Hi, this is a daily news website about Homemade guitars, Cigar box & 3 string guitars, Cookie tin banjos, and all things made by people like yourself who have decided building and playing homemade instruments is so much more rewarding than buying "name" brand guitars.

Come back often and enjoy reading the new daily stories with your morning coffee or whenever you need a spark of inspiration. I post here almost every day with historic photos and the latest stories of these wonderful homespun instruments.

You can also all add your email to the list and get emailed with the latest stories strait to your email inbox.

Add your email to get News updates on History, stories and all things Cigar Box guitar

Ghost Town Blues Band

I found these guys on you tube and they have that sound for sure!
Have a listen, it is sure to take you back in time.

Sailors Choice ~Cigar Box Guitar Pickup~

I just finished a new artwork that I am finally happy with, this is about the 5th or 6th version, I keep doing them till I get it like I see in my mind, sometimes my mind "isn't so clear" so I have to work it out a few times, But I think this is it.
I will hand etch and engrave this art on top of a few 3 string guitar pickups. It's going to look great on a guitar with and Old Lowe Resonator cone.

Just thought I would share. This is done with a General's charcoal pencil #2 on old stock printer paper.


James "Super Chikan" Johnson

This is the Blues and Homemade guitars! this is what it's "ALL ABOUT"

Watch this new video made by Mississippi Broadcasting about Homemade and cigar box guitar legend "Super Chikan"

He makes all his guitars by hand and this video takes you into his workshop and life, so come along for the ride, there is lots to learn about homemade and handmade Americana watching him! This is a great video man I sure would love to hang out with him for a day....anyone who makes a guitar out of a ceiling fan body is top notch in my book!





James "Super Chikan" Johnson is the real deal. Hes a well known blues musician and entertainer but hes just as well known as a true folk artist from the handmade guitars he creates in his shop behind his house in Clarksdale.
Google

In with the New Crowd

Working on totally redoing  reddogguitars.com , out with the Old in with the New!

It's gonna take awhile as there is a lot of pages, but I am starting to remove the old stuff and older guitars I no longer make and add new guitars and fun art,
come check it out click here reddogguitars.com

The "Original" Snake Oil Band

If ever you see them live, get ready to rock!

This is a 120 year Tin type photo of a Motley Crew from Washington State.

...and check out yours truly with the cigar box guitar-uke thing or whatever it is? He looks like the ring leader for sure.

 I would love to here these guys! That guy on the left with the acoustic has a smirk that is priceless.

Antique "Floridia Straights" Cigar Box Fiddle

Check out this oldie-but-goodie that just came up for sale on ebay. No info is known about it's history, but by looking at the head stock you can tell someone took time into carving it. It even has the homemade bow with it, that's pretty cool!

Here's your history shots of the day


 
 
 


Farmington Art Deco




I was watching a French movie on TCM late one night from the early 1930's, when the credits came on they were absolutely beautiful. I could tell that they were hand writing of some type and not an early typesetting machine, I am not sure how they use to make credits on those early movies,( paint on glass I believe)  but the type on this old French movie was so cool, It was all artisticly hand drawn  with "thicks and thins" in this real Art Deco French style...I guess that's the only way I know to describe it? but when it was actually "in style,"

 anyways I tried to copy from memory that "style" in this art. It was a lot of work, I might use it as an album art or expand            on it at a latter date.

Life of the Party

Looks like this old homemade guitar was just what the party needed!

I found this photo randomly on ebay this morning, I am not sure where it's from or who they are, but someone has made a guitar out of a box of some sort.

I love to find these old photos, it's so fun to stare at people from another time and place and wonder what life was like for them. They look like a happy gang.


Cigar Box Guitar Stop Motion Video

This is the coolest cigar box guitar video I think I have ever seen.


Watch this, you'll love it!

Cigar Box Guitars

I've been in the shop working out new ideas and making lots of new 3 string guitars. I have also been experimenting with homemade and handmade 3 string hartails, Tele-style bridges, bolt on necks and painting them with vintage looks.
  Here are a couple of guitars fresh of the work bench, they are similar guitars to each other but look different....but both provide the same fun and old time tone.

The 1865 Arrows & Talons guitar getting the final work over and set-up.






And here below is a Wild Indian guitar that is really the same as above, only the metal work is different, but it sounds the same, nice full tone and both provide the same fun to play.

