Below are some of my favorites.  

Check out the photos on the right for a bunch more,
and click on the photo to be taken to information about your choice.


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Click on the links below the photos for details on each creation.



Click on the link below for complete details of the build.


'el Jefe'

Click on the link below for details on the build.



Click on the link below for details on the build.


'The Lion'

Click on the link below for details on the build.



Click on the link below for details on the build.


OP Nascar League Hot Seat

Click on the link below for details on the build.



Click on the link below for details on the build.


'The Chippie'

Click on the link below for details on this little lady.


'The Gusle'

Click on the link below for details on this really cool instrument.


'Canned Heat'

Click on the link below for details and additional photos of this creation.


'Boogie Bowl'

Click on the link below for details and additional photos of this creation.


'Sweet Tater Pan'

Click on the link below for complete details and other photos of this creation.


Neck Strap

Click on the link below to read about this creation.


'Whoopin' Stick'

Click on the link below for details on this creation.


'The Crapocaster'

Click on the link below for details on this creation.


'The Torpedo'

Click on the link below for complete details on this creation.



I've discovered, during the past couple years, that anything goes when building a cigar box guitar, and it doesn't necessarily require that a cigar box be used in the creation of a pretty cool instrument. All that is required is a little creativity and a lot of imagination.

So, while taking a 'john' timeout, my imagination was wandering from one wild-assed (no pun intended) thing to another, and the thought occured to me that a toilet seat would make a great 'plank' guitar . . . it's shaped right; feels good when it should; some are made of wood, so construction would be easy; and it would be cool as hell (an oxymoron).

Off to Lowes I went in search of the perfect toilet seat. It had to be wood, preferably oak, and it had to have a brass hinge arrangement.

I found just what I wanted, paid the lady, and beat feet out of the store . . . I bet they were wondering why I was in such a hurry with a toilet seat under my arm . . . they just didn't know the real mission I had in mind.

When my wife saw my new $30 prize, she asked, "Why are we replacing a toilet seat?" "We aren't!," I said. "Well, why did you buy that thing," she said. Excited as all get out, I said, "I'm gonna make a guitar!" She looked at me, rolled her eyes, and said, "What?" "Ya," I said, "It'll be a hoot!, and I'm calling it the 'Stratocrapper!" To this, she didn't have a response, only a thousand yard stare, and walked away.

Off to the workshop I went. It didn't take me long to decide what I would do with the Fender six-string neck I had on the shelf. I took the seat apart, swapped the pieces around so the lid was the back and the seat was the front, attached the two pieces together, and measured twice and cut once (the recommended Rockler Woodworking approach) so the neck would fit just right on my new guitar body.

Now, what to do about electronics, 'cause this rig was not set up for acoustics. Let your mind wander just a bit and I'm sure you can imagine the sound produced from a toilet seat . . . didn't want those acoustics. ;-)

I created a box from a hollowed out piece of oak, with laminated Spanish cedar top, which would carry the pickups and the bridge, while hiding the wires in the routed channel below. Next, I designed another cedar piece to rest on the seat ring, which would hold the controls recessed into another routed channel. The electro parts were gathered and I commenced to put a wire harness together, which would fit the channels and openings in the covers. All this didn't take long, thanks to the handy, dandy tools and layout in my shop.

Once the fabrication and fitting of pieces was completed, it was on to design. The oak lid would remain golden, but the seat would be stained a very dark ebony for contrast with the lid and other wood parts, and to tie the neck and body together. The hand painted graphic on the back speaks for itself, and the logo on the headstock finished the job.

My nine-year-old granddaughter Maggie saw the finished guitar yesterday, while visiting us for Halloween treats, and said, "Grandpa is that a toilet seat made into a guitar?" When I said it was in fact a toilet seat, she howled, "Seriously, a toilet seat!" "Seriously, did someone sit on it?!" "Oh, no, I can't believe you would make a guitar out of a toilet seat!" I didn't tell her it was new and unblemished, hee, hee. I wonder what she'll say when she sees the bedpan guitar I'm gonna make.

Here it is. The 'Stratocrapper'. What do you think? I'll probably get a letter from Fender Guitars saying I must cease and desist in using 'strato' in the name, since they seem to be on a recent lawsuit mission scolding all the folks referencing 'strato' anything . . . look out weatherman, when you mention the stratosphere.


'La Gloria' is a three-string electro-acoustic guitar using a very unusual La Gloria Cubana Artesanos de Obelisco cigar box as the basis for the construction.

This is a beautiful cigar box with unbelievable finish throughout, and the shape screams to be made into a guitar.

