The cigar box guitar has a long history, with the first known models built in the mid-1800s. Cristina Balli, outgoing executive director for Texas Folklike, says these plucky instruments are making a comeback.
“It’s kind of an older tradition that’s being revived now,” she says.
Because the cigar box guitar is a traditional folk instrument, formal training is rarely offered on how to make them. They are created by those who teach themselves or work through old-school apprenticeships with experienced makers.
“They’re playable – they can be played,” she says as she plucks at the strings.
If you’re looking for an instrument to bring a little happiness into your life but aren’t ready for the commitment of a full-size guitar, these simple and traditional chordophones might be just what you’re looking for.