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Over the past two years, Iíve been immersed in building and playing cigar box guitars. I eventually became so convinced that they were the ideal tool to learn the art of guitar making that I made a DVD to show how to build one.
The success of the DVD, and the DIY sub-culture dedicated to hand crafting your own instrument have been overwhelming. Now, I have even been interviewed for not one, but two television shows. The second show is a documentary dedicated to the history of the cigar box guitar and the modern cigar box guitarist.
There is something happening in the world of guitar. Itís becoming bigger than just me. Thereís a whole evolution taking place now thatís changing the way people view the guitar. It bucks the system. It defies slick advertisement. Itís not mass produced. It goes against everything that Iíve learned about guitars and more importantly what guitars I have wanted just to be ďcoolĒ. We as guitarists like to keep our blinders on. We, for better or for worse, keep going back to a Les Paul, Strat, run through a Marshall.
So, what are the chances that such a humble instrument could be covered in the pages of Guitarist?
I know a lot of people wonít want to know about this kind of stuff. Perhaps it would even go against the grain of the advertisers in the magazine because the message does imply that itís better to build your own than it is to buy. But, at the same time, there are more and more people getting involved in the cigar box guitar. When I realize that there are entire chain stores and television networks dedicated to DIY projects nowadays, I have to think that the cigar box guitar are just another part of a DIY spirit.
I could go on and on. I could make a parallel to Brian May, his father, and all the stuff that they made. I can also offer my services to contact the better cigar box guitar makers that I know and the people that play them.
Just digest all of that and mull it over.
I had a look at some cigar box stuff on ebay and I didn't know enough to decide whether I wanted to commit time to it... is there a site explaining it all to me?
mucus ardour urban mr men turnip!
There's quite a few sites actually. The main person to look for is Shane Speal. He's the one that's stirring the pot the most.Originally Posted by frankus
Bluesboy Jag - Guitar Lessons, one man band, handmade cigar box guitars.
Cigar Box Guitar - Shane Speal's cigar box guitar site
Cigar Box Guitar - Shane's NEW cigar box guitar site
Cigar Box Guitars Yahoo Group - CBG builders forum
Cigar Box Guitars - Scotty's CBG site
Cigtone - Phil Eggers excellent hand wound pickups and guitars here
Forgot this one... Billy Gibbon's plays one of these!
Schoen Guitars - Cigar Box Guitars are cool. I'll never be able to look at a guitar the same way again!
8) cheers... I'm either going to make one of these or a left handed Fernandes Nomad style guitar
mucus ardour urban mr men turnip!
Well, I suppose that the lack of response from Simon and the powers that be doesn't come as a huge surprise. So, let me rethink what I'm after here.
You see, I've worked myself into a position where I have, for better or for worse, become an authority on cigar box guitars. It has everything to do with the fact that I self produced the How to build a Guitar DVD which focuses on the cigar box guitar for the project.
The fact that I've had two different interviews for television from that DVD now was just happenstance. What I need now is advice from you guys. Y'all know the "business" side of things and how to get stuff like this into the eyes of the public. So, what can I do?
I've tried letters. I've tried emails. I'd rather not cold call people and start blurting out how great cigar box guitars are and all that. I'm afraid that I'd loose them.
So, think of some advice that you could give me to help my push in the right way, in the right direction.
Mags get hundreds of people asking if they want stuff, so with the best will in the world, they aren't going t ocome to you, Bill.
Have you tried sending out one of your kits for review? If so, and you got no response, then all I can suggest is sending out a kit to another magazine and then following it up about a week later with a call. It's not a 'cold' call as such because you've already sent them something.
I'd also mention not just the interviews, but where they appeared - for instance "As seen on HBO's DIY Guitars programme" sort of thing. Anyone can say they've been interviewed, but an actual appearance date gives it that extra level of cred.
And if you want purchasers like me to come out and back you up, give you some quotes to try to beef up your case, just say.
It isn't foolproof, nothing is, but it's worth trying.
PS You're not the only one. Given the huge interest that was shown in the kits I put together at the beginning of this year, I thought I'd ask about the possibility of doing an article about them. Simon said it sounded interesting, gave me the top man's email and I got no response. It's just the way with mags - they've got lots to do and lots of people to keep happy and while it sometimes works in our favour, more often it doesn't. Que sera and all that.
Yeah, but what if the Hokey Cokey really [i]is[/i] what it's all about??
You make a good point Dennis.
I'm still waiting to hear from the producers of both shows to see when they will air. The first one could air at any moment. The second is still in production and will probably be out in early 2008. They are still filming that documentary.
Getting the DVD reviewed is a good idea too. With all of the CD releases I pushed for reviews and I did finally get one. My sales, for all that effort, didn't really amount to anything. Not that sales were the point, but it was a goal to get me and my CD written about in a guitar magazine. The DVD is different though. It's not music, it's instruction. There are dedicated publications for lutherie out there, but they are a little more high brow than what my target audience is. I get the feeling that cigar box guitars would be beneath them and that's too bad because I think they are missing an important point.
I guess I should also mention that my interest here is more about the cigar box guitar and the mindset of people that play and build them. This isn't about me. It's been an odd side effect that since I made the DVD that I've been seen as an expert on the subject all of a sudden. Once I realized that, I started digging in even more and now it looks like there's a book in the making to cover all of that. The whole subject of handmade and primitive instruments is very underwritten about. I have historical information going back as far as 1619 but it's all scattered about. It's as if no one has put all the pieces together before. There's even a connection to Les Paul that I just found out about! This stuff just blows my mind.
Ah well, just like everything else that I've done with the guitar, I'll just take the ball and run with it. If no one else is going to write about it, I'll do it because I'm interested in it.
So, having said all that, who would like to have a copy of the DVD to review? Simon?