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The Vintage Series

The Cigar Box Guitar has a long and colourful history with roots going all the way back to the 1840’s. These often crude and primitive instruments were created through necessity as the poor people who built them couldn’t afford “real” instruments.

The “Vintage Series” is my personal tribute to those early makers of Cigar Box Guitars. These limited edition guitars, although outfitted with electric components and modern tuners, are specially created to look old and worn as if from many years of playing music on a front porch, around a campfire, or while riding the rails across the country.

NOTE: This series of guitar sells quickly!!!  This page will be updated often.  Guitars that have sold will be removed and new guitars added as they become available.

AB31

“AB31” is quite simply a 1931 Alberta License Plate Guitar.

The beauty of a vintage license plate from nearly 100 years ago is one thing, but when it becomes a fully functional piece of art, then that is something special!!

My “Vintage Series” guitars page wouldn’t be complete without a License Plate Guitar from the Great Depression so I decided this was the perfect one to start with.  I wanted this guitar to look old, worn, and well played and I think it worked!  

The guitar body is made from local Yellow cedar with a Sitka Spruce back.  The neck is made from Maple and the fretboard is locally sourced Flame Maple which is stunning to look at!!  The box was painstakingly painted using an aging technique that produces a worn and dirty looking finish. Certainly worth the time and effort as the results are incredible.  The vintage style Tulip Head tuners are perfect for this guitar and have been artificially aged to match the design.  In fact, almost everything has been “aged” to look period correct.  Everything from the nickel scallop door hinge tailpiece to the volume/tone controls made from old car radio knobs and buttons. The most interesting addition is the leather suitcase handle that has been wrapped in thread to keep it together (priceless)!

“AB31″ is a fully fretted, fully electric guitar tuned to an open G.  With low action and great intonation, this 25-1/2” scale guitar has a nice, full sound from the humbucker style pickup. The floating bridge is an exclusive addition from 61 Nickel Guitars and is fully adjustable for string height.  A very cool option.

This guitar is going to make someone very happy……

$600

Rusty

“Rusty” comes by his name honestly.

Rusty is a vintage series guitar that features some beautifully aged and rusty accents.  Only one item used on this guitar was actually rusted and that was the antique door escutcheon.  All the other components are actually brand new.  A very tedious painting technique on the new parts mimic the escutcheon’s rusted finish.  The overall result is that everything has been subjected to years of weather and humidity.  

A similar aging paint technique was used to age the cigar box guitar body.  The box is fashioned from Sitka Spruce top and back and the sides are local Pine.  The box has been “distressed” using various objects like files, hammers, and chisels to give it that slightly beat up look.  Multiple layers of dark brown and black paints were carefully applied in areas where dirt and grime would typically accumulate on such an old instrument.

The neck is made from English Walnut and the fretboard is made from highly figured Black Walnut.  The headstock wings are made from Curly Maple.  A humbucker pickup provides a nice warm tone on this guitar.  Check out the vintage bakelite radio knobs used on the tone and volume controls.  Very cool!!  The guitar jack is cleverly hidden where a  doorknob used to reside when the escutcheon was originally on a door.

Tuned to the ever popular Open G tuning, Rusty is well balanced and plays beautifully.

$650

Aaralyn

The name “Aaralyn” can mean beautiful song or melody and is the perfect name for this guitar.

“Aaralyn” is a hand crafted cigar box style guitar constructed of B.C. Spruce sides and Spalted Red Alder top and back.  She is finished in a clear Varathane to showcase her beautiful woodgrain.  The neck is made from rich, dark Black Walnut with Curly Maple headstock wings.  The fretboard is also Curly Maple and contrasts nicely with the dark colour of the Walnut.

Chrome and black accents give “Aaralyn” just the right amount of shine.  The tone and volume controls are outfitted with traditional “chicken head” style knobs.  The bridge is hand shaped from Walnut which mimics the shape of the string retainer tailpiece made from an old drawer pull.  Some chrome corner protectors and a carrying handle finish it all off.

“Aaralyn” is a fully fretted and fully electric 3 string guitar.  She is tuned to open G and features a 25-1/2″ scale length (same as a Fender Strat).  Her action is low and her intonation is fantastic.  She is easy to play and has a comfortable, fast neck.  The humbucker pickup has a nice warm tone and would make this guitar a great addition to any guitar collection!

$650

Aria

“Aria” is so very unique!!

Aria has so many features that I love.  The tarnished brass accents, the worn and dirty relic style guitar body, and great sound are all things I love to see on a vintage style cigar box guitar.

Some of the tarnished brass accents are genuinely old and I was able to round them up from my “greebly” junk bin.   Other components required some aging and distressing.  The box is handmade from Sitka Spruce and local Pine, then distressed and painted to appear old, dirty, and a little bit beat up. The overall effect adds years to the finished instrument.

The neck is hand carved from Walnut and has a highly figured slice of Swamp Oak for a fretboard (very unique).  The headstock wings are some leftover pieces of Flame Maple found right here on Vancouver Island.  

Aria is open tuned to a G chord and features a comfortable 25-1/2″ scale length (same as a Fender Strat). The humbucker gives Aria a warmer tone and the zero fret nut system provides low action, easy playability, and great intonation.

