The Yellow Cigar Box Guitar from Ohio

Updated: Jan 10


This humble cigar box guitar may not look like much, but it's got several surprises to it that deserve some digging.


It's not much, just a King Edwards cardboard cigar box with 1x2 stick for a neck and covered in yellow house paint. It sports simple kite string for the strings. The asymmetrical sound holes add a touch of primitive cool. However, the instrument probably dates back at least 80 years and its builder would became a prominent businessman.


Here's what I know so far... This cigar box guitar was purchased in Canton, OH from an estate sale of a 78 year old man who was entering a retirement home. The man told the buyer that his father had built the guitar many years ago. He also said that his father started the Ohio China Company.

Although the instrument is painted completely yellow, some old tape that was used to secure the box top has peeled up, revealing the very recognizable King Edward banding on a cardboard box. Cardboard has been used to box literally billions of cigars ever since the turn of the 20th Century and can be used to make a somewhat good sounding cigar box guitar. The date of this particular box is uncertain, but the Swisher Company has been making King Edward Cigars for more than 100 years.

Although this cigar box guitar is old, it shares the same simple design that is most popular in the modern cigar box guitar movement. A 1x2 stick is jammed through a box and the sound holes are placed not in the center, but on either side of the stick.


This unassuming Yellow Cigar Box Guitar from Ohio is literally the grandfather of modern cigar box guitar design!

Here are the specs of the Yellow Cigar Box Guitar from Ohio


Scale length: Approx 18"


Materials used:

  • King Edward cardboard cigar box,

  • Wood 1.75x.75x22.5 plank,

  • kite strings,

  • whittled tuners,

  • yellow house paint

Dimensions: 22.5 x 6 x 2.75" (57 x 15 x 6.5cm)


Cigar Box Guitar Museum Catalog # ACB.2021.002

Currently in curation and slated to be shown at the Cigar Box Guitar Museum in New Alexandria PA at a future date.



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