Cigar Box Guitars: 21st Century

“So I went ahead and made me a guitar. I got me a cigar box, I cut me a round hole in the middle of it, take me a little piece of plank, nailed it onto that cigar box, and I got me some screen wire and I made me a bridge back there and raised it up high enough that it would sound inside that little box, and got me a tune out of it. I kept my tune and I played from then on.”

– Lightnin’ Hopkins

In the 19th century, musical instruments were a luxury not many could afford. As a result, people turned to homemade instruments. In an amazing display of resourcefulness, people used anything they could find to make an instrument. Cigar boxes, aluminum cans, tennis rackets, toilet lids, and many other everyday items have been used to make instruments. As time went on, these homemade instruments became a form of artistic expression themselves. Here today, in the 21st century, cigar box guitars have had an impact on audiences, musicians, artists, and hobbyists alike. Countless festivals and several contemporary artists have emerged celebrating the impact and evolution of cigar box guitars.

Cigar Box Guitars: 21st Century features over 50 fully functional, homemade instruments made within the last year. This collection is evidence of the resiliency of the cigar box guitar, much like the early musicians that pioneered the instrument.

This exhibit is generously sponosred by

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