Returning Soon, Better Than Ever

Hey all, it's Shane Speal.  I just wanted to let you know that will be back up and full of goodies in the very near future.  I had to temporarily close the doors as I worked to launch Poor

FREE PLANS: Build This Electric Banjo

I've said it before and I'll say it again:  "God bless the mad scientist feature writers who wrote for science magazines!"  I'm always discovering more experimental instrument plans as I dig deep into guitarcheology.  Today's discovery is a set of plans for building an electric banjo, taken from Popular Mechanics, October 1970.

Free Download: A Cigar Box Nation Christmas, 2019

Merry Christmas, everybody!  The members of have just released their free download album, A Cigar Box Nation Christmas 2019 and I proudly have it hosted here on, free for you.  

Thank you to Steve Trowbridge for compiling and…

Shane's Tip for New Slide Guitar Tunings

My son, Shane Jr. (pictured above on drums) is a budding musician who is exploring as many instruments as possible. 

Yesterday, he came downstairs holding his acoustic guitar with an excitement in his face that is indescribable.  If he was a dog, his tail would be wagging off his butt!  "I just invented a new tuning on my guitar," he said and proceeded to show me a variation of an E7th open tuning. 

The Brazilian "Alternate Reality" Cigar Box Guitar by Gera

In my book, Making Poor Man's Guitars, I showed how legends can be built into an instrument.  This is when the builder starts thinking of some wild, fictional account of the instrument he's making.  

Just today, I received these photos and description of Gera's version of a cigar box guitar.  He asked himself, "what if a cigar box guitar originated in Brazil?"  Here's his full story: