I have had a great deal of fun building instruments of different kinds but can't claim to be a musician. I had played the cello in high school forty five years ago and started with the harp in 1990. I quickly learned that the harp is a snooty instrument world. Its inhabited by long slender women with long slender fingers - quite a few men too. Mostly guys are harp builders and movers. I accepted my plight and muddled along. I tried a half dozen teachers over the years and learned that they all could play much better than me. Teachers usually can play but seldom can teach. I have been raising my long slender fingered daughter since she was seven. She has been through another half dozen expert harp player teachers who couldn't teach. We had fun but neither of us became musicians. The fun became work and we didn't get much support. I am still active in the harp world but less so.
With the loss of my shop I had to regroup. I fully realized that there was no way I could rebuild this mess and replace it all. Not enough years or earning power left, short of winning the lottery, and I don't play it. It struck me that playing some blue grass and such might be fun. I went for a strumstick style instrument since it seemed sort of do-able. This led me to CigarBoxNation by way of the search engines on the internet.
I discovered that building cigarbox gits was a bit more complex than it originally seemed but still fun and possible. Now I had to figure out how to play. Had to work on tabs and tuning and stringing and scale lengths and piezos and learn about amps and all kinds of stuff. I still find that I don't want to work hard at reading music and memorizing songs and so I DIDN"T DO IT. !! What I did do was learn a bit about the old delta blues and when I started hearing it, It just went click !! That was the sound that had been missing from my life. Its always been there and now I hear it in commercials and background music and in my head. Amazing how often it pops up. A little riff hear and there!!
So I spent a lot of time dinking around or I guess its called noodling? And pretty soon I am making bluesy kinds of sounds and feeling kinda good about it all. No more than that !! I became happy about it. Now for an old fart happy is kind of elusive and certainly noticeable. As I got better I wanted to share it and show off - kinda natural to do that but this is some strange stuff to lots of folks.
Next I discovered that guitar people by and large are snobs. Mean thing to say maybe, but dang, they sneer at me from a distance and talk a strange language about amps and guitars and stuff that seem awfully important to them. They don't seem interested in this music thing I have discovered..... Then I met a guy that works at Lowes and he is completely blown away by my cigarbox guitars and loves them and the sound. And I have a couple of other folks about the same. I have met two old blues guys who play this style music really good - I mean really, really, good. I recently got a nice amp - a Roland Micro that makes me sound really good and has me brave enough to go out and play some in public at least around "friends" I have noticed that everyone who has played much on a standard guitar is NOT impressed and that every one else is highly impressed and seem to really like this music. I have worked out several general patterns of play that no doubt are songs of some kind. All from my head and heart and fun to me. I find it a bit disturbing to find this attitude so often. I have observed it in dulcimer players, they seem to be stuck on the makers name and how much they paid for the dulcimer. I have definitely seen it all over the harp world - I am presuming that there are fifty different guitar worlds - everything from flamenco to twelve string to metal to who knows what. I was astonished to see an 800 dollar Uke and totally blown away to see a ten thousand dollar guitar.... I am totally impressed by how friendly the folks on CigarBoxNation.com are and how much fun this music is - I hope cigar box builders and players never develop this snob thing. I for one am just delighted to be part of all this. I also fully realize that there are guitar players and musicians of all kinds that do have an open mind - it just seems they are a bit rare. Comments welcome - thanks, Bill Ludeman