Original Cartoons, Art School projects, Cigar Box Guitars plus other entertaining Odds & Ends. All content & imagery copyright 2010-2017

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Vintage Hawaiian Punch Ukulele

This uke was made with a vintage Hawaiian Punch Lunch box. The lunch box opens up and can be used for storing such things as: extra strings, a tuner, or even an adult beverage. Sold on eBay to a Uke player & collector. He said this one was a "must have" as it is so unlike anything else in his collection.

Monday, August 14, 2017


Creating a sense of mystery and controlling the viewer's access to a piece. This project involved : a tarp, dog kennel, padlock, black sheets, and an unidentified shape. A Bluetooth device hidden inside broadcast strange rustling, scratching, scraping, sounds coming from within. I never revealed what was inside the cage.

ever revealed what was in the cage. 

Cigar Box Guitar #3 - "Lois Rose"

This cigar-box guitar was built as a player for myself and not as art piece like my first CBG. Although my first CBG is very playable and has a nice tone, I prefer to not play it so that it will remain in excellent condition. This is the first I've made use of an actual cigar box. The body of this guitar was provided by my Great Aunt Lois who kept some of her jewelry in this box. The box must be decades old as the original brand imprint has faded to nothing. There is the remnant of a label which I left in place because it looks so cool. Outside of the sound holes, I didn't want to cut too much into the box for sentimental reasons. Here was a good opportunity to try out what is called a "Flying Bridge". The bridge came out of a DIY guitar kit from C.B. Gitty. It allows the neck to sit on top of the body.

Contraption - A Found Object Sound Generator

A found object sound generator. From where the audience was standing, they could hear the acoustic sound front of them. From above and behind they could hear the processed sound. The processed sound was coming from a small hidden amplifier hidden. It created a very unusual effect.
Watch a short Video here...

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Cigar Box Ukuleles: The Simpsons Tribute & Happy Face Lunch Box

I built my first CBG four years ago this month. Building these instruments has led me down a very interesting path. CBGs have become a real passion, bordering on obsession. Making music from unusual objects is a fascinating and gratifying pursuit. I look around me and when I see different objects I'm always asking myself, "How could I make this thing into a musical instrument? What kind of sound would be produced?"  Every CBG builder loves that anticipation. We never know for sure how something will sound until we string it up and try it out. That's the mystery and the beauty of it.

Here are two ukuleles made with some parts purchased from C.B. Gitty and found objects. The Simpsons uke makes use of a Simpsons Trivia Game box for the body. A large tin box with such wonderful graphics like this one is just begging to be repurposed. Visually, this is my favorite uke build so far.

See and hear the uke demos on YouTube: https://youtu.be/3Dg_PZfXg_E

The graphics are so important to the look of this uke, that I didn't want to ruin the effect by placing a large sound hole in the top of the box. Instead I opted to use multiple, smaller, sound holes and locate them on all sides of the body. I've never tried this before and it worked. Every build is different and each one has lessons to teach me.

The neck is attached to an interior support structure which I like to call "the back bone". I build this into all of my ukes to ensure body integrity.


I found this reproduction of a vintage lunch box at my favorite re-sale shop. This uke has a fun look about it and makes a particularly nice sound. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

"Water Works"

Project #1 Senior Semester-2

While researching sound artists such as Liz Philips, a pioneer in the early days of Sound Art, I came across a large-scale installation of floating crystal bowls by Celeste Bousier-Mougenot. It was her piece that became the inspiration for my project. Genuine crystal "singing bowls" are very expensive, and were not in the budget for this project. So I spent some time at a Bed, Bath & Beyond, tapping and clinking different ceramic bowls together until I found some that I liked.

I put a condenser microphone on the side of the metal tub, and processed the sound using reverb and chorus guitar effect pedals.  This device turned out to be one of the most popular and well received projects I have ever made. This project was one of four projects that I presented at the Senior Sculpture Art Show. This brief video is a part of the documentation required by my professors.  

The only critique on this project related to my use of 2x4's to raise the platform high enough so the amp would fit underneath. It was strongly suggested that if I had to include them, that they should have been painted black. But, for the Senior Sculpture Show I eliminated the boards entirely by merely using a much smaller guitar amp.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Two Ukes, a Kalimba, and a Can-Jo, Walked Into a Bar...

The following are all cigar-box guitar style builds for my girlfriend who is a music educator in South China, where she teaches music theory and performance to children. All the instruments were built using basic kit parts available at C.B. Gitty. The kits are quite flexible and the builds were all  modified as I went along in order to make them more interesting in sound and appearance.

   The original can that came with the Can-Jo kit was replaced with
a child's lunchbox.

The Kalimba (Thumb Piano) made with a cigar box.
Large, deep, cookie-tins were used for the Uke bodies.

I was concerned that the string tension might collapse the uke body so I built 
an internal brace for attaching the neck.