Welcome to PoorMansGuitar.com, a network dedicated to the history, preservation and research of folk instruments and their makers.  This site is run by Shane Speal, a performing musician, historian and creator of the modern cigar box guitar resurgence.  For Shane's music and live concerts, please visit www.ShaneSpeal.com

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Latest Articles

Insane Guitar/Drum Patent

John Sebastian of the Lovin' Spoonful discovered this patent and mailed it to Shane Speal several years ago. It shows a rectangle guitar that has a drum-type head as the soundboard. A drum foot pedal is connected to the guitar…

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I've Been "Full of Bull" (Just Like This Guitar)

This is The Bull Guitar, the first of its kind to be handmade by Martin Huff of Bledsoe, Kentucky (Harlan County).  The body of the instrument is made from old interior wood paneling and the horns serve as secondary sound…

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Five Reasons You Suck at Slide Guitar

Have you ever bought a guitar slide and had intentions of ripping new leads with it, only to discover when you get home that it’s damn near impossible to use? 

I’ve been there, too. 

Playing slide guitar takes a little…

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Get In a Shane Speal Video!

Wanna be in one of my videos?  The folks at CBGitty have asked me to create a weekly video feature called "What's the Deal With Speal."  I'll be giving cool instrument ideas, maybe a lesson or two and showing off some historic cigar box guitars.  

I want you to be in the introduction!  

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The single voice of a thousand prayers

In the past week, literally thousands of you have held me up in prayer as I struggled in a hospital ICU with COVID.  

I felt every single prayer.

I am home now in what i consider a miracle.  Staff was…

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Blues Legends, Old Cars & Your Mama

Is this the greatest blues lyric ever?This past Sunday, my son Brennen and I were doing body work on his 1962 Corvair and I had a blues radio channel blasting the entire time.  The station kept dipping into some…

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Hi all!

There's a "new improved" video up, "Boo-Gah-Dee-Ah."  I'm starting to go through the hundreds of lessons I've posted on YouTube over the last decade and update some of the videos.  In this one, I explore a really cool…

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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

Making Poor Man's Guitars:  Exclusive Signed 1st Edition Direct from the Author

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. 

EXCLUSIVE: Autographed by Shane Speal. 


Sample photos from the book...