This specimen was made by Shane Speal,
who is keeping the tradition alive. The
cigar box guitar is the symbol of true resilience. Countless numbers
of these contraptions were created by children and adults alike
when money was scarce but passion for music was overflowing. They
used wood boxes, broom handles, screen wire and whatever else was
lying around to create their instruments. Rockabilly pioneer Carl
Perkens reminisced about his childhood cigar box guitar that he
made with a box, stick and baling wire. Years later, he would take
the knowledge he first learned on that down-home axe to create songs
like "Blue Suede Shoes." In fact, many blues, rock and jazz gods
got their start banging away on these home made instruments. Blind
Willie Johnson, Jimi Hendrix and Charlie Christian are just three.
The cigar box guitar is even represented in the Smithsonian.
Shane singing 'Love in Vain' with his band Jug Fusion:
Listen to the Cigar Box Guitar
The cigar box guitar is a primitive chordophone whose resonator is a discarded cigar box. Because the instrument is homemade, there is no standard for dimensions, string types or construction techniques.
Many early cigar box guitars consisted only of one or two strings that were attached to the ends of a broomstick that was inserted into the cigar box.
Other cigar box guitars were more complex, with the builder attempting to simulate a real stringed instrument, such as a guitar, banjo, or fiddle.
Currently, there is a resurgence in this humble instrument and musicians are creating many new designs. Some are adding additional strings and necks while others are incorporating active electronics that make them playable through guitar amplifiers.
To learn more about the Cigar Box Guitar,
and Jug Fusion, check out his website by clicking here.