The Cigar Box Guitars are all handcrafted in my workshop and benefit from all my experience and expertise in lutherie. I offer a wide range of instruments in order to meet each and everyone's budget. As there's no limit in the possibilities while building a CBG, feel free to share your crazy ideas with me.

The story

…or how CBG was born…

Jug Instruments is inspired by the Blues and all poor black American musicians who, in the year 1840, laid the first stone of this style of music that would soon after revolutionize the world. Having no money, the musicians gathered whatever materials they could find to build musical instruments. Empty cigar boxes abandoned in the streets by the rich were perfect to be used as resonance boxes, while broomsticks would serve as necks. To make strings, imagination had no limit. The cigar box guitar (CBG) was born.

Bands began to form in the streets with cigar box guitars, cigar box fiddles, washtub basses, jug blowers, etc. These bands were called Jug bands!

In 1929, during the Great depression, cigar box guitars saw a revival of interest and many bluesmen like Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Lightning Hopkins, Blind Willie Johnson, Bo Diddley – the list is long – started playing with CBGs. Since 2000, cigar box guitars have reappeared in the hands of artists like Jack White (White Stripes), Seasick Steeve, Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Johnny Depp, Paul McCartney… Today the interest in Jug bands continues to increase.

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The philosophy

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…No rules…

When I heard the sound of a cigar box guitar for the first time, it was like hearing the soul of all those legendary bluesmen and their very personal ways of playing. What really appeals to me about this instrument is the sense of freedom that comes with it: freedom to choose how to tune it; how to play it; even how to build it.

In this respect, every CBG is unique and has its own character that calls for creativity from its player. Since 1999, I have been working to meet the requirements of musicians who are more and more demanding about their instruments. Cigar box guitars allowed me to reconnect to my initial inspiration as a guitar maker: building more basic but so charming instruments with an authentic sound that leaves no one indifferent.

My mission

…simple and fine lutherie…

For thirteen years now « the CBG revolution » has started in the USA, where it has been a great success: CBG festivals, jug bands, CBG makers… This movement is continuously growing and expanding all over the world. If this instrument is best known in the culture of the DIY, offering the opportunity for everyone to have the pleasure of building his own instrument, the instruments that I make in my workshop benefit from all my experience and expertise in lutherie. I try to offer a wide range of instruments in order to meet each and everyone’s budget. Generally, there is no limit in the possibilities while building a CBG and I remain open to all suggestions that you could have. So feel free to share your crazy ideas with me.

Rafael

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