Welcome To Black Owl Guitars
My name is David English. I am the artist behind Black Owl Guitars; handcrafted cigar box instruments. Each instrument is built in my garage workshop and each is unique. It's thrilling to see each one come together. I carefully hand select cigar boxes to ensure that each instrument I build delivers that deep soulful blues sound. Cigar boxes vary so much in color, shape, and size that these three elements make each one individually distinct and beautiful. The neck of each of my guitars is crafted with an original signature art design carefully burned into the wood using freehand pyrography techniques. I stain them using genuine swamp mud from the Trent River, then I seal them with a beeswax finish courtesy of local bees. Sound holes are added to each box not only delivering a full acoustic sound but also adding to the instruments aesthetic qualities. As an update to these original primitive style instruments, a pick up can be added giving the option of plugging up for a gig or recording. Signed and sealed these instruments offer the professional musician or hobbyist an authentic recreation of the music and instruments used throughout the 1800's and the early 1900's. I have pictures of some of the instruments that I have made for myself as well as some I have sold to customers. Enjoy, and order one for yourself! They are fun to play, listen to, and just admire as art. It definitely makes a great conversation piece. Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to building an instrument for you.
Leslie Howard Playing the Cigar Box Fiddle
This wonderful piece of music history was given to me by Mrs. Susan Smith of New Bern, NC. The photo was taken by a New York City photographer. Susan's father William Tisdel, made the cigar box fiddle sometime in the early 1900's. Little is know about the circumstances of why Lesilie Howard posed for the photo or if Susan's father was present at the time. An inquiry was made by Susan to the New York Photography studio that took the photo, but sadly the studio's records do not go back to the time the photo was taken. Leslie Howard is best-know for is role as Ashley Wilkes in the film adaptation of Margaret Mitchells's novel Gone With the Wind. Howard's Second World War activities included acting and filmmaking. He was active in anti-Nazi propaganda and reputedly involved with British or Allied Intelligence, which may have led to his death in 1943 when his airliner was shot down over the Bay of Biscay, sparking conspiracy theories regarding his death. This information regarding his death along with his apparent age in the photograph suggests that the photo was most likely taken somewhere between 1930 and his death in 1943.