I chose to retain the beauty of the top by not creating any sound hole openings, and to only add string ferrules and a thin Corian bridge to the surface. To compliment the bridge, I crafted a nut from Corian to hold the strings in place at the head of the maple fretboard. This is my first attempt at using Corian, but it surely will not be the last. The Corian material is easy to work with and it maintains the same sturdiness of bone, and it polishes out very well.

So, where would the acoustic opening be placed? . . on the back side of the box. The opening is designed to fit the lower contour of the box, and it is more than adequate to let sound resonate well. The recessed output jack plate works nicely from its position near the top of the box allowing the amp cord to be used without getting in the way.

To finish the backside, I chose to add a hand painted graphic flower arrangement, which lends itself nicely to the clean front.

I played this guitar for the first time yesterday, and I fell in love with the resonance of sound, the shape, and the sustain is awesome, so I guess this will stay in my stable along with a few other special creations I cannot part with.

Please let me know what you think of 'Gloria'.

'Maker's Mark'

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.



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.


'Yin Yang'

A couple weeks ago, I was invited by Cigar Box Nation to enter a contest which will be judged in June by Fretboard Magazine editors. The prize is a custom made six-string guitar. Not that I need another guitar . . . I already have G.A.S. (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome) . . , but what the hell, it will be fun to enter. The only criteria is that the guitar must be created from a cigar box, have two or more necks, and be playable.

So, I pondered what to build and came up with the idea of using the ancient Chinese understanding of how things work . . . Yin Yang.


The Yin Yang symbol is an outer circle representing 'everything', while the black and white shapes within the circle represent the interaction of two energies, 'yin' (black), and 'yang' (white), which cause everything to happen, and they cannot exist without each other.

While 'yin' would be dark, passive, downward, cold, and weak, 'yang' would be bright, active, upward, hot, and strong. The shape of the yin and yang sections of the symbol actually gives the sense of continual movement of the two images, yin to yang, and yang to yin.

I chose Yin Yang as the theme for this guitar, because music, the universal language of the ages, and the guitar with its dark bass and bright treble notes, complimentary opposites, represents perfectly through its music how things work together.

In the photos, you will see how I designed the necks to be similar, but opposite. One is made of dark oak with a very dark ebony fingerboard, while the other is light oak with a very light monkey pod wood fingerboard, facing each other, with tuners to match. The three-string neck is accented in black (Yin), and the four-string neck is accented in white (Yang). This color scheme is carried on down the back of the necks to the tailstocks. The box is a Saint Luis Rey Churchill, which worked well in that the oval logo was removed to create a sound hole between the necks, which I backed in screen to finish that portion.

Inside, I set up each neck with a transducer pickup which can be activated by a switch when being played, so that only sound from one guitar is amplified at a time. The bridge is designed to accommodate each neck in one design, which tends to tie the two together visually. To accentuate the Yin Yang theme, I added small silver plated black and white symbols to neck, tailstock, and bridge, as well as a larger example laminated to the back of the box.

Who knows how this creation will be accepted by the contest judges, but I don't really care, because it was fun to build and it plays very well, so win or lose


'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. {;-)



The Dale Earnhardt 'Intimidator' cigar box guitar is a custom, one-of-a-kind, handmade six-string electric instrument designed and created for Bruce Kempf, my long-time Montana friend.

The guitar features a body created from a Tatuaje Totalmente a mano cigar box, which is a product made in Esteli, Nicaragua exclusively for Tatuaje Cigars, Inc.

The Spanish cedar body is modified and fabricated to allow attachment of a 21-fret Fender Stratocaster guitar neck. Other modifications are the addition of a single-coil magnetic bridge pickup to amplify sound; a through-body custom adjustable metal bridge and saddle; recessed output jack plate; and volume control to allow sound adjustment at the guitar. Interior modifications include strategic bracing for neck adaptation and overall support, which also serves to counterbalance the weight of the neck, giving the instrument a well- balanced 'feel' when played. Foil lining throughout minimizes 'feedback' at the amp.

The 'blacked out', pinstripe-enhanced, design of the guitar augments the overall 'bad-boy' theme, through the use of black accessories complimenting the black body.

Nascar racing legend Dale Earnhardt, seven-time series winner, whose life was cut short in a crash at the Daytona 500 on February 18, 2001, (1951-2001) was the 'Intimidator'! He was 'big'! He was 'bold'! He was 'bad'!


 'Delta Boogie'

I've been asked recently to elaborate about details as they apply to the creation of the 'Boogie'. So, here goes.

