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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

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

SK39

“SK39” is a vintage license plate from the Province of Saskatchewan in the year 1939.

Originally a nice orange colour, this plate had seen better days.  However, for my purposes, it was just about perfect.  It came to me in terrible condition and required some time on the anvil with a hammer before it was even usable for a guitar. The patina has been building up for over 80 years on this plate and I didn’t want to lose it.  I decided to match the guitar body and neck to the plate colour palette.  Multiple coats of different coloured paints were used to get the burnt orange and rusty colour to match. (See photo of headstock versus plate). The results were perfect!!  This guitar looks like it was just discovered in a barn somewhere east of Moose Jaw!!

The neck is Maple and the fretboard is Granadillo (Mexico).  Granadillo has an orange/red colouration which matches beautifully for this creation.  The electrics, tuners, etc. have all been artificially aged to look period appropriate on this guitar.  An old barn door handle serves as a carrying handle and the bridge is made from the trim off of an old prairie church organ (I’m not making this stuff up).  I even added a keyhole escutcheon to the headstock to keep my ’61 Canadian nickel company.

“SK39″ is fully fretted and fully electric.  The scale length is 25-1/2” and she is tuned to an open G chord.  She has low action and perfect intonation.  The humbucker style pickup offers a deep tone and suits the guitar perfectly. Volume and tone controls are located right on top within easy reach.

Truly a fine instrument and a great piece of Canadian history!!

SOLD to Carol Ann

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

 

Simone

“Simone” is just a beautiful name and suits this guitar perfectly!

“Simone” checks all the boxes if you’re looking for a vintage style cigar box guitar.  She has a specialty paint job to make her appear well played and road worn.  The guitar body has been constructed with Spruce sides and a Sitka Spruce top and bottom.  The body has been distressed to appear much older with some wear spots and dents in all the right places.  The neck and fretboard are both made from Black Walnut and they have beautiful grain patterns that you just can’t capture with a camera (unfortunately).

The hand hammered corners and jack plate have been artificially aged to create a patina that would normally take years to develop.  The humbucker pickup has been artificially sanded and worn to reveal the copper plating under the chrome.  A copper hinge serves as a tailpiece and the volume and tone knobs have a ring of copper added to the top hat knobs.  The headstock has a copper keyhole plate with a tiny copper jewel inside.

“Simone” is a fully fretted and fully electric 3 string guitar.  She is tuned to an open G chord and has a great tone thanks to the humbucker style pickup.  She has nice, low action and great intonation thanks to the zero fret system.  Her scale length is a comfortable 25-1/2″ which equals the Fender Stratocaster length making her familiar to so many guitar players. She boasts a comfortable, hand carved neck which plays fast and easy due to its narrow 1-1/2″ width.  This girl is a dream to play!

SOLD to Simon

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 

BC61

“BC61” is a little bit special to me. I live in BC (British Columbia) and I was born in 1961 so I’m a bit fond of this old pink license plate.

1961 license plates in BC had a rather bright choice of colours for just this one year.  Interestingly, the following year in 1962 they reversed the colours to pink numbers on a Burgundy background. Regardless of the colours, I had to make sure the guitar body colours matched. I chose to use a base coat of pink paint and then created a crackled finish with the burgundy top coat (zooming in on the photos helps to see the effect).  It turned out exactly like I envisioned!

Aging the guitar body was only half the battle.  I needed to make sure that all the components used on the guitar also looked well worn and old.  A few paint techniques and a few metal aging techniques and soon everything looked period correct.  An old bullet hinge from a vintage cooler serves as the tailpiece, the bridge is made from some trim work salvaged from an old pump organ, and a set of vintage style tuners complete the design. The addition of an old leather handle from a Doctor’s medical bag matched the burgundy colours perfectly!! It suits this guitar so well.

“BC61″ is fully fretted and fully electric.  The scale is 25-1/2” and she is currently tuned to an Open G chord. Low action and great intonation make this guitar a great choice for any level of player.  The humbucker style pickup has a darker tone and suits the style of the guitar. The neck is a rich Black Walnut and the fretboard is local Maple with a really interesting grain pattern.  It even has a bit of flame pattern in it….very unusual.

This guitar could be considered the original “61 Nickel Guitar”!! Pretty in pink!!

SOLD to Lael

Melody

“Melody” is as sweet as her name sounds.

“Melody” is a vintage series cigar box style guitar that features a hand crafted guitar body made from Curly Maple sides and Sitka Spruce top and back.  The hand hammered copper corners and jack plate as well as the other aged copper accents give this girl a very “old time” feel.  The larger body size and “imperfectly perfect” hand cut f-holes give “melody” a nice acoustic quality.  Her neck is made from Black Walnut with Curly Maple wings on the headstock.  The fretboard is also Curly Maple and has a wonderful grain pattern that dances in the light.  The bakelite control knobs were salvaged from an old vintage radio dating back to the 1940’s and the bridge is fashioned from a piece of trim saved from an old church organ.

“Melody” is a fully fretted, fully electric 3 string guitar.  She is set up on a 25-1/2″ scale length and is currently tuned to an open G.  Her action is low, the neck is fast, and the intonation is great.  This is one great Cigar Box Guitar!

SOLD to Amy

Jerry Douglas Jr.

Wait…who is Jerry Douglas???

Well let me tell you!  

“Jerry Douglas is an incredible American Dobro and lap steel guitar player.  He is widely regarded as the finest Dobro player in contemporary acoustic music”.

Since this is my version of a Dobro style cigar box guitar, It was only fitting to name it after Jerry (well it’s actually more of a “Jerry Jr.”).

“Jerry Douglas Jr.” is my version of a resonator style guitar made famous decades ago but still very popular in music today.  This one features a lot of chrome just like the original Dobro style guitars.  The cone shaped resonator and the perforated sound holes are perfect for projecting that bright, loud tone. Nothing but chrome accents throughout make this one beautiful guitar!

Made from BC Pine and Sitka Spruce, “Jerry” also boasts a hand carved Black Walnut neck and a Curly Maple fretboard.  He has a 25-1/2″ scale length and is currently tuned to an open G chord.  He is fully fretted and fully electric.  With low action and fantastic intonation, this guitar really sounds great!!  

If you are looking for a guitar that projects nicely and has that vintage “cool factor”, then this one is perfect for you!!

$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