Not all legends are written books. Sometimes they're written inside the instruments that people make. Making Poor Man's Guitars digs deep into the past to find the music that connects with the living soul of America.”

— Fox Chapel Publishing

Exclusive Signed 1st Edition

Many books have been written about how to build cigar box guitars and other unique hand-made instruments... but few have touched on why.  Making Poor Man's Guitars  presents the authentic stories of American DIY music with step-by-step projects, photo studies of antique instruments, interviews with music legends, and historical accounts. 

From a simple two-string tin can guitar to an electrified washtub bass, Shane shows how anyone can build amazing musical instruments from found items.  Sidebars present the fascinating backstory of the music, capturing struggle, poverty, and the blues within the artistic side of cigar box guitar building. 

EXCLUSIVE: Autographed by Shane Speal. Preorder also includes an autographed photo, sticker and Shane Speal Fan Club button.

BUY NOW - AUTOGRAPHED COPY + EXTRAS 

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Sample photos from the book...

About the Book

Many books have been written about how to build cigar box guitars and other unique hand-made instruments... but few have touched on why. This book presents the authentic stories of American DIY music with step-by-step projects, photo studies of antique instruments, interviews with music legends, and historical accounts. 

Shane Speal, the "King of the Cigar Box Guitar," brings the making of music and musical instruments back to its roots. From a simple two-string tin can guitar to an electrified washtub bass, Shane shows how anyone can build amazing musical instruments from found items. 

Sidebars present the fascinating backstory of the music, capturing struggle, poverty, and the blues within the artistic side of cigar box guitar building. 

Featuring an introduction from the New Orleans Jazz Museum, this DIY musical instrument book is as inspirational to read in the living room as it is in the workshop! 

CONTENTS 

  • Foreword: Little Freddie King’s Cigar Box Guitar: A Bluesman’s Firsthand Account 
  • “Nobody Builds a Cigar Box Guitar Because They Want to Play Nice Things
  • How to Build a Three-String Cigar Box Guitar
  • Variations on a Theme – Pickups and Mods to the Three-String Cigar Box Guitar
  • “The Portland Cowboy” Tin Can Guitar
  • Build a “Foot Stomper” Cigar Box Percussion Unit
  • Build an Electric Washtub Bass, 
  • Build a  Beer Can Microphone
  • History - Vaudeville Cigar Box Fiddles
  • Build a 2 x 4 Lap Steel Guitar
  • The Mailbox Guitar  (A Builder’s Diary)
  • History - The Horse's Bridle Guitar
  • Hack a Cigar Box Preamp
  • Build a Feedback Proof Electric Washboard .“The Lady” Guitar – An Electric 
  • History - Ham Can Guitars
  • Re-Creating Gus Cannon's Frying Pan Banjo (A Builder's Diary)
  • Guitar Illegally Handmade Inside a Prison
  • Re-Creating Scrapper Blackwell's Cigar Box Guitar (A Builder's Diary)
  • History - Cigar Box Fiddles
  • 13: Tips on Selling Cigar Box Guitars at Festivals and Craft Fairs
  • Cigar Box Guitar and DIY Instrument Resources
  • Appendix/ Index
  • ...and much more.  This book is packed!!!