 Check out the video to see it,







Nothing beats a cigar box guitar plugged into Pignose amplifier!
  They have such a great sound and it has that true "vintage tone," plus they are cheap and battery powered and you can take them anywhere...I just love them. I still enjoy playing slide guitar thru a high powered vintage amp, but if you are on a budget or looking for something simple, try a Pignose for your cigar box combo pack.


Google

"Higher Ground"

Every so often I see a 3 string guitar performance that just blows me away, and this is one of them.

This video is of a Russian cigar box guitar builder and performer named "Captain Nemoff."

He is both a talented builder as well as player...and how about Stevie Wonder's song played on three string. He has not only broken thru the language barrier, but his playing nailed this song perfectly!

This is a must watch video, It's hard to believe without seeing, this whole song is just one track on a 3 string guitar.


Drummon & Hammet Luthiers

Check out these cigar box guitar builders from Bristol overseas in the United Kingdom. They really have a super cool style and the guitars they make are off the hook!
 
I often get emails from people in Europe who want to build but don't know where to get the parts or boxes. If you are one of those people who want to join the hobby but don't know where to start, these guys are selling full kits with everything and they look and sound terrific, plus you will save a bundle on shipping as they are already over there.
 
Watch this video, you will enjoy it and if you want really cool vintage style cigar box guitar or a kit to make your own be sure and check out the website http://www.drummondandhammett.com/

So, without further adieu.....
 
 

Homemade Resonator Guitars

I have been knee deep in wood shavings in the work shop making Resonator guitars, they seem to be the most rewarding and best "bang for the buck" when you invest your time, and if you are looking for a guitar that needs NO amplifier to enjoy, a Reso-phonic guitar is it!

Watch this video Demo



By far, the best cones you can buy or put on a cigar box guitar are "Old Lowe" cones, they are made by Mike Lowe in Rockwall Texas. The video demo above explains where to buy them and the ends and outs about them...give it a try, build one, they really are super rewarding.

If you are interested in one already built and ready to play ,
 email me at john@reddogguitars.com or just Google Red Dog Guitars

 
Google

Dixie Made New Orleans Homemade guitar

This is from the land where it all started, my hometown New Orleans Louisiana!


 I might be going out on a limb here, but I would say about 90% of all cigar box guitar history has been uncovered on ebay...there is an old saying "keep your ears to the ground" but I would like to 2.0 that saying and update it to a new catch phrase "keep your finger on the Bid button" ....ebay is King for finding history, looking thru attics and garages worldwide from the comfort of you very own home, how can you beat it?

You can't, you can only be outbid!

 I found this guitar on ebay, and the auction said this guitar was found at a yard sale and I emailed the owner and he stated it came from his neighbor who was an elderly black man named Mr. Batiste who made it many years ago and often played the instrument.
 I can tell right away from the neck wear it was well played and that type of wear in the chord area takes many years if not decades. This is an actual playable guitar that he must have provided many hours of enjoyment. I sure would have loved to have hear the builder and owner play it.


 
 


So at least we have a name and a little bit of history to go with this homemade guitar,  it sure is an amazing piece of Americana and Blues history.

Australian Soliders 1918

Check out these Australian Prisoners of War with their homemade cigar box violin instruments found in a local newspaper Down Under by Gary Martin.

I guess the photo says it all, no need to caption this!

Cigar Box Resonator Guitar

This is a 3 string Resophonic guitar I made for my friend Larry. I learned this style from Old Lowe who is also the maker of the cone and cover for the guitar. If you are looking for that real old timey vintage chime when you play Blues guitar, a Resonator is will deliver!

Check out this short video, More Resos to come, I really like the sound of these guitars.




Europe ~Birthpace of the Blues~

OK, I'll put a question mark after that Birthplace ...? ..... Huh?

But really, Termoking has found yet another cigar box or homemade type guitar, I'm unsure? but it's a photo with German World War 1 soldiers playing their trench made tin can bass and guitar. The guitar is clearly a box guitar of some sort. These old photos are so common it kinda seems like they put cigar box guitars on the map.

It's hard to find photos of early Americans with homemade box guitars, I have only a few, but European photos are always being found.
Fest your eyes on this wonderful photo and let it inspire you to get out in your workshop and help keep the tradition alive of making your own musical instruments.

