The Complete Guide to Cigar Box Guitars

It is an often repeated truism that the greatest musicians are merely those who practice the most. Some of the best-known names in modern musical history indeed began their craft when they were very young, on instruments that they or a family member cobbled together out of string, brooms, pots, pans, and at the pinnacle of home-built musical instruments, cigar boxes.

It is no exaggeration to say that home-built stringed instruments gave birth to the careers of no lesser musicians than the legendary Charlie Christian, Jimi Hendrix, and Bo Diddley - who took his name from the most primitive form of the home made instrument, the wire-and-board Diddley Bow. Even in the 21st century, when quality, playable instruments have become more accessible to a broader range of people than ever, there exists a cult following of homemade guitar devotees, and by some measures, it is growing.

One of the defining characteristics of the cigar box guitar is that it has few, if any, defining characteristics beyond it use of a cigar box as a resonating chamber. Generally however, they have from one to six strings, a wooden board to act as a neck, a piece of wood or a nail for a bridge and/or nut, and a set of tuners, which themselves are often improvised. The tools required vary based on the methods and materials of construction, but typically the project requires only a hand saw and a drill, though chisels, wrenches, clamps, and other tools may be used.

Because of the instrument's accessibility, it has come to symbolize for some, a degree of independence from the mass-marketed musical instruments that are often overpriced, and homogeneous. Every cigar box guitar is as unique as the individual who creates it.

Famous Players Who Started On Cigar Boxes

Famous Players Who Started On Cigar Boxes



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