Hi, this is a website about Homemade guitars, Cigar box guitars, 3 and 4 string guitars, Cookie tin banjos, and the history of hand made and homemade musical instruments from around the world.

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Antique Cookie Tin Banjo & Cigar Box Guitar

Check out these two old homemade instruments that came up for auction recently in Chicago. The first one is of a 1920's cookie tin banjo. It's a fretless banjo and appears to have been a well playing and well made instrument for its time.
Boy would I love to string this up and have a plucky twangin' of a good time!

I bet this instrument really played well when it was made, it is made with the same quality that homemade banjo makers are doing today. Look at the simple build it follows, yet the sturdiness that its made with. This was a players instrument.

1920's Cookie Tin Banjo
The other instrument that came up for sale was an old cigar box guitar. It is a painted Red Lions cigar box that is a 6 string guitar. It looks like a lot of effort was put into it, but if you look close the frets were just cut at even lengths or random spots. It probably gave the make a headache when he first strung it up and couldn't get it to play in tune!
But it's so wonderful to see ingenuity and necessity at work. This person probably didn't even have access to even see another guitar when they attempted this build, otherwise they would have not cut the frets randomly. That's a sign it was probably made without the builder being able to view the neck of another guitar as a "model" while building. It had to be made by someone who just really wanted to play guitar and had no other choice but to try to make one with what they had available and by memory...and that's testament of the do-it-yourself attitude that can be dated back to the birth of America. If you don't have it, make it with what you have available.
Antique Cigar box Guitar