Cigar Box Guitars





This is a website about homemade cigar box guitars.

 There are guitars and pickups for sale at the bottom of the page.

There is also How to Play and Build Cigar Box Guitar Downloads and cigar box blues music recorded with only these homemade guitars that you can download.

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Due to the Corona virus I will be shipping from home - The daily postman comes mid afternoon.

Anyways, enjoy the videos and music on this site and once again the guitars are for sale are at the very bottom of the page. 

If you like old time blues music there is also three different cigar box guitar music albums that can be downloaded right to your computer.







 They say "a photo is worth a 1000 words," so just imagine how many words and sounds this photo could tell us about life long ago! 
This is where the "Blues" all started. An old used cigar box and homemade music.
 This painting is a person named "L. Rupert" dated 1868.  It's from the G.D. Flynn Brewery New River Falls, MA

Cigar box guitars and other homemade instruments of all types became popular for poor people from the 1880's up to the 1930's. 
During the Great Depression of the early 1900's, buying an instrument was not really an option for must people, but poverty did not stop people from enjoying music, they just made their own homemade cigar box guitars.




All of the music and videos on this site were recorded with only cigar box guitars, both 3 and 4 string guitars. No regular guitars were use in recording or filming these videos.


     





Listening to these old forgotten sounds of the part is like taking a journey back into a time. Imagine walking through an old ghost town in the 1880's, the suspense, the mystery, the whispers that you can barley hear.





  This is a Delta Blues cigar box guitar music CD disc that was recorded in honor of the 3 sting guitar.
 
In these recordings, I wanted to record authentic Delta Blues and Bottleneck slide cigar box guitar as realistic as possible to what it would have sounded like in the early 1900's. The music on this Disc is played mostly on three string cigar box guitars. Some of the tracks have 4 string cigar box guitar, but all of the tracks were only recorded with homemade cigar box guitars. 
  My goal with this album was to take the listener back in time to the 1880's and up to 1930's and to relive those old Dust Bowl Ballads and Delta Blues Spirituals played on cigar box guitars. 
There is NO SINGING or band and NO regular guitars. 

This music is only recorded with cigar box guitars.






This album is instant download. These mp3 songs play on any computer, phone, or digital device.




 
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If you have any questions email me at john@reddogguitars.com


I have a large collection of antique and vintage cigar box guitar photos. I like to change the photos on this site from time to time. 





This is a cigar box guitar music CD called - Cigar Box Americana.
 It has music recorded to sound like it was from the early 1900's and those long lost sounds from America's past. This music is old-time Blues and Southern Bottleneck cigar box guitar that has been recorded on only 3 and 4 string homemade guitars.
 If you liked the movie Crossroads or the guitar playing from Ry Cooder, you will enjoy the vintage style music on this Disc.

   To record this music, I've played 3 string cigar box guitars, Electric Bottleneck 4 string cigar box guitars, and Cigar Box Resonator guitars.  I have also used old and vintage 1960's and 70's guitar amplifiers. Some were naturally overdriven and some were setup clear as a bell. I've also used a old Pignose amp to record several songs. They record with a real primitive Southern gritty sound. 

 I have also recorded several songs with some old Retro "Radio Guitar Amps." They were once antique radios from the 1940's and 50's that have been converted and turned into guitar amplifiers. They record with a really unique and vintage tone. 
The music and songs are all sounds that are vintage and southern in flavor, perfect for study if your trying to learn early Americana or slide guitar, or just enjoy it as a relaxing way to step back in time.

 There is also a song from Fuzzy Whitener, one of that last old school Bluesmen, and yes, he's playing cigar box guitar. 
NO regular guitars were used and NO singing and NO band, this is a full music CD disc with only cigar box guitar songs.  The best way to learn how to play cigar box guitar, is to listen to cigar box guitar guitar!



Here below is another track of old-time "Cigar Box Jukes." It is a song played on a 4 string cigar box guitar. It's  was recorded only using a old fashioned 4 string cigar box guitar and a glass slide.
The best way to learn how to play cigar box guitar is by listening to cigar box guitar music.










