It’s been a while since I last posted, but I’ve been busy in the workshop and on the road playing music.

We’re really excited to be expanding and are happy to now be stocking J Lee’s CBGs.

Jason from J Lee Guitars

Originally from the UK, Jason has been calling Australia home since 1996, and making unique playable pieces since 2014. Each piece is a handmade one-of-a-kind and incorporates recycled components such as cigar box guitars, oil cans, hub caps, number plates, tea strainers, dog bowls… the options are limited only by the imagination.

You’ll see some of his amazing creations in our shop, including fretted CBGs. It’s great to have him on-board.

Catch you soon!



It’s been a while — been busy building and playing music.

I’m spreading the word about my upcoming cigar box guitar workshop and also letting you know that I plan on doing more and more over the next year or so. I realise many of you aren’t anywhere near Brisbane, so if you’re keen to have a workshop near you, just drop me a line and let me know. I have big travel plans for the next year so could make it to a venue near you soon …

Upcoming workshop – June 2nd

It’ll be a fun day over on Coochiemudlo Island. Coochie is a stone’s throw/short ferry ride from Brisbane, Victoria Point — a beautiful island and a great place to get away for the day.
What’s on?
I’ll be running a how-to-play cigar box guitar workshop. It’ll be great for beginners or for people who want to do more with their instrument. You can bring your own instrument, but there will be some to play/try as well.
There’ll also be a how-to-play harmonica workshop with renowned musician, Billy James.
So I’m sure we’ll all be jamming by the end 🙂
Billy and I will then team up with Scottie Burke on drums/percussion for a house concert following the workshops.
Details, including times, prices, how to pay and Coochie info, are at the bottom of this email.
There’s also a Facebook event with all the info.
Please help spread the word by forwarding this email or tagging friends on the Facebook event — I’d really appreciate it.
1.30pm to 2.45pm – $25
3.00pm to 4.15pm – $25
*Discount: $40 for two workshops
– See below for more detail –


HOUSE CONCERT – Nigel McTrustry & Billy James
5.30pm – 8.00pm (includes BBQ/vegetarian soup from 5pm to 6pm) – $20
*Discount for 2 x workshops and concert: $55
**Discount for 1 x workshop and concert: $35

1.30pm to 2.45pm $25
Billy James is one of Australia’s most experienced professional Blues harmonica performers. He teaches Blues, country, Melody & Chromatic styles with lots of performance and equipment information.
Bring your own C harmonica, or Billy will have some for sale.

3.00pm – 4.15pm $25
Nigel McTrustry will run a workshop on everything Cigar Box Guitar. As a builder, teacher and performer, Nigel will talk about how to play a 3-string-slide, fretless cigar box guitar, share building tips, and his love of cigar box guitars.

Nigel will cover:
– tips on how to get the most out of your CBG, including how to play 12-bar blues
– tuning tips for 3 and 4 string CBGs
– playing fretted and fretless CBGs
– the basics of music theory for your CBG playing.

The last 15 minutes will be dedicated to having a ‘jam’. 

The workshop will cater to beginners and intermediate players. 

This unique, fun instrument with a big sound and history steeped in the blues is experiencing a resurgence with the movement continuing to grow.

‘They’re addictive to play and build, and the music is stripped back and raw. CBGs are a brilliant instrument for the complete beginner to advanced musos looking for a new sound on their palette. It’s about keeping it simple and not getting complicated. And, of course, I’ll show the ‘Smoke on the Water’ riff,’ Nigel said.

Bring your own instrument (cigar box guitar or regular 6 string) and a slide. There will be a few of Nigel’s CBGs & slides to try/use on the day also if you haven’t got your own and want to try it out. 

The how-to-play workshop will be a great introduction to playing slide guitar. Be inspired to build your own instrument and join the cigar box guitar revolution!

HOUSE CONCERT – Nigel McTrustry (CBG), Billy James (harmonica) & Scottie Burke (Percussion /Drums )
Cost $20
5.30pm to 8.00pm
Food included – snags on BBQ or vegetarian soup from 5.00pm to 6.00pm.
BYO alcohol & drinks

Ferry Information-
The passenger ferry leaves Victoria Point at a quarter to & quarter past the hour. It’s a 10-minute trip from Victoria Point in the Redlands. Adults $5 each way with concessions available.
We will have a shuttle organised by prior arrangement before & after the workshops and house concert from the ferry terminal on Coochie to the workshop/concert venue.

There is also a barge service if you would like to bring your vehicle with Amity Trader: will provide venue details upon request.

