Cigarbox and FoundObject Guitar Inspiration

Work in a school, library, museum or craft shop? Work with kids,  serve poor shelter folks, disabled or other needful adults? Home-school or otherwise teach and/or simply care about the arts? Maybe you’re already a musician, even a guitarist, in a band and you’ve “tried it all”… not. Maybe you just have “cabin fever” in the middle of winter (or whenever) and need something crafty to mess with? Read on!

Who knew -I sure didn’t see it comin’- that I would one day view the world through the lens of simple primitive 1 and 3 string slide guitar, etc., making?!

Well… I think God did, but hey, the deal is (as others have said about other obsessions) “it’s a disease”… but such fun and something that opens up a LOT of doors for educating people on building, outside-the-box creative thinking, problem-solving concepts, the use of simple (or no) tools or even machine and wood shop power tools, learning music-making on a stringed instrument that can be played -many- ways, songwriting, on it goes.

It’s about imagination, little or no money, and mainly a bit of  time, energy and some patience. Art is often like that. LIFE is often like that I think.

So today picking up a few items for my wife and I at our local Target store I saw this:


Ok, it’s 3 bucks, made in China (everything else is too…) fairly solid and easy enough to cut, place a wooden neck in and string up. I really should have bought it. Then again, one can easily create it or re-create it printing a great quality picture and affixing it (several ways with clear varnish on top to seal and protect it) and there you have a slide guitar… or even fretted if you want to bother with that. Plus it’s a “smiler”, good advice for big kids like me and you as well as the younger ones.

These days I surprise myself by what I notice!

I recently found a discarded (round) skill saw blade in the garbage at a worksite. A good cleaning, a good sideways sawing into 3/4 inch conduit, drill a few holes to attach blade to conduit “neck”, one for a guitar string on one end, larger for eyebolt/lock washer/wingnut “tuner”, add a pickup and plug ‘er in and you got heavy (actually, pretty light) METAL baby 🙂

Like I said, it’s a disease. There is just no end of how one can create a guitar of stuff, re-purpose items in a whole ‘nother way.

The other day I finally found an online recipe for creating a bow (as in violin, cello or psalter bow) and a great source for very cheap yet useable ersatz horse hair, one small shank from which with a little wood and some rosin, allows one to then -bow- a one stringer as you might a fiddle or cello. Add a pickup, long enough neck, big enough body (of whatever) and tune it wherever and you have an entire different musical instrument on the cheap.

For years I have considered making a fully wooden 1 stringer (diddley bow) with nothing but the guitar string and wood. Whipping up a box and neck with wood scraps, carefully pre-drilling holes, then lightly, carefully pounding good dowel material to peg the box together and to attach the neck in the guitar may well not even need glue (but may…) if done carefully and tightly enough. Then I would whittle a friction tuner (as on violins) and choose whatever gauge guitar string. This too could be a slide guitar or fiddle or if large enough with the right string, a cello-sounding instrument. Add or do not add a pickup and there it is!

See, there is just no end to the possibilities.

Perhaps I’ve stirred your thinking a bit? I hope so.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn


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