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Cigar Box Guitar Headquarters - CBG HQ

From April to the killing frosts of autumn, my wife and I are busy in the fields of our organic farm cultivating, seeding, transplanting, and all else that encompasses the life of a farmer. We grow vegetables, herbs, turkeys, chickens, and harvest eggs from our laying hens...all for the local farmers market.


But from fall through winter's deep chill we keep busy...she with her custom line of clothing and accessories made from reclaimed or recycled pants, shirts, jackets, etc., and I with CBGs and amplifiers. So it was three weeks ago yesterday that we changed our vendors table at the market from veggie stand to clothes and musical instruments, and the reception was great. My wife's endeavor was a success and I sold two CBGs to the same woman...one for her guitar gear junky husband, and the other for his brother. Countless other people who showed interest and curiousity emptied the business card holder while asking me if I would be back the following week (as if to imply their pockets were short of cash, but would be back later after replentishing their shopping cash flow.)


The next market day, not a single person who had asked of my return did return. There were, however, a new band of window shoppers with the same question..."Will you be back here next week?" So I replied humbly and patiently, "Yes, but next week is the last day of market...it closes exactly one week before Christmas, so here, take a business card and we can make some mojo happen".


So yesterday, Saturday the 18th, I was pumped. I had just finished another 3-string acoustic-electric with some great eye-candy...a pair of 2.5"  gold resonator screens... so I was equipped with 5 CBGs (including my own, aka "the Andersen"), one cookie-tin banjo, and five CBG amplifiers. The early morning air was filled with electricity, and I just knew all those people who asked about my return would clean me out and some lucky souls would rediscover their mojo by making music with the fruits of my hard work and countless hours standing at the workbench. 


The doors of the market opened at 9am, and my wife and I were ready. Our display was set up just the way we like it, business cards and brochures were placed in just the right spot, the CBGs were tuned up and the batteries in the amplifiers were all refreshed. I plugged my Andersen into one of the amps and began playing a bit of soulful morning music that wasn't too much for the surrounding vendors who were still nursing their first cup of coffee or tea from Tim Horton's.


Soon the market was abuzz with activity. Swarms of shoppers were flowing in and through the aisles in search of that perfect something for Christmas. As each individual or group of people passed by, I would try and lure them in with a tune...maybe just a riff or two along with a flush of chords to advertise what it was exactly that I was selling...or more accurately, what I was hoping to sell.


But as each procession of shoppers slowed down a bit to take a fleeting glimpse, the music that was coming out of my 1/2 watt amplifier was drowned out not by nearby conversation, nor the sweet fiddler's music on the other side of the hallway...no...it was the crushing squeeze of each shopper's fist, clenching tightly around their wallets and that sweet stack of Christmas cash they had brought to market. One could actually hear the ink on the bank notes dripping from between the shopper's fingers as they kept close guard of their money.


My brief experience so far in educating the locals about CBGs has become a reversal of sorts...I am actually educating myself about the querks and funny behaviours of people. For this is an area of Canada rich in musical culture and creation...of song and dance...of artful expression and celebration. So it seems strange that this same group of people would be so reluctant to embrace the CBG and everything that it means.


I am also very blessed...in that by chance and circumstance, my CBGs have gained the attention of a few Canadian celebrities. First, my personal CBG...the "Andersen" was signed by Matt Andersen during a set break at a local venue last year. Second, some friends of ours are taking photos and video clips to their friend and musician Joel Plaskett. And third, me and my family are invited to our friend's home for Christmas Eve dinner...where we always engage in great food, conversation, and of course playing music and singing songs. They have a friend and guest who will be there too...J.P. Cormier...who will also want to see the CBGs.


So it goes, that I have learned an important lesson in all this...mojo isn't for everyone. And that's okay. Because all that really matters is that mojo happens because we, the builders and players of these magic mojo boxes keep building and playing them.  


Views: 25

Comment by Nancy Barnes on January 6, 2011 at 11:39pm

Writing is obviously one of your many talents as this would be a wonderful read in a CBG magazine, if there ever was such a thing.  Taking your builds to market plants seeds that may take years to harvest, so don't give up hopes when the economy brings more lookers than buyers.

Comment by Scott aka Farmer Ted on January 7, 2011 at 5:30am

Thanks for the words of encouragement Nancy...and you're right about the economy...things are as tight up here in Canada as they are in the States.

Writing for a CBG magazine? Wow, now that would be something. Good for the cause...spreading the joy of mojo to the world...maybe if more peopkle built instruments and played music, instead of building bombs and playing god, the world would be a more peaceful place.

Sorry, just ranting, but thanks for the kudos...back atchya ; )


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