Larry McPheeters will share a part of American history as an artist in residence Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the Valhalla Twin Cabins at the Tallac Historic site.
From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. all three days, the South Lake Tahoe resident will demonstrate how to build cigar-box guitars and banjos. He also will play the American heritage instruments and talk about their history. The demonstration is part of the Valhalla Arts, Music and Theater Festival.
"I want to keep this part of our culture alive and am introducing a piece of our heritage to people who know nothing about its history," McPheeters said.
McPheeters' father was an avid guitar player, and Larry grew up around music. His first musical instrument was a one-string, stand-up base he made at the age of 8 from a washtub, broom handle and piece of rope.
When he was in his late teens, he noticed an Appalachian dulcimer on the wall of a friend's music shop. He took the measurements, bought cedar wood and made an Appalachian dulcimer, also known as a mountain dulcimer.
Although he never has played professionally, he is proficient on the banjo, psaltery and dulcimer, and he plays everything by ear.
McPheeters saw his first cigar-box guitar when he visited the Smithsonian Institute in 1973 but didn't make one until two years ago.
A friend directed him to a Web site about guitars and banjos made from recycled cigar boxes, and he has been making the instruments as well as teaching and demonstrating the craft since.
Friday, July 04, 2008
Source: Tahoe Daily Tribune