Wow! Thanks for your historic input and obvious knowledge of Gus Cannon's music. The fact of the matter is I was merely attempting to re-create an instrument similar to the one Gus described as his first banjo several times with a few different details. I'm far from a scholar on his music and it's obvious he was playing a finger style rather than plectrum with slide like I did here. I rarely try to do a historically accurate version of anyone's songs since I don't consider music a static museum piece. Rather, I try to do a version that represents the original, but in my own style. Thanks for your insightful comments even though they don't directly relate to what I was doing here. Show less REPLY
Hey Shane, I thought you'd enjoy these comments I got on utube from noted banjo historian Tony Thomas.
Tony Thomas 16 hours ago Nice music but it has NOTHING to do with how Cannon played Minglewood blues. The story about the banjo made from his mother's biscuit pan and tightening the head with a flame was about a banjo Cannon acquired when he was 12 or 13 and may not be true at all as it conflicts with his and his mother's location at the time and his family's insistence that he play fiddle not banjo.Byt the time he was 14 or 15 his brother wByon a professionally made banjo in card in craps game. He recorded the Minglewood Blues when he was 42. Cannon made only one recordiung using slide. His commentary on using slide on a banjo is that he found it too much of a mess for his working banjo playing because he had to unwind the strings put coins under the banjo bride, tighten and tune the strings, and then undo all of that to play in the standard tuning that he preferred the drop C tuning of now associated with classic banjo. The Minglewood blues like most of Cannons 1927-30 recordings was done in the standard tuning of drop c and done oplaying in what is properly called the guitar banjo style, now inaccurately called classic banjo, it is normally played as a three finger style, but Cannon played with four fingers, using the normal assignment system used in classic banjo.He tended the maximum bracket type banjos prevelant in the early 20th century. One banjo we have identified he used during that period is a Van Eps Recording banjo, a banjo that even with nylon or gut strings sounds as lloud as a howitzer!Cannon said he tried using a pick but he broke the picks because played so hard, and never considered any kind of plectrum banjo playing because he felt he could do the same thing using his fingers. He did confess he once bought a tenor banjo but decided not to learn to play it but continue with the style he developed. Show less
I'll send you my response next
i was surfing the internet and found a video you made about creative way to hang your cigar box guitars?? it was an invite to share creative ideas on hanging CBG's - i cant find that video anywhere... can you send me the link ?? email@example.com
Since CBG style guitars can play pretty much any style music, maybe our CBG festivals should be summits that focus on equipping builders and players to infiltrate all the other music festivals out there with CBG mojo!
I think your comments on the Cigar Box Guitar movement and festivals are timely. This year for the first time I started considering going to a CBG Festival, so I have been watching a reasonable number of You Tube CBG festival videos. I have also searched the internet for more info on the various festivals.
Some background may be helpful. I made the jump from the old Yahoo Group to Cigar Box Nation back in 2008. I built my first CBG that year (using the Bill Jehle video as a guide) and have been having fun building cigar box style guitars over the years (probably around 20). With the exception of the octave uke featuring 3D printing that I posted for Uketoberfest, I have not been posting my more recent builds. I do regularly follow the pictures posted and watch some of the videos when they look interesting (yours always make the cut) including CBN TV (but not via FaceBook).
Why would I, or anyone else, go to a Cigar Box Guitar Festival?
I can think of 4 reasons:
To see others play cigar box guitars
To see and try out other makers instruments (and buy parts!)
To interact with other CBG enthusiasts
To attend a workshop to improve my building or playing skills
With these reasons in mind, how to the existing CBG Festivals measure up?
After searching the internet, I have to say I really don’t know.
Reason 1: It seems playing slide is very popular, but that doesn’t really appeal to me. I’m a rhythm 6-string guitar player and have experimented with various 4-string guitar tunings over the years with not much success until this year with my octave ukulele tuning. My success with 4-string CBG style short scale basses have kept my building over the years. I haven’t really given 3-string CBG’s a serious try, but a John Nickel You Tube video changed my mind on what is possible playing rhythm, so it is now on my to build list. At this point the draw of the players at the festivals is not very strong.
Reason 2: I really would like to check out other builders guitars. There is a big difference between seeing pictures of guitars and handling them. I would say playing them, but I’m a lefty and I don’t expect the situation to be any better than any normal guitar store (dismal!!!). That’s just the way it is though. Hopefully, there would be CBG parts for sale. It’s hard to say what the CBG vendor situation will be at the various festivals.
Reason 3: It would be fun to interact with other CBG enthusiasts and I would imagine this would not be hard to accomplish at any of these festivals.
Reason 4: It’s really hard to determine if any of the festivals feature builders or players workshops. It doesn’t seem to be a priority.
The info I have been able to track down on the various festivals is sketchy at best. Nevertheless, I am seriously considering the Huntsville Festival in June 2017 (a long journey from Washington State) because it is the longest running and there is a cigar box guitar store there. The other possibility is the CBG Festival in Oregon, definitely more convenient from a travel perspective. I haven’t been able to find out much information on it.
Playing instruments I have made is very satisfying and Cigar Box Nation continues to be a source of inspiration to me. I am the music team leader at my local community church. I lead half of the time on my 6-string guitar and play bass the other half with my CBG style basses. I would like to lead with a CBG style guitar, but I have not been able to win the team over yet! I will keep trying though. Who knows? Maybe my next one (I have a dozen Snake Oil Humbuckers on order from CBGitty) will make the cut!!! With my octave ukulele tuning I can play pretty much any worship song I know (extensive uke chord charts and chorded songs are plentiful), along with some folk, rock, and pop songs I am fooling around with.
Hey Shane, just watched your FB broadcast with demos for the new album. Sounds like some real good songs! It was cool to notice the head of the Gus banjo peeking from behind your right elbow. I'm half way through making a very similar one for some upcoming shows. Take care.
This is probably going to come across as a bit stalkerish or a weird thing to do. I just wanted to leave a comment on your wall to say 'thank you' for all the encouraging things you do to help beginners like me along the road. I first heard about cigar box guitars when I saw your videos on YouTube and I've watched many of them now. I believe I heard about CigarBoxNation through your videos and subsequently joined just a few days ago. It has to be said that not only are you responsible for my love of CBGs but you've given me this gift when I needed it most. I'm currently making a variation on your free plans for the lapsteel guitar that you have posted here on CBN too. So, thanks very much for doing what you're doing in encouraging so many people and best of wishes to you and yours.
shane i left a post about a guitar i just bought from an old school friend that builds them he tuned it for dadf# and used the top 4 strings not the middle ones can i return it safely with theses same strings or should i swap them out for the middle strings? to go regular 4 string cigar box? it's like his brothers play and he just builds them and more set up to something i don't know much about anyway... dadf# ...