Steven Wurgler

Steven Wurgler at "York Cigar Box Guitar Festival" to set the Guinness World Record for most CBG's played at one time: 266 playing "Bad to the Bone" - 2019

In 2010, I was rummaging around in our attic and found several cases of cigar boxes that my wife had been saving.  I got to thinkin’ about what to do with these things; she was going to make purses.  Remembering that some crafters make the boxes into guitars, I decided to give it a try.  So, in these modern times of today, one starts with (drum roll here), a Google search! such as: how to make a cigar box guitar?  There were, of course, countless sites.  The one I selected was a guy that wanted to show that he could make a cigar box guitar in one hour!  And he did it, in real time.  I wasn’t beautiful, but it was done, and it worked.  And while the one-hour challenge was interesting, I wanted something a little more refined; I probably spent 20 hours on my first CBG, but I’m not sure it was much better than the one hour job that guy did; it always looks easy when somebody else does it, so we’ll call it a learning experience.  Since then, I’ve made about 70 stringed instruments; some from cedar boxes, some from paper-board cigar boxes, some boxes made from scratch, acoustic, acoustic electric, and solid body, guitars, bass, and ukuleles.   I’ve used a variety of materials: Oak and Cherry I harvested from my property in Illinois and Pecan I harvested from San Antonio, Koa from Hawaii, Rosewood, Sitka spruce, Mahogany, Cocobolo, and Maple.  Recently I salvaged 1908 and 1910 pianos from which I’ve reclaimed Spruce, Walnut, Ebony, Ivory, Poplar, and Fir.

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Artist Statement of Work

Tell us about your work (style, approach, philosophy, subject and/or theme):

I'm a builder.

Music, and it's creative process, has been a lifelong interest. I feel best when I'm in and around music. I've built some music, just to see if I could; composing lyrics, strumming some chords, even recorded a few.  But I most enjoy building things, and stringed instruments are at the intersection of the tune and the tool.

I enjoy the challenge of shaping the materials and applying their properties to make something that's aesthetically pleasing and amazingly functional. Whether it is building a new instrument, or resurrecting an unloved forgotten one, I hope they provide a little positivity in the owners life.

I turn wood into things that work.

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