Charles Atchison's Resonating Cones

The Rolling Cigar Box Guitar & Roots Revue has been blazing a trail through the southern United States, and I’ve been having a blast performing, filming my new show, “Roots from the Road,” catching up with old friends, and meeting new ones. During the tour, I’ve been taking every chance I can to jam with talented musicians that I meet along the way, usually on Cigar Box Guitars and handmade Roots Instruments.

There is nothing like that rootsy, honest, one-of-a-kind tone you get from a cigar box guitar. Whether the box is solid wood, plywood, pressboard, or cardboard, you can count on it conjuring a unique voice, all it’s own. The only downside of that down-home tone, is that it can be difficult to get a lot of acoustic volume and projection out of a box that was originally designed to hold cigars… not to make music. A great way to get that Bluesy acoustic vibe while still retaining that magical CBG tonal quality is to install a resonator cone on the guitar.

For one of my most recent “Roots from the Road” episodes, I met up with CBG player and builder, Charles Atchison, author of the ultimate reference book on building DIY Instruments, “The Folk Art Instrument Builders Reference.” Charles just came out with some awesome new hand-spun resonator cones, sized specifically for cigar box guitars, and I had the privilege of being the first person to “road test” them. Long story short, I love’m… after playing them acoustically, amplified, on-stage, off-stage, and on-air, they passed the Wizard’s test with ease! in addition to the sleek look and flashy sheen, you get about three times the acoustic volume out of your guitar. Plus, the thick aluminum design gives you a cone that is strong enough to easily handle the tension of a 6-string guitar, but small enough to fit into a cigar box.

Check out this video of me testing these resos with some front porch picking in South Carolina, where I met up with Charles Atchison a couple weeks back. VIDEO BELOW.

~Justin Johnson

Stay up-to-date with Justin Johnson’s current World Tour
“The Rolling Cigar Box Guitar & Roots Revue”
at www.JustinJohnsonLive.com and www.RootsMusicSchool.com