Shane Speal plays Guitar Rag played on cigar box guitar

Marvel at Shane Speal's cigar box guitar licks.

Shane Speal goofing on the three-string cigar box guitar. He's been playing this instrument for 13 years. It's simply a stick shoved thru a cigar box with three strings added. Free plans are on his website. Song: Guitar Rag by Sylvester Weaver, 1923. Later made famous by Leon McAuliff as "Steel Guitar Rag."


  1. Having made two of these, and working on a Tahitian Ukulele (seen at my blog I can say for certain that the thing that makes or breaks these instruments is including real frets on these instruments. Most people finish the neck, look at it and go “yup, looks pretty good” pluck it a few times and give up. You CAN play these as slide guitar but people see slide guitar played so rarely that you’re unlikely to start jamming out with a slide. Enough fret wire (installable with a hack saw and hammer) for a whole guitar is only about $6. You may need to lower the nut and bridge to get the action low enough to play though. Pay the extra $6 and install real frets, you’ll thank yourself later.

  2. I feel like this DIY instrument theme that has been going on lately is a successor of the cute ukulele girl meme that has been running its’ course for a few months.

    I wasn’t a fan of the cute ukulele girls, but if that was the price of a DIY instrument meme- it was well worth it.

  3. Thanks for the plug, Mark! You rock…

    If there’s any Alabama boingers in here, check out the cigar box guitar documentary, “Songs Inside the Box” airing next Tuesday at 8pm on Alabama Public TV. Trailer and info at


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