This photo is dated December 1916 with German soldiers.

3 string guitar music



I did this artwork after being inspired by the show "Air Aces" on the Military channel.

I figure it fits best with "Your Patriotic Monday" so here is a song from me and beStillroy,
 of corse I do all the heavy lifting with a 3 string guitar....yep, best stuff on planet earth!

Antique Cigar Box Banjo

Check out this neat piece of Early Americana!
   It's a hand made banjo from a cigar box. I got these photos in an email yesterday from a friend, not much is known about it other than it was found in the Columbus Ohio area.

Judging from the construction it's defiantly a banjo, you can tell by the stick running thru the body and the shape of the headstock that the builder had tried to give it a banjo style and shape. It does look like a Daniel Carter Beard style banjo (who published a Cigar Box Banjo how to in the mid 1880's) and from the 1890's but I am unsure.

I can say that the way the wood on the neck has split due to it drying out over the years takes at least 80 to 100 years so it does appear to have the right age. Even without the proper history to tie to this homemade instrument, one things for sure, it sure is beautiful.
Check it out, this is the real long lost Folk Americana!


Homemade Guitar tuners

Perhaps the biggest riddle with making a homemade guitar that not only plays well, but plays in tune is the tuners themselves. It's a lot of fun to make the whole guitar completely homemade. Building a guitar with home made tuners is challenging but very rewarding. Over the years I have seen it done many ways, from eye bolts to homemade friction pins, zither style pins, homemade crank style tuners....just to name a few.


 BUT, I think guitar builder John Toomey has found a way that not only looks cool but functions well. The metal plate on the head stock appears to be what gives the tuners stability when the bolt is tight against the brass plate, you can be sure it's not moving or slipping out of tune. How rad is that simple concept!


Check this out, the photo explains more than words.  Add this to your "to do" list in the future and if you are ever without access to regular guitar tuners get out in the garage and see what you can create.




In this photo below he has made one of the tuners with a simple Phillips bolt head type with a small hole drilled thru it. It once again metal plate is the stopping point when you tighten the bottom bolt to provide stability, if it went strait into wood, the wood would not "lock" or seat the bolt well as the metal to metal does, and that is what really helps keep this guitar in tune. The possibilities are in in your work shop, look around and see what you can create!

Russian & French soldiers

Lots of homemade stuff at the theater!

This is a photo from 1916. It is of German and Russian prisoners and if you look in the front row you will see 2 homemade guitars and a homemade bass or cello.
 It seems to have been quite common for French soldiers to make their own guitars. I have about 30 different photos from that time period and almost all are from France ...the French love their cigar box and homemade guitars that's for sure!

This photo was found by Termoking of Belgium. He has found about 10 or more of these old photos that I have posted on this site. Every couple of months he digs one up. I can't wait to see what he finds next, I am sure there will be another.

till then check this out...study the front row. It always amazes me when I look closely at the faces that they seem like people I have known or could bump into at the local hardware store or during my daily activities. Even though these people lived a 100 years ago, we have a common bond in music and wanting to enjoy it in life no matter what or where we are!


In the Pines - Where did you sleep last night

This video will brighten your day and change your attitude about what you think you can do. It is really inspiring!

I get countless emails from injured Veterans and older people who tell me that they would love to learn but fear that their disabilities will prevent them from learning how to play a cigar box guitar. This video will show you that you can do ANYTHING you set you mind to.

Not only is this video super duper inspiring, but it is really done well and it's great music.

What an awesome choice for a song. This song is called  "Where did you sleep last night," but is also recorded by many people under the name as "In the Pines,"... from Nirvana to Leadbelly to Justin Johnson. Many great versions are out there, but this is by far the coolest version I have ever seen, and his playing and vocals are off the hook!



Tennessee - Appalachia antique homemade violin

Cigar box Violins seem to have been really common about 80 years ago in the Appalachia region of the United States. Here is another one that I have found photos of on eBay that the seller said came from the Tennessee area.  I am not sure of the exact age of this violin, but the varnish crackle leads me to believe it's about a 100 years old.

These homemade viloins seem to have been super common in the hills and suring area of Appalachia.
The going price for started at $425.00 on eBay, so there is value for these old instruments too.


