As promised in my previous post (Coffee Time #8 – Christmas Haul) here is a review of the cigar box guitar by Blues Box Guitar I received for Christmas. I’ve never actually played a three string slide instrument so it was exciting to experiment with something new. It is designed to be an introduction to instrument so bare that in mind.
There is minor assembly required as the bridge and nut are made from bolts and the tension of the strings hold these in place. You’ll also need to put the string ferrules in the tail of the instrument (the strings hold these in). The nut slot is pre-cut and there is a cross were the bridge should be so you just need to string it up to a low tension and slot the nut and bridge into place.
It comes with a tutorial book and CD by Nick Bryant. I took a flick through and it seems perfect for beginners but for anyone that has played slide guitar before won’t find anything new. The book suggests tuning the instrument to GDG (which seems to be fairly standard) but with the thin stock strings I tuned it up to AEA. This made the heavy glass slide it came with easier to use. The glass slide is quite wide so anyone struggling to keep on there finger may want a smaller slide or apply some sticky back felt inside to adjust it.
It boasts on the outside of the box that it and be played acoustic or electric thanks to the piezo pick-up mounted inside the body. Acoustically it sounds pretty good especially considering the body seems to be made of some sort of MDF. The electrics are very quiet and microphonic so fans of dirty slide playing will be greeted with plenty of deafening feedback. On a clean amp it sounds very bright and thin so apply bass and reverb to taste. I think thicker strings might help that problem.
Here is a video to give you a sense of the instruments tone.
It’s a lot of fun there is no denying. It makes a perfect gift for the guitarist in your life and is relatively affordable. It isn’t a professional level instrument obviously but for someone who is curious about cigar box guitars it is a great starting point. I would also recommend this to anyone looking for a good place to start playing slide guitar as it simplifies the technique.
Points to my parents for thinking of this gift. I’m going to attempt to build a cigar box guitar from scratch as well as modify this instrument over the next few months so keep your eyes peeled for that. Any questions leave me a comment below? Thanks for all your continued support.