Here is the latest work to come out of the mudbelly primitive guitar factory. I have one for sale and the other I traded for all the souls in the Tobacco Barn in Huntington, Texas. Here's a box I picked up at the little flea market south of town some time back. I was well stocked at the time on boxes and this was one I almost passed on because the label was a bit peeled up but we were returning from a trip somewhere and beginning that post depression phase that can only be cured by buying a thing you don't need. I guess it was not too bad a depression if I cured it with a flea market cigar box purchase. You may have had them blues but I bet it was not them mudbelly blues. I am glad I did not pass on the box because it made a real fine sounding guitar. The acoustic sound is good and through the 2 watt Dia de Muertos amp with the gain turned up a bit it has a big reverby sound. Have not tried it through a big amp. Maybe a video demo later this weekend
One thing I have learned is that you can never tell what a box will sound like. I would not have picked this as a good sounding box. A little light weight and while most wooden cigar boxes are cedar, a good tone wood, this wood was not really readily identifiable.
You know how they started making the Ritz Cracker packages a little shorter? I cut down on headstock length. You know the drill, three strings, tuned to a happy E chord and played with a slide.
Here you see the folded up corner that almost made me pass on this box. I checked around on the internet and saw some boxes like mine selling for $75 and more plus shipping. I'll sell this with it's small imperfection for $70 and throw in one free slide lesson.
It's electric. Two piezo pick ups, the big ones shielded in bottle caps to make it a bit less feed back prone.
On now on to the souls I own. Tiege, who runs the nearby Tobacco Barn donated a box to me. I turned right around and made a two stringer out of it for her. Kind of a deal with the devil thing.
Might make some more two stringers when I have small boxes. It does not have a huge bass sound but I think I might just need to experiment around with string gauges. It's definitely gigable and I made a pick up sandwiched in a sliced up wine cork. Seems like might not have a great response at low volumes but this might be a usable tactic to get a rock volume out of the piezo pickups.
Now the Barn has to keep me supplied with cigar boxes. When I left after delivering the guitar this morning there was a gargoyle head over the door I had not noticed before and 9 black crows lined up along the roof line. I guess I did not really need to say black and crow in the same sentence did I? I think Tiege is going to be ok with her soul owned. I don't know about the other girl that was in there.
Or as a subtitle some might wonder "What was it exactly were you doing as you stripped down for the state trooper and was it your idea or hers?" Anyway the fish did not bite for us but a trip to the Sabine with cousin Beverly and her husband Donny was not without fun and a small measure of excitement. We were just about to the turn when the trooper thought I was in a bit of a hurry and pulled me over. Bundled as I was for a cold day of fishing a request by the nice lady trooper caused me to have to exit the truck and shuck some outer layers to gain access to my wallet. I guess she had mercy on me or maybe she was thinking (I have this on good authority) can't wait to show this dashboard camera video at the next trooper Christmas party. I am now about 5 out of 6 on avoiding citations at this point in time and did not even have to undress for all of them. As this warning ticket proves "Violator: Wallace Carl Eugene." That's me.
As to the Sabine the recent rains have the river way up from two weeks ago when they were biting well. Yesterday the did not bite at all. The high water has scattered them. You can see from this photo Cathy sits instead of stringing, Donny casts with no result as Beverly paces the bank in search of just the right current eddy into which to cast.
As we took a lunch break three boats showed up and anchored off our little sand bar. If you look at their position in the photo that is about where we stood to catch fish when the river was at lower levels. They were using the same road runner jigs as us. Before the showed up we had poured about 1000 cast in that area with no result. They did not have any better luck than we did. .
Maybe in a couple of weeks provide there's not too much rain we will try again.
I am reading a book by famed producer Daniel Lanois called "Soul Mining A Musical life. I like it but then I am a fan so like a fan I like all of his stuff. I also like New Orleans and he recorded several records for himself, Dylan and the Neville Brothers there. In fact once I caught a bit of his set at the Jazz Fest as I was passing through on my way to see something at another stage. I knew him but had not begun to collect his stuff. Wish I had stopped to pay more attention. Anyway on this cold day just so I won't forget here is a quote from the book on tubas, tone and humidity: "They say that the funk comes from the tuba. The high humidity content in the air of New Orleans provides a tuba player with a better seal at every gasket, at every vale, and in the way the Sonar signal of a whale reaches a long distance with the water as it's transmitter the New Orleans thick moist air is a loyal, relentless conductor of tone." Man could I do some damage down there. Here is a clip of Daniel doing kind of what I do at my house.