This album is instant download. These mp3 songs play on any computer, phone, or digital device.



 
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If you have any questions email me at john@reddogguitars.com







1921 Watercolor Painting


Here in this video along with the vintage art is a song that recorded to sound like an authentic Blues song of the early Delta style. It was recorded with a 3 string guitar.

I wanted to capture that original early 1930's feeling and sound in this recording. 










Check out this photo of an antique 3 string guitar.

If you look closely you can see that the third tuner comes strait up from the back of the headstock. 
How cool is that!

This guitar must have also been used for slide or early Blues music because the neck is marked with guitar fret spacing so the player would know where to stop the slide. I would love to have heard this instrument being played. In fact I would love to put strings on it myself and try to play it! I bet it sounded great.


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A lot can be done with a 3 string guitar, you can record authentic old time Blues, but you can also record studio quality slide guitar. 
Have a listen to Fuzzy Whitener's - Double Trouble





Three string guitars are fun and easy to play. It is much easier to learn to how play a cigar box guitar than it is to learn how to play a regular 6 string guitar.


 Delta Blues and early American Folk music that was played on these homemade guitars was created by people who most often did not know music theory or what chords and keys were. Many of them could not even read the written word!

 If the people who played old time Blues music in the 1880's did not know music theory or complicated math, than neither do you.  You do not need to learn, chords, or complicated music structure to play the Blues.

On this DVD I will explain how to to play old school blues by ear. You will learn how to play the sounds of old time music from the past and you will know how to play it on 3 string guitar. These lessons will teach you how to create and play old time Blues without using complicated math. 
 I have broken these lessons down into small easy to learn step by step building blocks that we will then put together to achieve that realistic and vintage Old-Time Delta Blues sound.

Watch this video, you will see that vintage Blues and slide guitar is easy to learn and play. It's basically just one finger guitar with a few plucks or frets here and there. 

Watch my fingers in the video, there is not much happening, no matter what your age or how well you can or can't use your hands or fingers, I want to tell you, you too can play this exact type of music. 
If you can use a computer keyboard you can play cool music on 3 string guitar.
Watch this video, you will see that vintage Blues is easy to learn and play. Slide guitar is basically one finger guitar. Watch my fingers, there is not much movement, watch the entire video, 


When I was in my teens, I was totally fascinated with playing the guitar. I tried to learn from many teachers.  I remember that I had this one "pro level" Blues teacher.  When he spoke it sounded like he had a mouthful of marbles. He spoke clearly, but it was all just a bunch of babble to my ears. 

I was not the type of person who could grasp, "it's a G chord with this note as the root....or it's with a minor 7th,...or it's an open F#...and so on.

I remember thinking to myself, "How am I ever going to learn?"

 I found it too hard and frustrating to learn by looking at confusing maps or dots or watching fret board layouts using math that I didn't understand.

I just wanted to play guitar. So, I ended up spending my entire 20's and 30's studying and learning simpler forms of guitar playing such as slide and blues guitar. I learned how to play by ear. I can now teach you how to play old school blues in a simple and easy manner and you will be able to pickup your own guitar and play riffs and music that sounds like its from the past.







I just love that old time delta blues sound! I instantly get transported into the 1880's when I hear slide guitar. I have been playing guitar for more than 25 years. I have spent many years studying vintage slide and blues guitar. I also build and sell cigar box guitars under the name "Red Dog Guitars." 

This DVD is not like the other standard "hard to learn" guitar courses out there. 

On this DVD,

NO math is involved

NO scientific music theory

NO folding and unfolding fretboard maps and wall charts 

NO confusing books to balance on your knee as you try to play your guitar

This DVD is different. I will explain how to play guitar to get a truly authentic and vintage sound, and on your part, you will only need patience and practice. 

I will also show you on this DVD how to set up your guitar. This is just as important for your success.
 In order to properly learn, you don't want to fight the guitar while also at the same time you are trying learning to play the guitar. 

Watch this video and let's take a step back in time and listen to something vintage, then I can explain more below. 




