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I've been trying to find the time to record a little demo of this excellent 4 string cigar box guitar that Col of StumbleCol built for me a short time ago. Its a beauty. I have this one tuned: G- G- B-D which is a little unusual for me as I generally play either 3 string CBGs with heavier strings tuned to A-E--A or six strings tuned to open A.

If you are interested you can follow exactly how Col built this instrument on the StumbleCol blog. Here are some links to the relevant posts:

  1. Stage 1 - Beginning with the neck
  2. Stage 2 - Cutting frets
  3. Stage 3 - Preparing the box
  4. Stage 4 - Fretting 
  5. Stage 5 - Nut and tuners
  6. Stage 6 - Wiring
  7. Stage 7 - Fitting the neck
  8. Stage 8 - Body hardware
  9. Stage 9 - Inside the box
  10. Stage 10 - Finished Images
  11. Stage 11 - Reluctant parting

There is a fantastic and FREE album of Blind Willie Johnson covers available now: Blind Willie Johnson Tribute - 'If I Had My Way'

From the members of Compiled and produced by Shane Speal. (c) 2011 Cover Art (c) 2011 by Thomas Boatwright All songs are under Public Domain. Each performer owns the rights to their individual recordings.

This was a great project, organised by Shane Speal with outstanding contributions from many people. Shane produced and released the album to coincide with the original release date of 'Dark was the night, Cold was the ground', April 22nd 1927.

If you like authentic, early gospel blues then I guarantee that you will not regret downloading this album!


I was lucky enough to make it to the second UK Cigar Box Guitar festival in West Bromwich near Birmingham last October where I got to put faces to many of the nicknames I’d encountered on Cigar Box Nation. There were several stalls selling a whole load of beautifully made instruments from the likes of Roosterman and Chickenbone John and I could have easily come away with half a dozen new guitars. Although I exercised some restraint I simply couldn’t resist this work of art made by Anthony, otherwise known as Banjo Ant.

Anthony is a very skilled builder and player. He creatively uses a variety of boxes in his builds including cutlery boxes and, as in this case, wine bottle boxes.

This aptly named ‘Widowmaker’ guitar uses a wine box shaped like a mini coffin. Anthony has worked with the graveyard theme, carving a beautiful bat-shaped head stock, customising the tuning pegs with mini skulls and accessorising with a mini coffin shaped plate for the jack socket and badge for the head.

This build uses a piezo pickup, 3 strings and a fretless neck. My previous builds had all used piezo pickups and I’d struggled to minimise the tendency to feedback but this one was surprisingly less prone to feedback than any of my builds.

But the proof is really in the playing so here is the Widowmaker in action.

I bought this 5 string resonator guitar from Big Daddy Darren Dukes at Backporch Mojo back in early 2010. He used a mandolin resonator cone but when I added the heavy gauge strings that I like to use the cone just caved in. After doing this to 3 aluminium cones I decided to try something else. I obtained a brass cone from Mike Lowe on Cigar Box Nation. These cool resonator cones are now available from Smokehouse Guitars. This modification breathed a whole new lease of life into my Backporch Mojo five string.

Here she is in action:

Cigar Box Nation

Strolling Tone —  April 10, 2011

Without doubt, the single most informative, supportive and inspirational resources that I have come across online is Shane Speal's Cigar Box Nation community. The community membership has grown enormously over the past couple of years and they are all such great people. They are always ready to provide advice and support to novice builders and players and the feedback I've received to some of my performance efforts has really spurred me on to do more.

If you have an interest in cigar box guitars and home made instruments I recommend you pay a visit to Cigar Box Nation and make certain you add me as a friend: