Ciro Lo Pinto

Bluegrass • Traditional Scottish • Irish • Appalachian • Cajun • Vocals

Cigar box - banjos & guitars

People have been making musical instruments out of cigar boxes since they first started making cigar boxes.  Probably since the early 1800s rural, country folks have been adding a broomstick neck and a single string to create homemade guitars and banjos when they could not afford a store bought or “catalog ordered” stringed instrument.

Many of the guitar greats, such as Carl Perkins and Jimi Hendrix started on a cigar box guitar played in a simple open tuning.  Cigar box guitars have since progressed into a modern musical art form, played by the likes of Paul McCartney, Johnny Dep, and other rockers.

These cigar box guitars were built by local artist and Vernal Pool Band member, Ciro Lo Pinto, and are made of mostly local woods of Pennsylvania cherry, curly maple, black walnut with fret boards of various hardwoods.  The frets were sometimes tied on in a traditional style first used on lutes.  This is probably how the first fretted cigar box guitars were made.  Standard fretting materials are used by Ciro.  Most were originally played with a glass bottleneck slide.  

Cigar box guitars are commonly tuned to an open G chord without the 3rd (G – D – g) and are fretted to a major scale.  Which means all of the “bad frets” have been left off?  The instrument can be strummed, picked, plucked, "frailed" and played with a slide or anything else you may have in mind.  Ciro has been making cigar box guitars and banjoes for sale for several years now.  See the gallery for other photos and videos of Ciro's instruments.

Enjoy yourself and be free

Website By: Dane Firestone