Here is something to think about. 
   Imagine a time long ago and a farmer sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch after a long days work in the fields. He's holding his old homemade guitar that he's made out of a used cigar box and some scraps of wood.
He's just sitting there relaxing, not thinking too hard about what he's doing. He's just playing guitar on a breezy afternoon without a care in the world. He's having fun and entertaining himself playing sounds that his ears can enjoy. If he can do it you can too. It's just that simple.

3 string guitars are fun to play. When you learn how to play a 3 string guitar you can create music that sounds so vintage you will think it's from the 1890's.

 
 Thanks for your time and if you have read this far, email me with any questions.


 



This Video is instant download. These mp4 video will play on any computer, phone, or digital device.



 
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If you have any questions email me at john@reddogguitars.com








Look close at the craftsmanship on this 1930's Old Virginia cigar box guitar. 
This little guitar must have had quite a story to tell.


 
The person who built this neat instrument went all out. It even has homemade frets. 
I could say, I wonder what it sounded like?
- Good news is, if you build yourself a cigar box guitar today, it will sound and record just about the same, it's got the same construction, a cigar box and a stick!




How To Build Cigar Box Guitars 



Cigar box guitars are very easy to play. But just as easy as they are to play, they are also easy and fun to build.

 I have filmed and editing a download instruction video that will show you how and what to do, everything is covered from start to finish.
 It doesn't matter if this is your first time building, or your 10th.
If you already make cigar box guitars, after you study my work, you can take yours to the next level. This is not a basic or introductory video, this is not basic youtube info.   This is 2 hours of complete A to Z Cigar Box Guitar building lessons. It will show you how to build great sounding cigar box guitars. 
If you would like to build guitars that get that old-time vintage 1880's to 1930's sound, this video will show you how I make a guitar achieve the unique tone that a Red Dog Guitar has.

  This video will save you many hours of trying to learn on your own. This video is recorded in my shop and you will be buildings guitars along with me. It is full of many secrets that can only be found through years of experience.
 I share what to do about the body, fretting and homemade fretting like a pro with basic hand tools. I cover headstocks and so much more than you could ever get from watching random youtube videos

....and yes, fretting a guitar neck is really easy, even if it's your first time, I will show you how I do it, and all by hand.

In this I will show you more than one guitar, we will cover both the 3 and 4 string as well as homemade resonator guitars. Here is one of my typical 4 string guitars.


Build BOTH 3 and 4 string guitars
 
 Here below is a vintage looking and worn out 3 string guitar with homemade metal parts. It has a "weathered" and antique look. The parts are different than the 1884 style guitar above, but it really is the same guitar as the one above.  I explain how I make (or find parts.) I will explain how to be artistic. It will help you understand what I do, so you can create what inspires you. 
I follow the same recipe no matter what I guitar I make, I only make them look different outside, but I always build them the same inside. 



Parts Needed


We will cover all of the parts needed and the many types of homemade ideas possible, Bridges, pickups of all types, hardware etc, everything is covered and explained.  You can use old guitar parts that you can buy for cheap from ebay and flea markets or get creative and make your own parts with stuff from around your house.


 I cover everything in this video. This is a complete class of Cigar Box Guitar building. The wood, the boxes, different styles of necks and so much more is covered for building a great playing one of a kind guitar with great tone.

Tools and parts Needed

These cigar box guitars are built with just a few basic hand tools that most people have or can borrow from a friend,

  •  a small hand saw 
  • small hand pliers
  • sandpaper and wood glue
  •  a small hand drill 
  •  pocket knife 
  • small hammer / or rubber mallet 
  • small screwdrivers / phillips type
  • a quality ruler (I prefer Metric) Buy a steel ruler, It's the most important tool you'll own and it will last a lifetime!
  • as you can see from the photo below you do not need much at all 

The great thing about these guitars is since you DON'T need power tools, it's kind of liberating if you think about it. If you were to try and build regular guitars, you would need a whole shop of specialized tools, jigs and planes and endless amounts of specialized gear.

