Thursday, June 20, 2019

The John Ruskin "Primitive" Cigar Box Guitar by Deep South CBG

This cigar box guitar is a custom order for Jerry in Wisconsin. While Jerry was visiting Gulf Shores, AL this spring, he and I struck up a conversation about cigar box guitars at one the locals' favorite watering holes. He became very interested in the history of these handmade instruments and asked me if Deep South CGB could build him one that was done as closely to the way they would have been built during the Great Depression as possible, while still being a good playing instrument.

Jerry wanted an acoustic CBG, of course, with frets. Beyond that, he said it was up to me. What better way to capture the spirit of the Great Depression era, I thought, than to build the instrument using a cigar box that was manufactured during the 1930s? I sourced one and sent Jerry some pics. He approved - and soon this 1933 John Ruskin cigar box was in my hands.

The National Recovery Act was passed by Congress in 1933.
What really makes this box special, beyond surviving 86 years entirely intact, is the "NRA" stamp on its leading edge, representing the National Recovery Act of 1933 which was passed by Congress that year to help pull the nation from the grips of the Great Depression.

The year this cigar box was built, the American economy hit its very bottom. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was sworn into office. Bread lines were long. Destitute men roamed the country, catching rides on train cars, in search of work.

When Roosevelt uttered his famous line "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," this cigar box was likely sitting on a drug store counter somewhere, peddling its wares for 5 cents each (the price is inside the lid).

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, a relatively unknown man named Adolph Hitler rose to power as Chancellor of what would become Nazi Germany.

In keeping with the spirit of handmade instruments of that time, the only power tool I used in building this CBG was a drill. Everything else was done with hand saws, a spokeshave, files and sanding by hand. I'll say I was pretty terrified to cut the neck slot into this box. Before I began, I glued wooden support blocks into each the inside corners to stabilize the box. For the bridge and nut, I sourced some vintage skeleton keys of the era and made hardwood saddles by hand to hold them in position. The strings are held by a rusty hinge that has been adapted as a tailpiece and mounted through the box into the butt of the neck.

I deliberately left things a little bit rough (such as the edges of the sound holes) because a person making this in 1933 would have been far more interested in the music it made than in having a finely finished appearance. I did add some rusty wire screens to the sound holes, for a better appearance, however. Because the paper graphics were brittle and loose in places, I used a clear matte sealer to secure loose edges and to provide a protective coat.

The neck, hand shaped, sanded and oiled, is oak with a Rosewood fret board, scaled to 25 inches. The guitar is strung with medium gauge Blues Blaster strings and tuned to Open G (GDG). When Jerry is ready, I'll hopefully have video to share.

For your own custom cigar box guitar, contact Deep South CBG via email or through Facebook messenger. Each custom cigar box guitar I build is a one-of -a-kind, made by hand, just for you. Together, we can build you a playable piece of art that will be an heirloom for generations!

Deep South CBG, located in Gulf Shores, AL, creates custom pieces of playable art that can be displayed on your wall and taken down and played anytime. Most of what we build are created firmly in the tradition and lore of the cigar box guitars of the deep south and Great Depression era. We use reclaimed and found materials to create our works.

Click HERE to email Deep South CBG
Contact Deep South CBG through Facebook


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

"The Partagas" First Sound Test, Cigar Box Guitar by Deep South CBG

**SOLD**

So my friend Judson plays in a band around Gulf Shores, AL where we live. He's been wanting to try out one of my 3-string guitars and said he'd like to see how it sounded through his rig. Since he was working a gig on Sunday, I took it over for him to try out during a break. This is what happened. Keep in mind this guy has never played a 3-string before, nor did he have a slide (he used his cigarette lighter). Fun!



If you're interested in this CBG, contact me. She's available for adoption!

For your own custom cigar box guitar, contact Deep South CBG via email or through Facebook messenger. Each custom cigar box guitar I build is a one-of -a-kind, made by hand, just for you. Together, we can build you a playable piece of art that will be an heirloom for generations!

cbg, cigar box, cigar box guitars, hand-made instruments, blues guitar
Deep South CBG, located in Gulf Shores, AL, creates custom pieces of playable art that can be displayed on your wall and taken down and played anytime. Most of what we build are created firmly in the tradition and lore of the cigar box guitars of the deep south and Great Depression era. We use reclaimed and found materials to create our works.

Click HERE to email Deep South CBG
Contact Deep South CBG through Facebook


"The Partagas" Hand-made Cigar Box Guitar by Deep South CBG

cigar box guitar, cbg, primitive instruments, blues guitar
**SOLD**

This is "The Partagas," a recently completed 3-string cigar box guitar by Deep South CBG. She has an oak neck, rosewood fretboard, hardtail bridge and Snake Oil mini-Humbucker with volume and tone controls.

The sound test on this instrument was really excellent (video here). With the humbucker placed as far from the bridge as possible, she gives a grungy, deep, bluesy tone when tuned to Open G. I think this little beast will be really enjoyed by whomever plays it.

If interested in this guitar, contact me. She's available for adoption.

For your own custom cigar box guitar, contact Deep South CBG via email or through Facebook messenger. Each custom cigar box guitar I build is a one-of -a-kind, made by hand, just for you. Together, we can build you a playable piece of art that will be an heirloom for generations!

cbg, cigar box, cigar box guitars, hand-made instruments, blues guitar
Deep South CBG, located in Gulf Shores, AL, creates custom pieces of playable art that can be displayed on your wall and taken down and played anytime. Most of what we build are created firmly in the tradition and lore of the cigar box guitars of the deep south and Great Depression era. We use reclaimed and found materials to create our works.

Click HERE to email Deep South CBG
Contact Deep South CBG through Facebook



Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Deep South Cigar Box Guitars Custom CBG - "The American Legend" Jeep Theme CBG

When the client received his new custom made "Jeep" themed cigar box guitar, he apparently liked it. A lot. He posted this video to his social media and shared it with us. Congratulations on your new guitar, Brad! Here's to many, many years of enjoyment. To learn more about this guitar and its construction, go here.





For your own custom cigar box guitar, contact Deep South CBG via email or through Facebook messenger. Each custom cigar box guitar I build is a one-of -a-kind, made by hand, just for you. Together, we can build you a playable piece of art that will be an heirloom for generations!

Deep South CBG, located in Gulf Shores, AL, creates custom pieces of playable art that can be displayed on your wall and taken down and played anytime. Most of what we build are created firmly in the tradition and lore of the cigar box guitars of the deep south and Great Depression era. We use reclaimed and found materials to create our works.

Click HERE to email Deep South CBG
Contact Deep South CBG through Facebook



Sunday, May 19, 2019

Jeep Themed Custom Cigar Box Guitar by Deep South CBG

The American Legend, Jeep, cigar box guitar, Deep South CBG, body
This custom cigar box guitar, named "The American Legend," was made for a gentleman named Brad in Texas. He wanted a "Jeep" themed guitar to go along with his dearly loved new Cherokee. While Deep South Cigar Box Guitars generally works closely with customers on the design of their cigar box guitar, Brad told me he just wanted to be surprised when he opened it. He wanted a full electric, 3-string tuned to open G. Other than that, it was entirely up to me, he said. As I sat down to work up a design, I did happen to know that Brad is a bit of a World War II buff, which also happens to the catalyst for the birth of Jeep.

After a few hours of looking through archival photos of Jeeps in action during WWII, I came across this image of General Douglas MacArthur riding in a 1940's Willys Jeep during an inspection visit in the Philippines. When I realized MacArthur was born in Arkansas, where Brad was also born and raised, I knew I had my design.

custom cigar box guitar, CBG, hand-made, Deep South CBG
Using a high quality cigar box, a maple neck with rosewood fret board and the Deep South CBG headstock shape, I selected all chrome hardware, including a hard-tail bridge, to accompany a Snake Oil mini humbucker with volume and tone controls and got to work.

The cigar box lid was removed, stripped, refinished and hand cut to receive the neck, humbucker, controls and input jack. The rest of the box and headstock were finished in flat olive green, just like the original WWII Jeeps. The neck received multiple of coats of Tung oil, sanded with 0000 steel wool between each coat and rubbed to a silky finish. I applied the MacArthur image to the body and distressed it around the edges to give it a worn look and to show off a bit of the box lid's grain texture and color.

For the fretboard, I decided on on image of a muddy Jeep tire track, applied between frets all the way up to the nut. While utterly smooth, it gives the guitar a rugged look consistent with the overall theme of the guitar. For the headstock, I located an image of a vintage Jeep shop sign in red, white and blue with the words "The American Legend" and "Established Since 1941" on it and"The American Legend" became the obvious name for this guitar.

All that remained now was to make a decision about the design of the jack plate for the front of the instrument, which I decided to make from a piece of an old cigar box. I painted it to match the flat olive green of the headstock and box bottom, distressed it a bit to give it a rugged, well-used look and then assembled the instrument.
cigar box guitar, cigar box guitars, custom made, Deep South CBG, cigar box guitar builder

The sound test on this instrument was really excellent. With the humbucker placed as far from the bridge as possible, she gives a rich, deep tone when tuned to GDG. I think Brad will really enjoy this instrument, and I look forward to posting a video of him playing it soon.

For your own custom cigar box guitar, contact Deep South CBG via email or through Facebook messenger. Each custom cigar box guitar I build is a one-of -a-kind, made by hand, just for you. Together, we can build you a playable piece of art that will be an heirloom for generations!

Deep South CBG, located in Gulf Shores, AL, creates custom pieces of playable art that can be displayed on your wall and taken down and played anytime. Most of what we build are created firmly in the tradition and lore of the cigar box guitars of the deep south and Great Depression era. We use reclaimed and found materials to create our works.

Click HERE to email Deep South CBG
Contact Deep South CBG through Facebook



Friday, May 17, 2019

Custom Cigar Box Guitar Build for Jordan Cook of Reignwolf by Deep South CBG

cigar box guitars, CBG, custom, handmade, Deep South CBG
This custom cigar box guitar was built for and gifted to blues-rock stallion Jordan Cook and his band, Reignwolf, in honor of the release of their first album. Named simply "The Wolf," she is a one-of-a-kind 3-string acoustic/electric custom build with a piezo transducer contact pickup. She's fully customized with the band's graphics including previous gig posters applied up the fret board and sound holes mounted in the wolf's ears (I thought that was a nice touch).

(More pictures below)
Reignwolf, Texas Jo, Jordan Cook, S.J. Kardash, Deep South Cigar Box Guitars, Deep South CBG

Here's myself (far left) with my wife and the whole band including drummer Texas Jo (second from left), Jordan Cook (lead singer/guitarist, holding his new Deep South CBG) and bassist S.J. Kardash (far right).







Deep South CBG, cigar box guitar, Reignwolf, Jordan Cook, custom, hand-made

Here's a closeup of "The Wolf" in Jordan Cook's hands. Reignwolf is a fantastic and incredibly talented blues-rock band with their first album out right now (Hear Me Out). If you love blues-rock that is off-the-chain, you need to check them out. By all means, catch a live show. It'll blow you away. My wife and I have seen them live 5 times now, all around the country. They're THAT GREAT.

For your own custom cigar box guitar, contact Deep South CBG via email or through Facebook messenger. Each custom cigar box guitar I build is a one-of -a-kind, made by hand, just for you. Together, we can build you a playable piece of art that will be an heirloom for generations!

Deep South CBG, located in Gulf Shores, AL, creates custom pieces of playable art that can be displayed on your wall and taken down and played anytime. Most of what we build are created firmly in the tradition and lore of the cigar box guitars of the deep south and Great Depression era. We use reclaimed and found materials to create our works.

Click HERE to email Deep South CBG
Contact Deep South CBG through Facebook