Thank You to Our
(alphabetical by company name)
61 Nickel Guitars
The Cigar Box Guitar is not a new concept. They have been around since the mid 1800’s as an alternative to poor people who were unable to afford commercially available instruments. The simplicity of these early guitars was what set me on my path to create a modern version of this classic handmade instrument. They are created using actual cigar boxes sourced from all over the world. Each guitar features mostly locally sourced hardwoods from right here on Vancouver Island. Modern electrics have been installed to create an updated version which adds to the versatility. Each guitar has three strings and is open tuned (G is most common).
There are fully fretted of fretless (slide) versions available and they are all 25-1/2” scale length. The use of up-cycled materials pays homage to those original instruments made only with simple items like a cigar box, a broom stick, and a wire from an old screen door. The quirkiness and uniqueness of these funky little pieces of “functional art” is what makes them so appealing to musicians. A buzz here and a rattle there is part of the fun and also part of the overall charm. Arguably one of the easiest stringed instruments to learn to play, Cigar Box Guitars are as much an expression of art as they are of musicianship. I have created over 250 of these guitars reaching four continents worldwide and each one has a 1961 Canadian Nickel mounted proudly on the headstock (or in some other clever location).
Nicole Alosinac studied woodworking design and construction for two years at Conestoga College of Applied Arts and Sciences in Kitchener, ON Canada. It was after completing this course and working as a cabinet maker that she discovered her passion for the guitar.
Alosinac began working for Jean Larrivee Guitars Ltd in 1999 in Vancouver, BC. During her four years there, she worked in several areas of the factory; bracing and building bodies of guitars, being a member of the quality control team, and becoming the factory and warranty repair person.
Nicole then expanded her knowledge of instrument repair by working at a very busy Vancouver guitar shop. Repairing not just acoustic and classical guitars, but electric guitars, banjos, sitars, ukuleles, ouds, erhus, basically anything that came through the doors.
During this same time Nicole was building up her own shop and continuing her studies with Master luthier Geza Burghardt, a relationship that started during her days at Larrivee. Studying classical guitar construction, guitar repair techniques, french polishing, tool construction and violin restoration.
Nicole Alosinac Luthiery was established in 2003. From the time of opening her doors she has worked on hundreds of minor to major projects, always with the satisfaction of the customer in mind. Nicole continues to study, expand her knowledge and strive for excellence in the art of luthiery.
Black Raven Workshop
Bernard Funston began building guitars about 20 years ago, at the suggestion of his then-young children. He launched Funston Guitars in 2005 to begin selling his instruments in a market seldom considered by others: the circumpolar North, including northern Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and Finland. His repertoire includes mandolins flamenco, classical, steel string acoustic, solid body and hollow body electric guitars. Funston instruments have made their way into the hands of musicians all over the world. In September 2011 a Funston guitar, commissioned by the University of the Arctic, was presented to Vladimir Putin in Arkhangelsk, Russia to promote Arctic dialogue and cooperation. In 2020 two Funston mandolins were included in the twelve instruments produced from paulownia for the President Carter Legacy Collection. Funston’s work has been showcased in guitar shows, winning the People's Choice Award at the Ottawa Guitar Show in 2014.