Continued from here.
In the American South, slaves (and former slaves after emancipation), soldiers, and poorer rural citizens would construct instruments that resembled their most expensive counterparts, namely fiddles and banjos. Some commonly discarded items of the day, such as cigarboxes, provided a fairly good starting point for the instrument. Keep in mind that wood, not cardboard, was the common material of the time, and there was a degree of quality to some of the boxes. (As in, they don’t make them like they used to.)
While some of the instruments of the era were fairly rough-hewn, others have a high level of craftsmanship with some specimens surviving even today.
Here is a good starting resource for anyone interested in giving it a try: cigar box guitar. Extra mileage can be garnered out of these instruments by adding some simple electronics as Jack Pearson demonstrates below.
Originally posted 2013-05-02 20:29:48.