ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: LINDA MORRISON
Q. Briefly describe the work you do.
“I make acoustic/electric cigar box guitars.”
Q. How did you get introduced to your craft?
“I saw some at a festival in 2012 and decided I could make them!”
Q. Do you have any long-standing influences?
“Keith Alan, a very fine maker of guitars was my biggest influence to the point I paid a lot of money for one of his. By taking it apart and putting it back together, I learned how to make stage ready playable acoustic instruments that anyone would love to play.”
Q. Describe your idea of artistic success?
“Making something from nothing and putting it into the hands of someone who would otherwise never play a guitar and watching them create their first song on something I made.”
Q. What is your process of generating new ideas?
“A desire to never make the same cigar box guitar twice. Looking for unique cigar boxes and silverware boxes.”
Q. How do you feel your work affects your audience? And/or How do you want your work to affect your audience?
“People are amazed that a 3 or 4 string cigar box instrument can sound as amazing as a regular guitar. I want them to just put one in their hand and let them experience actually playing a song.”
About the Artist
I’ve been working with wood for many years. I used to build decks, small rooms, furniture pieces and wooden pens. Several years ago I went to the Un-Plaza Art Fair and saw these little cigar box guitars hanging from wires in a booth. After studying them, I went home and built my first guitar from one of my router boxes. The addiction was born at the moment I played my first song on it.
The cigar box guitar goes back to the late 1800’s when poor people wanted to play music but had no money to purchase instruments. It started with a piece of wood, two nails and a piece of wire wrapped around each nail. They would pluck the wire and run a piece of broken glass over it and a sound was born. As soon as cigars were shipped to the United States in small boxes, they began using them with broom handles and wire to make their “Diddley Bows”. These one-string instruments soon expanded to two strings, three strings and all the way up to eight strings today.
Some of the famous who own and play these unique instruments are Sir Paul McCartney, Johnny Depp, Bo Diddley, Keith Urban, Stephen Tyler and ZZ Top to name a few. More recently, I had the pleasure of meeting the great Janis Ian and presented her with one of my six string cigar box guitars.
Today I make 3,4 and 6 string cigar box guitars and solid body instruments that are amplified using humbuckers, magnetic pups, single coil pickups and piezos. Each guitar is well made and made to be one of a kind. With the addition of nuts, bolts, door striker plates and what ever else I find lying around these instruments play very well and make their own kind of music. One does not have to be a guitar player to play a cigar box guitar.
To learn more about these wonderful instruments, you can contact the artist Lin Morrison at Woodygirl2012@gmail.com Cell 816-519-1900
“They may not be a Martin guitar but they are just as much fun to play!”