Friday, January 29, 2010

Why TotalRojo?

A friend asked me recently, "Why do you name your CBGs TotalRojo?"

Well, on a trip to Cancun with my wife, we were on the beach enjoying soaking up the sun, surf and suds, when I ventured off to the cabana to pickup a couple towels for us.  When the young guy tossing out rags asked my name, I responded, "Allred," to which he immediately retorted, "Oh, Mr. Todo Rojo."   We bantered back and forth for a while having a good time, and off I went.

Much to our surprise, for the entire rest of the time at the resort, I was known by all the waiters and waitresses as Mr. Todo Rojo.

So, I bastardized the translation into a 'Spanglish' version of my name, and it became TotalRojo, which is the reason for the logo.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Check Out This Site

Cigar Box Nation is a very cool and informative site on which to learn about CBGs, and you just might hit my page, too.

My Page - Cigar Box Nation

Cigar Box Guitar History

Cigar box guitar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

If you are interested in learning about my new hobby and the history of cigar box guitars, go to the above link, it will be worth your time.

The history is rich and colorful, and is the basis for the resurgence in interest in what is based on folk art in the form of music.

Number Two

The second CBG I've built, which I call my 'Ollie' is constructed much the same as the first, but the headstock is designed a little differently and the fingerboard is poplar laminated to an oak neck. 

The box is an Oliveros, lest the 'Ollie' tag, with soundholes cut in the shape of a musical f-hole design.  Like the first, frets were placed in critical positions using the neck of my Martin accoustic as a pattern for proper location.  This too is electric, but again like #1 it can be played accoustically.  The sound is different, because of the difference in design and materials, but still vibrant.

My First CBG Effort

After doing a lot of research on the web, I decided mid-December to build a three-string cigar box guitar (CBG). 

So, off to Lowes for necessary lumber and hardware; to the local smoke shop for a cigar box; and to the music store for tuners and tailstock pegs.  Strings came from my six-string guitar stock.

The box is an Arturo Fuente Hemingway series attached to neck and headstock of red oak with mahogany stained fingerboard.  I designed the headstock to reflect a modern look, but instead of inlaying fret markers on the surface of the neck, I decided to leave it clean and to inlay BBs as markers in position on the leading edge. 

After cutting away a small portion of the box to accommodate the neck, it was laminated to the inside top of the box.  Then I added leading- and trailing-edge supports to the neck, which take on a nautical bent when viewed from the side.

Sound holes were cut into the surface of the top and brass drain covers added for a little charm.  The bridge is a simple idea I came up with, which resonates sound for the Radio Shack transducer to pick it up and transmit it through an output jack to my amp, and voila, a cool little guitar with a big sound.

I chose to expand on the  Hemingway name by adding a picture of Ernest on the back of the box in tribute to the guy who had a love of the sea, and who authored one of my favorite books, The Old Man and The Sea.  Thus the nautical theme and style.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A New Hobby

I've always been involved with music in one way or another, and my wife fulfilled one of my longtime dreams by presenting me in mid-December with an early Christmas present, an Ibanez hollowbody electric guitar to share a corner of my den with a Martin acoustic and an Alvarez plank.  The Ibanez stimulated me to do a little research on the web, and while involved in surfing the many different guitar sites, I bumped into Cigar Box Nation.

I thought, "what is a cigar box guitar." 

Well, let me tell you, it is the most interesting and stimulating hobby that I have ever encountered.

It was so facinating to me that I read everything I could find about these little noise makers, and I immediately made a lumber/hardware run to Lowe's for the necessary parts to get started on my very own CBG (that's short for the little guitar name), and detoured by the local tobacco shop for a supply of cigar boxes. 

That run was on December 19, and since then I have completed the design and manufacture of five completely different and unusual cigar box guitars.

These things are a hoot to build and dynamite to play.  Yes, they sound great!  Especially wired for sound and played through an amplifier.

Take a look at my creations when I post the photos and let me know what you think.  And, if your really interested, hop over to for a real treat and introduction into the world of CBGs.