TotalRojo Cigar Box Guitars is a small one-man operation specializing in one-of-a-kind creations.
My name is Jess Allred and I specialize in creating unique three-, four-, and six-string electro/acoustic guitars and mini amplifiers. Most of my guitars are created from modern as well as vintage out-of-production cigar boxes with hand formed necks of oak, maple, cherry and walnut, and no two instruments are alike.
However, I do stray away from the roots of my little shop from time to time to create special guitars made from some interesting items like bed pans, silver serving bowls, toilet seats, and a few other items that can make a great guitar body.
And, I've been known to take my creations to a whole 'nother level, too. I found an old cathedral-style radio at a swap meet that conjured up the idea in my head that a guitar body shaped to look like the radio would be real cool -- the result was the 'Chief', which, like all of my creations, can be seen on my web site -- http://totalrojoguitars.blogspot.com, if you're interested in having a good time.
There is no mass production assembly line in my shed. Just me, my tools, and a little blues music.
I don't consider myself much of an artist and I'm not a luthier in the truest sense. I'm a regular guy with a passion for music, art, and woodworking, and I use a lot of hand tools and a couple power tools to bring my passion to life.
I give a lot of attention to detail, while incorporating within my builds the items that make them realistic and playable, while ensuring unique and individual character in each.
Frets are hand-seated stainless; nuts and bridges are hand formed from a variety of materials; high quality tuning machines, pickups and strings are purchased from a supplier; cigar boxes come from a variety of sources; and neck and fretboard stock is via a friend who owns a cabinet shop.
In addition to the wood shed side of my hobby, I enhance some of my creations with the other passion I've been nurturing for more than fifty years -- I hand pinstripe and flame creations to satisfy a customer's fantasy for individualism, and I even get carried away with graphic applications when the need arises.
My goal is to design and create unique and interesting instruments that sound great, look as good as they sound, and play easily, whether it be finger style or with a slide.
TotalRojo guitars are being played and enjoyed by individuals all over the U.S., and many areas of the world, from the beaches of California to the sand of Afghanistan, and as far away as Ireland and Japan.
I also create custom-ordered cigar box guitars and battery-powered mini amplifiers, which can be personalized to satisfy the owner's wishes.
They make really cool and unusual gifts to play or to hang on the wall.
"I'm sure I have the perfect guitar for you"
Don't be shy! Think how long it took you to get this far, so don't stop now.