Montag, 30. Juni 2008

Sally finds sea shells by the sea shore - another CB idea!

To all you Cigar Box guitar freaks out there, beware!
You diddle around all evening and on the weekends making new Cigar box Guitars, drinking beer and making music with your friends! Well what's your wife (or girl friend) doing in the meantime? Here's a little idea I (we, my wife says she saw it first!) picked up that might just make her smile again and you can use any of the boxes that haven't turned into a fly swatter with strings!
The purse were displayed at the Raleigh Art ('sy) fair we visited in May during our visit to my daughter Jennifer and sparked another DIY (we cigar box makers do not buy anything we think we can make better, right?) project that will be my wife's birthday gift in just a couple of days.
Check out the pictures and think about your little lady the next time you run out of words for a new song, she might appreciate something just like this!
Best wishes from Bamberg Germany
american George
PS: during our stay in North Carolina we also caught Dr. Oakroots performance in Wilmington, as well. We all had fun and the Doc even played one of my CB Guitars. Now he's not as famous as Billy Gibbons but I was proud never the less!
Needles to say between the fishing, shopping, the days spent at the beach, and chillin' out with daughter Jenny it was a great trip (almost, since I'm NYC boy born and raised.... Neil Diamond, right?) home!

Dienstag, 4. März 2008

Pretty Boxes!

It's been a while since my last Post, but the waiting will be worth it!
Junkyard No. 12 another 3-string Dulcimer has just arrived. The funny thing is, I haven't figured out how I want to play it - traditional on my lap, playing melody on the high G string or cradled in my arms cording like a guitar and playing the tunes on the low G string, both ways sounds good to me!
Otherwise I've just been making a lot of other boxes and cleaning the basement of scrap lumber in the process!
First I put together a 4 X 6 inch speaker cabinet for my 1 Watt CrunchMaster Tube amp. The speakers are straight from Ebay - 1 Euro plus shipping with plenty of speakers left over for other amp projects. I bought the CrunchMaster a couple of years ago using mostly just as preamp for my Fender but really didn't like the sound, so it was just laying around. Now it can really "der Sau 'raus lassen!" (German for "letting the pig out!" looses in the translation doesn't it? Well it screams (squeals - get the picture?) now!)
Then the little lady (that's my wife for you folks) wanted to get into percussion and asked if I could DIY some drums. So I started looking in the Net for some drum projects which at first was pretty disappointing - everything seemed to revolve around trigger pads until I came upon the Cajon (a snare-box-drum from Peru - very primitive with fantastic percussion possibilities! Look it up. There are a lot of good plans for the taking and U-tube lessons for beginners). So using up the same shelving lumber from speaker cabinet project, I put the little Cajon beauty together - you beat on the front - "the music goes round and round, whoa-ho-ho-ho-ho, and comes out (here) the rear" (sorry unless you're around my age you will not know that those are words to a Tommy Dorsey song from the '30s - Hey! I'm not that old!) Looks good sounds good to! I thank the plan contributors from around the world.
Tom Scholz designed the Rockman practice amp, then it was copied (improved and cheaper) from Nobels and finally copied (improved again and even cheaper) from Monarch - that's the practice amp I bought many years ago. And like the CrunchMaster (as well as other effect pedals) lay unused around the house, but no more! Back in the early 60's Sears and Montgomery Wards used to offer Guitar-Sets which included an amp built into the guitar case (back then some with battery operated tube amps! There's nothing new under the Sun!) So putting all that knowledge, left over practice amp, Ebay speakers and scrap plywood I put together a street musician's dream case for my Junkyard No. 12! Looks good, sounds good too!
Now the real funny thing about all this folks is: If I've used up scrap lumber out of the basement, put discarded speakers, effect pedals and amps to use, how come there's more (and bigger) stuff laying around now, then before I started?
If you want to see more pictures, please visit my Picasa Web Album at:
I hope you've enjoyed the reading. As always if you have any comments, pass them on.
Best regards from Bamberg, Germany
american George

Sonntag, 20. Januar 2008

From the Blues to Blue (s) grass!

It's been quite a while since my last post - Christmas, New Years, Birthdays, etc. but american George is back and with two very different creations; a miniature 3-String Tele Thinline and a 4-String Dulcimer. Both begin with a "B" for the Blues and Blue grass and have just one thing in common - free scrap wood!
It's not that I don't have any Cigar Boxes to work with, but what do you do with the pieces of wood you've collected along the way.... it's just a shame not to use them, so I did!
As always the initial impulses came from outside sources. I fell in love with beautiful American made G&L Tele Thinline on display at my local guitar shop and since (like I said) having all that scrap wood around I thought it would be a snap to glue together, route and sand, etc. but.... it took me almost a whole week (day & night, folks) until I finally strung the little beauty DGB and plugged her into the amp!
As you can see everything except the tuners are hand made from your's truly and I'm very proud of my first (almost perfect) fret job - no nails or tooth picks here, solid nickel silver Stewart MacDonalds! The hand wound pickup is around 3.000 ohms and has Alnico 5 magnets with just a volume speed knob topped with a Jefferson nickel. Sealed and Waxed as always!
The Dulcimer just happened too! Yup! Scrap wood again and a plan I found on the Internet. Naturally the plan looks completely different, but compensating for the pieces of wood I had and my typical neck construction it's more or less what you can call a mountain dulcimer. Looks good, plays well, sounds cool and has two piezo elements mounted to an output jack in case some one needs to hook to an amp, although it's loud enough just by it's self. The satin finish is floor varnish, very durable (did our stairs with the stuff 8 years ago) and should hold up a long time to come. For the practice (a dulcimer needs frets, friends) I used the same fretting material as on the Thinline.
Now I just have to learn to play it - might take a few days? Maybe a life-time, maybe never!
Like always I've had a lot of fun (I also wanted to throw both in the dustbin at some point, too) making them so if you have any coments send them along.
Remeber all american George's Junkyard guitars are for sale to own, so make an offer if you really like them!
Best regards from Bamberg, Germany
P.S. as always there are more pictures at:

