Paul McCartney Cigar Box Guitar
No question the 121212 concert yesterday was a pretty impressive show, but it was the McCartney/Nirvana song Cut Me Some Slack that really interested me – not the song itself, but more the cigar box guitar McCartney played. Now I love an obscure instrument as much as the next person, but what makes them come alive is when you see someone using said obscurity in a relevant way. So I started trying to find a bit more about it…
Turns out his cigar box guitar was made by a guy called Matty Baratto, whose instruments seem to be in demand from other legends (like Keith Richards). You can check out some of his work at Baratto Guitars. He calls these “cigfiddles”! He builds them with four strings (versus the more standard 3 strings for a cigar box guitar) and they have a brass saddle. There are a bunch of sources online where you can learn how to build a standard cigar box guitar very cheaply, and it shouldn’t be too hard to incorporate Baratto’s ideas into one of your own – given ording one from home could mean you’d join a very long line with the post-121212 publicity! On the gallery page of Baratto’s site there’s a close up pic of one that looks like the one McCartney used. I’d love to find some more details on this model such as scale length and tuning, but I guess the beauty of instruments like this is that you can simple just create your own! And that may well be what I do…
UPDATE: I’ve added some more information about building a cigar box guitar here: http://www.thecavanproject.com/paul-mccartney-cigar-box-guitar-revisted/
AND ANOTHER UPDATE!
I’ve finally finished making some CBGs myself. You might want to check them out to get some ideas.
Three-string custom box guitar
Four-string custom box guitar
Two-string bass custom box guitar
There is a large community of builders and players of cigar box guitars. You can find lots of info, lessons, photos, videos, groups, forums and even live chat at the Handmade Music Clubhouse http://HandmadeMusicClubhouse.com. There’s also info on all types of homemade instruments and music.
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