Explore integrated creative living through three different lenses.
Through Three Lenses, feat. cigar box guitars.
An announcement, an invitation and an offer.
First, the announcement.
I’m writing to tell you about a new forum called Through Three Lenses, a bi-weekly journal where we’ll look at integrated creative living through the related lenses of cigar box guitars, songwriting and photography.
If you are unfamiliar with this particular home-made music concept, a cigar box guitar (CBG) is a simple, stringed instrument that you build yourself, usually by poking a dowel or a stick through an empty wooden cigar box to form a neck, then outfitting it with strings and tuning machines. I make mine with three strings. For a lot of builders and enthusiasts, the cigar box guitar then becomes a point of departure to begin making music.
Why Through Three Lenses?
While Through Three Lenses will train its central lens on building and playing three-string cigar box guitars, we’ll direct a second lens at ways you can use this humble but capable instrument to write songs (yes, you can write songs). We’ll direct a third lens at the art and business of photography, and photos will also be a big part of how we share information here.
The invitation? Join the fun by subscribing, which you can do by simply clicking the Subscribe Now button below.
Who is through three lenses for? Why should you subscribe?
Through Three Lenses is for you if:
you like the idea of playing a real musical instrument that you built yourself.
you like to build things, and would love to build something that you’ll find more engaging than an end table.
you’re DIY music curious– you have heard of cigar box guitars and want to learn more about them.
you’re already into cigar box guitar building and playing and would welcome a new approach, a chance to expand your range of styles, or an opportunity to see what others are building and playing.
you’re a crafting armchair traveller, who likes spending time with your nose in woodworking magazines, but not necessarily with sawdust in your nose.
you sing and would like to be able to accompany yourself with an instrument that’s even simpler to play than an ukulele. I’m not kidding. Just three strings.
you aspire to play music and would like an easy way in (If you don’t want to wait until you’ve built one, or if crafting isn’t your thing but music is, you can also buy a cigar box guitar ready made).
you want to learn to write songs, with or without an instrument.
you are a singer/songwriter looking for a compact, versatile, user-friendly song composing tool.
you’re a guitar player or other musician, or an experimental sound artist/innovator/designer looking for new ways to make sounds.
Who is David Sutton?
I am a writer/photographer/singer/songwriter/musician/animal lover/woodworker/tinkerer living in Evanston, Illinois. I am:
a lifelong lover of singing and vocal harmony, which I learned while holding my half of a Lutheran hymnal at my dad’s elbow;
the owner of David Sutton Studios Inc., a genre-creating photo studio specializing in the artful celebration, through portrait photography, of the deep and meaningful relationships people have with their pets.
What you get with your free subscription.
Subscribers will be first in line to receive this weekly journal, where we’ll be showing you how to build three different kinds of three-string cigar box guitars (acoustic, acoustic/electric and electric). I’ll illustrate the process with photos, like I’ve done in my books, and with audio and video.
You’ll also learn my chord inversion system for powering up your CBG, and just enough music theory to unlock your inner songwriter.
I’ll provide opportunities for you to meet some of my favorite guitar builders, musicians and sound artists, and to learn from them.
We’ll also provide opportunities for you to show off your builds and talk through challenges. I’ll show you the CBGs that I’ve built and that I play, and other instruments that I keep around for company. Even my more conventional instruments have stories to tell.
In my workshop, I’ll demonstrate some of my favorite and most useful hand tools, share their back-stories, explain why I like them and what I use them for.
All this, delivered right to your inbox.
What you get with your paid subscription.
So here at last is the offer.
Through Three Lenses is funded entirely by paid subscriptions from readers like you. Paying for a subscription will help keep Through Three Lenses going for everyone and will make more time available for me to bring you amazing content.
While everything on Through Three Lenses is currently available to all subscribers, the first 50 paid annual subscribers will also receive a hard copy of one of my cigar box guitar books* (this is a limited offer, because when I’m out of books, I’m out).
Beginning in 2024, paid subscribers will also get to watch the serialized unfolding of my newest book about building and playing cigar box guitars, These Strings I Know. This new book is even more comprehensive than the first two, and it’s author is rumored to be a decade older and a bit more knowledgeable.
Does someone you know need more music, sawdust and photos in their life? Then by all means, pass the word by hitting the share button below.
*Books can only be shipped to the continental United States.