One of my friends on the nation recently brought this to my attention.  We all had a good laugh over it at the time but this has been bugging me more and more the longer I’ve thought about it.

 

As I have always told you: make your authorities prove their credentials to you.  Don’t just accept what someone tells you as hard evidence.  Make someone earn your respect before you give them the keys to your knowledge and understanding.

 

As I have also said before: don’t even listen to the stuff that I tell you.  I can honestly tell you that I know what I’m talking about because I can make one kick ass guitar.  I certainly don’t expect you to take my word for it though, nor do I want you to.  I want you to experiment and discover why certain things work the way they do and why others don’t work quite as well.  This process of discovery is what will ultimately lead you to your greatest bursts of creativity and innovation – something that will be
stifled if you just follow what I tell you to do.

 

I have posted this series on guitar making here because of a desire to help the rest of you build the  best guitar you can and not because I want to boost my
sales.  I don’t “need” any of your money or your endorsements.  I do “want” you all to grow as craftsman.  Above all, I want you all not to be polluted with untrue things.

 

Back to the story, here.  As mentioned, one of my friends alerted me (and some of the rest of us) to one of these eBay auctions.  I have nothing against eBay in general; it is how I got my start as well.  I do have a problem with people who spend an inordinate amount of time slinging bullshit in order to make a buck.  Anything that gives the rest of us a bad name really pisses me off.  And, oh boy, is this offensive!

 

I’m going to reproduce the offending material from the auction here, along with my annotated responses that illustrate exactly what is wrong with this
guy’s statements.

 

Here we go…

 

"Here is more helpful info:

 

A flat plank neck without a trussrod bends easily, a straight round dowel of hardwood is much stonger."

 

This all depends on how the neck has been carved and constructed.  If you take a piece of softer wood that is about 1/2” thick all the way down it’s length then, yes, you’re probably looking at some bowing over
time.  On the other hand, if you have laminated
two pieces of wood together (as you would typically do when applying a
fingerboard), you have made the neck incredibly strong by changing grain
direction.

 

In any case, the amount of travel that a neck suffers is less of a function of just the string pressure and more a function of string pressure combined with
changes in temperature and humidity.  Moisture and
heat changes in wood cause expansion and contraction of the neck wood’s
fibers, resulting in things “loosening up”.  Once this happens, it’s only natural for the neck to bend in the direction of the strings’ pull.  The only way to correct this is to adjust the truss rod after it has happened.

 

The truss rod will never prevent the neck from bending in some direction due to temperature and moisture content changes.  It is only there to let you correct the position of the neck over time in order to keep your set up and action at an optimum.  Whether your neck is a flat plank or a round dowel has nothing to do with this.

 

Structurally, a round dowel is no different from a flat plank.  Wood gets its strength based on the orientation of its grain in relation to the direction of outside forces acting on it.  In essence, raw wood when it has been cut is strong along one direction and not the other (in a very broad sense, anyway).  You make wood stronger from multiple directions by changing grain directions (i.e. lamination).  The ultimate example of this is plywood, which is extremely strong.  Round dowels are cut from stock the same way that flat planks are and will have the same strength characteristics whether their sides are
round or flat.  Again, in a single raw piece of wood the strength is determined by the grain not the shape.

 

most inexpensive CBGs are made of poplar beware of this material in necks. Despite what makers say the type of wood used for a straight through neck does affect
sound. although oak doesnt bend easy it has a terrible sound and isnt
used in any high end musical instruments. poplar will sound a bit better
but not the best sound and will bend over time even with weather
conditions.

 

Poplar is a standard tone wood used for solid bodies (typically covered with a decorative top or  painted over because it’s not the best in the looks
department).  It is used much the same way as basswood.  It is light and reasonably strong.  It has an unnaturally bright sound compared to other comparable woods. 
While it is typically not used in neck making, there is nothing wrong
with using it for a three or four string neck provided it is carved
correctly and laminated with a separate piece of wood for strength.  It should be treated gently as it will take nicks and dings easily.

 

As far as oak is concerned, Brian May carved the neck of the Red Special from a piece of oak.  As far as I can tell, his guitar doesn’t sound terrible.

 

Oak necks are top heavy, unbalanced and makes playing difficult.

 

Any guitar is made top heavy based on design and construction.  Wood types will have something to do with it but this can be counter acted in the design phase and other considerations such as scale length,
hardware, body construction, etc will play a role in this.  Saying in general terms that oak necks are top heavy is ludicrous.  As far as difficult playing is concerned, a dowel neck would feel absolutely miserable.

