|This is a page intended for general information on cigar box guitars, amps and other instruments built from recycled materials. There'll be a bit of history on CBGs, playing and building tips and whatever else I think might interest you. The site is still under development so more material will be added in future. Although I've called it The Blueshack, it's not just about the blues as a musical genre. It's about taking the lesser travelled road in music making. The do-it-yourself approach.|
|The people who gave us the blues as a musical style often made their instruments from everyday objects like cigar boxes, old tins, washtubs, bottles etc. They couldn't afford to buy manufacturers instruments so they became inventive. Their music was spontaneous, rough and unpolished yet exciting. Today we have lost a lot of that spontaneity and the musical products we are fed have become somewhat stale and uninteresting. People involved in the cigar box guitar movement are trying to recapture some of that essence by taking back control over what they play by making their own individual instruments and 'less than perfect' music. I hope to convey some of that attitude to you.|
Now I'm not saying I'm gonna give up on all manufactured musical goodies. They definitely have a place and I love my effects pedals, amps and 6 string guitars. It's about having a go yourself, doing things your way rather than just accepting what's been prepared for you. Instruments can be made from cheap everyday objects and used to make music that's as satisfying as anything churned out by the music industry. The pleasure we get from music isn't about how perfectly played or produced it is. It's more about how it affects your emotions, how it makes you feel. So the raw emotion coming from someone playing a guitar made from a cigar box and a stick can be more exciting than pieces played on brand-name guitars costing thousands. I can get just as excited playing one of my CBGs through a half-watt amp that I built into an old tobacco tin, as I can playing my Gibbo through my 60 watt Trademark amp!
Listen to some of the great old-time blues musicians like Son House. I've see footage of him playing Death Letter Blues on a beat up old National that was way out of tune but it never fails to move me close to tears. The real X-factor in music, in my opinion, is heart and soul. That's what makes great music great. When someone puts those ingredients into anything creative, there's an alchemy that turns lead into gold. When you talk to people who are into cigar box guitars and home-grown music, when you look at the craftsmanship in their instruments, you'll find a huge enthusiasm for what they are doing. They are putting their hearts and souls into it and that is what makes the whole thing exciting and inspirational. It's infectious too so be warned!