This is my work bench, it's nothing fancy, just a small table and a few small hand tools, I don't like clutter and I don't own many tools, that is one reason I love these guitars, they are simple.... this is fun and easy!



Anyone can build a cigar box guitar by hand with only a few common hand tools. That is what's so fun and interesting about them, they are simple by nature, and best part is they sound fantastic.
 Go to you-tube and search "cigar box guitar" and check out many of the other builders, then do a comparison and search and then listen to videos made by me at Red Dog Guitars.com 
 Listen to the tone and sound and let your ear decide if you would like to see this video on how I make mine and how to build with that old time trademark vintage sound.
 However, this is not a contest, I am not in competition with anyone. In fact I want others to do well also. I give advice freely to all that ask, the more success people have in this hobby and do well, the better it is for everyone in involved in this hobby.
 I want everyone to build a great guitar. These guitars are easy and fun to build, even if this is your first time. I have many years of experience and I build mine in a way that is unique to me and mine have a sound all their own.


 

 Resonators are also covered on this Video

Cigar Box Resonator guitars are by far the funnest guitars you will ever play with or without an amplifier.

I will show you how I make mine, it's very easy, it is still a Neck-thru guitar. YES the neck runs right thru the box!
Everyone has asked me how I make my resonators look so unique and sound so crisp and vintage, so I have taken time to explain how I build them.
Building a cigar box resonator guitar is much easier than you think, it's a stick that runs right through the box and is cleverly anchored at the end, it's just a neck thru homemade box guitar!
There are some things I will need to show you, but it's no harder, just a bit more time is needed to construct it. The only difference is a metallic surface is used under the bridge to give them a trademark vintage "twangy" sound and tone.
 Here is a sound sample of a homemade resonator guitar.

You can build this exact guitar below, these parts in the photo are made by "Old Lowe" in Rockwall Texas. They have other people who also make them and are for sale in many places online. They are also available in Europe and the United Kingdom.There are many makers of resonator parts that sound great. I also share how to use paint can lids or pot lids etc. to get that old school reso-tone.

There is so much more than I could type about here. I want you to succeed because your success will speak well for the whole hobby. 



With this video you will have all of the secrets to incorporate in your own guitar making. Once again, it doesn't matter if this is your first time, or your 10th. This video will help give you the ability to make really awesome guitars. 
This resonator guitar is made with no power tools. It's just a stick running right thru a cigar box.  


Make your guitar sound vintage or modern, clean or heavy, ring like a bell or bite like a dog!
It's all possible with the instructions I am going to share with you.
  I have been working on and playing guitars for almost 30 years, so you can watch what I do and save a lot of time from making costly mistakes in your work. This video lets you peer over my shoulder and see exactly what I do.




This Video is instant download. This mp4 video will play on any computer, phone, or digital device.


 
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If you have any questions email me at john@reddogguitars.com






New Music Download  ZZ-Twang




New Music Download  ZZ-Twang 

 It's a super deal!






This is an album of vintage style 3 and 4 string guitar. From old time blues to amped up slide guitar and a mix of both at the same time!
Instead of me using endless words and talking about "music" have a listen to the whole album and you can decide if you want to download it. 



This album is instant download. These mp3 songs play on any computer, phone, or digital device.




 
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If you have any questions email me at john@reddogguitars.com












Below are fully built cigar box guitars I have for sale.
This website is always updated, these guitars for sale are the exact ones in the photo.

My email is john@reddogguitars.com 

If you have any questions about these guitars, email me ...don't be shy!
 I ship world wide Anywhere in the world safe and secure, Anywhere in the world.
The few guitars that I have here for sale all check out with Paypal. There should be a button below the photos that says "Add to Cart"
This is a separate cart than the Downloads above, this is only for the guitars or Pickups.
This page is updated every week.
The shipping is Flat Rate $68.00. I ship world wide and it's explained below at the bottom of this page. Basically if you buy a guitar, I cover the extra cost. I will make sure you get the guitar safe and insured, NO matter where you are in the world. 