The 'Boogie' is made from a Kristoff cigar box. By design, it is a very rough box, not smooth like typical boxes (9-1/4" wide x 9-3/4" long x 2-1/8" deep) with built-in hinge pins on the lid.

I cut a 5-1/4" hole in the center of the lid to accommodate the resonator (a small antique pie tin found in a junk store) turned upside down inside the box. The tin rests on raised wood blocks, one on each side of the box cavity, which are cut to a thickness to allow the bottom of the tin to be level with the top of the box opening. The tin is held in place by other smaller blocks glued to the resting blocks, A small gap (1/8") separates the tin from the box top opening. The purpose of the resting blocks and the top gap is to prevent sound deadening from the resonator. The tin should rest flat on the blocks to eliminate any potential buzzing.

A diamond-shaped sound hole is cut in the corner of the lid to let sound resonate.

A 1/4" hole is drilled in the center of the tin bottom to accommodate wires from the Piezo transducer pickup inside the bridge biscuit. The wires are connected to the output jack in the back of the box, which is mounted by way of a custom designed cedar plate.

The biscuit is 2" in diameter, made from three glued pieces of wood: a 3/16" birch plywood base; 1/8" balsa mid-piece (each has a 1" hole in carved in the center to accept the pickup, which is kept in place with a healthy dose of silicon filler); and a 1/8" solid piece of Spanish cedar for the top of the biscuit (from the inside divider pieces of the cigar box). A 1/4" piece of solid brass rod is used as a bridge saddle on which the strings rest. The biscuit floats on the tin - not glued to it.

The neck is a 'set' neck, which is attached with screws to a block of oak (1-3/4" cube) glued to the inside of the box on the neck end.

I chose 1/2" x 1-1/2" oak as a neck with 1/4" x 1-1/2" poplar as the fingerboard. As with all necks I produce, I chose stock that has a slight hump in the wood for the top of the neck, which straightens under string tension, so that I don't have to screw around with a truss rod (this works well on 3- and 4-string guitars), anything with more strings would require a rod. I chose to add a little cedar veneer to the neck for decoration.

Like all my creations, I use BBs as fret markers glued in depressions on the leading edge of the fretboard. No special reason, just my quirky design. It works for me and keeps the surface of the fretboard clean.

The nut is also 1/4" brass rod resting on a cedar bed to lift it enough to allow the strings to clear the first fret.
I never attach the nut or bridge until the neck, complete with frets, is attached to the body. Then I use a straightedge on the fretboard to determine how much thickness I want at the nut for strings to clear the frets, and so the saddle height is enough to allow 1/8" string clearance at the 12th fret, on a regular guitar (I like close action), and whatever I desire for action when using a slide to comfortably play without mashing the strings on the frets.

The headstock is a simple design with three holes drilled for tuners. I used a Floyd Rose type string tree to snug the strings to the nut.

The tailstock is a stainless steel door strike screwed to the back of the box, with three holes drilled it it to accept the strings.

Strap pins are simple buttons acquired at Hobby Lobby.

I use the #5, 4, and 3 strings (A, D, G) from an acoustic set of six medium gauge strings. There are many inexpensive brands to choose from, and I have had a lot of success with Guitar Fetish strings.

The 'Boogie' is open tuned G - D - g, which is my preference.


'Blackeyed Susan'

Blackeyed Susan is the result of a knawing desire to incorporate a little art with guitar building.

I have always liked the effect one gets from burning designs in wood, and a recent trip to a crafters meet at the local fairgrounds set the fire off inside me.

After searching the web for the best deal on an adjustable burner (from, and waiting for delivery, I commenced to design the neck and body of 'Susan'.

The burner arrived and I made the leap into pyro design with a little help from my granddaughter Maggie, who thought a Blackeyed Susan flower arrangement from a coloring book was the only choice. That design went on the back. The front design is my creation allowing for two of the leaves to act as sound hole cutouts, and the other two for balanced decoration. This basic design leads to the vine growing up the neck. Note the flowers at the critical fret locations.

It is setup with a piezo transducer for amped sound, but it sounds great accoustically. Another fun project with a little creativity thrown in for grins.



'The Chief'

I mentioned a while ago in another post that I had purchased an old cathedral-style radio at a yard sale, and was going to use it for an amplifier. Well, I decided not to chop it up. But, the design of it is so cool that I decided to build a guitar in that design.

Here it is.

The project started with a concept, and finished with what you see here. But, along the way, it was really interesting, especially since this build is the first from the ground up. Everything from concept to completion is my own personal design and application.

