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Four-String Cigar Box Guitar Part of MIM Museum Collection

Updated: Dec 20, 2021

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Among the 15,000 instruments under curation at the massive Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix AZ, the humble cigar box guitar is showcased in their blues display alongside a jug, dobro, 12 string Stella guitar (a’la Leadbelly) and collection of harmonicas. The cigar box guitar was built by Shane Speal in 2008 and features an antique cigar box and four strings that follow up a fretless neck.

Speal says of the instrument, “I was contacted by the Musical Instrument Museum prior to their opening in 2010. They were looking for a good example of a cigar box guitar for the collection and I had just finished this four string that used an antique box. Being that it had no frets burned on it, it had the look.” He adds, “it’s also wired with an internal pickup in case anyone wanted to plug it in and play it on their acoustically perfect stage!”

MIM not only has a beautiful collection of instruments for the public to see, but they also have hands-on programs for both adults and children in order to bring these instruments to life. One such program for kids has them making cigar box guitars with cigar boxes, rubber bands and paint sticks. (Access the two page kids course PDF here.)

The Musical Instrument Museum is located at 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix, AZ, 85050. More info can be found on their website,

Take the virtual video tour:

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