Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bobby G

This was my daddy's favorite hymn.  It may not be the best version, ever, but I just wanted to do it in Daddy's memory.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Blues Are Calling

  Luckily, it's not blocked for the blues, however...

I bought this phone at the thrift store, a couple of days ago, for the $6.99 marked price.  Why, you might ask, would I want an old rotary phone?  Well, I really didn't.

But, I did want the handset.  The speaker in the earpiece of the phone produces sound by converting electrical impulses into vibration, which produces the sound you hear on the phone.  It will also work in the opposite manner:  It will convert vibration into electrical impulses.

Wired to a 1/4" jack, then glued to the inside of the top of my cigar box guitar, it will pick up the vibrations of the top and transmit them, through a cord, to an amplifier.  (I didn't like the tone in the original position, which you can see at the bottom of the picture, so I moved it to the upper half of the face.)

The output jack, located on the lower left corner of the body, is relatively subtle.  I don't think it detracts from the looks of the guitar, too much.

And, it sounds pretty good through the Pignose amp, in my opinion.


Hootchie Cootchie Cigar Box

Another acoustic song on the cbg.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cigar Box Guitar

A few weeks ago, I decided that I'd try my hand at building a cigar box guitar.  Having listened to a lot of Seasick Steve, lately, I figured I'd go with three strings.  I have the St. George set up as a 3-string, and I'm having a good time playing slide on it.  But, I think that the cbg works even better with 3 strings.

I went to the Rockler Woodworking store, over on Colorado Blvd, and picked up a 1x2x48 stick of Jatoba wood (Brazilian Cherry).  Jatoba is hard and dense, so I hoped that it would hold up well to string tension, since I wasn't planning on using any metal reinforcing.

I wanted to build the guitar in a fairly traditional manner, using no power tools other than a circular saw and a drill.  Eventually I deviated from the traditional tools by using a Dremel and SuperGlue, in the interest of saving time.

 I started off by roughing the shape of the neck in with a knife.

Then, I went to the wood rasp to refine it a bit.

Eventually, I used sandpaper backed with duct tape to do the final shaping.  I used the circular saw to remove the wood where the neck runs under the body, and where the tuners go.  It was tedious, and nerve-wracking to make repeated cuts, side by side, removing a saw-blade's width of material with each pass, to remove the wood.

I glued on a 1/4"x2" maple fingerboard (left over from another project, also bought at Rockler) and marked the fret positions.  I then used my miter box and saw to slot the fingerboard.  A little round-file work made room for the frets to be set down into the wood.  The frets are cut-off sections of 14 gauge stainless steel bicycle spokes, and they are held in place with SuperGlue.

Once the frets were set, I started work on a bridge.

The bridge is made from a bone nut glued onto a short section of the same maple which makes up the fingerboard.  I "ebonized" the maple with a Sharpie.

The tailpiece is a belt buckle which I found at the thrift store, with three holes drilled in it for the strings to pass through.

 Sound holes in the side allow for more air movement which, in turn, allows the top to vibrate more freely.

So, there it is.  Later, I plan on installing a piezo pickup, so that I can plug it in.  Until then, it is acoustic.  To hear it, check out the video.