 
It's hard to tell from these photos, but enlarged you can see that this homemade violin is craved with flowers and designs all through out the body, it's a really neat piece of Americana.


Hand Drawn Art

 
 
 
I am working on new album and website art. These are possible Cigar Box guitar album cover arts.
All this art is hand drawn, I am trying to get rid of all computer art that I use to print with in the past.
 
Computer art to me, doesn't match the homemade and cigar box guitar look and feel, and even though my drawing is somewhat shakey and less than perfect, I have come to accept my limitations and I am happy with just being me. This has taken my whole life to come to this point, I wish I would have learned to accept myself the way I am when I was younger, I would have done better in life in general...but, the past is the past.  Here is my art, less than perfect, but 100 percent all me!
 
Most of my art is done with graphite pencils and I love sharpie pens, but with the pens there is no eraser, so pen art is always far from perfect.
 
There is 5 different albums that are already done and printed with only cigar box music, if you want to hear them they are at this link click here   or email john@reddogguitars.com 
 
 

Cigar Box Guitar Lap Steel

This is really great Country music mixed with BlueGrass on 3 string Lap Steel.

Defiantly someone to put on your radar and research, I will be on the lookout for more of his music to post!

1878 boy with Homemade guitar

These old photos of actual homemade guitars from the 1800's are really hard to find, near impossible, but I managed to dig up one. This photo is of ex-slaves and in the front is a boy with a homemade guitar, the only information that came with the photo was that it was "former slaves and a boy with his homemade guitar" dated 1878.

I am not sure of what the guitar is made of, it looks like a gourd of some type, possible 2 of them put together? But....this is it! this is ground zero for homemade twangy goodness. It's a breath-taking and memorable photo that's for sure, I guarantee you will never forget it.

 

The MeriCAN Canjo Company

Check out these really authentic homemade banjos or "canjos"  and oil can guitars that are made in West Virginia.

 They are all handmade by a really talented builder and family man named Stephen Moore. These instruments have that real twangy southern sound that can bring your music back to the early 1900's.

You can find them here at http://www.whatsacanjo.com/ 



Early 1900's Homemade Cigar Box Violin

Ebay is great for finding long lost history, it is by far the best place to find old handmade and homemade instruments of all types. I am always finding cigar box guitars, violins and banjos that people are pulling down from there attics and closets.

 Heres and old handmade violin made from an old cigar box. I did manage to enlarge the photo and it says "INVINCIBLE" across the front with the added words wrapping around.  "Hand made Sumatra wrapper INVINCIBLE Guarrented Long Havana filter."

It even has a homemade case, also if you look close near the upper bout you can see the bridge tucked up under the instrument. This would be a great instrument to try to restring and play. I bet this could be brought back to life and play as well as when it was made. totally cool picece of Americana!





Real people happy toys!

Yes they are!

My friend and fellow builder Lenny (Daddy Mojo) had his company and guitars covered in a popular Chinese magazine, "Epicur."

 From Google translate: "These handmade instruments are not only carries some American music history, it is a real people happy toy"

Real people happy toys!!





The Cigar Box Player

Today I'd like to share a great cigar box 3 string guitar player with you. I know you will enjoy his music, it's got that country soulful blues that is just wonderful.

His name is David Philips and this song is called  'Right Back." Have a listen, I am sure you'll play it more than once!

Murder Mystery & The Cigar Box Guitar

OK, I know this is a site filled with happiness and uplifting stories, But as in life, sometimes sadness and sorrow creeps in, and this is a sad story.
I spend a lot of my free time searching any and everywhere for stories about homemade guitars, cigar box guitars and blues history, and my search came up with this toady about a young cigar box guitar player who died in the early 1940's.

 I thought it was a sad story but it's history so here I am to share.
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This story was taken in part from The Ledger Newspaper online  March 16th 2014, written by Kevin Bouffard.
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LAKELAND | Ovell Krell remembers her late brother, Owen Smith, as a talented musician who dreamed of fame as a country music artist.
"Owen was a child born very gifted in music," Krell said. "His fondest wish was to go to Nashville for his music."
When their father, an agricultural laborer, couldn't afford to buy Owen a guitar, he made one himself from a cigar box at age 9, Krell said. The brother-sister duo performed at local churches and venues.
Owen learned to play by ear with no formal training, she added. When they went to the local theater to see the latest Gene Autry film, Owen would memorize the music and Krell the lyrics.
Owen's dreams led to his death at age 14 in 1940 at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna.