 

Some CBGs come without frets, or have painted or burned lines as markers, these are sliders, the seller will tell you you can chord with them but it is next to
impossible, unless youre playing single notes. You will find these very
uncomfortable if you dont soley play slide. CBGs with toothpick frets
will wear grooves in them quickly way faster than metal frets will.

 

Beware of shiny acessories. the more metal you have in a guitar body the worse it will  sound. watch out for brass corners and hole grommets on the soundboard. a
brass nut is okay but a bolt bridge will sound terrible.

 

The bridge serves as the lower boundary of the instrument’s scale and also transfers vibration energy from the strings to the soundboard. 
There is a slight mass/inertia difference between bone or Corian and a
metal bolt, however this difference is not enough to sound terrible.  Given the nature of the typical acoustic cigar box guitar, I doubt the human ear could detect a difference. 
The most important thing in this case is that the bridge is solidly
planted on the box surface such that the energy can be transferred with
minimal loss.

 

A wood or bone floating bridge gives the best sound. Big holes in the soundboard and brass corners mean less vibration area in the soundboard, the music comes off
the wood on the face not the sound hole.


The music actually comes from the playing of the guitar.  The sound is generated by the vibration of the soundboard and its reaction to pressure change differentials inside of the body.  A sound hole is there to aid in projection and promote good bass response.  The sound hole is typically placed on the face of the instrument in order to project these nuances towards the listening audience.

 

Through the body plank style CBGs sometimes have no airspace between the neck and the soundboard. the neck sits flush with the soundboard deadening the sound,
combined with large holes and metal grommets it gives you even less
resonance area on the soundboard.

 

It is true that this is one way to build a through neck, however I have seen plenty with a fully floating top (no contact with the neck). 
Even for those guitars where the box lid comes in contact with the
neck, they sounded 100 times better than the example that the poster
provides in his auction, shown here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLlT5HGqKuY

 

Some makers will tell you the guitar can only be heard in the middle of the night, playing alone in the dark, because of the small size of the box. This isnt true,
again its because of the big holes shiny acessories metal bridge and
plank deadening the soundboard. You can hear a solid body electric in
the middle of the night not plugged in, dont fall for this.

 

First, I’ve never had a maker tell me this.  When he says “some makers” I wonder exactly who it was he was talking to?  Or were these “some makers” just fictional characters that were constructed as part of a HSN sales pitch?

 

Second, the statement is again made that the guitar is quiet because of big holes, shiny acessories (sic), a metal bridge, and a plank.  According to this guy, every time a guitar is quiet it is because of these issues (which have already been debunked earlier).  He just knows without looking at the guitar.  He is that good. 

 

Many CBGs that are acoustic electric have electric guitar pickups, this is a lie electric guitar pickups only pick up string vibration so again big hole for the
pickup, big hole for the jackplate, and big grommet holes for decoration
will not sound good acoustically. It is basically and electric stick
with a non functional cigar box body.

 

Note in the following picture the acoustic guitar with the giant DiMarzio magnetic pickup in the middle of it.  Note also the “big hole” in which it is mounted.

 

http://www.swapzone.co.uk/images/g_s/neck.jpg

 

a through the body neck where the strings go through an extention spike at the bottom require more pressure on the bridge to sound. this pressure eventually caves the
soundboard in and warps the neck.

 

An extension spike?  What the hell is he talking about?  Does he mean bridge pins?  Really?  He’s God’s gift to guitar making technology and he doesn’t know what a bridge pin is called.  As far as pressure caving a sound board, if the neck is attached to the sound board as he claimed is always the case earlier then why would the
soundboard cave?  In the case of the guitar not having a through neck, there is this miraculous invention guitar makers use called “bracing”.  It’s understandable, I guess, if he hasn’t heard of it yet.  It’s only hundreds of years old by now.

 

A 3/8" soundhole is all you need to get proper bass responce coming back to the player. The music the audience hears comes off the soundboard it doesnt come from
inside the guitar. What you hear when you play and what the audience
hears are two different things.

 

I have already detailed how a front facing sound hole serves to project bass response to the listening audience.  I have also detailed how the sound a guitar generates is a function of the soundboard vibration in addition to pressure changes inside the body
based on that vibration.  While the sound hole doesn’t have to be huge, 3/8” is a little on the small side.  A hole in the diameter of a quarter would do it though.

