Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Make A Bottleneck Slide

You will need:
  • A wine bottle with a long neck
  • Glass cutter
  • Masking tape
  • Dremel rotary tool with grinding stone (optional)
  1. Take a piece of masking tape and wrap it around the base of the bottle neck, making sure one side of the tape makes a perfect circle surrounding the neck.  This will serve as the guiding line for the glass cutter.
  2. Using the glass cutter, scribe a solid line around the neck, following the tape guide line.  Make sure the line does not break or get choppy going up and down the neck.
  3. Remove the tape.
  4. Take the bottle to the kitchen sink and run very hot water, for two (2) minutes, over the scribed line on the neck.
  5. Here's the trick!  Change the tap water to cold and run the neck under the stream ... AND TAP ON THE SCRIBED LINE WITH YOUR FINGER or the metal ball end of the glass cutter.  Slowly rotate the bottle, allowing the water to hit every part of the scribed line.  You should eventually hear or see a crack along the scribe.  The neck may even fall off (you may want to place a towel in the sink before this step, to keep from breaking the neck.)  If there is no crack, repeat steps 4 and 5.
  6. If it cracks but the neck does not separate, take hold of the neck and snap it off (just like breaking a chicken's neck.)
  7. Dry off the neck and use a Dremel rotary tool grinding bit to smooth the edges of the cut glass (or, if you are a purist and want the slide to be 'authentic' to blues history, take it outside and smooth the edges on your sidewalk.  Be careful not to chip off too much in the process.
Voila! You have your own true blues bottleneck slide.

Don't get pissed if your first attempt doesn't break right.  This happens from time to time.  Keep practicing.

*  Contributed by Scotty's Cigar Box Guitars

Build A CBG Amplifier

You do not need to be an electronics wizard to build a CBG amplifier*.  A few items from your local electronics supply store, and a little patience and time is all that is necessary.

  • 1/4" input jack for guitar signal (1).
  • Headphone jack (stereo connect left and right channel)  (1).
  • 9-volt battery terminal connector and 9-volt battery (1 each).  Velcro works well to keep the battery secure in the box.
  • Capacitors (1 each):  10uF; 220uF; 0.1uF.
  • 10 ohm resistor (1).
  • LM386 op amp (1).
  • 8 ohm speaker (1).
  • 8-pin IC base (optional).
  • SPST switch (optional) the battery will last longer if used.
  • Perfboard of choice.
You can go bonkers with the use of a box, but a small 'fat' cigar box works well.

Design provided by Scotty's Cigar Box Guitars

Monday, February 22, 2010

'Playboy' Featured on Cigar Box Guitars Australia

I received an e-mail this morning announcing that my 'Playboy' creation was chosen as the feature guitar on Cigar Box Guitars Australia, which is a site devoted to cigar box guitars and related information.  Considering the quality and creativity of the hundreds of instruments displayed on this site, I am honored to have one of my guitars chosen.  You can check out the site by clicking on the site below.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The 'Gutshaker'

The 'Gutshaker' is a full-size, 34-inch scale bass guitar created from an old silverware box I found while rummaging around a secondhand store, and red oak neck.  In this creation, I combined both of my favorite hobbies, pinstriping/graphics and cigar box guitars.  The 'Gutshaker' name comes from the last hotrod I built, and the little guy painted on the top is my version of Roth's Rat Fink painted to reflect the name, and it represents the gut-shaking sound from the bass.  The large size of the box allows plenty of room for the 'f' holes and special bridge designs.  The ol'skool pinstriping on the back further carries out the theme.  But, the real fun is in the tailstock, which is a sterling silver cake server I 'borrowed' from my wife's silverware.  It fit the design well, and we never use it, so why not?  I didn't ask permission, because forgiveness always works best for me. When she discovers my procurement, I will plead senility brought on by old age, and I know she will forgive me.   {;-)

Check Out the 'Playboy' CBG

I finished my 6th guitar, the 'Playboy', a couple weeks ago.  It is the result of acquiring a cigar box made especially for Hugh Hefner.  Bunny silouettes were cut for sound holes as well as for headstock application and output jack enclosure.  And, to finalize the creation, I couldn't resist adding a few photos of 'bunnies' past and present for viewing pleasure inside the box. 

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cigar Box Instrument Plans

The attached link will provide plans for a variety of simple cigar box instruments.  Take a look, all you'll do is get hooked on this fun hobby, and the best part is that you will be able to create a piece of art that will be a functional musical instrument, as well.

archive of cigar box instrument plans

Cigar Box Guitars: building tips, music and the cigar box culture

This is my first attempt at creating a cigar box guitar, and it is the result of the encouragement and direction received from viewing the numerous examples and reading the endless dialog on Cigar Box Nation.  If you are interested, go to the link below . . . but, plan to spend a lot of time, because the trip will be exciting and educational.

Cigar Box Nation - Cigar Box Guitars: building tips, music and the cigar box culture

Friday, February 5, 2010

#s 3, 4, and 5

Attached are photos of the last three guitars.  Number 3 is pretty straight forward, without any special effects.  It sound great and is fun to play.

Number four is a bit crazy.  I made this from an old Hershey's Pretzel tin I used to store small electic parts for hotrods, back in the day when I was still building them.  It too sounds great, and has a bit of a banjo feel to it.

Five is the fun one.  It's my 'redneck' complete with the appropriate decoration.  I set it up without frets, which requires the use of a slide.

All the guitars can be played acoustically or through my amp, and they do sound very good for being constructed from cigar boxes or other unusual things.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Brian Lemin's Cigar Box Guitar Plans

If you are interested in learning more about building a cigar box guitar, I recommend that you take a look at the attached link.  Brian's suggestions can be modified to fit your desires, and you can create your own plan from his basic approach.  Give it a look, you'll not be disappointed.

Brian Lemin's Cigar Box Guitar Plans