Gitty’s Guide to Junking and Picking for Cigar Box Guitar Building (and more!)

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.

Part 1 of Gitty’s Guide to Junkin’ and Pickin’ for Cigar Box Guitar Building

Part 2 of Gitty’s Guide to Junkin’ and Pickin’ for Cigar Box Guitar Building

We’ll be adding more good info to the Sourcing Materials category in the future, so be sure to check back!

The Simplicity of the Cigar Box Guitar

by Glenn Watt

It’s the feel of your favorite bathrobe with a hot cup of coffee steaming in your hand on a morning when you can take your time to get your day going.

It’s the feel of a cold can of your go-to beer, the pop of the top, the condensation wetting your hand before sitting down in your chair to watch your favorite team for the afternoon.

It’s your old dog, faithful and loving, sitting next to you, waiting with loyal eyes to heed your every word.

The situations are all comfortable. Simple. They feel timeless, and like they are all your own.

These are things we seek to find stability and joy, reliability, and mastery.

Your cigar box guitar can provide for you these same things.

Creating something from what appears to be nothing is an impressive accomplishment. When that something can make music, well then it turns magnificent.

Your cigar box guitar can give you untold happiness

There is an undeniable nostalgia in re-purposing goods that seem to have lost value. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Creating something from what appears to be nothing is a beautiful accomplishment. When that something can make music, well then it turns magnificent.

However, building your cigar box guitar doesn’t have to involve using a tarnished, bent and twisted, old spoon as a tailpiece or a neck made from a privateer shipwreck. Parts for a guitar can easily all be purchased, some even pre-built. This is exceptionally handy when you have a modest supply of tools and a developing skill set.

The key is to make use of and develop whatever skills and tools you already have

The joy in the pure nature of the cigar box guitar can get lost with unrealistic expectations and standards. Don’t compare your skills, craftsmanship, or tools to what someone else has or has done. There are always going to be people further along the timeline of experience than you. And whatever tools and skills they have, have come over the course of time and possibly many builds.

To find the highest satisfaction in being a builder, develop these three skills

  1. Humility. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are terrific online communities and groups chock full of people who are glad to lend a hand. There is nothing wrong with not knowing how to get started or how to overcome a particular obstacle. Everyone began with their first build. So will you if you haven’t already.
  2. Acceptance. You will make mistakes. Embrace them. Each mistake you make, as small or as large as it may be, is an opportunity…no, an obligation for you to learn. Some of the greatest CBG designs that you can find have been born of a mistake turned into something positive.
  3. Gratitude. Be appreciative of the time you have to build, to explore, to create. Give thanks to those that will help you. It’s easy to gripe about not having enough time, not having the “right” tools, and having too much of the dreaded lack of know-how. It’s easy to fly off the handle if you scratch your pristine cigar box with a drill bit or drill a hole in the wrong place. It can be much more difficult to practice gratitude, but developing this tool will ensure continued growth and success as a builder.

These simple skills are imperative to a fulfilling experience.

So enjoy that hot cup of coffee in the morning while looking over your build. Hell, go ahead and build in your bathrobe.

Sit in your chair with your cigar box guitar and feel the instrument in your hands. Feel the weight of in build, the gravity of the situation. This is your creation. This product of your imagination produces music with your attention.

Care for your CBG. Keep it safe in its own place and in sight. Your cigar box guitar will wait for you, faithfully, to coax out of it the music you were meant to play.

It’s a simple thing. Find your enjoyment in its simplicity.

Glenn Watt is a maker of simple things. Join him in celebrating the cigar box guitar at glennwatt.com