Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Few New Creations

I've been building steadily for the last couple weeks, but haven't taken the time to post the new creations.  Here are five that I hope is an interest to you.

The "Piramide" is a 3-string guitar created from an Arturo Fuente 'Lost City' box, which is one of a limited OpusX edition of only 600 released in November 2010 as a part of the special Lost City promotion.  All the AF boxes are beautiful and produce awesome sounding instruments.

The sound holes are fashioned from perforated drawer knobs picked up at the Great Indoors hardware department, and the bridge is created by using parts from a drawer handle from the same hardware store.  I removed the floppy piece between the lions heads and replaced it with a brass rod.  Like most of my 3- and 4-string creations, a Piezo transducer distributes sound to my amp.  Tuners are Gotoh types, which stretch the G-D-g tuned 5-4-3 strings from a 10-46 acoustic set.

The "Rocky" uses a beautiful red Rocky Patel cigar box for the basis of the build. Stainless recessed perforated cabinet knobs cover the sound holes, while stainless drawer pulls are used as string and bridge covers, which provides a 'hand rest' when playing. The stainless features compliment the silver artwork on the box.  A transducer transfers sound to the amp. The 'Rocky' sounds quite different than many of the other boxes, but I like the treble sound the box produces.

The "23 Skidoo" comes from a Perdomo cigar box.  I love the simple design of the box and it lends itself to make a great sounding guitar.  This guitar has a wicked rich sound, and the red-orange color is very attractive.  I used a brass nut and bridge to transmit the sound through the usual transducer, but as an acoustic, this box rocks.

The "Honey" is a 4-string created from a Havana Honeys cigar box.  Again, I used unusual perforated drawer knobs for recessed sound hole covers.  The internal, as well as much of the external creation, is basic TotalRojo design with small variations to set the 'Honey' apart from other builds.  The box is smaller than many others, but the sound is plenty big, especially amplified.

The "Burning Leaf" 3-string guitar is my first Padron cigar box build, but it will not be my last.  This is an awesome box, which produces the best resonance and sustain of any that I've built.  The box is constructed from thin Spanish cedar with dovetail joinery, which I think is the reason for the great sound.

I built this box as a surprise for my friend Jeff, who owns Burning Leaf Fine Cigars, a really cool cigar shop in Columbus, Ohio, where I get the bulk of the boxes I use.

Everything in the construction of the guitar is basic to all my designs with the exception of the woodburned name and leaf cutout soundhole on the front of the box; the larger leaf design burned into the back of the box; and placement of the TotalRojo logo on the face of the box. 

Another exception is that I tuned this guitar to D-G-B, which was recommended by a CigarBoxNation builder-friend (Uncle John), and I gotta tell you, it is by far the best sounding and playable instrument I've constructed.

Well, I gotta get back into the shop, there are more fun things to create, and more music to enjoy.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cigar Box Guitar Lesson

YouTube - Lesson _ Cigar Box Guitar - 3 string - DGB

Check out this lesson presented by Uncle John.  The guy is a cool ol' dude and he makes playing a cigar box guitar pretty simple, and fun.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Montana cowboy walks into the Old Ox tavern and takes a seat next to a very attractive U of M coed -- he gives her a quick glance, then casually looks at his watch for a moment.

The cutey notices this and asks, "Is your date running late?"

"No", he replies, "I just got this state-of-the-art watch, and I was just testing it."

The intrigued cutey says, "A state-of-the-art watch?" "What's so special about it?"

The cowboy explains, "It uses alpha waves to talk to me telepathically."

The coed says, "What's it telling you, now?"

"Well, it says you're not wearing any panties."

The girl giggles and replies, "Well, it must be broken, because I am wearing panties!"

The cowboy smiles, taps his watch a couple times and says, "Damn thing's an hour fast!"

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I've noticed recently that my blog is being viewed by folks from northern Canada, Finland, Spain, Serbia, England, Scotland, and a variety of other foreign countries.

Thanks you for stopping by! 

While you're visiting, please make a comment on a post that interests you, or one that doesn't.  I really do want to hear from you.

If you don't wish to comment on the blog, send me an e-mail message at and I will respond.

Cigar box guitar building and playing is a great hobby, and you make it better.

I like the cyber penpal concept and enjoy making new acquaintences.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An Artist

    He who works with
        His hands
            Is a laborer.

    He who works with
        His hands and his head
            Is a craftsman.

    He who works with
        His hands, his head, and his heart
            Is an Artist.