Donnerstag, 6. Dezember 2007

Not into Stamps? Build a CBG! No. 9 just arrived

Inspiration for Junkyard No. 9 was a less than spectacular Cigar Box, my daughter Simonne, Elvis Presley, and about 15.000 Stamps waiting for a collector! I've used perhaps 30 stamps on this guitar, well darn only 4,999 guitars to go!

Here are the stats for you Guitar Junkies out there: 3-string tuned Ebe, cheap used tuners, hack-saw blade nut, 18 (polished) finishing nail frets, bolt (and glued) on neck, 3.800 ohm hand wound pickup (no Alnico) P-90 style, Lincoln Head volume knob, and a new (different) bridge/ tail piece construction. All lacquered and waxed with a lot of tender loving care......

Now here's a cute little story: about 5 years ago I had a Guitar Player issue about Slide playing. The right techniques, equipment, and the different Slides that have been used - glass, steel bars, ceramic, copper, etc. Also Bone! Everybody knows about Ham-bones, right? Do you know anyone who has a bone slide? I know why! No one makes them to sell, so you have to make your own. Don't do it! I did and I won't (maybe for money) do it again! Why?

1. Go to your butcher and ask for bones, hold up your slide so he'll know what your looking for. A hand full is free and you wave goodbye, hurrying home with a bag full of Ham bones.
2. If no one is home, you're lucky - put them in a pot of water to boil. Hours later, when your wife comes home the very minute she walks in you're finished! It's one of those, "who killed the cat," or "where did the dog crap this time" things, and you know right then, throw does bones away, but (mistake no. 2) you don't!
3. You leave them someplace far away to dry and wait for your wife to go shopping again. Now the bones are dry, scrape, file, drill the rest of the marrow out of the bone (you can use every tool you have now because they'll all wind up messy and kinda gooey) and since maybe only 1 out of every 1.000.000 bones is as round and smooth as that cheap glass, copper, brass, or steel slide in your pocket you start to form that bone slide to your liking! File, sand, sand, file, polish until it's just right! Looks good, works fine, didn't cost a dime (is that DIY rhyme?)

Now here's some advice from american George: it wasn't the work or the time it's the smell (of burnt or rotten flesh and bone) that just isn't worth the effort. I've done it once, in fact I have 4 bone slides now to prove it, but never, ever again! And my wife says, "Amen!"

I hope you've enjoyed reading and seeing my CBGs and I hope to be hearing from you soon as well,
best regards,
american George
If you like what you see, you can buy to own - make an offer!

Mittwoch, 28. November 2007

To Fret or not to Fret, that is the question - No. 8 has arrived!

Due to popular demand (I think it was my son) I've added (working - at least you could call them that) frets to Junkyard Guitar No. 8! No they're not silver nickel polished frets from Stuart MacDonalds (I'm saving that for next year) but just plain finishing nails, but it's just as much work as the real thing and works just fine. Now you have the best of both worlds - slide pure or notes by the numbers! As you can see from the pictures I stopped at the 20th fret. I could have gone for 24 but it would have just been for the optics - at best the slide is on the pinky and you're and not going get any fingers working up there anyway and with the slide it's millimeter work so play it by ear!
As always I've added my home-made and hand wound AlNiCo custom pickup (3,200 Ohms for those interested) and a Fender volume knob mounted on top for the violin-effect fanatics among you. What more could you want in a Cigar Box guitar? As always they're for sale so make an offer!
I hope you enjoy reading my Posts and I'd sure like to hear your comments so drop me a line!
american George
P.S. If you want to take a better look at all my Junkyard guitars, visit my Picasa Web Album @

Sonntag, 18. November 2007

Is it Bo Diddley or Diddley-bow No. 6 & 7 just finished!

Well the first attempt on eBay with my Junkyard guitars wasn't as promising as I had thought, but I was still busy this week and turned out two new Junkyards.

Junkyard No. 6. is a cover version of No. 3 with some changes: shorter (57 cm) scale, a diagonal Pickup position and a sheet metal bridge - a little Tele touch! I added my "Money for nothin'" tuner buttons for good looks!

Junkyard No. 7 is a cute little Diddley-Bow with clean European design. The hand wound alnico pickup goes directly to the output jack. I'm pretty proud of the tuner/nut solution, it's both functional and cheap - very DIY-ish!

I've added all the new pictures in my slide show (previous posting) or you can go directly to my Picasa album to get a better look:

I hope you enjoy having a look and I'm looking forward to be hearing from you soon!
american George

P.S.: If you find something you like, remember everything is for sale - make an offer. If you want something special drop me a line.

Freitag, 9. November 2007

Finally some sound.... not great but (if you turn it up) loud!

I've finally managed to add some music (noise?) using Studio 9 (such a pain!) to animate my pictures. Some may not find it particularly virtuous, so I've kept it short to spare those with critical hearing. Mostly your hearing just Junkyard Guitars No. 2, (Lapsteel) and No. 3 (trusty 3-String Cigar-box)
If you have some tips (musically or otherwise) feel free to offer them.....
hope to be hearing from you soon,
american George