 

Some cigar boxes are only wood on the back, builders use the pressboard side as a soundboard and leave the back plain wood to make you think the whole box is wood,
when they should use the back as the soundboard. the soundboard of a
real guitar must be wood the rest of the body can be paper mache' etc.
Again the sound comes off the face of the guitar not from inside.

 

Amazingly, there is a small grain of truth in this statement.  Not amazingly, given the small size of the typical CBG body and other factors concerned, the difference in sound should not be enough for the
human ear to detect.  Also not amazingly, the demo video posted still sounds horrendous no matter what side of the box he used for a soundboard.

 

The back of the box is tight like a drum if the pressboard top is used, and not reinforced, and glued down tight, it will not sound right.

 

Apparently no CBG maker has ever devised a way to reinforce and brace the instrument body on his own.  This man is incredible.  He has gone into the homes and shops of literally thousands of other people all over the world and determined the building techniques of all
of us.  He’s a phantom!!!

 

All wood cigar boxes with hinges and hasps that open up and aren't glued shut will not sound good. also the thick renforcement around the sides will deaden the
soundboard and not allow it to ring properly. You want thin sidewalls
like a real acoustic guitar.

 

Well, which is it?  You first spent the whole article telling us that all the music comes from the soundboard but now thick sides are going to deaden the sound?  How exactly will they do that?  And when has anybody ever found a cigar box that had thicker sides than a guitar?

 

A piezo transducer or a microphone, is the only way to pickup true acoustic sound. For tin or resophonic CBGs a microphone must be used to get the metallic tone, a
guitar pickup or piezo transducer will not work.

 

Strangely, innovators in this very field have dumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the design and manufacture of piezo pickups for resophonic
guitars.  If they had just asked this guy, they would have saved a ton of money.

 

Reso Piezo:


http://www.schattendesign.com/resonator.htm


I have made resphonic guitars with piezo pickups built into the biscuit bridge and I can promise that they sounded plenty metallic plugged in to my amp.


 

Some builders will actually tell you
that a bad sounding instrument adds to the charm and the nostalgia of a
cigar box guitar and will charge more than an actual guitar would cost. 
Over and over you will hear words like "crude" and "primative" the fact
is made the right way they were made in the 20s and 30s they are very
good sounding advanced acoustic instruments.

 

Again, I would like to direct your attention to the demo video that was offered along with the auction:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLlT5HGqKuY


Yes, this is not bad sounding, crude, or primitive at all.  This is the Strada-fucking-varius of cigar box guitars.




Also, anyone notice how out of sync the sound is with the playing?  Watch the video very closely.  In
what universe do you get that sound based on what his hands are doing?

 

To be perfectly clear, I’m not attacking this guy’s ability to build a guitar so much as I am the claims that he makes in an attempt to promote his instruments.
 There is actually some video of my buddy K. M. Williams playing one of his guitars and it sounds pretty freaking cool.  Then again, that might just be the fact that anything the Rev. does sounds awesome.  But still…

 

My problems are numerous, but to boil down the ones I have with this fella, it’s really the fact that he’s trying to distinguish his product by denigrating the
work of others and (even worse) he’s completely wrong in nearly every
statement he makes.  If it was that important to him, you’d think he’d just put the time and effort in necessary to build a superior instrument.


Josh

Views: 213

Replies to This Discussion

Some of you may be wondering what happened to all the comments. Well, it turns out that the subject of the discussion contacted me in e-mail and started griping. There was a little back and forth but what he was concerned with was the use of his picture in the thread. I have to give him a point there. Original works of photography are protected under copyright law. Because I didn't originally post the image, I was left with having to kill the post and then repost it so that all the comments would be wiped out.

So anyway, feel free to comment as you like but if another picture of him gets posted I'll do it again. He may be nuts but he does have a right under the law to set that kind of boundary.

Josh
WTF?

Josh Gayou (SmokehouseGuitars) said:
Some of you may be wondering what happened to all the comments. Well, it turns out that the subject of the discussion contacted me in e-mail and started griping. There was a little back and forth but what he was concerned with was the use of his picture in the thread. I have to give him a point there. Original works of photography are protected under copyright law. Because I didn't originally post the image, I was left with having to kill the post and then repost it so that all the comments would be wiped out.

