Cigar Box Guitar Network

Cigar Box Guitar Network

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why? why not!

We believe that there is great joy and artistic expression in constructing and making music on a instrument that is homemade.

Since there no limits to creativity, there are no rules in creating tools to make music with, although there are some best practices. Some of us build our homemade instruments ourselves, some purchase them from others. Some, like myself are in the middle; I "build" my own battery powered cigar box amps but happily purchase my guitars from others. Did I start out with any amp building skills? No. Do I have creativity? Yes! My skills have very much improved over time but my ugliest, earliest amp still sounds great and is near and dear to my heart. Why? I don't know! But I do know that it touches me in some way that playing a Stratocaster into a Fender Deluxe does not, with the added bonus of costing $20 bucks to put together.

Which leads to my next point; it's embarrassing to bomb when playing your Strat and Deluxe in front of your friends. In the CBG community, this is perfectly acceptable. And since they are easy to play, it's almost impossible to bomb. I gave my father in-law a CBG kit for Christmas a year ago. He assembled it and, having never played a guitar in his life, proceeded to amaze us with a spontaneous creation (with vocals) he called "Bushdog." It was fantastic!

If you have kids (or not), this is a great way to get them (or you) out from behind the computer. Save those coffee or soup cans and electrify them into vocal mics or drums with a dirt cheap piezo pickup, output jack, volume and tone for under $20 (or just pickup and jack for under $10).

On the amp side, if you keep things battery powered, you can play anywhere, the lawn, the porch, the corner, the park, the fire escape, on the roof, or in the back seat of the car (when someone else is driving of course). Conscript a friend to play Cajon (box drum) and now we have a band. Pull in a one string bass and now you have a power trio (not quite Cream but you get the idea). It's spontaneous and at conversational volume levels to allow others to participate or just chat with friends and ignore you. Perfect!

But you know what is maybe most important to me and maybe the whole point? Getting that song out of my head and sharing it in a safe, non-judgmental way, either alone (my toughest audience), live or online.  Expectations are preset at realistic levels.

Life is full of appropriate contradictions and the CBG community is happily, no exception. I also love Pignose amps. I'm a big fan! But obviously, I did not build this amp myself. But I will admit that it inspired me to build my own battery powered amp (without the fear of electrocution) and set a respected standard for me to attain to (for battery powered amps that is). My point? In CBG land, contradictions, inconsistencies, and downright hypocrisy rule, along with, that in the service of musical self expression, there are no rules and that is A-OK. "Sounds" pretty weird right? This is as it should be.

CBGN 2023
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