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I make a TON of custom models, dual pickups, selector switch cbg's, short scale basses, dulcimer guitars etc...

What Type of Cigar Box Guitar is Right For Me?

Many people ask me this question and the answer has many parameters:

  • 1. Have you played guitar before? If so, you should be able to master any type of cigar box guitar, whether is be a fretless, fretted or resonator, 3 or 4 string. It does take a little getting used to having fewer strings but most people get the feel of it in a few minutes. A fretless cigar box guitar is played with a slide so if you've never played slide guitar before, you'll need to learn : ) If you are a beginning guitar player, i'd recommend a fretted cigar box guitar. Keep in mind that you will need to relearn a lot when you go to a traditional 6 string normally tuned guitar, but after a few weeks, you'll be glad you have some experience on a CBG!
  • 2. What tone are you looking for? A Dobro sound or a ZZTOP electric, John Lee Hooker, Rl Burnside tone? A resonator is a Dobro style guitar. It has a distinctive tone similar to a bluegrass Dobro or Son House. They are electric. You'll really dig the tone when you grind into a hot slide solo on stage. Keep in mind that they do have a mid range tone unlike my other cigar box guitar models. this is the normal resonator tone and it's the sound that many blues guitarists had including Bukka White, Son House, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Charlie Patton, etc.
  • 3. What size box are you looking for? Cigar boxes are much smaller than a traditional cigar body. The larger the box, the easier it is to hold. The smaller boxes will work but they are a little hard to get used to holding because of the size. I use the smaller boxes for ukuleles unless you request a smaller box.
  • 4. Will you be playing slide or fretted or both? If you are playing 100% slide guitar a fretless will be fine, otherwise you'll need a fretted cigar box guitar. You can play both slide and fretted style on a fretted guitar.
  • 5. What type of music will you be playing? Of course blues lends itself very well to cigar box guitars as that's what they were originally designed to play. They are tuned to an open chord (although you can tune them however you like). This makes blues style playing a cinch on a cigar box guitar. If you play rock, you'll probably tune it normally with the four strings which means many chords will have to be relearned and played as a bar chord.