Welcome to C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply, your resource for affordable guitar frets/guitar fret wire, bass frets/bass fret wire, stainless steel fret wire, gold fret wire, fretting guides/fretting books, guitar tuners, decorative hardware, guitar electronics and more – an ever-expanding range of products geared towards stringed instrument building and repair. Our range of fret wire styles and sizes is good for guitars of all sizes and types, banjos, mandolins, dulcimers, cigar box guitars, and other more exotic stringed instruments too!
We strive to offer high-quality products at very competitive prices while at the same time providing exceptional customer service. We have served hundreds of very satisfied customers over the past year, and we hope to do the same for you.
When it comes to acoustic pickups for instruments, it comes down to either piezoelectric transducers (piezos), which we will be briefly discussing here, or microphones. While there are a number of varieties of piezos used throughout industry, two basic styles tend to be used in instruments: disks and rods. While the basic technology in them is the same, the resulting sound you get from them can be very different, with many variables coming into play – mounting location and method usually being foremost. At C. B. Gitty we get a LOT of questions from new builders about piezos, here is a little refresher.
A disk piezo is very sensitive to vibrations Read the rest of this entry »
A new, previously unknown photo of Blues legend Robert Johnson has recently been authenticated, joining only two other photos of the iconic and mysterious musician. The photo shows a young Johnson along with fellow early blues man Johnny Shines. As you can see from the comments on the Guardian article linked below, folks are already claiming it to be a fake… but then again there are a lot of people who still believe the moon landing was faked… what can you do.
Check out the full article here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2013/feb/03/robert-johnson-photograph-identified
C. B. Gitty’s Note – This interesting article was researched and written by our own Stan Barker. I certainly had never heard of Paul Tutmarc before reading this. It is an interesting glimpse into the early days of electrical development. If you look into the history of some of our most common electrical inventions – the light bulb, radio, telephone,etc – there are usually more than one person who claimed originality, with one or the other (Edison, Marconi, Graham Bell) coming out on top to be associated with the invention. Such is the way of innovation…
When most people think about who made the first “electric guitar” the name that usually comes to mind is Les Paul. In fact it was not Les Paul but another Paul who was the pioneer that first put a hand-made magnetic pickup in a guitar and then to an amplifier fancied out of a modified Atwater-Kent brand radio. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Mr. Paul Tutmarc.
Around the turn of the 20th century guitars and the upright bass were begging to be heard above the noise of a string or horn section. Their ability to play in large numbers for volume made it impossible for the bassist or solo guitar player to stand out. Microphones were fairly new and experimentation with the simple principles of microphones started to find their way into instruments. One of these tinkerers was a man named Paul H. Tutmarc. Read the rest of this entry »
Before the days of mass production and power tools, virtually all musical instruments were made by hand, one at a time by skilled (or not-so-skilled) craftsmen. Even unskilled people with a passion to create something musical from assorted materials they’d find available from various resources would and did create some wonderful instruments. Armed with little more than desire they’d scour their neighborhood for scraps of discarded wood, jugs, sea shells, wash tubs and wash boards, packing boxes and tree branches hollowed out by termites. It was their imagination that fueled their inventions, not anything so high-brow as logic or reason. Just that mother of invention – curiosity.
Just recently the remains of what is believed to be one of the earliest stringed instruments was found inside a cave in Scotland. While the existence of stringed instruments is indicated in writing, drawings and carvings, the actual artifacts rarely survive decay. Carbon dated at approximately 2300 years old, this burnt and broken piece of wood appears to be a bridge with notches cut in it for the strings. This is truly a rare find and believed to be the bridge for a “Lyre” – an instrument used in celebrations, rituals, poetry readings and I’m sure a fair number of good old-fashioned Roman “adult parties”. Think of it as mood music without the funky bass track. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the funny things about cigar box guitars and kalimbas is the fact that from the very start, the degree of intent of the cigar box manufacturer in building a musical instrument is just about zero. At C. B. Gitty we love this entire aspect. In fact a cigar box is in many ways the perfect platform for an instrument. In many cases the joinery, manufacturing standards and quality control are better than some actual guitar makers.
While more upscale guitar makers control the entire build from the selection of special and sometimes exotic tone woods to the fret board, saddle, bracing type and electronics, Read the rest of this entry »
We have been building our cigar box kalimbas for a few months now, and they have been a popular product, but we’ve known from the beginning that we really needed someone who knew how to make the instrument sing to come in and do some demo recording for us. That finally happened last week, when Ian Ethan Chase, a professional musician and kalimba player stopped by the C. B. Gitty headquarters for a little recording session
Most people associate “Slide Guitar” with American blues. In fact it was Hawaiian music that first brought the idea to attention of American blues musicians. Most notably one “father of the blues” William Christopher (W. C.) Handy once wrote in his autobiography that in 1903 while waiting for a train in Tutwiler in the Mississippi Delta, he had the following experience:
“A lean loose-jointed Negro had commenced plunking a guitar beside me while I slept… As he played, he pressed a knife on the strings of the guitar in a manner popularized by Hawaiian guitarists who used steel bars….The singer repeated the line three times, accompanying himself on the guitar with the weirdest music I had ever heard”.
That experience would forever influence W.C. Handy’s musical journey forever. It wasn’t long before other blues players incorporated the slide into their own signature sound. Read the rest of this entry »
This has been quite a week for the cigar box guitar movement. First, Sir Paul McCartney appears onstage at the 12.12.12 Hurricane Sandy benefit concert with a four-string cigar box guitar, in the midst of of a Nirvana reunion. This was by far the biggest public exposure a cigar box guitar had ever seen, and ever since the Internet was abuzz with people asking: what was that instrument Paul was playing? Visits to CigarBoxNation.com, cbgitty.com, and related Facebook pages are way up.
Then last night (Saturday, December 15) Sir Paul does it again and appears on Saturday Night Live, again with Nirvana and again with his 4-string CBG!
In two fell swoops Paul McCartney has unequivically thrust the cigar box guitar onto the world stage. No more can “real” guitar people scoff and say they are toys, or that they are not “real” instruments. I don’t like to overstate things, but it seems like this is a defining moment in the history of the cigar box guitar.
Here is the Youtube video of the 12.12.12 appearance:
In many ways, a tree enters a “second life” when it is cut down for use as lumber – whether for a house, cabinets, furniture, toys or musical instruments. And this life doesn’t always end even when the first use is over. Even hundreds of years after it was part of a living tree, lumber can be repurposed again and again – as hardwood flooring in a new or restored home, as a frame for fine art or even as the piece of art itself. The repurposing of wood from a tree is truly one of the great examples of recycling and re-use. Old, repurposed wood has a story, which is what music and musical instruments are all about. Using this wood in a homemade musical instrument is a sure way to give your own work its own story right from the start.
Here in New Hampshire, which C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply calls home, there is long history of logging and forestry that has provided wood for uncounted millions of products and projects – and a lot of that “old wood” is still around in various forms. It is an amazing fact that more than 99 percent of the original virgin woodland in the Northeastern forests was logged and clear-cut, first by settlers, and later by commercial loggers. The colonists of New England, after Read the rest of this entry »
We’re always thrilled to see CBGs in the media, and this interview of our friend and customer David Sutton on FOX Chicago takes the cake! David is the author of the beautiful “Cigar Box Guitars” which came out earlier this year (available from C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply, of course!), and is one of the foremost voices in the CBG community. He does a great job of helping to spread the word about CBGs in this interview, which FOX Chicago ran in lead-up to the Chicago Cigar Box Guitar Festival taking place TODAY (Saturday, November 10) in the northern suburbs of the windy city.