"Making Poor Man's Guitars" by Shane Speal
Ben Gitty says: "There is no one on earth better qualified than Shane Speal to write the book on cigar box guitars and handmade instruments. He has been living, eating and breathing this subject for 25 years, and all of that passion, study and perseverance comes through in this amazing book. If you can only own one book on this amazing hobby/obsession, this is the one."
Many books have been written about how to build cigar box guitars and other unique hand-made instruments... but few have touched on why. This book presents the authentic stories of American DIY music with step-by-step projects, photo studies of antique instruments, interviews with music legends, and historical accounts.
Shane Speal, the "King of the Cigar Box Guitar," brings the making of music and musical instruments back to its roots. From a simple two-string tin can guitar to an electrified washtub bass, Shane shows how anyone can build amazing musical instruments from found items.
Sidebars present the fascinating backstory of the music, capturing struggle, poverty, and the blues within the artistic side of cigar box guitar building.
Featuring an introduction from the New Orleans Jazz Museum, this DIY musical instrument book is as inspirational to read in the living room as it is in the workshop!
- Foreword: Little Freddie King’s Cigar Box Guitar: A Bluesman’s Firsthand Account
- “Nobody Builds a Cigar Box Guitar Because They Want to Play Nice Things
- How to Build a Three-String Cigar Box Guitar
- Variations on a Theme – Pickups and Mods to the Three-String Cigar Box Guitar
- “The Portland Cowboy” Tin Can Guitar
- Build a “Foot Stomper” Cigar Box Percussion Unit
- Build an Electric Washtub Bass,
- Build a Beer Can Microphone
- History - Vaudeville Cigar Box Fiddles
- Build a 2 x 4 Lap Steel Guitar
- The Mailbox Guitar (A Builder’s Diary)
- History - The Horse's Bridle Guitar
- Hack a Cigar Box Preamp
- Build a Feedback Proof Electric Washboard .“The Lady” Guitar – An Electric
- History - Ham Can Guitars
- Re-Creating Gus Cannon's Frying Pan Banjo (A Builder's Diary)
- Guitar Illegally Handmade Inside a Prison
- Re-Creating Scrapper Blackwell's Cigar Box Guitar (A Builder's Diary)
- History - Cigar Box Fiddles
- 13: Tips on Selling Cigar Box Guitars at Festivals and Craft Fairs
- Cigar Box Guitar and DIY Instrument Resources
- Appendix/ Index
- ...and much more. This book is packed!!!
This book presents the authentic stories of American DIY music with step-by-step projects, photo studies of antique instruments, interviews with music legends, and historical accounts. Shane Speal, the “King of the Cigar Box Guitar,” shows how anyone can build amazing musical instruments from found items.
With the stunning imagery, great stories, and Speal’s accompanying YouTube videos, falling in love with cigar box guitars isn’t hard to do. - TheManual.com
Musician Speal shares his decades of experience in building, playing, and customizing classic DIY instruments in this delightful guide. It was hearing Jimi Hendrix’s “Red House” that caused him to abandon his beloved thrash metal and punk, and go down a bluesy rabbit hole, eventually leading to cigar box guitars. Readers will learn not only how to assemble and play the basic three-string model, but how to customize it, whether by making sound holes using furnace grates, adding text to the neck with a woodburning tool, or installing an electrical pickup. Ideas for further customization, such as using a paint-can lid for an even more distinct tone, are also detailed, as are descriptions of additional DIY stringed instruments like a one-stringed violin, electric stand-up washtub bass, and even a microphone made out of a beer can, all accompanied by clear instructions, shopping lists, and plenty of helpful photos. Speal makes no pretense of having discovered the cigar box guitar all by himself, citing numerous articles and anecdotes that testify to the instrument’s well-established place in American music history. His passion for and obvious love of his instrument of choice shines through in this terrific study.—Publishers Weekly
"The book presents authentic stories that’ll give readers chills and insight into the untold story of America’s poverty-stricken DIY music communities—some stories date back to the beginning days New Orleans’ jazz. It even shows how to recreate some of the guitars. With each story, readers will discover the magic of the DIY music movement." -Bass Musician Magazine