Cigar Box Guitars

on Atlanta Sounds

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Homemade instruments have been a longtime staple for poor musicians throughout history. Starting sometime in the 1840s, the cigar box became a favorite raw material for folks who wanted to play banjo, fiddle or guitar but couldn't afford one. The cigar box guitar was especially popular among blues musicians like Blind Willie McTell, Lightnin' Hopkins and Bo Diddley, many of whom began playing music after building their own instruments. In this Atlanta Sounds, we catch up with Mike Snowden in his home workshop, where the tradition of these unique--aromatic--handmade instruments is being kept alive.