My New CigarBox Guitar- Built by the Amazing Tony Taylor!

Fretted bliss… indeed! Amazing. Major cool. And this is what I came home with 🙂
20150521_115551 Sorry, the pics don’t do her justice… but I will add more along with a song or two later…

Years ago slide-player extraordinaire Bryn Haworth came out with a record titled “Slide Don’t Fret” which like most of what he does was peerless.

Most of you know I have used, built and played cigarbox and found-object gits for quite a while now. I blame Shane Speal for plenty of this… he has been the human dynamo for the movement (and that it is!) from founding C.B. Nation and championing these amazing gits and more. I play my own signature model from Grrr Records, continuously Shane’s amazing git (see my blog pic above) and have now added this sweetheart from Tony. Blessed R Us!

I am no perfectionist but one thing you just cannot allow for: a poorly fretted instrument. The notes will be either sharp or flat as you move up and down the neck, sometimes due to poor fret placement, sometimes due to position of the bridge or nut corresponding to the strings (individually, some of all of them).

Slide players can use a typical or cigarbox guitar with a horrible fret-job and never notice due to never using the frets with fingers pressed down. slide means pressing the string hard enough to sound, but not down onto the neck itself. So the frets are mainly used for positioning the slide. But I wanted to both fret and slide on a cigarbox git.

A gifted luthier for such a box happens to live about 2 1/2 hours south of Chicago, and I had long wanted to visit him: Tony Taylor of Ascendent Instruments.20150521_12080120150521_115914

I LOVE artistry. I love Illinois (the state I live in, where Chicago is the major city). I love small villages and rivers, rural areas and spend what time I can in them all over the world -but especially Illinois.

Tony Taylor’s front deck sits on a river bank about 3 feet from which you can look down to the Middle Fork of the Vermillion River just outside of a very small village (one restaurant, great burgers!) called Potomac, Illinois.

He is a stand-up bro. who “caught the bug” to build cigarbox guitars,20150521_12101420150521_121208 basses, amps20150521_12092320150521_121123 and stomp pedals (large variety of effects) as well as cool guitar cases and straps for his builds. His amps and effects pedals are majorly cool old-school in look and design but truly sound flippin’ cool. Artistry. Uniqueness. He happens to be a drummer, but also plays bass and guitar, gives lessons, does cigarbox guitar workshops teaching peeps to both build and play these amazing instruments.

I had known about Tony for quite some time, visited his site on CigarBoxNation.Com and between looking for articles on the Web and pouring over his photos it became clear he was likely the person I wanted to build me a fretted cbg.20150521_123003

I have built a LOT of these guitars and basses, but have only slightly entered the area of placing and installing frets, all sorts of ways and with all sorts of material. I just wanted something done right, solid and in my own case, asked for something simple, basic but loud.

Tony delivered BIG time! Ok, so I drove down with my father-in-law Curt to visit him, get to know him face-to-face, check out his other work, his amazing (self-built) shop20150521_113939 and just hang out for a good part of the day.

I asked for something without a pickup in it because I plan to use this in the street. I’ll attach a removable pickup for larger shows so I can “amp” it as well, but I must say this puppy is INSPIRING.

Look, nobody asks nor pays me to rave on gear like this- and when on occasion I find much less own it… I just cannot keep a secret.

Tony’s website and more info. can be found here:

I also decided to interview him and will get that audio as well as video clip up soon as I am able.

Enjoy! I sho’ ’nuff am!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn


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