“I got this reputation
And everybody knows my name
I was born to play the guitar
I got the blues running
through my veins.”

(Buddy Guy, Born to Play the Blues)

That almost sums up local legend ‘Hubcap’ Stan Ceglinski. Almost, because he also was born to make guitars. Stan produces amazing guitars from his workshop in Possum Creek, and plays around the traps with his band, Hubcap Stan and the Sidewalk Stompers, featuring some of the North Coast’s finest musos.

Stan’s instruments are truly unique; one glance at one, and you know who made it. An old steel hubcap, possibly from a Chevy, a F100 Ford or even a Porsche will be the centrepiece.

Stan’s enthusiasm for making instruments began when, at just 17, he made his first “guitar” from wood salvaged from a bowling alley and bits from the local tip. Within four days of getting the components together, he had an instrument that he could play. He sold it for $20, then made another he sold for $40, and then another for $60. A business was born.

Soon he heard a recording of American bluesman, Taj Mahal, play Two Step Candyman, and he became hooked on the blues. Many years later Stan caught up with Taj in Byron Bay and told him about his influence on him. Taj was tickled pink.

For the next few years, Stan knocked around in remote mining settlements such as Weipa, where he encountered many characters who helped him develop musically.

Later he settled down in this area with a young family, working for himself, making building materials such as poles, posts and roof shingles from recycled timber. He supplemented his income by repairing anything that was broken. Guitar making was put aside during this time.

When Stan turned 60 (he is now 68), he said to his wife, Noeline, “One day I might get old. If I do, I want to be making guitars, doing something that is easier on my back than making shingles”. So he got back into making musical instruments. Troubadour, Juzzie Smith, took one to Canada to play at festivals, and that guitar became a YouTube hit. Things took off from there.

Stan started incorporating hubcaps into the body of the guitars, and so his nickname was born. Since then he has made hundreds of instruments including cigar box guitars. All his instruments are electric, and Stan says each one has a wonderful, unique voice. “I love playing them. There is an equal pleasure in creating them and playing them.”

Interested in hearing more? You can easily catch Hubcap Stan and the Sidewalk Stompers as they are regulars at many venues in the Northern Rivers.’

Murray Hand