Born from a love for the blues and a passion for instrument design.
It began in a small workshop in the heart of Bristol when Pat was inspired to design and build a stringed instrument that was steeped in tradition, yet quirky and enjoyable to play. The grand-daddies of the delta blues founded the movement on homemade instruments, and thus spawned ‘the blues’ from a time(s) of hardship and economic depression. Blind Willie Johnson, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Jimi Hendrix, Hound Dog Taylor, Big Bill Broonzy are to name a few of the old time players, whilst today Sea Sick Steve, Jack White and Johnny Depp still keep the cigar box guitar tradition alive.
A cigar box guitar strips your playing back to the bare bones and there is a wealth of tunings to try – we strongly recommend experimenting with ‘open tunings’. Open tunings remove intricate and difficult chords structures and focus emphasis on your rhythm and melody – the way blues was meant. D, D-minor, G, G6, C6, E5…. There are many to try and each will give you a slightly different feel whether your preference is Delta, Hawaiian, Old Time, Rag Time, Boogie-Woogie, Roots, Hobo – the limit is your depth of experimentation. With a cigar box guitar the fundamentals of blues, rock’n’roll and folk are made easy and a ‘CBG’ combined with a bottle-slide will open a new musical door for you. But don’t be fooled – these little beasts, simplified guitars though they are, should not be under estimated.
Guitar Maker: Pat Hammett
Pat was born and grew up in North London and after several ‘lost’ years and a string of menial jobs he decided to settle himself in drizzly old Bristol. Pat’s background is in visual design be it digital or physical, and he has long standing history with musical instruments and blues music. “I grew up to my mum playing old records from the 40’s 50’s and 60’s – so slide guitar, bottle-slide blues and folk is something I had an infatuation with since I could walk or smash the strings of a steel guitar, – in fact not much has changed when it comes to playing. Listening to people like Son House or Leadbelly and the way they played or at least tried to, and all those incredible players that Alan Lomax found again in the backwaters of the delta for the world to appreciate. And then the electric guitar and people like Howlin Wolf and Hubert Sumlin and everything that spawned from those who took-over the blues flame and cranked the tempo up, electrifying things. These guys being impoverished as they were, learned to play on home-made guitars, namely Cigar Box Guitars and look how they changed music forever – there is an unrivalled magic in this crude (at least on appearances) instrument.