Aria is definitely everything a “vintage style” CBG is supposed to be!!

$650

Twisted Heads

“Twisted Heads” A unique name for a unique cigar box guitar.

“Twisted Heads” is a fully cedar, vintage cigar box from sometime in the 60’s.  I wanted it to have a vintage look with lots of vintage brass hardware.  I found a really heavy brass hinge and used it for the tailpiece and string retainer.  It adds some weight to the body of the guitar which helps balance it all out.  I used an old antique brass door pull for a carrying handle. I found and old door strike plate for the volume and tone control trim and I used a piece of old cymbal for the cable jack plate. A fancy escutcheon plate adorns the headstock and the tuners are original antiqued brass.  The pickup and the knobs didn’t match at all so I cleverly hand painted them to appear like they are also tarnished, antiqued brass.  They turned out excellent and match perfectly.

“Twisted Heads” is a fully fretted, electric 3 sting guitar.  The small single coil pickup has a great tone and really suits the guitar’s overall vintage vibe. Tuned to Open G, this 25-1/2″ scale guitar is easy to play with low action and great intonation. the fretboard is Black Walnut and the neck is locally harvested Big Leaf Maple.

These vintage style guitars are what I envision all Cigar Box Guitars should be. Truly vintage with a truly vintage style.

$500

 

Cadence

“Cadence” is just a tiny bit different than most of my guitars.  You may notice that the difference is in the 1961 Canadian nickel placement.

“Cadence” has all the makings of a vintage looking instrument.  She has the “dirty” looking finish (created with a special multi-coat paint effect) and some pretty ornate antique brass hardware.  The guitar body is constructed out of British Columbia Spruce and features 1/8″ thick Spalted Red Alder top and back brought home with me from Haida Gwaii.  The neck is Black Walnut and the fretboard is Curly Maple.  

The volume and tone control knobs were taken from an old vintage radio from the 1940’s and the bridge is a salvaged trim piece from an old church organ from the Prairies.  Even the Magnetic wound pickup and tuning pegs have been painted to match the antique brass hardware.  The cool factor jumps when you see the 1961 nickel recessed in the fretboard!  There was a knothole in that exact spot so I made the best of it and moved the nickel south of the traditional headstock location!  I think it looks pretty good there!

“Cadence” is a fully fretted, fully electric 3 string guitar.  Set up on a 25-1/2′ scale, she is tuned to an open G for easy playing.  Low action and great intonation make this guitar a great choice.  

$650 

Harmony

“Harmony” is a beautiful name for a guitar and I think this one is special.

“Harmony” is made from one of the most interesting (and beautiful) woods that I have ever used. The guitar body is made from BC Pine and Spalted Alder that I recently brought home with me from the archipelago of Haida Gwaii.  The spalting creates unique striations ranging from a reddish pink to a creamy yellow hue (much more vibrant in person). The neck is Black Walnut and the fretboard is locally sourced Curly Maple. Only gold and brass accents have been used on this build and add so much to the overall design.

“Harmony” is a fully fretted and fully electric 3 string guitar.  The zero fret system allows for low action and perfect intonation.  The scale length is the popular 25-1/2″ (Fender Strat size) and the humbucker style pickup has amazing tone.  Tuned to open G, “Melody” is a dream to play and sounds as gorgeous as she looks!

Definitely one of my absolute favourite guitars!!

$650

Octavia

“Octavia” is pretty much as vintage as it gets!

Octavia features a different style of “f-hole” that is quite unique to a Cigar Box Guitar.  Designed to look like the guitar top is either rotten, damaged, or broken, I have made “patches” from pieces of old brass drum cymbals.  They are specifically placed to appear as a random fix to prevent further damage.  Definitely a cool effect! 

Octavia has all the cool elements that make up a vintage series guitar.  The handmade guitar body is worn and well used with selected distressing while the multi-coat paint job adds the illusion of years of dirt and grime. Tarnished brass accents like the vintage door escutcheon used for the control plate and the old hinge that serves as the tailpiece really add to the overall design. The guitar body is handmade from Sitka Spruce (a fantastic tone wood) from Haida Gwaii and the neck is hand carved from Red Oak featuring a local Big Leaf Maple fretboard.

Octavia is fully electric and fully fretted and is set up on a 25-1/2″ scale length.  She is tuned to Open G tuning and the has low action and great intonation.  The humbucker style pickup has great tone and make this guitar sound amazing.

Truly a work of functional art!!

SOLD to Ron

Julia

“Julia” is a guitar that turns people’s heads every time!

Julia was fashioned out of an old Pine box with a top made from a tarnished silver serving tray.  The serving tray has a beautifully detailed filigree pattern which gives this old girl a truly vintage style!  A collection of odd household objects are used on this creation.  The string tailpiece is a single fin from an old vegetable steamer, the carrying handle is an old kitchen cupboard door handle, and the “jewel” on the floating bridge has been lovingly “borrowed” from my wife’s jewelry box.  The sound hole is backed by a piece of rusty screen from an old greenhouse window and the chicken head volume and tone knobs are the perfect addition.

