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.
“Dessa” is such a great name for a cigar box guitar. However, spoiler alert……there is no connection to the popular Rap singer by the same name. This “Dessa” is named for the iridescent colouration found on the tarnished copper accents on this guitar.
Dessa is number 27 in the Vintage Series and features those extremely popular hand hammered copper accent pieces. These handmade parts are certainly worth the extra time that goes into these guitar builds. It just makes them look so much more authentic in my humble opinion!
Dessa has the usual distressed and worn look to her that are typical in my vintage series guitars. The single, hand cut f-hole is a classic design and the old brass cupboard door hinge makes a great tailpiece. No detail is too small on this guitar. The pickup cover and control knobs have been painted to appear like tarnished copper and even the screw heads are touched up with copper paint.
The neck is Black Walnut and features a really nice Red Oak fretboard with Birch fret dots inlayed in all the right locations.
This old girl is a standard 25.5″ scale and is tuned to an open G which is the most popular tuning for these instruments. Fully electric with nice low action make this guitar a ton of fun to play!
Sold to Elizabeth (a gift for Charly)
“Two Foot” is number 31 in the Vintage Series and has a bit of an odd moniker.
Two Foot is named for the scale length of the guitar. Most of my guitars are based on a 25.5″ scale length but occasionally I make a few shorter versions such as Two Foot, which is…..you guessed it……a 24″ scale. These shorter scale guitars are a bit easier to make chord shapes if you are a younger player of someone with smaller hands or shorter fingers. The shorter scale makes it just a little bit more comfortable and doesn’t require as much stretching of the fingers.
Two Foot is a bit different in other ways. It has a simple single coil pickup wired directly to the cable jack. The sound holes are a bit funkier than the the traditional F-holes you see on most of my guitars and you may notice that the cable jack has purposely been installed inside out (I like to break the odd rule).
The headstock and tailstock shapes mimic the door handle escutcheon plate mounted to the front of the guitar body. A well worn finish gives this guitar that authentic vintage look and feel.
The neck is Maple and has lighter Walnut wings added to the headstock where that ’61 nickel hangs out. The fretboard is also Walnut and has Red Oak fret dots installed.
Two Foot is fully fretted and set up with low action for ease of playing in a finger style. This is a fun little guitar and has a slightly higher tone due to the shorter scale length. Lots of fun to play.
Sold to Andrew ( a gift for his Father)
“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.
“Sparton” was inspired by a rusty old medallion that I found in my “greebly” bin. I couldn’t seem to find any information on the medallion. No history on the company and no idea what it was all about so I just made a guitar out of it!!
“Sparton” was really fun to build. Everything had to revolve around the medallion. It is rusty and tarnished so I had to make all the other components appear rusty and tarnished. Shiny chrome just wouldn’t look right on a vintage style guitar. I used a clever paint technique to make new objects appear dirty and rusty. The results were excellent (see the pickup).
The old wooden cigar box was in rough shape but has been fully reinforced internally to add strength and stability. This is a process I use on all my guitars. The bridge is actually an old wooden drawer pull mounted upside down. The aging and patina were a perfect match.
The neck is made from local Maple and was artificially aged using a similar painting technique. The fretboard is a real stunner! Local Spalted Maple with awesome colour and wild grain really adds to the overall vintage vibe.
“Sparton” is fully fretted and fully electric. He has 24 frets on a 25-1/2′ scale and is currently tuned to an Open G tuning. The action on this guitar is amazing thanks to the “zero fret” nut system. It keeps the action low and the intonation perfect right up to the 24th fret.
A vintage Cigar Box Guitar at its finest!
“Rocky Ford” is another rare vintage cigar box from the mid 1900’s.
This old box has such great patina and aging that I wanted to preserve it as much as I could. I gave the box three coats of Polyurethane to keep it exactly as I found it. I had an old vintage chrome hinge that had seen better days. It had a scuffed finish and was pitted with rust. This hinge was the inspiration for this guitar.
Brand new looking chrome parts would look out of place so I used an aging technique to get shiny chrome to appear dull, pitted, and rusted. I distressed the pickup, the tuners, and the strap pins so they matched the hinge. I used a rusty washer for the jack plate and a couple of mismatched car radio knobs for the the volume and tone controls. The bridge is an old wooden drawer pull from an antique dresser which is installed upside down. A rusty screen door pull makes a great carrying handle on the top side of the guitar.
Black Walnut was used for the neck and received an aged paint effect to give it a well worn appearance. The neck is also Black Walnut with Birch fret dots. The dark wood tones on the neck and fretboard go very well with the wood tones and patina of the vintage cigar box.
“Rocky Ford” is a fully fretted, electric 3 string guitar. He is tuned to an Open G and is set up on a Stratocaster scale length of 25-1/2″. The “zero fret” nut system ensures perfect intonation and low action. The “Snake Oil’ style humbucker pickup has a great tone and really suits these vintage series of guitars.
Another great piece of cigar box history preserved as functional art.