The Cutthroat Journal Article.

A few years back a Barbershop magazine did an article on my hobby of building Cigar Box Guitars. Here is the transcript. 


What made you start making cigar box guitars?

I think I stumbled across cigar box guitars one night when I was lost deep in the YouTube vortex

The first thing that grabbed me was the tone, it was so raw.

I had been starting to learn slide guitar but wasn't getting that far with it, I don't have a very long attention span when it comes to learning new guitar tricks, so when I saw CBGs with 3 and 4 strings I thought this is something I can do.              I bought a couple of boxes on eBay, hit up Bunnings and I was ready to go. I made my first one over a long weekend, a 3 string. 


Where do you get your inspiration from?

As I've delved deeper into CBGs I've found that there is quite a big sub culture of people who make  these guitars, so there is always something to look at and draw inspiration from, I also like to take ideas from guitars that I own, I like the way the headstock of my Gibson angles back so I make all my CBG necks with a scarf joint. 

These guitars can be so customisable there are no rules, I look at everyday items in a whole new light now and am constantly collecting things that I could use in one of my next builds. 

I have used a kitchen sink strainer as a sound hole cover, a Tabasco sauce bottle as a bridge and even a dogs food bowl as a resonator cone, the possibilities are endless. 


Where do you get all the bits and pieces from?

There are some aspects  that I like to have quality parts for like machine heads so the guitars stay in tune properly, I found a really cool supplier in the states that has heaps of great stuff, I think I'm racking up quite a few frequent flyer points with them. Bunnings has been great for stock timbers and tools and I'm lucky enough to know a really great high end furniture maker who lets me raid their timber pile for some of the more exotic woods I use on the fretboards. 


Do you sell them?

I have sold 2 so far. It was always the plan to build a dozen or so and then have a stall at a local market and sell them, the problem is actually letting them go, I become quite attached to them all. 

The 2 I did sell went to a buyer in Canada, he saw a post I put up in a Facebook page and got in contact with me, telling me that they were going to be a present for his fathers birthday. it all happened pretty quickly, he picked 2 from a photo had a few questions, next thing I knew he had paypal'd me the money. I packed them up and sent them away. A few weeks later I got an email from him telling me the story of how he and his family were spending the summer at their lake house, he and his brothers were helping their father to rebuild a jetty for their boat. They had all noticed that their father was not quite himself, forgetting things and getting confused easily, nothing major best way they could describe it was he'd lost his mojo. After talking with their mother it turns out the father had early symptoms of Alzheimer's. 

At a birthday dinner the brothers gave the cigar box guitars to their father, they said that was an instant spark In his eyes and as he started to play the guitar the brothers could see their old father get his mojo back. 

It was a nice story to hear and I really appreciated him telling it back to me. 


Who are you Richard Martin?

That's deep! I'm just a normal guy I guess, I'm a husband a father to a beautiful 3yo girl with another baby on the way. 

I have always been into music, played in bands all through high school and my 20s, studied music production which is where I met my beautiful wife, we were friends first, I played guitar for her music at a couple of gigs which was very different for me as it was very much out of my punk circle. 


Whats your day job?

I am installation manager for a signage and graphics company, great job I'm I'm on the tools everyday, working on some very large project for multi national companies, it's a pretty rewarding job. 


Who’s your barber?

My barber is Justin Fossano from Fossano and Co in Mona Vale

Justin has been cutting my hair for about 3 years, started out in his Fathers hairdressers then he opened his own barber shop, it's a rad place, timber panelled walls, lots of cool artwork, he's even got one of my guitars in there, I made one with an Uppercut Pommade tin built in as a resonator. 

You can go there any day and find someone interesting in there having a chat, have a coffee and a cut in the morning or get a whiskey and a beer later on In the day. 

It's great to have a barber you can trust.  


How long have you been growing your beard for?


I've always hated shaving so there has always been the stubble thing, I would keep it trimmed to about a 2 or 3 I guess in the last 5 years it's gotten progressively longer, I haven't gone the full bush ranger yet I like to keep it pretty neat, I trim it myself with a comb and clippers. 


Do you use mens products?  if so, what?


I don't have too many products, I go between using Uppercut and Reuzel pommades at the

Moment I'm using the new Pink Reuzel grease, it's got really strong hold without going all crispy and it has a nice matte look rather than the shiny ones. 

Am using and Old Ironsides beard oil at the moment, I got that one because it's made by the drummer from one of my favourite bands Face to Face.