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This coming August bank holiday weekend Elstead will welcome the arrival of Swamp Train, all the way from Switzerland.

Formed back in 2010 Swamp Train are a full-on cigar box guitar blues band. They've had some personnel changes since formation but they are now a four piece consisting of Big Blowin’ Blaze on vocals, cigar box guitar and harmonica, Alain Pache aka Cut Finger on lead cigar box guitars and backing vocals, Andy Duggan aka Jus’Skin on cigar box bass and background growling and now Rattlebrained on washboard, percussion, bones and backing vocals. They're all set to lift the roof from the Elstead pavilion at this weekend's second Barrelhouse Beer and CBG festival.

Find out more about Swamp Train from their website.

And here's a little taster to whet your appetite (see you in Elstead):

There are a couple of completely free Cigar Box Guitar events taking place over the next couple of months that are really worth a look.

Firstly there is is the second Elstead Barrelhouse Beer & CBG Festival on the 23rd of August. Last year's event was a lot of fun with plenty of beer and CBG mayhem.

barrelhouse beer and cbg festival

BarrelHouse - Beer & CBG Festival

This year promises to be even more memorable with 12 hours of live music from a staggering line up of cigar box guitar twanging hoodlums - along with plenty more beer. And there is even the opportunity to make your own cigar box guitar, guided by the legend who goes by the name of Chickenbone John.

Barrelhouse 2014 Line Up

Barrelhouse 2014 - Lineup

Barrelhouse all dayer

Barrelhouse Midday to Midnight

Then in September there is the 3rd Cambridge Cigar Box Guitar festival at the friendly and welcoming Earl of Beaconsfield public house on Mill Road in Cambridge. Organised by our very own Col of StumbleCol fame this one promises to be as memorable as the last. It all kicks off at 2pm on the 20th of September and promises to be a day of diverse musical delights from an exciting line up of cigar box guitar toting nutters.

3rd Cambridge Cigar Box Guitar Festival

3rd Cambridge Cigar Box Guitar Festival

Here's the current line up for Cambridge:

Strolling Tone
Soul Catcher
Chilli Cool Kev
Flatfoot Johnny
Joe Cribb

If you like real music played by real people on real instruments then these are events that you really don't want to miss. And did I mention that they are both FREE!

See you there 😉

Just a quick post to promote the imminent Stumblecol album launch party - happening this coming weekend. If you are in the Cambridge area and you want to catch some great live music then the place to be on Saturday night is the Earl of Beaconsfield pub in Mill road.

STumblecol live in Cambridge

You'll be able to purchase a copy of the new Stumblecol album - which is what the party is all about. And the first 50 lucky buyers will get a free badge and a couple of stickers. You can check out some of the excellent new tunes from Tom and Col over at

The party night is definitely going to be a lot of fun as the excellent bemuzic and mighty Hollowbelly are on the bill. So there will be plenty of variety to the cigar box guitar sounds emanating from Mill Road on Saturday night.

Stumblecol are throwing a party to launch their latest album of unique tunes played, composed and recorded on home made cigar box guitars.
Where: Earl of Beaconsfield public house
Mill RoadCambridgeUK

Category: Party

My blog posts are a bit like buses in Britain. You see none for ages and then all of a sudden several turn up at the same time. It's all down to finally having a little spare time over the Christmas holidays.

I've been trying to find time to get to grips with this excellent Robert Belfour tune for some ages. I love Robert Belfour's songs and his style so I've taken one of my favourites and murdered it in this video.

You can see that I'm trying to play my Smokehouse Guitars six string CBG along with my Farmer Footdrums and adding a few stabs on the harmonica here and there. Timing is a bit wobbly but I really enjoyed knocking this one out.



I'm planning to sell off a bunch of my regular guitars and some of my cigar box guitars in the new year so I've gathered my cbgs together for a quick photoshoot.

cigar box guitars - Tones Collection

Apologies for the poor quality photographs.

Tones CBGsIn this corner, from the left, you can see my Smokehouse guitars six string that is hiding a self-built six string, edged with meccano. Next to that there is another six string with a single coil pickup and right in the corner there is my Wichita Sam four string licence plate guitar. Next to that is another six string, this one fitted with 3 single coil pickups and decorated with a custom paint finish kindly provided by my wife. Leaning on top of that is my one string diddley-bass that I made a while back. Behind that is an excellent 3 stringer made by Roosterman and to the right of that is a 3 stringer made by me, fitted with a Juju 3 string pickup.

Stumblecol 4 string cbg and others

In this picture, from the left, you can see the fantastic six-string bread box resonator made by Roosterman, using a cutlery box and a bread bin lid. In front of that is my custom Stumblecol four string made for me personally by Col. And behind that you can see my backporch mojo 5 string resonator, customised by me with a cool brass cone. Next to that is a 3 string Chickenbone John cbg, currently without any strings. And then there is a slightly better view of my Smokehouse Guitars six string, which is my current favourite.

Chickebone John 3 string

On the left here is another of my 3 string cbgs from Chickenbone John, a very fine instrument indeed.

Tones CBGs

The image above presents the first CBG that I made, on the left. A very simple fretless 3 string with a piezzo pickup that cost less than £4 to make. Next to that is another of my home made CBGs, this one is a 3 string, fretted and fitted with a flat 3 string pickup. And next to that is another 3 stringer made by me, this time with another of Jujus excellent 3 string pickups. And next to that is the beast that got me into cigar box guitars back in 2007. Its a 3 stringer that was bought for me by my wife. It's a very simple, fretless design with a cool skunk stripe in the neck, intended to be played lap style. On the far right is my Daddy Mojo six stringer, which is an awesome instrument.

Daddy mojo and friends

Here's a better view of my Daddy Mojo six string with the cool Chihuahua box label and right next to that is my fretless Shane Wagstaff 3 stringer which is another great instrument from a brilliant CBG builder. And tucked away in the corner is my Banjo Ant 3 string wine box guitar with all sorts of cool features made by the legend himself.

CBG Corner

I've had a lot of enjoyment with these instruments but I don't get to play them all as much as I would like so I am planning to select a few and sell them, perhaps to make room for one or two new ones.

I shall be posting details of those I am planning to sell when I have made up my mind. My first priority is to sort out my regular guitar collection (they are in another room) and sell a few of those which I don't play. Details coming soon.