Tuesday, October 06, 2009

tins, suitcases, hats, carboot sales and cbgs

Five things I find hard to resist. There's something I really like about containers in general - particularly boxes and tins. They're just very useful for storing your treasures of one kind or another. Combine the elements of patina from age and maybe an attractive design and I have to have it. The prospect of finding them at knock down prices just adds spice to the recipe. I love hunting around boxes of junk at boot sales and charity shops and seeing what I can find. I have some lovely old tobacco tins whcih I started turning into small battery operated amps. I'll post some photos soon.

Suitcase - it's the old-fashioned brown cases I like. Pre-1970s I guess. Before zips and wheels were fitted. Leather ones are cool but so far I haven't found affordable ones but I do have a number of the hard cardboard type ones. Great for storing my junk in the basement and attic.

What about hats' then? I had to have a trilby didn't I? What self respecting bluesman hasn't got one. Yeah it's a cliche I know but I found one in Amsterdam for 5 Euros and it looked OK on me. That started the hat collection going. So what is my latest find at a boot-sale? A bowler. Yes I know they aren't particularly cool but they certainly aren't a cliche. It just gives me a giggle when I put it on and although I'll never step out of the house with it, you might see it on Youtube one day, accompanied by a CBG.

So what do these things have in common? I guess it's all about mojo. Most modern things don't have it. It comes with age, use and character. Look at packaging of food and goods these days. Plastic trays, polystyrene, cling wrap, etc. Look at what manufacturers used 50 years or more ago. Decorative printed tins, wooden packing cases, glass bottles etc. They just have so much character. It's about individuality, anti-technology, lo-fi, back to basics. That in a nutshell is the cbg ethos too.

Monday, October 05, 2009

more about the UK cbg fest

Two days on and I'm still buzzing about the event. Lot's of ideas rattling around my head. In fact I can't think of much else at present. Everyday subjects seem so mundane and boring when there's so much good stuff to recall, new builds to plan, newfound CBG friends to catch up with.

I have to say a big thanks again to Chickenbone John who organised the whole thing. He gave us a very entertaining and informative day and is a nice bloke too. Also thanks to his helpers who not only provided a band to play against but kept us well supplied with food and drinks. John explained the basics of making a cbg for those new to the subject explaining that in it's simplest form, it's just a box with a stick attached! He took us through the basics of playing and we all jammed along to a very noisy 'Walking Blues'.

One or two people talked about their specialities - pick-up winding for example, which is something I always intended to have a go at but have so far shyed away from. One of the guys has mastered the art and produces beautiful hand wired three string magnetic pick-ups. He generously donated one for the evening raffle. There was also a cbg, stomp box, hand made bottle-necks, and a few other items. My buddy Mark and I both agreed the pup was THE prize we were both longing for and bought a strip of tickets each. I couldn't believe my luck when they drew the prizes - I won it. After a great cbg day and evening this was the absolute icing on the cake for me. I intend to build a new guitar to do justice to this beautiful object. Got some ideas already but need to take my time and get every detail just right for my best guitar yet. It'll be a keeper of course.

If you're interested in getting your mits on one of these pick-ups, then keep looking in here. I'll be posting details of the makers name and email address when he's ready, he's just a bit busy at present to take orders. Hopefully I'll have my guitar made and make a short vid to show you. I'll take a photo of the pup and post that when I get time. Need to dip my head in a bucket of cold water now.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

First UK cigar box guitar fest

Yes folks it's happened at last. My dream of a UK cigar box festival finally came to reality thanks to Chickenbone John who hosted the event at the Tower of Song Blues Club Birmingham . He did a sterling job and gave us great day of blues and cigar box fun. A relatively small but enthusiastic gathering of about 25 attended for a day of pure cbg indulgence. I met a great bunch of folk and got the chance to examine their amazing creations. I'm still buzzing from the excitment and trying trying to take it all in. So much to see and people to meet. Cigar Box Nation forum has been the vehicle that initially brought us together when I started a UK discussion group in an attempt to identify other CBGers in the UK. Just to say it was a fantastic day with playing and building workshops, a 'show and tell' session on guitars, pickup winding, building small amps and open mike session for those with enough confidence. The evening gig featured Chickenbone John and his resident house band, open mike again and to top it off, the amazing Hollowbelly. I'll be telling you more in later posts. Here's some photos of the incredible guitars.