25.05.2016 09:12

Instruments that smell like cigars

Autor: Marie Drahoňovská | Kurz: English section | Kategorie: Features and other

The small room full of unusual instruments is colourful and cosy. You can hear silent blues from an old radio, there is a sofa and a table with a limo on it. Two young men in their special dress code of red braces, shirt and black pants, welcome me very kindly. I came to hear something about instruments made out of cigar boxes. There are only two places where you can buy them, one here in Brno, and another in Prague.

Who hides behind the dress code

Nothing beats being original nowadays. People try to excel in fashion, hobbies and musical styles. Quite original in music are also musicians Radovan Kramář and Jan Fic. This duo has been making instruments out of unusual things for two years already. They´ve started a business with the cigar box guitars in Brno. “It is a 150 years old thing, which comes from America. But here in the Czech Republic it is something unusual. Beside us, there is only one more person working in the same business,” says Kramář.

Where did the idea come from

Jan Fic was the first person to start making guitars out of cigar boxes in Czech Republic. He started doing it when he was only twelve years old. Today, he is already able to make a guitar almost out of everything.  “I found out about these guitars because I was interested in blues. In America, they already had it. There were no e-shops or internet in our village that time, so I couldn´t buy them. That is why I started making them by myself,” describes Fic his beginnings.

Few years ago Fics met Radovan Kramář who fell in love with his instruments and finally they started to make business together. They created a new brand called Red Bird. The symbol of a little red bird is on every music instrument they´ve made.

At first, both men did it just for their pleasure. They had their regular customers and they were making instruments rather just for friends. But when one man from Prague started copying them, they had to change it. Suddenly, there was competition between those two companies and Red Bird started to act. They felt like they deserve to be the number one in Czech Republic, because they were first! So Kramař made the web pages, they opened a little workroom and started to sell these instruments in big numbers.

The workroom was opened to public first on 2nd March this year. People could come and see how does the instruments look like and they could even try to play them. Guests are still welcome to visit Red Bird on Kotlářská 27 if they are interested.

What else to do out of rubbish

But these two young men didn´t stop at cigar box guitars. They developed a new way of recycling. Today, they are using old boxes from candies or lollies, as well, to make different kinds of instruments. The popular thing is canjolele, which is something between canjo and ukulele.

You would not expect these instruments to have the same quality as the wooden ones. The sound is different, but actually quite nice. Kramář and Fic are both using these instruments in their bands. You can connect them to amplifiers and so the sound is much louder. “The instruments are also not as heavy as the wooden ones. That is what makes them more suitable for travelling. Because we both have children, we are also trying to make them more durable,” says Kramář.

There is another positive about these products. It is not only stylish, but also environmental-friendly. The cigar and candy boxes are being recycled, and so is the wood used for guitar necks. “We are recycling old pianos, using old wood for our instruments. Some of them are made out of hundred years old wood,” explained Kramář.

Guitar made by your measures

With the new website and e-shop, which launched this year, there is much more customers coming. They could choose some of the products, which are done, or they might even order an instrument made by their wishes. “Our customers often come with their own boxes and we make the instrument out of it. They could also say how wide guitar neck they want, or what kind they would like,” says Kramář. There is also a possibility to get a cigar box lessons there, because still, it is something different.

Both men like their jobs a lot. They don´t have to split their time between working and free time, because for them it is fun to work and they are happy other people like it.



Klíčová slova: instrument, recycling, cigars, Brno, music


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