The 'Maker's Mark' is a six-string, semi-hollowbody, electro-acoustic cigar box guitar, created from a rare 8" x 13" cigar box made to commemorate Maker's Mark whiskey.
My friend Jeff, owner of Burning Leaf Fine Cigars, Columbus, Ohio, asked me to create this guitar for him. It is my interpretation of what he imagined and shared with me. His only request was that it breathe fire, 'cause, as he said, "I really like flames."
In order to make the skunk-stripe Strat neck work with the 3-1/2" box depth, it required a bit of creative fabrication inside. I didn't want attachment screws to spoil the backside of the box, so I created a mounting surface inside that would be a rigid base which the neck could be firmly attached to, while still being removable. This method allowed for maximum open acoustic space for sound to bounce around. There is just enough added wood to counterbalance the weight of the neck, and when the guitar is played with a neck strap, it feels good and the balance is just right.
Fender light strings travel from the adjustable bridge over a single-coil bridge pickup to the tuners. The action is set close for easy play, and acoustically it is what one would expect from a semi-. . . moderate resonance, loud enough, but not annoying. But, when plugged in the sound is vintage Fender, with volume control on the box.
I didn't mess with the integrity of design on the box top, because that is what makes this guitar unique, and besides it is a really cool design.
Soundhole covers are drawer pulls I found while cruising around The Home Depot, and they're just right for the box.
On the back, I did what I think will satisfy Jeff's desire for fire. The flames are hand painted 'fire red' 1-Shot enamel laid down with a long bristle gray squirrel brush, and outlined with a 'rust' mixed to a hue that is complimentary, but which does not detract from the flames. To highlight flame tips, I chose 'ivory'.
And, to allow Jeff his fun while working, he asked me to build a mini-amp to push sound around the smoke-filled confines of his really cool cigar shop. His friends and customers can enjoy a fine cigar, be entertained by a good musician (Jeff), and relax watching the Ohio State Buckeyes demolish their competition.
You'll see that post soon, so stayed tuned to the blog.
You can be the next Bo Diddley with your very own handbuilt cigar box guitar.
Just drop me a line, tell me what you'd like, and away we go!