Krell, now 85, of Lakeland said she thinks Owen died after being severely beaten at the Dozier school following a September 1940 escape attempt, his second in just a few months there. Local officials sent him to Dozier after Owen tried to run away from the family's Auburndale home earlier that year to Nashville, Tenn., still country music's capital city.

Dozier officials told the family they discovered Owen's body under a Marianna woman's home. They told her parents and Krell, then just 12 years old, he died from exposure while hiding there during the escape attempt.
Even at 12 years old, Krell told The Ledger last month, she thought the official story was a lie.




Among the troubling aspects of the official version was that residents of the home where Owen's body was found, even though the escape attempt was months earlier.
The timing of the discovery also raised suspicions.
Krell said she wrote a "stern letter" to the school on behalf of her mother, who was angry at Dozier officials because Owen had not responded to her earlier letters for more than a month.
"By this time, she's getting very, very concerned," Krell added.

The letter informed the superintendent that the parents would be there the following week, Jan. 25, 1941, expecting answers regarding Owen's condition and why he was sent to Dozier.
There was never a juvenile court hearing after Owen was picked up near Tavares while hitchhiking to Nashville, she said, and the parents were never notified their son had been sent to Dozier until after he arrived. Later, they learned Owen was arrested in a car stolen by a Georgia teenager and sent to Dozier from a Tavares jail.

After other boys at her school told of the whippings and severe abuse at Dozier while Owen was there, Krell said she came to think her brother died as a result of the 100 lashes escapees typically got when returned, she said.
His body was probably buried in the school cemetery, she said, then exhumed after the mother's letter arrived and placed underneath the local house. That's why the residents didn't smell anything until the night before the body was "found," according to the official version.

The final Jan. 29, 2010, FDLE report on Dozier noted there were consistent stories on whippings and physical abuse from former residents and some staff, but it concluded there was "no tangible physical evidence to either support or refute the allegations."
Krell was one of the first female officers in the Lakeland Police Department, retiring in 1978 after 22 years. She agreed with many former Dozier residents the FDLE report was a whitewash.
"It was a piss poor investigation," she said.
Krell and others say they hope another investigation being conducted by a team of University of South Florida forensic anthropologists, which exhumed 55 marked and unmarked burial sites at the school, will find that physical evidence.
Her mother never recovered from her grief over Owen's death and battled depression for the rest of her life, Krell said.
And to this day, Krell herself feels "sadness, grief and anger" when thinking about what might have happened to Owen.
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This story was taken in part from The Ledger Newspaper online  March 16th 2014, wriiten by Kevin Bouffard

Andrew Stones' handmade Instruments

Here is a matching set of 4 really beautiful cigar box instruments made by Andrew Stone.

I would love one! The shorter scale length ( or longer Uke scale length in this case) is perfect for backpacking, camping or a day at the park!



The Mother of Invention

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and here is it in action!

This is the real thing, someone who wants to play and make music and has created an instrument with what they have, found objects.

This is a wonderful photo! I don't know anything about the boy, his name or where he is, other than what appears to be maybe Africa. but I sure would love to hear him play his guitar!


 

The Popular Mechanic

Steve Dahm has made possibly the coolest homemade cigar box guitar I have seen in along time. It looks like it was made from schematics out of an old 1950's Popular Mechanic's magazine.
 This is so cool, part Steampunk, part self taught Inventor, "Half Edison-Half Ford."

This homemade cigar box guitar is made by the "Low Budget Luthier" ....and strait up All-American!

Homemade Guitars from World War One

I am not sure where I got this photo from, I had it in a folder in my photos I got awhile back while cruzin' the net, I can't find any info but when I saw it today again for the first time in about a year I was blown away!...this is an awesome photo, I wish I knew more about it. It's breath taking to say the least!



1948 Cigar Box Bass Cello

I found this really cool photo of and old Cigar Box Bass, best part is the fact that it has the info of the person in the photo! This is a super sweet find, sorry about the water marks, its how it was posted online but good enough for us to admire the history.





...and is it me, but how cool is that the news agency was named "ACME" I guess ol' Will E. Coyote would be smiling of he saw this photo!