Come early. Stay late. Explore the island. With great walks & beaches close to the venue.
Our host has organised some cheap accommodation if you would like to make a weekend of it. Contact Nigel at nigel@cigarboxguitarsaustralia.comif you’d like more details.
And there are of course other options through Airbnb. 


Limited places for workshops and concert. Email nigel@cigarboxguitaraustralia.comto get your spot. OR call Nigel on 0425 089 589. OR buy your ticket/s at
Concert tickets also available at the door.
If you have any queries, just drop me a line.
All the best

500 cigar box guitars

I’ve been busy in the workshop and am really happy to say that I’ve passed the 500 mark. Yes, 500 of my cigar box guitars are out in the world and my hope is that they’re all being played if not daily then at least with joy whenever they are being played. It’s a cliche, but music really does feed the soul. A massive thank you to all of you who have helped me on this journey: the buyers, the players, the builders, my friends and family, and the rest of you who inhabit the cigar box guitar and blues tribes around the world.


Cigar box guitar gift certificates

I’ve had a number of inquiries lately about whether I offer gift certificates. Well, yes I do. You can now buy a gift certificate and your loved one can choose the design they like. Contact me at for more info.



I love building my guitars. But I really LOVE playing them and I’m looking forward to playing at these fantastic events/gigs coming up:

Sat, 17 October – The Numinbah Valley Stomp: Numinbah Valley School of Arts Community Hall: 


Sun, 1 November – Grassroots Festival, Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens:

Sat, 28 November at The Royal Mail Hotel at Goodna, Brisbane, in the afternoon
Thurs, 3 December at Sonny’s House of Blues in Brisbane city

Play your cigar box guitar

I also want to give a big shout-out to all of you who have subscribed to my Youtube channel. I love making the videos specifically for the cigar box guitar (and will make another couple really soon!) and hope that you’re getting something (big or small) from them.

Click here for my Youtube channel and to listen to some good ole cigar box guitar blues.


Thanks for your support.

All the best



Nigel McTrustry

McTrustry Cigar Box Guitars



Learn to play the cigar box guitar

It’s great to see how Internet resources are building for beginning and established cigar box guitar players. There’s so much more information out there than was even a couple of years ago: a groundswell of everyone sharing information. Now anyone can learn how to play the cigar box guitar wherever they are in the world, as long as they have an Internet connection. And I think that’s fantastic.

I’ve also made some new how-to-play videos for the cigar box guitar. Here are some recent how-to-play vids. Check out my website ( and my Youtube channel ( for more.

1. How to play Honky Tonk Woman 

2. How to play Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes

3. How to Play Little Red Rooster Part 2

For more indepth knowledge, check out Pat Curley’s website at:

Recent builds

I’ve also spent the last couple of months making special orders coming all the way from France, the US, Brazil and Belgium. Thanks to all of you who have found your way to my little corner of the Internet. Here’s a few photos of recent builds.

blog1 blog2 blog3


Gig – Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall in Brisbane

I’m really looking forward to playing some cigar box guitar blues at Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall on Caxton Street, Brisbane, Sunday 12 July from about 7.30pm. Along for the ride will be Scottie Burke on drums, Caroline Hammond on percussion and uke and Troy Pierce on bass. It’s gonna be a helluva night so come along if you’re in the area. No door charge.

Here’s a couple of videos of my newer, original cigar box guitar songs:

1. Let it slide

2.  Bertha Dub

3. Flood


Nigel McTrustry

McTrustry Cigar Box Guitars


Cigar box guitar sale!

I’m having a sale on my current stock of cigar box guitars. 15 per cent off all my CBGs while stocks last. The sale is on for this week only so have a look around. If you’ve been waiting for a sale to get yourself a beautiful, handcrafted cigar box guitar, well now’s the time:

3 string CBG plus 1 string bass (two outputs)

3 string CBG plus 1 string bass (two outputs)



If you’re wondering if a McTrustry cigar box guitar is for you, then here’s a few things I provide:

  • quality parts
  • guaranteed craftsmanship
  • ongoing support, tips and videos on how-to-play your CBG
Twin tone - Cohiba cigar box with gold foil pickup

Twin tone – Cohiba cigar box with gold foil pickup

If you have any questions about what you see, just let me know.



'Crawlin' King Snake' 3 string slide cigar box guitar

‘Crawlin’ King Snake’ 3 string slide cigar box guitar


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"I received the guitar. It’s a great little instrument – well made. It sounds really good through a little grunge amp that I have" Read more...