About a year ago I bought a book, Handmade Music Factory by Mike Orr, which gave me the confidence to try my hand at making my own string instruments. I already have a guitar. I also have a violin, accordion, ukulele and several other instruments as well – all content for future posts. Don’t let this mislead you. I am a terrible musician – just ask my wife. I would love to be better, and I could certainly spend less time doodling and more time practicing. However, at this point in my life I know that just ain’t going to happen. But it doesn’t stop me from being passionate about music and specifically the aesthetics of music production. Traditional folk instruments like a cigar box guitars (CBG) or diddly bows or a washtub bass are attractive to me not just because they are hipster-cool, but from a very amateur woodworker and musician point of view they are fairly simple to make. This one took about 6 hours once I had collected to proper tools and materials.
How does my CBG sound? If you ask me to play it, it sounds a lot like my regular guitar – terrible! I plan on making more guitars, cigar box or otherwise, and honestly hope that I get better at their construction, but that is almost secondary. As with many things, the aesthetics are almost more important for me. I love the way my cigar box guitar – that I made – looks hanging on my wall.
I included two versions of the drawing this week – one completed in my typical image making style, and one as snapshot of a byproduct of that process. I did this because I though that each was pretty cool, and this blog is about forcing myself to experiment in ways I cannot do on a commissioned piece. I posted a picture of the original drawing and guitar on my instagram (@stevehaske) if you want to see that. I draw the item with a black pen on paper – this time I went larger than usual on an 18×24″ drawing pad. Then I scan the drawing into the computer. I could photograph it, but I like the better control and resolution the scanner provides for flat objects. The only problem is that my scanner is made for 8.5×11″ paper, so I have to scan it in many times and then piece it back together in photoshop. When doing this, I have often marveled at the accidental cubism that is created when overlapping all those misplaced layers. This time I dwelled on it. I emphasized a few things as I imagined Braque might do, but pretty much left it how the scanner made it.