Hi, this is a website about home made guitars and the history of Old School Blues and Slide Guitar music.

Antique Cigar Box Guitar & Homemade Guitars

Here is a fresh attic find, it came up for sale on eBay.  When people pass away, their children or grandchildren usually don't know the story behind some of these objects so they just list them for sale on ebay for pennies of there true value.

Check out that tail piece... Made from a soup can lid of some type,

Some phrases and descriptions in the 130-year-old article are considered offensive by today's standards.  

A Juvenile Darky Sits on a Beer Keg and Gathers a Crowd
Galveston (TX) Daily News.  Thursday, April 15, 1886
   Perched upon a lager beer keg in an obscure locality in the city, sat a diminutive darky yesterday.  His legs were crossed, his lips were moving, and his hands were playing a home-made guitar.  This instrument was rudely but cleverly fashioned, and exhibited traces of an inventive genius in its maker. 
   A cigar-box of the usual size constituted the body, and the handle was composed of a piece of lath about eight inches in length, over which strings of tightly-drawn India rubber were laid, and caught at the end on roughly-made keys.  The box was completely inclosed, with the exception of a round hole in the center for a sounding-board.
  Altogether, it was an original instrument, and though crudely constructed was capable of emitting melodious strains.  Considering the imperfections of it in the comparison with a genuine guitar, the player handled the strings very deftly.
  When seen he was earnestly playing a tune, and no one appeared to enjoy it more than himself, though the barkeeper whose keg he was sitting upon came out and shaded his eyes on the curious object.  The selection was an old-time negro melody, and he soon had a crowd of sympathizers around him.  While playing, his different antics and motions were peculiar and amusing.  His lips went in and out, keeping perfect time to the music.  He swayed himself from side to side, shut one eye, then the other, then rolled both up until only the whites were visible, apparently in a perfect deliriam of enjoyment.
  In the midst of all this a great catastrophe occurred.  The strings all snapped but one.  But to the wonder of those present he continued to draw music out of his one string.
  As he finished and crawled down from his perch he was variously interrogated, but jumping into a small wagon hitched to a good-sized goat, he rapidly made off amid the shouts of the crowd and uproarious laughter.
  It was evident that he did not wish to be bothered and had his goat handy for any disagreeable emergency.
 Discovered by Shane Speal

Paul plays one, that must make them cool : )

He has several songs recorded with them on YouTube. His music is always worth a rabbit hole of exploration

He has so many decades of great music, and he's still at it - going on 80

Speaking of music I'll try to recreate those sounds from along time ago....

This guitar below made by my friend Brian Romero.

 His stuff is really inspiring. Study these photos,  they are full of ideas.

Here is a full shot, this looks like it's a lot of fun to play. 

that homemade resonator is genius!

German soldiers from World War One

1920's antique cigar box guitar 

This old homemade cigar box guitar came up for sale today on ebay. It was just found in someone's grandparents estate. If only we knew it's history and maker, I bet it's got a great story to tell 

The Civilized World

Check out this photo of prisoners of War. They are in a work shop during World War 1 in an internment camp.

They are making homemade instruments. I have often heard stories about how French and German soldiers who would fight against each other during the day, - at night they would go to the front lines to trade items and share time and spend the evening together in camaraderie.

This was another instrument that came upon for sale, I bet it was a well playing instrument

Couple of soldiers from Belgium 1918. 
Termoking we salute you!

These are guitar pickups for sale. Here is a short demo video of these pickups. If you are looking to recreate those old vintage sounds from the 1920's and 30's these will give you a wide range of possibilities. Go from clear and bell like highs with clarity to deep southern raunchy overdrive, with one of these pickups on your guitar you can bring the past alive. email me at john@reddogguitars.com

These pickups are for sale at   this webpage here   they are at the bottom of the page

Email john@reddogguitars.com - with any questions

If you would like to learn a cool way to make a guitar look like it's a real vintage guitar with a cool gritty road worn kinda feel and vibe to it, here is an awesome easy way to get that realistic "old time" used look

This is a simple recipe that my friend Bill Baker used to make this vintage inspired guitar body.

It is a homemade  easy to follow recipe  called "Steel Wool & Vinegar Stain"

You'll only need a few things,

1. Vinegar
2. Steel wool
3  A glass jar
4  A paint brush 

You can use any vinegar. In this example white was used, but darker and Balsamic Vinegars make the stain darker still.  As you can see however the white resulted in a near-black stain.

Use real steel wool, not the scouring pad kind.

To prepare:
 Shred up one wad of steel wool and put in glass jar.  Add about a cup of vinegar.
 If left indefinitely the steel wool will disintegrate. During the process of the build the steel wool was removed after 5 hours.  
Less time will be more clear. More time will create more a rusty looking and cloudy effect.

 In this process, the iron in the steel wool reacts with the vinegar. The iron oxide reacts with Acetic Acid to produce Iron Acetate.  This reacts ultimately with tannins in the wood when you brush it on. Different woods contain different amounts of Tannin.
 Some recommend diluting the solution with more vinegar after you strain it. It also needs to be strained to remove particles.

I suggest you try it first on a piece of scrap but similar wood to your guitar.
It is like brushing on water, it's very thin. It will not penetrate varnished or finished wood. Some sanding may be in order. In the above cigar box example, it had a varnish coat from the cigar factory. So some sanding was done before the homemade stain was applied.  I wanted that light and dark distressed look as well.  The effect was visible in only minutes after application.

***Wear gloves -  this stuff is a stain.

that sounds kinda funny...stuffs a stain??

  anyways, It can be applied with a brush or a rag and it goes on thin.   Only after a few hours it can be sanded.  

If you want to protect the weathered look, after you achieve the distressed you you desire.  You can coat it with  a clear varnish, or some type of clear.  In this project, Tru-oil was used the same afternoon. Just make sure that the pieces are smooth and dry when you apply any type or protecting clear layer.

I'm running out of room on this page, I will go to the next

 but before you click Older Post, check out this masterpiece of a recording by Fuzzy Whitener....