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David Reed plays one of his handmade guitars at The Music Store in Great Barrington. Reed makes the instruments out of found materials.
Wednesday November 14, 2012

SHEFFIELD -- David Reed can turn out a musical instrument from just about anything -- cigar boxes, cookie tins, old keys, grommets, recycled wood... the list goes on.

Sold under the brand name Dr. Easy's Sonic Boxes, Reed's creations (he's made 68 of them) range from guitars and banjos to ukuleles and basses.

Reed, who works out of his garage in Sheffield, builds the instruments from found objects. An experienced musician, he plays them on the road and also sells them at The Music Store in Great Barrington where musicians and galleries alike collect them.

Reed says he gets his inspiration from the likes of blues impresarios Bo Diddley and B.B. King who learned to play on homemade instruments. Reed plays the instruments dobro style with a copper slide, summoning an early blues sound that's quite sophisticated.

The sounds of the instruments are influenced by what they're made with: A guitar made out of a cigar box will sound different than one made with a cookie tin.

The parts add to the instruments' personalities. Those with boxes have the scent of the cigars they contained, while others display the wear of time on their labels.