Shane Speal (born May 20, 1970) is an American musician, historian and instrument builder, known as the "King of the Cigar Box Guitar" and recognized as the creator of the modern cigar box guitar movement. He is the creator of Cigarboxnation.com, a large network and history site for cigar box guitars. Speal is the central figure in the Max Shores documentary, Songs Inside the Box which spotlights the cigar box guitar resurgence.
Speal built his first cigar box guitar on July 3, 1993 using a cardboard Swisher Sweets cigar box and a plank of oak from his farm after reading an article about Carl Perkins' cigar box guitar in a 1976 issue of Guitar Player magazine. His inspiration was to find an instrument that would give him music "deeper than the Delta blues." In the next six years, Speal went on to build over 200 more cigar box guitars under the brand Catfish Music Works, perfecting a crude poplar stick-thru-wood box design and even achieving endorsements from Warren Haynes and the late Alan Woody from Gov't Mule/Allman Brothers. Speal would sell his instruments in consignment stores and cigar shops along with having the first known website for cigar box guitars in 1998, www.catfishmusicworks.com.
In 2003, Speal created a one-page GeoCities website with simplified free plans for building a cigar box guitar. As the website grew and Speal started getting many emails with questions for building, leading him to create the Yahoo!Group for Cigar Box Guitars in order to answer the questions in a public forum. After reaching 3000 members in 2008, Speal moved the forum to a Ning.com network format under the domain, Cigarboxnation.com. Cigar Box Nation is now a large archive of cigar box guitar history, instructional videos, building plans and social network for cigar box guitar enthusiasts.
His "title" of "King of the Cigar Box Guitar" is self-awarded, but has been recognized by several journalists who have covered his work.
Speal has a tattoo of three cigar box guitars on his upper arm.
In addition to promoting the art of cigar box guitars online, Speal is a full-time musician who performs exclusively with cigar box guitars. He has released over 10 albums. Speal has been featured in Premier Guitar Magazine and Make Magazine. Several of Speal's cigar box guitar videos have gone viral after being featured on www.BoingBoing.com.
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- "#1 resource for Cigar Box Guitars, Free Plans, How-To, Parts & More!". Cigar Box Nation. Retrieved 2012-10-23.
- "Songs Inside The Box, the cigar box guitar documentary - The Artists, Page 1". Songsinsidethebox.com. Retrieved 2012-10-23.
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- "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". Web.archive.org. 1998-12-05. Archived from the original on 1998-12-05. Retrieved 2012-10-23.
- "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". Web.archive.org. 2002-12-04. Retrieved 2012-10-23.
- "Cigar Box Nation: The Modern Cult of the Cigar Box Guitar". Premier Guitar. Retrieved 2012-10-23.
- "Make - Volume 21". Make-digital.com. 2009-12-21. Retrieved 2012-10-23.
- Mark Frauenfelder at 9:56 am Fri, Aug 28 (2009-08-28). "Shane Speal's cigar box guitar lessons". Boing Boing. Retrieved 2012-10-23.
- Mark Frauenfelder at 8:14 am Thu, Apr 9 (2009-04-09). "Shane Speal plays Guitar Rag played on cigar box guitar". Boing Boing. Retrieved 2012-10-23.
- Mark Frauenfelder at 4:04 pm Wed, May 13 (2009-05-13). "Shane Speal plays "Blue Raga" on cigar box guitar". Boing Boing. Retrieved 2012-10-23.