So it's that time again. Got to keep the old blog up and running so we give away a big screen. In case you want to know the history of giving away a big screen just click on the little tag thing and you can see where we have been and what we have done. I mean that is the definition of history all wrapped up nice and neat like in a TV Guide or something. What we do is every now and then our sponsors and handlers let us have a big screen at cost and we have a contest, people send in donations or as some fundraiser call it a pledge and we give away the prize to the lucky winner. This fundraiser way predates the click like or share on facebook and win these cowboy boots thing. A nice median donation of $39,000 will put you right up there in the running to win and keeps this blog on the air. Here is a look at this years prizes. It's a special multi prize package and it's packed up shrink wrapped and ready to be shipped to the lucky winner.
In case you need a better look to make sure they will all fit and match the man cave or where ever here's the other side
Remember that you need not be present to win, no sales taxes apply due to the fact that it would just be an unfair burden on the sacrifices of my blog readers and supporters, and I'll bring it over to your house myself. Of course I'll stay and watch awhile but I'll try and keep quiet.
I might have made a passing mention in a previous blog that while in Houston waiting on the Deke Dickerson and Los Straitjackets show me and Cathy discovered a neat little record store called Sig's Lagoon. In fact the owner of Sig's was in the opening band. It was a good store with new and used stuff. Now when you think of used records you might think of the guys who still lived just like they did in a dorm room in 1976, died from eating too many honey buns only they were living at mom's house and then she was left to give his records to Goodwill. I look through stacks of records like that sometime at thrift stores and that is what I think. Some guy died and they gave away his record collection. Stacks like these seem to be full of multiple copies of mid 1970s hits like the Bay City Rollers, Henry Gross, Peter Frampton, Paul Anka and the Eagles. I never bought those back then (well I confess to a couple of Eagles 8 tracks) but there must have been a lot of guys like this. Once upon a time America was still the land of the big 12 incher and from the evidence of multiple copies in the bins there were enough of them manufactured and sold to pave the planet in 180 gram vinyl. I don't know what the 8 tracks are paving. I'll try to get the numbers on those later. Anyway what we do around here is buy mostly records you have never heard of. Here is a sample from Sig's.
Now really we have heard of some of this stuff. That record on top that says bongos. Everybody knows what a bongo is. Then there is a polka record, something by Hank Thompson and the Brazos Valley Boys, a live John Sebastian, an Xavier Cugat, a Pete Fountain (we collect a lot of his stuff and man he made a bunch of records and still is) and a record of English folk songs done on banjo and recorder. Now Sig's had some high dollar collectible, rare records, lots of very good condition stuff for $10 which is about my limit for used. I'll pay $10 if it's something I just can't live without. There were many records in the $5 range (fair to good condition usually) and then a favorite of me and Cathy plenty of $1 bins to dig through which is where all these came from. Easily good fun for a buck. I have spent a lot more than this trying to have a good time.
Sig's also has new records. Records are popular again and at the Dickerson/Straitjackets show there were a lot of guys eating honey buns snapping up the new records they had for sale at about $25 a pop three and four at a whack. I was plumb embarrassed and uncool to just purchase two cds but I did get to listen to them on the way home that night. I know technology advances fast and I never discount that I might not have heard of the latest thing but I don't think the record people got to do this.
Sig's also had some turntables in case you are thinking you might not be able to get in on this good fun. I know folks can get pretty snobbish about audio gear but these were $100 which I suspect is entry level. That's ok though. Just to get yourself spinning those big 12 inchers.
Here is cigar box guitar build #42. It's a Madrigal Habana cigar box which I note sells for $20 on ebay. I could not really date the box but would guess possibly 40-60 years old. Madrigal were Mexican made cigars.
It's a three string fret-less to be played with a slide.
Box shows a bit of wear at some edges but a little lemon oil shines it up.
I tuned it up low to high B-G#-E which is a little backwards from my usual. I might try to change the low string to an E so it has a little more honk.
It's electric with a piezo pickup. My initial impressions are that the acoustic sound is great but the electric sound is a little trebally for my taste. That might be different with a tuning change and there are always things to do amp and pedal wise to get the big scream going on.
As I say hard to date this box. A business site shows the import company still in operation. I don't know if you can still get the cigars.
This guitar for sale $75. I think it's a nice one.
Happy Mardi Gras Day. Actually I am a little glad I am not down in New Orleans because what with this cold snap I don't think I would be comfortable in the skimpy costume I had picked out to wear just in case I found myself somewhere south of I-10 this morning. Things like that happen all on a Mardi Gras Day. In the mean time here is an old photo I shot with 35mm and scanned in so it can be broadcast to the world of the good Doctor John performing at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival sometime in the early 90s. The good Doctor is still going strong with a new release recently of Louie Armstrong Standards. I think I have seen Doctor John about three times in live performance through the years.