Sam Schold Sherrard, IL • Cigar Box Guitars & Ukulele

Creating musical instruments from cigar boxes is my most recent artistic pursuit in a lifetime of making music and two-dimensional and three-dimensional art.

I began building instruments about two years ago. I make three and four string guitars, ukuleles, piccolo ukes and dulcimers.  I use genuine Spanish cedar cigar boxes and sustainable woods from a local sawmill. 

cigar box guitar

I enjoy all aspects of the process, starting with searching tobacco stores for the most beautiful and interesting boxes.  I plan each design to preserve the beauty of the box and to show off the beauty of the woods.  I hand carve the necks from a variety of woods, including walnut, maple, mahogany, red oak, basswood, Osage orange and Kentucky coffee wood. 

Each wood has its own individual characteristics.  Some carve like butter; others are a bit more challenging.  I hand make the fret boards from various woods.

The ukuleles are always four string.  The guitars are usually three or four string, but one and two string versions are options.  Some of the instruments are acoustic; on others I insert pickups to allow amplification.  The three and four string guitars can be played with a slide, in addition to being strummed and finger played. 


My handcrafted, one of kind instruments are completely playable by musicians of all skill levels.  I also make small amplifiers from wooden cigar boxes.

I began playing ukulele at 15 and have spent more than 50 years writing songs and playing stringed instruments (guitar, ukulele, mandolin, banjo, dulcimer, dobro, and bouzouki).

An electrician by trade, I’ve always worked with my hands.   I served as an electrician in the U.S. Navy (USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier) from 1963 to 1967.  After discharge from the Navy, I worked as an industrial electrician for John Deere for more than 30 years.

I’ve spent my spare time enjoying music and painting in oil and acrylic (usually landscapes and wildlife).  I also sculpt humorous figures from Sculpey and Fimo clays.  My current pursuit of handcrafting stringed instruments from cedar cigar boxes combines my love of music and art.

cigar box ukulele



Outside the Lines Art Gallery • Connie Twining & Stormy Mochal, Owners
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