How to build Homemade Cigar Box Guitars




Are you interested in Building your own homemade guitars, but also making it a great playing guitar the very first time? This DVD will show you everything from A to Z.



 

This is the Ultimate How to Build a Cigar Box Guitar DVD.

From beginner to advanced, everything is completely covered.

Hi my name is John, I have spent well over several hundred hours filming and editing the most complete How to Build a cigar box guitar DVD available. If you would like to take your guitar making not only to the next level but far beyond to get the sound you have always wanted in a cigar box guitar, I will show you how and what to do, everything is covered from start to finish. It doesn't matter if this is your first time, or your 10th.

 This DVD is from A to Z, the complete start to finish with advanced building of cigar box guitars. Full of many secrets that can only be found on a Red Dog Guitar, want to know what the hoopla is all about??? Goggle Red Dog Guitars....listen to them and you will hear why they have a sound that is so iconic and original ...BUT...the best part is you too can build a guitar just like the ones on my website with this DVD.


I will show you how, all the steps completely broken down, from start to finish.

In this DVD you will learn EXACTLY how to construct a Red Dog Cigar Box Guitar...ALL OF THE SECRETS to making the neck and guitar a true tonal machine, what to do about the body, fret-boarding and fretting like a pro, headstocks of all types... BOTH 3 and 4 strings... all of the parts to make a great cigar box guitar and most important, you will learn a deep understanding of all the pickups and various ways of mounting them to get that deep Delta Blues sound you have always wanted....plus a super in depth breakdown of the bridges of many styles and how they change everything.


This is the most in depth and complete How to Build a Cigar Box Guitar DVD ever made and that can ever be made,  Go to you-tube and search "cigar box guitar" and check out many of the great and talented makers and have a listen, then do a comparison and search and see just why Red Dog Guitars has the tone everyone wants....however, this is not a contest, with this DVD you will have all of the secrets to incorporate in your own guitar making, no matter if its your first time, or you want to start a guitar making business or club, this will give you the ability to make really awesome guitars and take them to the next level.


This is not a basic or introductory DVD, but full on ultimate Cigar Box Guitar building... the wood, boxes, deferent styles of necks and so much more is covered for building a great playing full of tone one of a kind guitar.



This DVD is made for standard Television players and is 96 minutes (1&1/2hours) of cigar box building, everything explained, the tools, the parts, the woods, neck heels, paint finishing, fretting, the pickups and so much more is explained, all the mysteries explained in one fun to watch DVD...within it there is a world of unknown tips, tricks and secrets used on Red Dog Guitars that you can use on your guitar to make the ultimate cigar box guitar.

You can order this DVD here by clicking the buy it now button or visit the full website page
click here to view the complete list of cigar box guitar DVDs and CDs




$28.50 USD

shipping worldwide $2.15 USD
28.50+2.15=30.65
yes! anywhere in the world same price, 2.15!

Shipping in the USA (8 to 12 days) First Class Mail
Overseas & Worldwide (14 to 21 days) Stamped "Air-Mail
Questions??? email john@reddogguitars.com

Cause the Rat

I LOVE THIS GUITAR!

I found this online and it had no makers name (other than posted by Cause the Rat.)
The caption said underneath the photo that it "Sounds as nasty as it looks."



I bet it does! that old raunchy vibe with the fretless neck and old guitar parts, he took some of the strings off an old 6 string hardtail and made it into a 3 or 4 string guitar...and those over wound bass pickups do sound really good on cbgs!...yes they do!..you don't have to put them on basses.

 I can tell just by looking at this it will record and play GREAT!

This is a really cool homemade guitar! I can't express how cool this is in words!

(1911) Crooning Prisoner with Home-made guitar, Gives concert; Wins Release

check out this old newspaper clipping I found in a library, its hard to read, so I will re type it here for you to enjoy.

Its from Mobil, Alabama 1911


 
Crooning Prisoner with Home-made guitar, Gives concert; Wins Release


Lots of persons have talked themselves into jail. But this story concerns a chap who sang his way to liberty.
The individual in question is James Edwards, Negro crooner, whose deep basso crooning to the self made strains of a guitar saved his neck from getting thirty days in police court this morning. Was he good?
 The ebony-hued entertainer was arraigned on a charge of fighting, having been arrested in a restaurant on market street early this morning, by Patrolman wright.
  "Ah was just fixin' to play a piece when the officer came and took me" said James addressing the Magistrate as he fondled his guitar, which was decorated with painted flushes of the four suits of cards.
"Well, can you play?" asked the judge.

