Tagged with "building"
BUILDING A BOX GUITAR Tags: box guitar cbg cigar box guitar how to build building


     I build and sell "cigar box guitars"-- or as I prefer to call them: "box guitars"... because they can be made out of just about anything.   I've built guitars out of cigar boxes, cardboard boxes, license plates and even Altoids Mint tins.  I've seen them built from silverware boxes, wine boxes and more.  They have all sounded great.  The trick is:  it's not so much what they're made from, as how they're made

    I enjoy helping people learn how to build their own instruments.  If you're going to build it yourself it's good to know the pitfalls ahead of time.  If someone can't build one (for whatever reason) or doesn't have the time or tools, that's where my store comes in.  Either way, the idea is to get music in the hands of the people.  

    In addition to instruments I also offer the popular FlatCat guitar pickup as well as other accessories.   People buy these to put on guitars they have built themselves.  Some are experienced builders, some are just getting started.

   For customers who are building their first CBG, here are a few hints to help avoid "beginner errors".  I hope these help.

* The neck should be no thicker than 1" total (3/4" + 1/4" fretboard),  A standard 1x2 board works fine for the neck base.  (A 1x2 actually measures 3/4" x 1.5")

* The neck is the most important part of a CBG.  If you're just making a 3-string guitar and two of those strings are trebles, poplar wood can work okay for the neck.  But I recommend using oak, hard maple or similar hardwood.  Although poplar is common for use on CBGs because it's easy to carve, drill and finish out... it can warp over time.  If you're using heavier strings or making a 4 string CBG, you'll definitely want hardwood.  If you're building a 6-string, you'll need a pre-built guitar neck or make your neck with a tension rod inside.

* If you want to make a basic CBG, try the design at the top of this page.  It is easier to build than a neck-through-the-box design but still sounds great

* If you decide to run a board inside the box.. make sure the bottom of the fretboard is level with the box top... and a full 1/4" above the surface of the CBG.  Otherwise you won't have room to install even a flat pickup.  Your aim is to have at least 3/8" string clearance above the box.  If you glue a 1x2 board to the underside of a cigar box lid and place the fretboard directly to that, it will be too low for proper string clearance.  There are many ways to bring the strings 3/8" above the surface of the box.  Neck  placement and level will be the most important design element on your guitar. 

* If you're installing a FlatCat, you can run the neck through the box, and then cut a hole in the top of the box the precise size of the FlatCat, so the pickup sits on the neck instead of the box top.  This is fairly easy to do:  draw an outline of the FlatCat on the box lid, then  use a Forster bit and hand file to perfect the edges of the hole. However this isn't necessary if you design the neck ahead of time to run the strings 3/8" or more above the box.

* Make sure the tuning gears are facing the right direction. Otherwise the pull of the strings can pull the two gears apart and make tuning difficult.   The string peg should be toward the bridge, with the tuning key toward the top end of the neck.  That way when the strings pull on the peg it connects the gears rather than separating them. 

* If you use volume and tone controls, make sure the holes are drilled far enough away from one another.  Consider the size of the pots inside the box and the total size of the cord jack, and position the holes accordingly.  It is a common mistake to drill holes too close together, so think carefully about parts placement prior to drilling.

I hope these tips help.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.  I enjoy helping people and advice is free.  : )

-- Best wishes from Wishbringer









This website is powered by Spruz