Thomas Smith
  • Male
  • Downey, CA
  • United States

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Thomas Smith's Discussions

I Am Reaching Out to our Friends Across the Pond...

Started this discussion. Last reply by Thomas Smith Oct 3, 2011. 3 Replies

Many years ago (far more than I care to admit)  I was given a cassette tape (dating myself again) of some English novelty songs, Bonzo Dog Band, Neil Innes, Eric Idle, and others.  One song was about…Continue

Tags: songs, novelty, flies


Thomas Smith's Page

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How I got here...

Hi all:


So i got my musical start late in life, when I heard some banjo music coming from my neighbor's house (last summer 2010). I've known Dr. Phil (no, not THAT one) all my life since we grew up in the neighborhood together.  Dr. Phil had a musical calling, fronting an American roots band in the 70's and 80's and getting an advanced degree in mathematics, while I drifted off into a career in Geology. 

So I went over there and Phil was talking about the minstrel show tradition, old minstrel performers, Amos n Andy, Vaudeville, and some performers he was playing with locally who were into the old-time music scene. I picked up one of his banjos, a tenor in Chicago tuning, and he just started showing me some chords and strumming technique. I was hooked.

I bid on a tenor banjo on ebay and started plucking around with it. Picked up a 5- string out of craigslist (which I gave to Dr. Phil), a second 5-string from ebay, a used acoustic guitar from the Goodwill.  Now I want to try my hand at Cigar Box guitars.



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Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers August 18, 2011 at Seagerstrom Center for the Arts Costa Mesa California

Posted on August 19, 2011 at 1:27pm 1 Comment

Ok this is not CBG related but an old college buddy and I took in the Sold Out show. Steve Martin is one of the most prolific and talented entertainers around and they put on a damned great show.  Steve has been playing banjo since he was sixteen and demonstrates a mastery of both Scrugg's style and clawhammer style.  He included his comic banter for a most entertaining show. 


The show was two hours of bluegrass and other related stylings written by Steve and his…


Elmo Uke

Posted on February 19, 2011 at 2:45am 0 Comments

Just got back from my "niece".  I left her a guitar and a ukulele a few weeks back to paint on. I asked her to paint a picture of Elmo on the ukulele for the Beast, and it looked great.  It needs another clear top coat, and strings. I will post a picture as soon as I get them.

Electric Build Bust

Posted on February 19, 2011 at 2:38am 1 Comment

Oh well, back to the drawing board!. Started having all types of problems crop up, starting with gluing the box shut when I still needed to access the insides, problems compounded from there. Well suffice to say I made some quick changes and completed a fretless three-string CBG.  The box was too thin for good acoustics, but is ok for The Beast (my 2 1/2 year old grandson) and his friend JoJo (6 years) to play around with. I gave JoJo a similar fretless 3-string CBG the other…


Electric Build

Posted on February 12, 2011 at 8:46pm 0 Comments

So I'm building a three string electric CBG.  Don't know much about electric guitars, so I picked up a second-hand guitar for $30 (had access to an amp) and I've been fooling around for a couple of days with it. I still don't know much about it but I'm having fun!


As for the build, I'm sure I'll have a bunch of questions, especially on the wiring!

Comment Wall (10 comments)

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At 2:32am on July 23, 2011, Ron "Oily" Sprague said…

I humbly thank you for your friend request. My desire is to help where I can; though I am a novice builder, I have actually been playing guitar in number of styles and situations over the last 35 years, and so I at least have some experience to offer. My geological training, and dealing with oil patch engineers and managers, leads me to try to do three things here: 1) try to help others think logically, 2) find answers and offer alternatives that may not have been previously considered, and) try to explain it all in a detailed- yet-comprehensible fashion.

BTW, I dig your Alien Guitars logo. Being an environmental guy, the green suits you;-).
At 4:09am on July 22, 2011, Jeff "Strat Fink" Tinsley said…

I had forgotten about this group until you mentioned Johnny Depp's CBG..... now that I'm reminded I'll share it with ya. ;)

At 4:19pm on July 19, 2011, Boo said…


thanks for the buddy request.

the concrete i spoke of is for a flood barrier alongside the thames about 30ish miles from london. its where i go to walk my dog and practice playing my box guitar or just to chill and read for a few hours. its about a 3 mile walk from civilisation so there are very few people go over there. i quite like the serenity and the dog quite likes chasing the rabbits and sea birds. the river isn't lined, at least i don't think it is. it appears to be thick sludgey mud.  i found a pic to show you if you are interested in looking? i sit on the wall on the opposite side of the river to the people in the pic.

At 2:25pm on May 7, 2011, Strolling Tone said…
Thanks for the friend request and for checking out my videos - glad you like them.
At 6:01pm on May 5, 2011, Keni Lee Burgess said…
Thank you Thomas for your response. Enjoy finishing your build. Get your favorite fake book out and find the chords on your CBG. I think you are going to like how well it works. Enjoy. 
At 5:05am on February 6, 2011, Shelley said…

Hi Thomas!

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Reminds me... i should make a new video!

Friendly greetings, 

Shelley. : )

At 4:25pm on February 5, 2011, Keni Lee Burgess said…
Thank you Tom for your kind words and purchases. Please feel free to write if any questions arise as you work through the lessons. Enjoy.
At 10:06am on February 5, 2011, Keni Lee Burgess said…
Thank you Thomas for your friendship.
At 12:35pm on January 31, 2011, Billie Bags said…
Hi, thanks for adding me.  I'm looking for some good original CBG music for a movie I'm making.  I'm looking for something upbeat, rural, like folk/buegrass.  Any suggestions?  Also, being a film buff, I have to know what your picture is from.  It looks like a child Nosferatu?
At 7:15am on December 28, 2010, Keni Lee Burgess said…

Hello Thomas,

Thank you for joining my group. Currently, there is no extra private instructional material in this group. I've been posting it publically. Just some good group discussion. Please see my page and check out my current auctions:

Please feel free to write if I can be of any assistance.

Happy Holidays. Enjoy.


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