Love the video!
So cigar box guitars pretty much ceased existence, for quite a few decades, didn't they? Until you revived it as a hobby?
I'm only 4 years into this hobby, my understanding is you found old plans for them, started gigging with your own builds, started selling them, and started a yahoo group, which developed into festivals, and clubs, and gatherings? Is this the correct narrative? If so, you don't give yourself enough credit.
Yeah, it was pretty much a dead art. The simple fact was, I had no idea it was mostly extinct. I thought everybody knew about cigar box guitars. I thought I was doing normal stuff! Although Ben says that I didn't have plans when I started, that's not true. I had the Guitar Player article from 1977 that I used as a starting point. (I agreed with Ben without thinking. The camera was rolling and we had to keep talking fast!)
After the first one, I refined my design a bit using the 1x2x3 poplar. Once I got the instrument I liked (somewhere around 1995), I really haven't changed my style since.
Matty Baratto and John Lowe were also making cigar box guitars in the mid-to-late '90s. None of us knew about each other until I started posting stuff on the internet around 2003.
Well I'm glad you started posting stuff online and didn't keep it to yourself. For two reasons, the first being that you sparked a revolution, the second... when my wife starts getting on me about sawdust all over the kitchen I can tell her, "This is all Shane Speal's fault you know."
(Apologies in advance for any hate mail she sends your way.)
Everybody told me to sell the plans. I had more fun giving them away.
Don't let your wife meet mine. They could form a counter-resistance that could destroy us all...
Was told that the Boy Scouts use to make them. Wonder what years that was, and what plans they were using.
The original 1884 cigar box banjo plans were written by Daniel Carter Beard, the man who would go on to start the Boy Scouts