and then do this...


We want you to use your imagination & creativity to build a stringed instrument that could have been given as a gift 100 years ago.  Here's a few ideas (they are not required...only suggestions):

  • Use an antique cigar box to make the instrument look authentic
  • Build a historic instrument from our Free Plans Page
  • Use 100 year old stories from your area to influence your instrument
  • Be inspired by the instruments of the Cigar Box Guitar Museum (photos here)


Top three entries will win $125 gift certificates to

Five runners-up will receive $25 gift certificates to

Judges:  Ben "Gitty" Baker & Shane Speal

Here's the rules:

1.  Build your own stringed musical instrument inspired by the past.  If you lived 100 years ago and were short on money, what stringed instrument would you build as a Christmas/holiday gift?

2.  Post three (3) photos below.  Optional: You can add one (1) demo video, too.  Don't forget the instructions for posting pics.  This is an old website and it can be a little temperamental!

3. Add a one (1) paragraph description with your photo entry.  This is where you can influence the judges on why you think your entry is a Throwback Holiday type of instrument.

3.  Shake, stir, repeat.  (Yes, you can submit more than one entry!)

4.  Submissions that won previous Cigar Box Nation contests are ineligible.  

5. Contest runs Nov 12 - Dec 31, 2021.  Winners announced Jan 7, 2022 on the Gitty Gang Show broadcast.


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some  are pretty handy whit one of these handheld's, but i believe the are made to phone whit? if your a paperbackwriter or a novelist you must prefur a PC, more space for the vingers, more handy keyboard functions to ingage to your benifit, but i believe its posseble to do so! Why Got pictures?

While many people remember the Great Depression of the 30s, not many people remember the Depression of 1920-1921.  After surviving WWI and the Pandemic of 1918, George had hoped to provide a wonderful Christmas for his family.  He had promised Martha, his only surviving child, that he would give her a guitar of her own.  But all he could afford was a tin of cookies.  As he served the special treat to his wife and child on Christmas Eve, he had an idea.  After Martha had gone to bed, he grabbed an old piece of fence, an old broken guitar string and the beautiful cookie tin.  Martha would have her Christmas guitar after all.  

Ida absolutely adored Elizabeth Ryan. Ever since she saw her compete at Wimbledon in 1920 she knew she wanted to be just like her.  When Ida received a new tennis racquet on Christmas Eve, she decided to turn her old one into a gift for her brother.  Jake loved banging on pots and pans, singing, and making a racket whenever he had the chance.  Jake could now strum the strings with one hand while banging on the biscuit tin with his other hand - making quite a racket from an old racquet

St. Olaf's most famous musicians were John and Jane Higgenlooper.  They were raised by their maiden aunt, Mean Old Lady Higgenlooper, but they weren't mean at all.  She never gave them any money to buy instruments, so they had to make their own.  One Christmas, Jane really wanted a new fiddle.  Mean Old Lady Higgenlooper had taken hers away and hid it in the closet because she couldn't stand the sound.  John wanted to buy her a new fiddle, but he had no money.  What he did have was a tin of cigarettes he found in the trash behind the tobacco store.  He found a piece of a broken gate, and he made a new fiddle for Jane.  To this day you can hear her play it at St. Olaf's annual Christmas concert.  


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