The other day I was shopping, as so many of us are at this time of year. I stumbled into a store and happened to hear Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi on the speakers. It stopped me in me tracks. I immediately thought of our dear departed friend Dave Lynas. That song has always reminded me of him, and ever since the video below... it will forever be Dave's song in my mind.
As I listened to Joni belt out those beautiful lyrics as only she can, a literal tear appeared on my…Continue
Hey guys. This is just a little teaser for an upcoming builders swap. I'm collaborating with 2 other Texas-based CBN members and we're going to do a 3-way CBG swap to celebrate Texas on her 185th birthday. Here is the lineup:
Builder #1: Steve's Strings, based in the San Antonio area > …Continue
During this pandemic that's got us all locked in our houses, the music world has lost three great performers. As someone who was influenced by all three of these amazing musicians, I feel like its my duty to write this blog entry.
First of all, the world lost country music superstar Kenny Rogers on March 20th. Born in Houston, Rogers started his music career in the late 1950s. His first band was called The Scholars. He went on to play in the jazz band for musician Bobby Doyle. In the…Continue
In 2018, I received my first CB Gitty kit as a Christmas present. A few of my family members banded together and bought me the 3-string Tin Pan Alley kit. After completing it, I posted a blog entry detailing the build and it was later featured in one of the Cigar Box Nation newsletters. I finished the guitar with a flame paint job and added a pickup/pot/jack to…Continue
Since I’ve been involved with the homemade musical instrument community, I’ve noticed more and more coincidences in my life. I’m not sure if they’re happening more often or if I’m just more attune to them, but I’ve noticed increased synchronicity over the past year or so. Here’s another fun coincidence that happened recently. I wanted to share it with the Cigar Box Nation.
About a month ago, a book about jug bands showed up in my Amazon feed. I’ve always thought jug bands were…Continue
This is one of those stories that you just can’t make up. It happened yesterday afternoon and I felt the need to share it with all of you. I was sitting at the computer watching some videos on Cigar Box Nation when my dogs started scratching at the back door. I let them out and thought to myself, “how long has it been since I fed the chickens?” I decided to go check, so I slipped on a pair of flip flops and headed out to the coop. I decided to top off their water and as I was dragging the…Continue
This past weekend, I made a trek to York, PA and attended the 10th Annual Pennsylvania Cigar Box Guitar Festival. It was a heck of a good time and I drew a ton of inspiration from the folks in attendance. In fact, as soon as I got home, I started my first electric washboard build. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the festival, it is said to be one of the premier cigar box guitar events in the United States. It takes place every year in the parking lot of…Continue
The truth be told, I’ve never been a big fan of ukuleles. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve always appreciated the sound, but I never gravitated towards this particular instrument. Needless to say, ukuleles are popular with CBG builders because they’re inexpensive and relatively easy to build/modify. After assembling a handful of homemade string instruments, I decided to try building a cigar box ukulele just for fun. I ordered the soprano kit from CB Gitty and embarked on another project. Before…Continue
This past weekend was the annual Dallas International Guitar Festival (DIGF). The 3-day event is the largest guitar show in the United States. It attracts attendees from all over the US as well as abroad. It spans many types of instruments, genres, and styles. In addition to dozens of booths selling guitars and gear, there are live performances on 3 different stages throughout the event. It’s somewhat of a paradise for guitar players.…Continue
When I first started learning about CBGs, I discovered John Lowe, a luthier and performer in Memphis, Tennessee. He does a one-man show under the moniker Johnny Lowebow and builds string instruments known as Lowebows. I had read he owns a bookstore, which morphed into a combination book/music retailer over the past couple decades. The shop, located on Central Avenue in Memphis, is called Xanadu. It just so happened I was going to be in Memphis last week, so I decided to explore…Continue
Every year around December my family asks me to provide gift ideas. I always do, but typically they ignore most of them and I end up getting socks or dress shirts or something like that. I don't want to sound ungrateful, I always appreciate it, but this year my older sister surprised me with a Tin Pan Alley kit from CB…Continue
Ever since I learned about the Cigar Box Guitar Museum (inside of Speal’s Tavern) in New Alexandria, Pennsylvania, I’ve wanted to visit and see this unique collection of instruments. Last month, I haphazardly noticed Shane Speal and the Snakes were playing there on 11/10 and decided it was time to cross this item off my proverbial bucket list. Here's a recap of my adventure...
After boarding a 737 outbound from Dallas' Love Field, I arrived at…Continue
I started my musical exploration on bass back in my late teens. A buddy of mine was learning guitar and needed someone to play bass for him. "It's so easy," he said, "there's only 4 strings and all you do is play one note." Well, needless to say, I quickly found out bass playing is significantly more complicated than that. After playing bass for a bit, I tried out a guitar. Guitar led to synthesizer, and synth led to drums. Somewhere along the way I picked up a mandolin, a harmonica, a…Continue