About

Band (2)

About the Cigar Boxes in the

Cigar Box String Band

      The Cigar Box String Band takes its name from the cigar box guitars, banjos, fiddles, and ukuleles that we often use in performance. In days past, homemade music was an American tradition. Any gathering of family and friends might result in the furniture being moved against the wall and the rugs rolled up for singing and dancing… to live music played on many types of instruments.

      Although homemade instruments have been played since the earliest days of our country, it was the lowly wooden cigar box that became part of a folk music tradition. Originally packed in crates and barrels, cigars began to be packaged in smaller, more portable wooden boxes about 1840. These discarded and readily available wooden cigar boxes became cheap alternatives for amateur builders making simple guitars, banjos, and fiddles.

Cigar_box_guitar_collection

The earliest evidence of a cigar box instrument is a Civil War drawing of two Union soldiers in camp, with one playing a cigar box fiddle.

cigar_box_fiddle_soldier

      With the Great Depression in the 1930s, there was a serious resurgence in cheap cigar box instruments. You could buy a cheap instrument from Sears and Roebuck, however, in those hard times not everyone could afford even those… but with an old wooden cigar box, a broom handle and some cheap steel wire you could play folk music and blues for your friends.

Cigar-Box-Mandolin-How-to-build-from-1922 - Copy

 

Carson and CBG

      Today a new generation has discovered that making music with simple instruments is fun and the Cigar Box String Band continues this tradition, performing the music of America’s past.

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