Monday, August 08, 2011

cigar box guitar update August

As you may have noticed my CBG output has been a bit sparse the last few months. Fear not, it's still alive and kicking but in need of a good meal. I'm still heavily into my electronic stuff and I only have so much time to devote to this hobby. I'm about to start a batch of tobacco tin amps after a request from someone to build one into his own tin. So I may as well make a couple more whilst tooled up for it.

The circuit bending stuff has been taking most of my spare time. But the Barnsley CBG workshop gave me a bit of a boost. I guess I had got into a bit of a rut with my CBG playing and was spending more time on 6 string playing. But C.B. John showed us some different tunings which sparked my interest again. It also made me re-think about what I want from a cigar box guitar. My thoughts are split and sometimes contradictory. On the one hand I love the ethos of throwing together a playable instrument from a few bits of reclaimed materials and a cigar box. On the other hand, as I progress with my own music, I am finding I want the CBG to be a little more versatile.

At first I poo-pooed the idea of frets and magnetic pickups, vol controls etc but I'm coming around to the idea of making CBGs a little more sophisticated. I used to think "why not just buy a cheap strat or something" but it's not as clear cut as that now. I really like playing with just 3 strings but want a bit more quality of sound and to be able to play simple chords and fingered licks as opposed to just slide. So I might re-visit some of my own CBGs and upgrade one or two if possible.

So the message is, don't get stuck in a rut with your thinking or playing. Don't be a slave to your own ideals (or anyone elses). Be prepared to move on, change your views, experiment. Life never stands still but if you're not careful you can get held back by your own beliefs when they are no longer fully appropriate. Remember the CBGers number 1 rule "there are no rules". And don't trap yourself in your own rules.

Keep on flying the flag for do it yourself music.

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