Art comes in many forms and Harrogate native Danny Chumley is combining musical and visual arts into one by making instruments from old cigar boxes.
Chumley’s preferred instrument is bass, but his musical talents do not end there.
In the depression-era, musicians would make instruments from wooden cigar boxes. Chumley is revamping that creativity with a modern twist.
“It’s been revitalized and just like everything else that’s retro, it’s coming back strong. Everything that’s old becomes new again and I guess that’s the same with these,” said Chumley.
At first, he purchased a kit and made a three-string out of a cigar box given to him by a friend.
“I really started reading and researching after the first couple ones I made and realized that what I was doing was OK. I made more and have now made ukuleles, one banjo, dulcimers, a bass, and a few others,” said Chumley.
Chumley takes the bass instrument with him wherever he goes as a conversation piece. He receives compliments, interesting discussion and even orders for similar instruments because of it.
“People want to see what it is and see that it really plays. It’s a great hobby and I like the creativity I have with it,” said Chumley.
All of his cigar box instruments also include an electric pickup which provides the option to be plugged into an amplifier and the volume turned up by the musician.
“The reason I do this is, well, why not? I’ve played music most of my life and it’s a challenge and I was looking for something different, as must musicians are,” laughed Chumley.
When he’s not building instruments, Chumley works for AT&T and is the owner of Papa Chums Music and Rarities shop in Cumberland Gap. There, he sells everything from essential oils and locally made goats milk soaps to vinyl records and handmade instruments.
Chumley has been married to his wife Deborah for 34 years. Together, they have a son Daniel and daughter Candice who are both artistically gifted.
Reach Kelsey Gerhardt at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmbdn.