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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.

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:


The first Cigar Box Guitar that I ever held in my hands was this excellent 3 string lap-style guitar that my girlfriend (KatieN) bought for me for my birthday in June 2009. I'd mentioned that I'd been impressed seeing Keni Lee Burgess playing one in some of his excellent videos, so she found this one on EBay and bought it for me - ain't she a darling!

This one uses a classic Bolivar cigar box and a simple through-body design. The neck is a cool 3 piece laminated plank that features a neat skunk stripe down the middle. The string spacing and action are both enormous, ideal for lap-style playing. But I'm not comfortable playing that way so I used to hold it more like a classical guitar - as you can see in the attached video below.

I forgot mention, this one uses an integral piezzo pickup which tends to feedback at higher volume levels.

Goin to Brownsville on 3 String Cigar Box Guitar

Here's a little demo of this guitar from back in 2009: