The Great Depression gave new rise to these instruments out of necessity. Black slaves and plantation workers were too broke to buy a so called “Real Guitars”, like a Gibson or Martin, so they used what they had. Old thrown away cigar boxes with broom handles for necks, or any old fence post. For strings they used bailing wire, screen door wire and wire from the brooms they took apart. The ones that did have frets, used nails or coat hanger wire. If you didn’t have a cigar box, then an old piece of barn wood with two nails and a wire would do. They put two empty beer bottles at either end to create tension and used a third bottle as a slide. Others used spoons, knives and medicine bottles to create their slide. Some even skipped the board entirely and used the side of a shed to build their instruments. Of course, no going on the road for those folks
These seemingly simple guitars sound like no other. I have played and owned many guitars throughout my career, and none come close to recreating the sound one of my hand crafted cigar box guitars of yester year. Of course, these instruments would not have had an electric guitar pickup in them, but you can always turn it off. Unplugged, they resemble a banjo, but plugged in, these bad boys really shine. They create such a haunting sound; you can’t help but be whisked away to the Deep South.
All of my Cigar Box and Wine Box guitars are hand crafted and one of a kind. I mainly use vintage and antique cigar boxes, therefore, some may have minor wear or scuff marks on them due to their age. I think this is a plus and adds to the uniqueness of each instrument. If you are looking for a perfect intonated instrument, you are missing the point. These guitars are may look simple, but once plugged in, you won't believe your ears. Scroll down and have a listen.
In my opinion they are meant to be played as an electric guitar plugged into an amp. I know that is not how they were originally played, but due to their size, there is not much of a resonating body. Just like an electric hollow body guitar, yes you can play them acoustically, but the magic really happens when they are plugged in.