In the winter of 2009 someone I was working with gave me a Bluegrass CD, when I heard the resonator guitar being played with the slide it rekindled me desire to learn bottleneck slide blues. I started hearing that sound everywhere, commercials, movie soundtracks and in songs I’ve heard since I was a kid. Given the fact that I was an unemployed cabinet maker/finish carpenter, the thought of being able to afford the guitar I wanted, a National Tri-Cone Resonator, almost discouraged me. Then I found a video on You-Tube of a guy playing a fretless three string cigar box guitar and doing his version of the Muddy Waters tune “Can’t Be Satisfied”, my life hasn’t been the same since.
I built several CBG’s and got that gutteral, primal slide sound that I was in search of. I made a couple of resonators with some interesting components, and some three stringers for my nephews who are accomplished musicians. A friend of mines dad who plays lead in a local blues band, Blues Denial, commissioned me to build him a CBG with a couple of humbucker pick-ups in it. I’ve gotta tell ‘ya, watching him play that guitar gave me a sense of satisfaction I have never experienced in all my years of woodworking, that half hour made me realize the joy of Luthierism.
Being the kind of person who loves to push the envelope, I soon found myself building my own boxes that were larger than the best all wood cigar boxes I could find. Chasing down boxes took time away from my shop and as the CBG movement gained popularity via websites like, www.cigarboxnation.com and www.handmademusicclubhouse.com, it was getting hard to find decent cigar boxes at all my favorite shops. That was great, because it set me on a course to build the best sounding and structurally sound cigar box type guitars available.
I seen a video posted online of a One man band, Lo-Fy Punk Blues performer out of England named Hollowbelly who exclusively plays three string CBG’s. He was very apologetic to his fans on CigarBoxNation that the song “Bad Girlfriend” wasn’t recorded on a CBG, but an acoustic guitar with only three strings. I contacted him and offered to build him a three string acoustic, and my first “Confessional” guitar was built. I made the top out of Sitka Spruce and braced them like a typical Dreadnaught guitar with a Go-Bar set up I made myself. I attached the neck with a dove-tail joint and I made the soundhole the shape of a gothic cross with a perforated steel screen, which made it look like a church confessional. IT SOUNDED GREAT! I got a lot of positive feedback, and when it finally arrived in England, Mr. Hollowbelly reported that he played it four hours straight. Soon after he wrote the song, “Mark of Cain”.
I’m working on my 7th Confessional style guitar at the time of writing this, one of which was a six stringer with a hand wound pick-up made by my friend at www.harrisonguitarpickups.com. I had Reverend Peyton from, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, check it out before his show in San Diego last Sept. and I also had him jam on one of my three stringers as well. After I build another six string Confessional for Austin, TX recording artist, Scott H. Biram, I want to delve into making some National style resonators with the side bender I’ve made.
Lately I’ve been long on ideas and short on time, but watch for some cool projects I have cookin’ up in the near future, and if you would like a custom build for yourself, or know someone that would be interested, contact me email@example.com. My website, GadsdenGuitars.com should be up and running very soon.
Thanks for checking out my story,