Monday, November 22, 2010




Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's Tiki Time!

A couple weeks ago, I got a message from Tim, a new friend from Chicago via cyberspace, asking if I would pinstripe a cigar box in a Tiki motif for a guitar he is going to build.  This Internet stuff is awesome, it lets a fella make new friends in the most interesting ways.  He saw one of my striped guitars on CigarBoxNation.

The Tiki theme comes from his desire to become the next Surf Guitar legend, ala Dick Dale style, (just kidding Tim). 

I said yes. Tim sent the box last week. I finished the creation yesterday.  Will ship it tomorrow.  Take a look, and let me know if I can stripe a toilet seat or a tuna can for you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Another Orion

Shortly after completing the 'Orion' guitar, a friend from Pennsylvania, by way of Cigar Box Nation, informed me that he had an Orion box he would part with.  So, I now have another really cool cigar box, which I think will become a monster amp. 

That's what happens when a fella associates with good people . . . good things happen.

Thanks Wes.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

'Big Business' Enters the CBG Arena

In a recent post, I mentioned buying, from Mitzi in Monroe, La., the cigar box that eventually became the 'Orion' guitar. 

She was kind enough to stop her eBay auction to sell me the box for a cool ten bucks.  Geez, I nearly wet my pants over that box.  I've not seen another like it, in its original form, or in a guitar conversion, and I just had to make it into a guitar.

Well, tonight I got a note from Mitzi after she looked at my blog and saw what a nice creation came from her willingness to sacrifice the auction so I could satisfy my own crazy thirst for a unique instrument.  She is such a nice person, and she has very kind words of praise for my work and creativity.

Hang on, the story gets better. 

It turns out that Mitzi is a business woman to be reckoned with.  She revealed that, what I have mistakenly thought was kindness and sympathy on her part, for an old guy with a lust for mystereous little three- and four-string instruments made from dicarded waste, is actually 'Big Business' at work here.

Mitzi from Monroe confessed that she paid a whopping two bucks for that box at a yard sale, and that she didn't even know why she bought the damn thing in the first place.

I know why!  She knows that a sucker is born every day, and I was the sucker for her cigar box.  But, what she dodn't know is that I would have paid twentyfive bucks for that box that day.  So I guess we both won big! 

Thanks again Mitzi, you da' Lady!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

'Plum Crazy' -- #25

A six-string Fender Squier neck attached to a Tatuaje cigar box, which I painted purple.  These are some of the most simple creations, in that the box itself is large enough and so solidly built that it is great for an electric guitar, especially when oak reinforcing pieces are added to hold the neck and bridge in place.  This adds just enough weight to offset the weight of the neck, and the balance feels so good when it is played.  The pickup, neck plate, strap holder buttons,  and jack plate  are from a supplier in Ontarion, Canada; strings from GuitarFetish; neck with tuners and string trees off eBay; a custom made string cover and hand brushed pinstripes by the old guy who built this rig, me.

Damn, this is a fun hobby.

'Orion' -- #24

I nearly wet my pants, when I discovered this cigar box up for auction on eBay, and couldn't believe nobody was bidding on it.  So, I asked the owner, Mitzi from Monroe, if she would unload it on a 'buy-it-now' basis.  She did!  And, what you see here is the result of that negotiation a week or so ago.

The neck is oak with a beautiful Brazilian walnut veneer laminated to it, by way of my son Joe, whose father-in-law collected veneers of many types during his cabinet-making days.  Now, I have a supply for exotic guitar necks.

Along the way, I decided to laminate another type veneer to the front and back of the headstock, with a skunk stripe going down the neck to the box.  Fret markers are small nails on the fretboard, and BBs (my usual treatment) for the side markers.  Tuners out of China.  String trees from a supplier in Ontario.  Strings from GuitarFetish.  Brass rod for nut and bridge.  And a silver spoon from a yard sale for a tailstock.

This is my first attempt at a 'set neck', and it worked out beautifully (whew! nothing like being adventuresome).  I separated the lid from the box body by removing the hinges; calculated where the neck should be positioned to allow for a 25.5-inch scale; cut an oak block for the neck anchor inside the box, and glued it in place; repositioned the lid to mark the bridge location; cut the center out of the Orion "O" logo for a sound hole; positioned the tailstock, after drilling anchor holes and string openings at the proper distances to match string slots cut into the nut; marked the tuner positions and drilled holes; drilled a hole in the body for the output jack bezel, which I had created from a metal door-slide thingy.  The heavy lifting is now over and I can get to the finishing steps.  I soldered up a Piezo transducer to attach to the jack, and attached it to the inside of the lid under the bass string location.  Added dark screen to the underside of the sound hole for aesthetic appeal; applied several coats of poly for a smooth and glossy finish; attached the top to the body with hidden screws; fitted strings, tuned to DGBd; fired it up; and wow! it sounds great! with the amp, but acoustically it rocks . . . very load from such a little box, and the sustain is awesome.

I think I did wet my pants, just a dribble, when I first plucked a string!  Damn, Mitzi, I cannot thank you enough for helping me buy that box.