Wednesday, 30 November 2011

La Calbana Flor Fina 6 String Cigar Box Guitar

La Calbana Flor Fina  String CBG

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The Latest from Shonky Towers is this remarkable road worn, nay! abused 6 string.
The La Calbana box was pretty rough and beaten up already and the neck is one off an old no name Strat which had also led a rough life so the two where destined  to be joined in Shonky matrimony.

I have added to the relic appearance using several techniques. Dents and scratches are created by stone walls tools, teeth. cutlery etc.  The staining and patina is actually created using acrylic paints. The Hardware is chemically aged using acids and then neutralised and copper grease is applied to all the moving parts.

The vintage  machine heads are the ones that came with the neck and although are the cheap generic economy tuners are very firm and stable and hold the tuning perfectly.
It sports a tune-o-matic style bridge and tailpiece for sustain.

Control Knobs are fashioned from spent 12 bore shotgun cartridges.

A hand cut brass plate from an off cut. holds the vintage unknown pickup with a custom scrap wood cover.
This Cigar box also has the addition of a hand carved leg rest. (As you may have noticed by now!).  I originally made this as a normal cigar box guitar but on it's first assembly it was far too neck heavy. (The neck is particularly heavy). So as Cigar boxes are inventions of necessity i.e:I like to believe the following would more than likely have been the thought process behind the creation of a cigar box guitar traditionally:
I need a guitar - I can't afford one.
Then I'll make one - I don't have the necessary materials or skills to build a proper guitar.
Then I'll have to improvise and make one from bits and bobs (Builder then goes and makes one from bits and bobs.
So that's the mindset I try to follow when building a CBG. so the problem was It's too neck heavy and uncomfortable so solution wise I wanted to actually find a bit of fancy scrap wood from an old chair or piece of furniture to use as a bit of ballast and act as a leg rest at the same time but after several weeks of looking nothing came up so I decided to fashion one from a bit of mahogany and make it look like it once belonged to a piece of fancy furniture.
It works beautifully and the guitar is now very comfortable to play. the top of the box is ideal to rest your forearm on for finger picking at the lower end of the neck.
It has a proper old school sound. Nice and warm on a clear channel and it lives up to it's dirty looks when you slap the overdrive on.  There is  bit of fizz and hum in the background from the pickup which I love in the same way I love the crackle of vinyl.

The neck although old and probably not a very expensive one and very battered plays very nicely. I have given it a light fret dress and they are lovely and smooth with no sharp bits. It has a clear matt lacquer on the back. It is also straight and true.

Action is set reasonably low for combination slide and fretting. (Could go lower) Nut is the original plastic one.
It is strung with a basic set of 9's and tuned to open D.

The only new parts on this instrument are the bridge and tailpiece, Strings, potentiometers, wires and Input socket. The rest of it is constructed from entirely recycled re-used or reclaimed material and parts.

If you like this one then you might also like THIS one

Cheers :-)


  1. It seems I accidently deleted the comments that had been left on this page.

  2. Excellent work of art! That is one beautiful guitar!! I've recently gotten into these building my first Diddley Bow last week... It amazing to see what one can do with reusing antique furniture and old bottom dollar guitars! Looks like it could handle a street corner gig downtown or a front porch jam session perfectly!

    1. Thanks Ned.
      Let me know how it goes with your build.