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The Old Timer - 3 String guitar 






This is the Old Timer 3 string guitar. These are super fun to play guitars and have a great authentic vintage sound. That's what this whole hobby is about.... and playing this guitar is blast! 

 This is one of my favorite guitars to build right now. I have hand drawn this vintage Old Timer brand cigar label art and used this art to engrave and etch it into a rustic wooden cover art for the pickup. 
This guitar is retro, simple and clean. It's painted an old satin black, it looks old but it smooth to the touch and painted with an old 1950's lacquer style paint. This guitar really has a great feel in your hands, but just as important it will play Blues unlike any other guitar. 




Have a listen to this video below, it's a homemade recording of 3 string cigar box guitar. 
It's a lot of fun to use studio effects when recording these guitars. I like reverb, delay, overdrive, and adding chorus along with certain reverbs really brings the sound recording to life with fullness.






If you get lost while watching the video.....
Just remember smoke signals save lives!













This guitar is made to plug in and play, from Old Time vintage Southern Bottleneck Blues to amped up gritty 1950's Electric Chicago-land slide guitar and everything in between.

email me if you have questions at

john@reddogguitars.com








Handmade and homemade. This is a 3 string with a rustic Indian theme. The guitar as well as the parts are homemade and it has a deep crimson red. The photos don't do it justice. It's worn and weathered yet satin to the touch. It looks a 100 years old like it came right off a dusty trail from the old west. 













These guitars are great for recording, they can create many types of overtones, some clear and bell like, some can have overdrive, and  if filtered with reverb or delay they instantly sound old and from a time long ago...these guitars are great for recording vintage style movie and music sound tracks.







If you would like to see and hear other cigar box guitar videos with styles that range from gritty electric slide, to rustic 1920's and 30's style slide and blues. I have about 60 or 70 videos on youtube that you would enjoy. All recorded with cigar box guitars - NO regular guitars!


Look at how cool this old Indian Cigar Box Guitar is, even the pegs are homemade!








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Simple and clean, this Aviator guitar has a homemade and handmade with a top load hardtail and pickup. This guitar will record vintage Blues and slide like it's strait from the early 1900's.

I've taken the photo above with a 1950's Calrad microphone and Vox amp. It's the total package for at home recording. 
-There's a whole world of vintage mics and amps that you can pair with a cigar box guitar to get the great sound right in your living room.




Shipping anywhere in the world $68


email me if you have questions or would like to buy this guitar

john@reddogguitars.com







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Not meant to be your only guitar, just your favorite!

This is the guitar you keep near your La-z-boy chair, on the sofa in the living room or near the bed while watching TV. 

This guitar was made for the person who loves the history of cigar box guitars. There is no electric pickup or fancy parts. It's a hand made and homemade guitar the way they made them a hundred years ago. It looks old but it's satin smooth grey and feels great in your hands and on your lap. You will not want to put this guitar down!
I could type till I'm blue in the face, but I will let the music speak for itself.

Have a listen to this video,




I have made these guitars in several different styles, but they all sound the same. Here is another recording of an acoustic 3 string guitar. I have several videos of this style of cigar box guitar on youtube.
Check this one out below, they are super easy to record, just find a quite room and stick a microphone in front of your guitar....play a few licks and presto....you'll sound like you have just stepped right out of the past!


email me if you have questions at john@reddogguitars.com


Have a listen to JJ Twang and the Easy Sliders











Hot off the workbench, The Bounty Hunter  3 string guitar. I have painted this guitar in a satin vintage royal blue that was used on Ford Pickup trucks in the 50's and 60's. This is a super fun to play guitar and a super delight to hold in your hands.



This guitar is the same as all my the other 3 string guitars. I build all of my guitars the same, no need to reinvent the wheel...but it sure looks different!

email me if you have questions or would like to buy this guitar
at john@reddogguitars.com







On of my all time fav-o-rite antique cigar box guitar photos.

How about that craftsmanship!

 I have no words to describe this piece of art, man this is a story for sure.







You can return to the full cigar box guitar website at this link