                         St. Francis of Assisi

Whoa-oa-oa!  I feel good, I knew that I would, now
I feel good, I knew that I would, now
So good, so good, so good

I have a birthday this week and I intend to celebrate it rockin' out, enjoyin' life, and demonstrating that age is only a state of mind . . .

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Tiki Is Done!

A couple months ago, I posted photos of a cigar box I painted in a Tiki motif for my friend Tim in Chicago. 

Well, Tim has completed the guitar, which uses the box as the basis for his outstanding creation.  Notice that Tim fashioned the headstock to resemble the flame treatment I painted at the top of the box, a great way to carryout the overall theme.  Tim is really a talented and creative guy, and an all around good guy, as well!

If you're interested in seeing some very nice and unique cigar box guitars, do yourself a favor and go to Tim's Facebook page or (search Catalyst Customs on either site) and enjoy the ride.

If you cannot live without having a genuine hand-painted cigar box for your next guitar, or anything else for that matter, from toilet seats to trash cans, drop me a line here on the blog or e-mail me and we'll see where the paint flows.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Visitors, Please Note!

Now that I have your attention!

Thank you for visiting my blog!

People from around the US and many foreign countries are visiting my blog, and I would like very much to hear from you.

So, please leave a comment on a particular post you read and like, or even if you don't like it (I would like to know what you think of my blog); drop me an email message at the address posted here (;  or leave your email address and I will respond to you.

I really do want to make acquaintance with the folks who have an interest in the exciting hobby of creating and playing cigar box guitars.

Friday, February 4, 2011

It's Like Eatin' Potato Chips

I'm about to finish construction of the 32nd CBG.  I cannot believe what an enjoyable hobby this has become.

A Little over a year ago, I plunged into this, after reading a magazine article and researching it on the web. 

The excitement demonstrated by members of cigarboxnation,
handmademusicclubhouse, and cigarboxguitarsaustralia hooked me.

It doesn't hurt that I know how to use hand tools, and that I am artistic, but just looking at what others do to create such beautiful and playable instruments is so stimulating.  There are some very talented and creative people out there working in their basement workshops to produce some of the most interesting 'art' you'll have the pleasure of seeing.  Take a look, you'll be glad you did.

It wasn't difficult to get into the swing of it all, after studying what I saw on the CBG web sites.  I took a good hard look at the construction of my Martin acoustic guitar, compared it to the way my solid body Strat was built, and then compared all that to the way my new Ibanez hollowbody electric (a Christmas present from my wife) is constructed.  A few critical measurements from each, and I was off to create the Hemingway, which turned out quite well, and plays well, too.

When I first layed a thumb on the bass string of the Hemingway and combined that with the tone of a treble pluck, there was no looking back, other than to admire what I had created, and to look forward to something new.

And, today I'll put strings on the Piramide (#32) and play some funky blues.  Damn, this is a great hobby!

It's like eating potato chips . . . you can't eat just one!

Tung Oil

I tried using Tung Oil as the finish on the last couple guitars I've built, and I gotta tell you, I think it is great. 

I really like the way it flows on the wood surfaces, and the semi-gloss luster of it is nice.  I like poly for the durability of it, but the oil is a better choice for me. 

Tung Oil can be applied with a soft cloth, but I prefer to use small brush to carefully stroke it smoothly onto the surface.  Within thirty minutes, it is ready for a light sanding with 1000 grit wet/dry sandpaper, buffing with a lint-free cloth, and after drying overnight, it leaves a beautiful finish.  If the finish starts to lose its luster after a time, a light coat of oil brings it back to life.

It's worth a try.  Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hang Your Guitar

I've seen several options for hanging cigar box guitars, but none of them seemed to work for me.  I didn't like the idea of attaching a string to the headstock to hand the thing from a nail.  The idea of drilling a hole through the headstock to hang it on a nail wasn't too inviting.  Commercial guitar hangers are good for 'regular' guitars, but not too handy for a CBG, and besides they're expensive as hell, anywhere from $9 to $25, that's pricey, especially when you have multiple instruments to hang.

So, I got to thinking (for me, that's dangerous as hell), I can make a hanger that will function well and be affordable, too.  Take a look at my creations:

This model works well on a guitar with a conventional-shaped headstock.

This model works well on headstocks without the conventional outward shape at the base of the headstock.


Now, here's the really cool part of this.  I'll sell these little devils . . .

$5.00 each, plus shipping
Buy 5 or more, and the shipping is free!

Place your order:


But, if you're like me, you'll build your own, and that's OK with me, I like it when folks are creative.  Either way, it's a bargain!