Monday, October 09, 2006

About My Cigar Box Guitars

General information:-

These are 3 stringed, hand made cigar box guitars. They’re a well made but basic instrument perfect for blues. Being small and light (and inexpensive) they are great for travelling or busking. They have a very high action and no fret wires so are designed specifically for slide work and notes cannot be played in the usual way with the left hand fingers on the fretboard. Fret markings are burnt into the wood as a guide when playing but you will need to develop a good ear for pitch and a fair degree of accuracy when hitting your notes. It’s not as difficult as it might sound as you mostly slide up or down to the note and can hear when it’s right. They may look like toys but believe me they can kick out some pretty mean sounds. They are loud enough to play acoustically, though nowhere near as loud as a conventional guitar.

They have a distinctive Delta blues sound, almost banjo like but capable of producing some cool harmonics and overtones which you can’t seem to get from a standard guitar and they’re so much fun you can’t put them down! Having only three strings can be an advantage too. It pushes you to be more inventive and make more of your technique.Plug ‘em into an amp and they can really scream some mean and dirty blues. The pick-up is a sensitive ceramic piezo disc which will also pick up any taps and bangs you make on the body but I haven’t found it to be a problem. In fact you can turn it to advantage at times, knocking out a basic drum type rhythm as a fill in. Those shown in the picture are examples only. Each guitar is unique depending on availability of boxes and type of wood for the necks (which are all made of hardwood), I have produced a useful fact sheet to go with the guitars showing tunings, playing tips, techniques etc.

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