I cannot (obviously) speak for others- but I think it’s worthwhile to explain the long list of reasons WHY I build, play, teach workshops and generally spread the gospel of cigarbox and found-object guitars and basses… and their associated offspring (amps, foot stompers, ersatz kick and snare, harmonica/vocal tin-can mic, etc.).
My personal short list”
educational (for yourself and as a teaching platform from which to teach others)
digs one -myself and others- out of creative “ruts”
in a simplifying, encouraging way- helps longtime guitarists find a fun, fresh challenge: what can you do and what might you discover by doing more with LESS (strings, notes, etc.)
if you’ve never discovered slide playing, there is no simpler way to learn sweet vibrato playing (mimic the human voice shaking the pitch under and over the main note or chord) which is THE deal regarding emotional, soulful music-making… the target is vibrato and I’m convinced one can learn to find such a “voice” quicker and easier by moving a slide of some sort over the key note or open chord
if it gets stolen or breaks, build another one… did I mention they’re cheap??
we learn and grow by doing, not mere theory… the more you’re inspired to do so (in anything) the better for you and those you influence
1, 2 or 3 string slide (especially) guitar and 2 string bass are certainly the best instruments I know on the route of enabling a person (musician or not) to be able to both have faith in themselves as well as comprehend the rudiments of music as a guitar (or bass) player.
From these they may find the confidence to move on to full 6 stringers, 4, 5 or 6 string bass, etc. as they may so desire.
The simplicity of not having to use one’s fingers to create chord shapes (if playing slide) or if they wish, learning to make such shapes on a fretted instrument with 3 rather than 6 strings is
If one learns to actually do so on a guitar or bass they’ve built themselves, or at least on one they’ve purchased- all they then need something to use as a slide and instruction on open chord tuning (no finger callouses needed!) along with a basic understanding of what is called the 1-4-5 chord (3 chord songs) concept. From that the world of stringed music opens wide!
How do I know this?
I learned to play guitar watching a couple friends while I sang lead in my first band.
The first chords I learned were on the 2 larger strings of a common, cheap 6 string electric guitar. From the low E and A string I learned a basic scale going up to the A, then realized I could do the same thing using only the A and D strings all the way up to a “full… heh!) 3 string chord that included the low E, A and D strings. Get it? 3 string chord.
From that foundation I learned many other chord shapes, learned where the notes were for playing solos (“lead guitar”) and moved down the road until this very day.
In nearly 60 years of life I’ve neither seen nor heard a more simplistic, effective way of helping folks wrap their minds around music-making with a stringed instrument.
Cigarbox and found-object guitars and basses are a blast to make, swap, sit around the porch and yep, play in front of small and huge crowds. I speak from experience.
DO NOT let someone intimidate you and quit doing it to yourself: you CAN learn to play such an instrument in a very short time.
Shane Speal and others have put tutorials up on YouTube and of course CigarBoxNation.com is a massive site and repository of information to help you get started and move right on down the road in this musical journey. Enjoy!