"Sho, your honor. want to hear me?"

Then he cut loose. He played his own composition when he called the "Asco Blues". His right hand not only picked the strings but his nimble fingers also danced over the frame of the instrument, sounding like a jazz orchestra hitting on all six.
The music was too much for Buddy Purnsiey, colored janitor at police headquarters, who droped a broom he was holding and began shaking his feet to the captivating strains.
Buddy's back and wing was too much. This wandering minstrel was stopping work.

"Get out of here, you're discharged," said magistrate Berry, and Jim left vowing that he would never part with his guitar.

Ed Stilley's Homeamde Guitars

Here is a photo of the folk artist and guitar building legend, Ed Stilley.

He made all kinds of homemade guitars during his lifetime and his work is now seen in museums worldwide. Here he lines up a few samples of his handy work.

The instruments shown were built by one of the last homesteaders of the Ozark Mountains. Ed Stilley of Hogscald Hollar, They are made with recyceled wood, most were fited with metal inside, he used saw blades, coil springs, welding-rod frets, door springs, steak bones for nuts & saddles,  even a bridge sitting on two stacks of dimes.

All these metal parts and springs Ed liked to use inside the guitar created a mysterious reverb that Ed describes as the voice of God. Ed has made over 150 instruments and given them all away to children in response to a ‘calling' God gave him to build these homemade guitars.


Old Time Moonshine

Handmade by Graham Rodgerson, This is a work of art he hand painted it with oil base paint and he did the typography all freestyle.

Made in Blackburn England, yes you read that right, they are building these great instruments across the pond, there is a big collection of cigar box guitar builders in Europe. If you have not tried, now is the time to build your own!







Box Guitar Beauties

Old vaudeville photo from the 1920's. One lady is playing a homemade box guitar or ukulele.






Paul McCartney's cigar box guitar

Yes he did! Paul just won a Grammy for his song recorded with a cigar box guitar.

He won best "Rock song of the year" 2013. Here is the video of his song live, and man can he play that thing!




When asked about his Grammy-winning collaboration with Grohl, McCartney gave credit to an unlikely source: Johnny Depp.

"I blame Johnny Depp because he had just given me this little cigar box guitar that I was widely excited to play, so I took it along," he said. McCartney said while describing their recording session "It was magic for me to play with these guys. I found myself in the middle of a Nirvana reunion and I was very happy."

Hayes G. Hatton and his cigar box fiddle

Here is a photo from the late teens to early 20's of a musician and his cigar box instrument.
It has no date, but by looking at the style of collar on his shirt I would say before first war 1914 to mid 20's at most, I don't think this is from the 30's, I could be wrong but this seems early. The ebay auction it was found for sale in had no information other then the name on the back. What an amazing piece of history!

I have many newspaper articles from the early teens. I have read that from the late 1890's to about 1920 it was popular to turn a cigar box into a one-string "bull fiddle" or diddley bow, which is a type of one string cigar box violin "type thing", they all seemed to play it the same way, with a bow.


Antique cigar box instrument

Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning

 I found this video on youtube and just had to share with the world. That is some serious tone coming from that vintage amp and cigar box combo, and the playing is off the hook!

The player's name is Tom Feldmann

The Snake Handler's Violin

Check out this old Appalachian cigar box violin that came up for sale online.

Like most stuff I seem to find, not much is known other than what you can see in the photo.

It appears to be what you would think is an early American "Don't tread on me," snake,  but is most likely from a Snake Handlers church as they are a church group also from Appalachia, the same area this violin came from...talk about a WOW piece of Americana.

Have a gander at this!








Mustang Sally

No amount of words can express how cool this 3 string Mustang cigar box guitar is, so I won't even try. I will just post the photos and let you do the droolin'!

The guitar is made by Randy Rooster to match a customers vintage 60's Mustang


            

Late 60's England

I found this photo on Lenny's (Daddy Mojo) facebook...I think it's incredible.

Not much is know other than it appers to be in possibly London or somewhere in the United Kingdom in the mid to late 1960's. It sure is way cool to see this kid pose with his homemade guitar. He has got stardom down!