It Might Get Weird: Blind Buddha Vintage Box Guitars

When Brian Carrier started building and customizing guitars 15 years ago, he toyed with the idea of making cigar-box guitars but wanted to make something more durable and long lasting.

“I wanted to make something that a touring musician could play and tour with,” Carrier says.

“First and foremost, it had to be a great-sounding and -playing instrument, but it also had to be beautiful enough to hang on the living room wall. I found a small antique walnut box, and on a whim, I put a very old banjo neck on it. I was astounded by the tone and projection. My concept of the Vintage Box guitar grew from there.”

Since the late Nineties, when Carrier made his first instrument, he has sold more than 150 Blind Buddha Vintage Box guitars. “They have gone all over the world to all types of players, from beginners to recording pros,” he says.

“The different size, shape and wood of each box make for a very unique tone. No two are alike, and they each have their own personality. I offer a choice of four- or six-string, electric or electric-acoustic, resonator, built for slide only or slide and fingers, and a selection of box, neck and parts if I haven’t already put the guitar together.”

Each Blind Buddha Vintage Box guitar is crafted almost entirely from found and repurposed parts. “Everything I use, with the exception of the tuners, pickups, resonators and strings, must be at least 50 years old,” Carrier says.

“I do a lot of legwork to locate vintage and antique parts, which can include Victorian drawer pulls and clockworks. I can’t just call Allparts or Stewart-MacDonald and order parts. I have to track down wooden boxes that are suitable for conversion. The old guitar and banjo necks that I use must still have years of playability ahead of them.”

Surprisingly, Blind Buddha guitars are affordably priced, from $295 to $695. Carrier will build instruments on a custom-order basis, but the less patient may want to visit the Ralph Lauren Polo store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, which just started selling Blind Buddha guitars.

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Chris Gill

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.