” on Cigar Box Guitar

Another in our series of responses to the question of “So what can you really play on one of them things”, we present the Blues Doctor Stacy Mitchhart and his band belting out a rocking rendition of the classic Beatles’ song Come Together.

[fbvideo link=”https://www.facebook.com/cigarboxnation/videos/10153223230973163/” width=”500″ height=”400″ onlyvideo=”1″]

Shane Speal – Seduced Into Crafting: My Life as a Sound Searcher

Shane Speal was recently invited by the business community of York PA to deliver a PechaKucha* speech on the art of crafting.  He used the opportunity to express how the cigar box guitar changed his life.


Source:  York:Crafted, a series of events featuring brief lectures on what it means to be a craftsman in York, PA.

*PechaKucha speech format allots for 20 slides/20 seconds per slide.

York:Crafted official Facebook


CAROUSEL uke kit

Meet Shane Speal, King of the Cigar Box Guitar

11428153_373708422839127_374176738_oWe just added a new entry to the library, an article telling the story of the man who is largely responsible for the existence of the modern cigar box guitar movement.

Shane Speal started building cigar box guitars in 1993, and from that time has been tirelessly promoting the instrument, performing onstage with them, and creating online communities to help people discover the instrument and start building their own. He took the title “King of the Cigar Box Guitar” back when such a title seemed full of irony – who would want to be the king of such a crazy, primitive, mostly forgotten instrument?

This article by Glenn Watt re-introduces Shane Speal to those who may never have heard of him. For 22 years he has been building, playing, and preaching cigar box guitars.

Click the image or link above to view the full article.

Patriotic Songs for Memorial Day Weekend

memorial-day-clip-art-4Did you know that we have a collection of Patriotic and other “Americana” song tablature in our knowledgebase library?

For the one-string canjo, we have My Country ‘Tis of Thee.

For 3-string Cigar Box Guitars (tuned to Open G GDG), we have America’s anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, arranged by Glenn Watt.

As an added bonus, we have Woodie Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land, a classic folk song celebrating the wide expanse of America’s beauty.

Have a happy Memorial Day weekend!