MINOT, N.D. – Tim Ludwig always had an interest in cigar-box guitars and found himself shopping for a new instrument a few years ago.
“I went online and found a site that showed how to make them and it didn’t look too hard so I put one together and played around with it a little bit,” Ludwig said.
Soon, the guitar-building in his garage grew into an addictive hobby.
“Somebody once said it’s like potato chips, you don’t stop with one once you build one, you keep on building and that’s pretty much what happened,” Ludwig said.
Once the instruments started taking up some space, his wife suggested he start selling them.
“Much to my surprise they sold,” Ludwig said.
Now two years later through his business Calibru guitars, he’s shipped instruments to 23 states.
Although many customers use them as decoration, each type — from license plate to cigar box — has its own unique sound.
“Most of these guitars are tuned to an open chord which means instead of having to do all kinds of contortions with your hands to form chords all you need is one finger,” Ludwig said.
Each guitar takes about two weeks from start to finish, and he even takes special requests from customers. But whether inspired by someone else’s ideas or his own, each is unique.
“What I like doing most is coming up with the different headstocks I try to make each one different,” Ludwig said.
And although during the pandemic a majority of sales are online, Tim says he is just excited to share his creativity and love for music.
“I think I like that aspect the fact that I like drawing I like painting and I can bring it out in my guitars,” Ludwig said.