It is a 4-string electro/acoustic tenor guitar with an on-board battery powered GuitarFuel amp harness and speakers (, which were supplied by my friend Ty. There is also a headphone jack in the back panel, so the only person I annoy with my lousy playing is myself. Ty encouraged me to do the on-board thing . . . I usually build the amp separately, but this is such a sweet application that I'm sure it is not my last. And, it sounds awesome. Thanks Ty!

I started with a drawing of the basic radio design and transferred it to a large piece of 3/32" maple for the front and back of the guitar.

After cutting out the two pieces and opening the relief areas and sound holes; marking locations for the neck, pickup, speakers, etc., I covered all the openings with a dark brown fabric, which looks like wood. I also cut an access opening in the back panel in the basic shape of the guitar body. I need this to get to the electronics inside the body.

Then I commenced to install interior bracing and handmade purfling on which to cement the side pieces. Once I had this done, I glued the front and back structure together. The sides are made up of one-piece of 1/16" mahogany cut to give the body a 3-1/2" thickness. This piece was cemented to the basic body structure, as was the back piece, and voila, I had myself a 'real' guitar body. The body was then finish filed and sanded to completion.

Next was the completion of the walnut neck, maple fretboard, and corian nut and saddle. The walnut, maple, mahogany stock, and corian were supplied by my friend Matt, who owns a local counter top shop.

The headstock was designed in the basic shape of the body with a very thin piece of balsa used to accent the design and to carry the TotalRojo logo. After the pieces were cemented together, the shaping and finishing was done by hand, until I was satisfied with how it looked and felt in my hands. Frets were added to the fingerboard, and the finished neck was laminated to the body.

The bridge is a piece of Spanish cedar designed in the shape of one of the body openings, on which the saddle and oak filled brass tube string retainer is laminated. Inset into the bridge is a 1935 Indian Head nickle, which gives the guitar its name, 'The Chief'.

I chose a bass guitar pickup for this application, because of its compact size and design, and it works very well in this instance.

Gold tuners with wood grain knobs were installed in the headstock to adjust the strings over the 25.5 scale neck. And, a custom designed brass string tree holds the strings in place, when riffing a hard blues number.
Finally, eight hand applied coats of poly, hand sanded between applications, finish off the guitar.

The A-D-G-B (5, 4, 3, 2) strings from a standard set of medium acoustic guitar strings are tuned D-G-B-D (open G tuning) for a bright and lively sound and tone.

The amp is fully adjustable from a mellow, earthy sound, to a quite loud and twangy presentation, and a lot of options in between. This is very cool setup with the amp on board the guitar . . . no messing with a cable and separate amp.

If you like what you've seen and read, leave me a comment, or email me with your comments.

(The inspiration for the design)



 Latest Bargain

Last month I cruised out to the local fairgrounds swap meet to check out other people's junk, I mean treasures, and in the process I came across a lady selling, among other things, a guitar. Like I need another guitar . . . I already explained that I suffer with GAS, Guitar Acquisition Syndrome! Oh well, what's one more, right?

I looked it over carefully, and under the grime I discovered it was a 'Prestige' brand, which I knew nothing about, but I knew it wasn't anything near the quality of my Martin. The strings, what were there, were in tough shape. One tuner needed attention. But, under closer scrutiny and wiping away some of the dust and crud, I realized this thing was ding free and that all the internal bracing was in tact, and structurally it was sound.

Now to the good part. I asked the gal what she had to have for it. She said, "Forty bucks." I said, "No, I don't really want another guitar, and besides I'll just cut it up to make a resonator, so thanks anyway, but I'll pass." She came right back at me asking that I make an offer. I said, "No, I don't want to insult or offend you." She said, "Make an offer, I'll probably take it." I said, "OK, twenty bucks." She said, "It's yours." I paid the lady and took off for home to see what a mistake I really made, wondering if she was pissed at the person who owned it and was getting 'even' by giving it away . . . nah, it was too grungy, and she seemed too nice.

Well, after a good scrubbing and a wax job; a new set of strings; and tuning, I discovered that I had just 'stolen' a pretty damn nice guitar. Not high-end, but it plays well and the finish is flawless with nice edge binding, rosewood fingerboard with solid frets, what I think is maple top, and the sides and back appear to be mahogany.

So, off I went to the internet to research my prize. I could only find one guy who claims to own a similar model, and nothing about the manufacturer. The guy says it was American made in the '60s for distribution through Sears and that it was produced for only a short time. But, that all I could glean from my web effort.

That's alright, nothing like a 'good deal' to make the world a better place.


'The Revelator'

My friend Wichita Sam, whom I met on the site, encouraged me to build a resonator guitar and after he shared some crucial thoughts with me, I set out to craft what turned out to be a nice instrument.

