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Shane Speal:  Musician, Instrument Builder, Historian 

Shane Speal built his first cigar box guitar 25 years ago with a piece of barn wood and a Swisher Sweets box.  Since then, he's lead a "revolution" of DIY instrument makers and players  who choose to play instruments made of trash.  It's a scene straight out of the Depression Era.

Speal is billed as “The King of the Cigar Box Guitar” and is responsible for starting the modern resurgence of the cigar box guitar, a once forgotten instrument of American blues and roots music.  He has been featured in the LA Times, NPR Radio, Rolling Stone: Spain, Vintage Guitar Magazine, Guitar World, Premier Guitar magazines and several documentaries. 

Few artists are as committed to expanding the boundaries of such a primitive instrument as Speal does.  Speal says, “a Cigar Box Guitar is quirky and appears ‘broken’ from the start. They just don’t look like they should play any music. I love to see jaws hit the floor when I shove a socket on my finger and wail away."  (from Premier Guitar Magazine) 

In addition to performing and composing on cigar box guitar with his band, Shane Speal's Snake Oil Band, Speal has also opened the first permanent Cigar Box Guitar Museum within the walls of Speal's Tavern in New Alexandria PA.  He lives in York, PA with his wife, Melissa, sons Shane Jr and Brennen.

In addition to curating, Speal also runs, a network for DIY instruments and inspiration.


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In Memory of Ian "Scotty" Scott
Original creator of
ian scotty scott cigarboxguitars.jpg

Sixteen years ago, was borne through the work of Ian "Scotty" Scott, a musician, cigar box guitar player and web designer.  The website has always featured history, building tips and more and it has inspired thousands of people to make and play their own instruments.

In the late 70's and early 80's, Scotty was a rhythm guitarist in local bands and a DJ in England.  He eventually moved to America where he would marry his online sweetheart, Debi.  Together, they entertained senior living residences around the Savannah area, Debi singing caberet music and Scotty as the sound engineer.  As their act progressed, Scotty started playing guitar to enhance the show. Debi says, "he played good rhythm guitar and knew how to use fills for best effect ...especially in any country songs we did."


Scotty was part of the original Yahoo! group for cigar box guitars and would spend many evenings encouraging others as they tried to make their own.


His work touched thousands of folks.  We will miss him dearly.

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