It was July 19, 2009 when I performed my worst show ever...

The gig took place at a film festival in Bethlehem, PA, right after we did a featured showing of Max Shores' award-winning cigar box guitar documentary, Songs Inside the Box.  The attendees at this concert had just seen this magical film that was centered around me... and when it was finally my turn to perform a live show for them, I totally blew it.


The songs were strained and my delivery was amateur at best.  I looked tortured and lost on stage.  I still cringe when I remember back.  

Oh, they were nice to me after the show.  (The Bethlehem art community is a really supportive crowd.) 
However, you could see in their faces that they just wasted an evening with poseur.  I was crushed.

But something major happened on the two hour drive back home that evening:  Instead of wringing my hands and lamenting the gig (as was usually the case), I started asking myself, "what are the specific details that went into making a bad performance?"  I turned the radio off, set the cruise control on the car and went thru my whole act, song by song. 

I then asked myself the most important question, "What are the more successful musicians doing?"  I had seen other cigar box guitar one-man-bands perform and do great.  Ben Prestage.  Richard Johnston.  The mighty Seasick Steve.  They all played so effortlessly and could tear the roof off a joint.

Find the successful people and study them.

When I got home, I completely abandoned my entire set list and they way I performed it.  I studied the masters and took notes.  Every part of my playing was changed, transformed and improved.  Most importantly, I started going to open mics so I could try these new things out in front of a live crowd.  If the crowd liked it, the song or technique stayed.  If it tanked, I'd rework it. 

Open mics are perfect incubators for new material.  Allow yourself to play horrible in front of an open mic crowd and you'll eventully play well in front of them.

It's four years later and I can now tear the roof off a joint.  I'm still improving, still studying the masters and still trying new things, but when I have a sub-par gig, I just go back and analyze it. 

Are you struggling with your playing...or maybe something even bigger in your life?  Shane says DON'T GIVE UP!  Step back, take a look at things and learn about the people who were successful before you.

“Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”  -Winston Churchill

Stay primal,
Shane Speal

Wednesday 9:30pm - Shane's Open Mic

    First Capital Dispensing Co., 57 N. Pershing Ave., York PA
FUN FAMILY EVENT (Shane performs twice and will be selling cigar box guitars) Sunday  10am-5pm - Spoutwood Farm Harvest Moon Festival  Glen Rock, PA


Check out the all new

Views: 315


You need to be a member of Cigar Box Nation to add comments!

Join Cigar Box Nation

Comment by Ron "Oily" Sprague on September 16, 2013 at 3:12pm
Bummer. When you do have some Double X's, lemme know; I still want one.
Comment by Shane Speal on September 16, 2013 at 12:44pm

Would that be "screen printed circus tent", Clock?  LOL

Comment by Clock The Wolf on September 16, 2013 at 12:00pm


Comment by Shane Speal on September 16, 2013 at 11:41am

Don't have any XXL's right now.  :(

Comment by Ron "Oily" Sprague on September 16, 2013 at 11:25am

Been there, bro. I feel your pain so much, I wanna buy a tour shirt. XXL. PM me for the address, and I'll PayPal ya.

The Essential Pages

New to Cigar Box Nation? How to Play Cigar Box GuitarsFree Plans & How to Build Cigar Box GuitarsCigar Box Guitar Building BasicsCigar Box Guitar Parts Store

Site Sponsor

Recommended Links & Resources


Neck mortising jig

Started by Rough Cut Tom in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Rough Cut Tom on Wednesday. 2 Replies

Ukulele & piezo

Started by James Pobog in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Timothy Hunter Jan 11. 1 Reply

Fun with a 2x4 Bass - Build Your Own

Started by Shane Speal in Feature Articles. Last reply by James Pobog Jan 9. 30 Replies

Blog Posts

Dual lap steel

Posted by Ron Lutz on January 9, 2020 at 2:42pm 2 Comments

My 3 Gitty Kits

Posted by Poorness Studios on January 8, 2020 at 9:20am 2 Comments

My CBG details

Posted by Paul scofield on January 1, 2020 at 9:22am 2 Comments

Latest Activity

Jim Morris commented on Daniel Hulbert's video

Cigar Box Lyre

"Very cool Daniel!"
1 minute ago
Danny Boy Davidson commented on 3 String Guitars's video
18 minutes ago
Danny Boy Davidson liked 3 String Guitars's video
18 minutes ago
Danny Boy Davidson commented on Andries D. EKER's video

Barking Dogs at Night

"that worked well A.D. Shoot for the good recording , then can be used in a video later. sounded…"
23 minutes ago
Danny Boy Davidson liked Andries D. EKER's video
23 minutes ago
3 String Guitars posted a video

Cigar Box Guitar - Aviator - 3 string guitar Red Dog USA

I have new Cigar Box Guitars for sale at the website I also have more old time cigar box blues videos here,
24 minutes ago
Dave Lynas commented on Dave Lynas's video

The Coo Coo

":*).... Sounds delicious Unc. We need more food songs."
31 minutes ago
Dave Lynas commented on Dave Lynas's video

Burry Me

"That’s why they call it Clap AGP. A bolt shattered a big spruce right in front of us at…"
35 minutes ago
Miku posted a video

Miku Cigar box guitar ODEON

ORIGINAL FLATPUP HUMBUCKER, 580 mm. Artwork: ink. Based on Historiae naturalis de serpentibus by Jan Jonston and Orbis pictus by Comenius. Maple, mahogany
49 minutes ago
AGP # liked Priit Tamm's photo
49 minutes ago
AGP # liked Miku's photo
51 minutes ago
AGP # liked Randy S. Bretz's photo
52 minutes ago



© 2020   Created by Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

\uastyle>\ud/** Scrollup **/\ud.scrollup {\ud background: url("") no-repeat scroll 0 0 transparent;\ud bottom: 25px;\ud display: inline !important;\ud height: 40px;\ud opacity: 0.3 !important;\ud position: fixed;\ud right: 30px;\ud text-indent: -9999px;\ud width: 40px;\ud z-index: 999;\ud}\ud.scrollup:hover {\ud opacity:0.99!important;\ud}\ud \uascript type="text/javascript">\ud x$(document).ready(function(){\ud x$(window).scroll(function(){\ud if (x$(this).scrollTop() > 100) {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeIn();\ud } else {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeOut();\ud }\ud });\ud x$('.scrollup').click(function(){\ud x$("html, body").animate({ scrollTop: 0 }, 600);\ud return false;\ud });\ud });\ud \ua!-- End Scroll Up -->