Julia has a Black Walnut neck with a Maple fretboard.  She is a fully electric and fully fretted guitar set up on the comfortable Strat scale length of 25-1/2″.  Tuned to an open G chord and armed with a Gretsch style humbucker, Julia sounds as  cool as she looks!

Definitely outside the box!!

$650

Gita

“Gita” is a Sanskrit word meaning “song” or “singing”.

This musical name is perfect for this musical instrument.  Gita sings out nicely on this resonator style of guitar.  She has a body made from Sitka Spruce and a hand carved neck made from local Big Leaf Maple.  The fretboard is also made from local Maple stock and has black nylon fret markers. The zero fret system provides low action and accurate intonation.

Gita has all chrome accents throughout and features a really unique humbucker style pickup that is inlaid with a Black Diamond Pearl cover.  This BDP pattern is repeated once again on the headstock as I just happened to have a leftover piece of some vintage drum wrap from the 1960’s in my collection of oddities. It matches rather well!

Gita is fully electric and fully fretted.  She has a 25-1/2″ scale length and is currently tuned to an Open G tuning.  Great sound and easy playability make Gita a very desirable resonator style of guitar.

$650

Harper

“Harper” is what I think of when I imagine a really old handmade guitar being discovered in an attic or a barn.  She just looks like she has been hiding for decades, waiting to be discovered so she can make music once again.

Harper has those interesting f-holes that look like patches of hand hammered copper to keep it all together.  The accents begins as raw copper sheeting and are then cut and hammered to size.  The box corners, the patches, the control knob plates, the jack plate, and the headstock plate are all made this way.  The hinge tailpiece was hammered to match but I chose to leave the pickup plate alone for a contrast in texture.

The signature multi-coat paint job and the intentional distressing are features that give this guitar the appearance of age and excessive use.  It really looks great!  The guitar body is made from Sitka Spruce for its tonal quality and the neck is hand shaped from Black Walnut.  The fretboard is a gorgeous piece of Flame Maple sourced from right here on Vancouver Island.

Tuned to Open G and set up on a scale length of 25-1/2″, Harper has low action and great intonation.  The flat wound pickup is unique in its sound and suits the guitar perfectly. She is a prime example of what the vintage series is all about!

$650

Demi

“Demi” is exactly what I think a homemade resonator guitar would have looked like back in the old days.

By using everyday objects from around the home, the builder would have been able to create music from these simple things.

The resonator bowl is an old silver serving dish which turned out to be the perfect size.  A cupboard door hinge hold the strings in place and the carrying handle was robbed from a vintage refrigerator.  Shiny chrome would look out of place, so I managed to artificially age everything to make them look as old as the custom multi-coat paint job.  When combined, the guitar looks quite old and well played.

The guitar body is made from Sitka Spruce and the neck is Red Oak with some Walnut used for the headstock wings and bridge.  The Fretboard is a uniquely patterned slice of  Walnut that showcases the dark and light contrasting wood grain.

The pickup has a nice bright tone and suits the guitar nicely.  Demi is set up on a 25-1/2″ scale and is tuned to the ever popular Open G tuning.  She is fully electric and fully fretted and boasts low action with great intonation thanks to the Zero fret system.

This is a really cool vintage series guitar!!

$650

AB55

“AB55” is simply my code for Alberta 1955.

This guitar features a vintage license plate from the great province of Alberta. The plate is in exceptional condition and the bright yellow is so vibrant against the dark background. I chose to make the body from a solid piece of  Yellow Cedar to help balance out the weight of the Bloodwood neck.  Bloodwood is a very heavy, dense hardwood and has such a beautiful reddish hue.  The neck is hand carved and very fast to play while the Maple fretboard provides a nice light colour contrast.  The solid body design makes this guitar balanced and comfortable.

The humbucker style pickup has a warm tone that suits this guitar.  The separate volume and tone controls are within easy reach and the hardtail bridge offers adjustments for intonation and action.  The 25-1/2″ scale length is familiar to most guitar players and open tuning to G is the most common tuning among 3 string guitars.

“AB55” is a really exceptional sounding guitar with great balance and tone.  Very fun to play!

$600

Daisy

“Daisy”

“Daisy” was a lot of fun to create.  Making her look so old and worn is no accident!  It takes time and effort to get the exact desired effect when I build one of these “Vintage Series” guitars.  Each chrome component is actually brand new and has been purposely aged and worn.  The only part of this guitar that is original is the resonator disc which is an old, tarnished silver serving dish that has been hammered flat. The overall effect gives the illusion that this guitar was just discovered in an old barn somewhere after sitting unplayed for decades.  Toss in a multi coat vintage paint job and it’s mission accomplished!! 

“Daisy” has all the things you would want in a cigar box guitar; a humbucker pickup for that mellow tone, easy access volume and tone controls, hand cut f-holes, a hand carved neck made from Red Oak, and a highly figured fretboard made from local Big Leaf Maple.  She has low action and great intonation and plays extremely well (I play all my guitars before I put them up for sale).  “Daisy” is definitely a modern twist on an old tradition!

$650