So anyway, feel free to comment as you like but if another picture of him gets posted I'll do it again. He may be nuts but he does have a right under the law to set that kind of boundary.

Josh
There was a photo of him posted on here. I have to assume that he originally took it because it looks like one of those web cam/cell phone shots. Based on that, he does actually have a legitimate copyright claim. I don't know if it would hold up very well in court but that's not the point for me either. I'll rip the guy's ebay posts but if he doesn't want pictures of himself in the thread I can't fault him. I'd probably feel the same.

He was trying like crazy to convince me that he was going to bring the legal heat down on me and then tried to spook me by showing me the address he was going to send the paperwork to, only it wasn't my address. It actually made me feel kind of sorry for the guy.



Shane Speal said:
WTF?

Josh Gayou (SmokehouseGuitars) said:
Some of you may be wondering what happened to all the comments. Well, it turns out that the subject of the discussion contacted me in e-mail and started griping. There was a little back and forth but what he was concerned with was the use of his picture in the thread. I have to give him a point there. Original works of photography are protected under copyright law. Because I didn't originally post the image, I was left with having to kill the post and then repost it so that all the comments would be wiped out.

So anyway, feel free to comment as you like but if another picture of him gets posted I'll do it again. He may be nuts but he does have a right under the law to set that kind of boundary.

Josh
Josh, thanks for posting all the comments this guy said, and explain why he is wrong. I really love the discovery process; it makes me feel good in my soul when I have discovered why something didn't work.
I haven't made that many cbgs, but I am working on it, slowly, but surely. Taking my time, and doing alot of thinking before I actually put it into action. Thanks again for sharing it with us.
[BF] complained to me too when I used his ebay photo of the Robert Johnson CBG. I blew him off. Someone with a legitimate reason here did ask me to kill mine. No worries.

-WY

Shane Speal said:
WTF?

Josh Gayou (SmokehouseGuitars) said:
Some of you may be wondering what happened to all the comments. Well, it turns out that the subject of the discussion contacted me in e-mail and started griping. There was a little back and forth but what he was concerned with was the use of his picture in the thread. I have to give him a point there. Original works of photography are protected under copyright law. Because I didn't originally post the image, I was left with having to kill the post and then repost it so that all the comments would be wiped out.

So anyway, feel free to comment as you like but if another picture of him gets posted I'll do it again. He may be nuts but he does have a right under the law to set that kind of boundary.

Josh
He was trying like crazy to convince me that he was going to bring the legal heat down on me and then tried to spook me by showing me the address he was going to send the paperwork to, only it wasn't my address. It actually made me feel kind of sorry for the guy.

Josh, he did the same to me. I said 'Bring it Bubba'. First off, He would have to file which costs $$ no matter how you look at it. You're in CA so filing from FL might be a bitch, I dunno, not a lawyer. Then some action would have to be taken, then what? How to remedy?

From what [absolutely and completely] little I know, I would only imagine that for such an infraction, this type of legal action would hardly be considered in a general court.

However, I too applaud you for killing or otherwise honoring this request. Cheers

-WY
Yeah, well, I didn't remove the pictures out of any fear of what he could do to me legally. It was kind of a decency thing. If someone wanted to start an argument with me it wouldn't bug me so much but if someone started posting shopped pictures of me in forums or anywhere else on the net, I can well see where I'd be pretty torqued over it. So i figured the dude deserved at least that much consideration over it. I'm not gonna get dirty just because the guy is loony.

It was funny, when he tried to send me my own mailing address it was an obvious attempt at intimidation, which is usually guaranteed to get me pissed off enough to come at you firing all barrels at once. But it was just such an inept gambit and failed so hard that all I could really do was be amused.

Such is the internet, I guess.



Wes Yates said:
He was trying like crazy to convince me that he was going to bring the legal heat down on me and then tried to spook me by showing me the address he was going to send the paperwork to, only it wasn't my address. It actually made me feel kind of sorry for the guy.

Josh, he did the same to me. I said 'Bring it Bubba'. First off, He would have to file which costs $$ no matter how you look at it. You're in CA so filing from FL might be a bitch, I dunno, not a lawyer. Then some action would have to be taken, then what? How to remedy?

From what [absolutely and completely] little I know, I would only imagine that for such an infraction, this type of legal action would hardly be considered in a general court.

However, I too applaud you for killing or otherwise honoring this request. Cheers

-WY
well i saw no photo, so his identity is safe from me. I still stand by my comment in the original thread.

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