I’ve been collecting guitars for over 25 years. I love the acoustic guitar for its aesthetic and historical sound qualities. I love the Beatles, the bands of the sixties, the folk guitar, the blues, the Celtic and the quiet music. I like finger picking and its open chord harp tone and I play it in open D. I have 26 guitars from the 1930s to the present. I had to learn to take care of my instruments as a visit to the guitar technicians can sometimes be quite expensive thanks! As the owner of several old fashioned beauties and vintages, it is better to know a little more about how to maintain these instruments. When you like the guitar, I think you have to go beyond its comfort zone and get all the good historical information you need via the web, books, videos, etc. So I became very interested in the history of the blues and its origins, the guitars and the instruments that have marked certain eras: the Gibsons, the Washsburn, National Regal, hence the inspiration to collect some guitars for their historical value. The internet and YouTube have allowed me to discover several interesting sites in terms of my passions. I have also discovered extraordinary musicians and people who share their passions in the teaching of music theory, in the teaching and maintenance of his instrument, and in the making of musical instruments. I wish YouTube existed in the ’80s. Today, it’s not complicated on the web, you find everything!
The inspiration of yesterday
Blues have well-defined origins with classics such as Robert Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt Son House, Mississippi Fred Mc Dowell, Reverend Gary Davis, B.B. King, Muddy Waters Johnny Winter, Lightnin’ Hopkins and many others. When you’re interested in this kind of music and you like the blues, you’re inspired by those times. Especially from this sound that some musicians, at the beginning, were so poor that they made their own instruments to accompany themselves. Four-stringed guitars from cigar boxes where the name of box cigars played with a broken piece of bottle or a pocket knife to imitate the sound of the voice. There are several websites on the Internet that tell us how to make this kind of instrument for oneself. It’s obvious if you’re bitten and passionate about the guitar and the blues that you have to try your luck to make this kind of folk instrument out of a box of cigars or anything that falls under your hand.There are specialized websites where you can buy parts for your needs and also websites with photos of instruments built during the last century. Some of these concepts have a classic vintage feature others seem to come out of a bad science fiction movie or another planet. This year, I was lucky enough to receive an acoustic guitar as a low-end Chinese-made gift with a damaged side from my friend Daniel Beaulieu. Let’s just say this guitar wasn’t aesthetically recoverable. It was good for parts recovery only. By chance on the web, searching for old musical instruments, I found an artist who had created a unique piece.
TOM BINGHAM DESIGN CIGAR BOX GUITAR I found the concept visually good but for me it had too many gadgets attached to it and from a practical point of view to play it did not seem comfortable. I thought there was something to be inspired by simply to create a more natural and vintage version.
In my workshop at Bois BSL
So inspired by Tom’s guitar, I made a virtual model in my 3D software Keyshot and then had fun with what I had in hand. I cut both sides of the acoustic guitar as well as drilled the holes for the pickup and buttons to then redo the sides, cutting into plywood two pieces ¾ inches thick. I took care to glue the two pieces (put in greenhouse) and do a good job of finishing both sides for the preparation and application of the images on the guitar. Through several searches on the internet, I found high-resolution images of nightstands cigar boxes. With Photoshop, I then created the montages for the needs. I then had the graphics printed on silk paper. Then I prepared the finish of the guitar to apply the images with Mod podge on each side and the head as well as the golden applications of the guitar. I then realized a fake antique finish on the guitar and finally applied a semi-glossy varnish, about 4 layers. It took me about 25 hours to get to that point. I then did a monk’s work to make an adjustment of the full handle, polish the frets and make a good adjustment of the height of the strings so that it was easy to play in a standard way or for the slide.When I finished the finishing work and added the buttons made from 12-gauge copper rifle bushings and did the sound tests.
The final result
I was pleasantly surprised. She was easy to play. Of course, at the acoustic level, it doesn’t have the same original projection since I amputated it from both sides but it still has its own sound personality more than visually, it attracts attention. And with good amplification, it sounds good. When I look at her I am proud to have taken the time to save this instrument that was just good to be thrown into the garbage. In addition to using my LG-0 1964 Gibson every day, I also play with my latest creation that travels with me when I enjoy the good weather to go and play the guitar on the riverside.