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Eugene artist crafts guitars out of cigar boxes

EUGENE, Ore. - Have you ever looked at a cigar box and wondered how it might sound?

A Eugene artist is answering the question with his unique line of instruments that tap into a musical revival.

Braxton Nagle works tucked away in the back of a downtown Eugene art gallery in a small workshop.

"Come on drill, don't fail me now," Nagle says as he talks to his recalcitrant power drill.

This is where the magic happens: Nagle transforms stacks of empty cigar boxes into three-string slide guitars.

Why?

"Basically, I've always been interested in cigar boxes," Nagle says. "I like the aesthetic quality."

Then he found an article on the Web on making guitars out of a cigar box. That lit the fire.

The instruments are a sound with deep American roots, going back to the late 1800s. Hard times and the Great Depression saw a resurgence in cigar box guitars.

Now a modern revival of the music is taking place.

"It's the Delta sound in its purest form -- that's the sound you get and that's what people are looking for," Nagle says.

Who would have thought a box that says "La Aroma De Cuba" could sound this good?

While he's soft spoken, Nagle's handiwork speaks volumes. He thinks this Delta blues revival can find a home in Eugene.

Nagle says he's just been approved as a new vendor for this summer's Oregon Country Fair in Veneta and hopes that will give his instruments even more exposure.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Source: KVAL News

Eugene artist crafts guitars out of cigar boxes