On any given day, one can discover Steve Richard in his storage in Westbrook, amongst bins of wooden and cabinets filled with scrap steel bits, its partitions lined with previous live performance flyers and band t-shirts. It’s there that he’s combining a love of music with an unorthodox instrument.
Richard makes cigar field guitars, easy devices with numerous character, by way of his enterprise, Mainely Cigar Field Guitars. And developing on July 24 at a pageant at Frog and Turtle restaurant, Richard will likely be raffling off a few of his devices – and spreading his love of music.
Richard, 59, began making cigar field guitars in 2015 as a ardour venture upon retiring from his job as a mechanical and plant engineer. He was by no means a very good musician, he stated, only a massive music fan, having gone to probably 1000’s of live shows for the reason that ’70s.
He has a really sensible motive for constructing guitars: The craft retains his artistic juices flowing and his mind stimulated. He’s hopeful that may assist stave off Alzheimer’s illness, for which he could also be genetically predisposed.
“Each of my mother and father had it, which genetically isn’t cool if each of your mother and father had it. Fearful about that, I wished to do one thing artistic, construct and create to maintain the opposite facet of my mind robust, kind of preventative upkeep,” Richard stated.
A 2009 neurological study outlined how studying and psychological stimulation can fight the illness. Researchers discovered that with continuous psychological stimulation, the results of Alzheimer’s could be slowed down or halted.
“It’s a twin factor,” Richard stated. “I’ve this motive for doing it, however I additionally simply love music, love enjoying and creating.”
Richard grew up in Maine and has lived in Westbrook for 30 years together with his spouse and children. He has since turn into a fixture in Westbrook, constructing cigar field guitars free of charge for nonprofits to raffle off. He has donated his devices to the Woman Scouts, Westbrook Robust 5k, My PlaceTeen Heart and others.
“Steve has been a long-time buddy to us and yearly he does these tremendous distinctive guitars,” My Place Teen Heart CEO Donna Dwyer stated. “Not solely does he use his artistic and musical expertise, however he’s so altruistic that it actually advantages charities within the metropolis. We’re lucky that he has chosen us, and believes in our mission.”
“I by no means say no to a charity,” Richard stated, including that the upcoming pageant “is simply an opportunity to provide again within the metropolis.”
A UNIQUE INSTRUMENT
Constructing a standard cigar field guitar could be straight-forward: Make the physique out of an previous wood cigar field. Discover no matter you’ll be able to to make the instrument’s neck, be it a brush deal with, baseball bat or a neck recycled from a unique guitar. Add an electrical pickup to the physique that may seize the strings’ vibrations and route them by way of an amplifier. Add tuning pegs. Voila: A cigar field guitar.
A few of Richard’s guitars have lighthouse scenes painted on them, with a 3D lighthouse because the bridge. He’s at present engaged on a Prince-themed guitar with purple velvet.
Different guitars are much less ornate and extra true to the blues roots.
“It was a blues guitar, you recognize, the poor man’s guitar, and I wish to honor that,” he stated.
The sound is paying homage to the distinctive Memphis blues twang from the Nineteen Forties-Sixties, he stated.
The guitars can take anyplace from a number of days to a month to make. Richard makes use of scrap wooden from different initiatives, takes electronics from previous telephones and different devices, and makes guitars as cheaply as doable.
“Generally I make them and promote them, different occasions individuals come to me with an concept,” he stated.
Phrase has gotten round about Richard’s craft. Musicians from greater than 10 states have reached out to him to get customized devices of their very own. Nevertheless, Richard stated his enterprise doesn’t earn a living. Slightly, the enterprise is about being artistic and bringing happiness to others.
Whereas his upcoming pageant, CBG Insanity, goals to make a bit of cash, Richard notes that it’s extra of a ardour venture, and if he simply makes “sufficient cash to make one other guitar,” he’ll “be golden.”
Richard is now placing collectively his last preparations for the pageant. There, plenty of blues, rock and nation bands will play utilizing Richard’s guitars earlier than raffling all of them off to crowd members.
“It’ll be a very good time. Go, see some music, and perhaps stroll out with a novel guitar,” he stated.
For extra data go to thefrogandturtle.com.
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