I started my musical exploration on bass back in my late teens. A buddy of mine was learning guitar and needed someone to play bass for him. "It's so easy," he said, "there's only 4 strings and all you do is play one note." Well, needless to say, I quickly found out bass playing is significantly more complicated than that. After playing bass for a bit, I tried out a guitar. Guitar led to synthesizer, and synth led to drums. Somewhere along the way I picked up a mandolin, a harmonica, a dulcimer, and a few other miscellaneous things just for fun. I played in several bands ranging from folk to metal. I had seen CBGs but just never really got into them.

Despite this, I started modifying my guitars and basses. First it was just replacing pickups, then capacitors, then tuners/bridges, some light routing, and so on. Eventually I made a couple guitars from parts and really got addicted to building things. Learning to solder and modify the electronic circuits in guitars led me to build my own effects pedals and then I started building some simple electronic instruments. I also started modifying amps.

My interest in synthesizers and effects led me to the music DIY community. There are a ton of folks out there making electronic instruments in their garage. Through this similar but different subculture, I somehow stumbled onto the CBG community. I absolutely loved the concept. It brought together two things I love, instruments and building stuff. Not sure where to begin with this new hobby, I started searching the Internet for CBG events. I found this CBN and consequently learned about the St Louis Cigar Box Guitar Festival, which was only a few weeks away at the time.

I attended this festival in 2018 and learned a lot. I even got to talk to CBG guru Justin Johnson. They had a DIY booth and was planning to make my own CBG at the festival. However, I started playing some of the ones in the parking lot and fell in love with a 3 string fretless creation from Smokey Joe in Jerseyville, IL. Needless to say, it came home with me. Since then I've been pickin' and grinnin' as they say. As much as I like the traditional twangy stuff... I am kind of unconventional, so I've done some stuff like processing it through multiple effects, integrating with drum machines, and I even posted a video of me combining CBG and modular synthesizer.

Don't get me wrong, I still like to sit back with a CBG and harmonica for some down home front porch entertainment. Now that I've got some of the basics, my next step is to build my own. Somehow, I have a feeling this may be happening soon. :-)

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Comment by sparky37 on October 20, 2018 at 12:01am

Sucker! your doomed like the rest of us

Comment by Korrigan on October 13, 2018 at 10:39pm

Welcome aboard!

Comment by Dennis "Denbo" Goodinson on October 13, 2018 at 2:16pm

By all means build one. Once you do, you'll get an affinity with it a bought instrument doesn't give you. You know it's blood & guts, it's story, and you'll be hooked. That first one with all it's faults will teach you a lot. Enjoy it.

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