The box is a basic Chateau Fuente QueenB cigar box with an oak neck and poplar fretboard, modified to accept hardware store drain covers for the sound holes and a resonator made of a paint can lid.

The bridge biscuit is my creation, which includes a piezo transducer pickup sandwiched between spanish cedar and balsa woods wired to an output jack to amplify sound.

The backside art is a pic of an old bluesman bangin' on a real resonator guitar.

Sam was right, this simple design really does work, and the accoustic sound is amazing, but when I light it up throug the amp and lay on a slide, it really comes alive with a gritty delta blues twang that vibrates to my toes.

Thanks, Sam for showing me the way!


New Creations
During one of the many excursions to the music store to lust over beautiful instruments, I saw a violin laying in a pile of crap. It looked great to me, new, shiny, not a ding, so I asked the ol' gal who owns the place about it. Her comment was, "It is a piece of Chinese shit, if you want it I'll sell it to you for $15." So, 'Gitfiddle II' was in the works before the end of the day.

I ripped off the strings; fingerboard; cut the neck apart; modified what was left of the violin; built a neck of red oak; cut an opening in the back to install a pickup, and commenced to fit and glue the pieces together.

There are a few little differences with this build and the previous Gitfiddle. For example, I left the tailstock as it was originally, flexible, and replaced the original tuning pegs with modified guitar pegs to make tuning it less difficult. And, the attachment of the headstock to the neck, and the neck to the body was a little less problematic, in that I didn't mess around with recessing anything. I modified the original bridge to accommodate the lower action of the four guitar strings.

After all this, I tuned it to DGbd tuning, and fired it up. It sounds great acoustically, as one would expect, because of the original construction, and through my amp it is awesome. Sure it's no Strad, but it plays Chinese real good. 

Next in line out of the workshop came 'Ol' Smokey'. It is a twin to 'Big Red', the six-string I dubbed to be 'Almostafender', because it has a Fender Squier neck. The box is a Tatuaje cigar box just like the red. Everything is exactly the same. I just wanted a black twin to the red one.

'The Spider'  It is one of my favorites, not because it is such an unusual build, but because it incorporates the two hobbies I find most pleasureful . . . pinstriping and cigar box guitar building.

I sprayed a Tatuaje box a deep royal blue and added process blue and dark magenta freehand pinstriping to set it off from anything else I've done. Added a silver black widow spider to give it a little character, and I'm happy, until I take a look at the back. It just didn't light up my board, until I added the 'real' spider with exposed bones and a human skull.

Now, it's a real spider guitar, and it really sounds good, too. I'm happy!


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.


'Plum Crazy' 

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.


'Peckerhead Mojo'

Each year, for the past decade, my son has hosted a Fathers' Day bicycle ride to commemorate the group gathering he and seven of his friends coordinated several years ago . . . the Peckerhead Invitational Ride.  He asked me to create a guitar with a theme that would appropriately reflect the ride.  Here it is, the electro-acoustic Peckerhead Mojo three-string TotalRojo cigar box guitar.

Tuners, string tree, strings, piezo pickup, and output jack are the only items which are not bicycle related.

The gear decorating the headstock is from a racing bike 10-sprocket cluster, and a bearing spacer is adorning the back of the headstock. The nut at the head of the fretboard is made from a spoke (covered with a piece of cable housing) with spoke nipples as end caps. Frets are hand-dressed bike spokes, with retainer ends left on the 8 key fret positions as side markers, and spoke nipples are used for fingerboard fret markers. A 39-tooth drive sprocket serves as the sound hole rosette, with a brake rotor shielding the opening from the underside. The bridge is the same concept as the nut. Spoke nipples are once again used, this time as string ferrules. Brake parts are fabricated to make really cool strap buttons, and a brake pad placed at the base of the neck, where it joins the box can be used for a shorter strap, plus it just looks cool there. And, a 53-tooth drive sprocket, encircled with a length of chain, is used to add a little style to the back of the box, and to enclose the hand-painted group symbol . . . the Peckerhead.

For a little spice inside the box, I added photos from the 10th annual ride last year. The center photo recognizes the eight friends who pulled this really fun event together.

Multi-color pinstriping, which is my next most fun hobby, adds a little flair to finish off the the front and back of the box.

When building the guitar, I wondered if the addition of metal to the overall layout would effect the sound, but it isn't a problem. The little Peckerhead plays well with low string action (my kid will not be using a slide), and the moderately bright sound resonates well with good sustain.

 Ha-ha-ha-HAA-ha! 'That's all, folks!'