The Story Of The Cigar Box Guitar

Free PDF plans for how to build an awesome electric cigar box guitar and easy free woodworking projects. So they used things they found around the barn or the house, door hinges, horseshoe nails, wire, you name it.” A blues fan who counts Robert Johnson, Johnny Winter and Stevie Ray Vaughan among his favorite guitarists, Southwick said many a blues great got their start on cigar box guitars. Oh and I’m building a small amp using a donor practise amp built into the cabinet of an old Bakelite valve (tube) wireless. It’s not a huge box which is why I am only doing a single pup, but it should be pretty badass when done.

The company supports websites such as and , Facebook campaigns, creating and sharing free building plans and how-to-play instructional videos, plus archiving and sharing historic plans, photos and other information. Next tuning pegs are constructed from eye bolts, washers, and wingnuts and the guitar is strung as shown in the above video. Anyone that wants to build their own cigar box guitar can check out the website I created, There’s free plans and a lot more in there. But after 1840, cigar manufacturers started using smaller, more portable boxes with 20-50 cigars per box.

The fun of making one of these is you never really know how it’ll sound and theres no right way to make them. You can kind of approximate it’s age by how long it takes for wood to age like it has on the body, by looking at the screw in the tail piece, and looking at the finishing nails used to build it. I would guess it was made in the 20’s or 30’s. Using the marks you made earlier, use the coping saw or file to cut out more of the box so that you can close the lid snugly. C. B. Gitty stands for Cigar Box Guitar, and this simple three- to six-stringed instrument is the source of Baker’s nickname and his Rochester, New Hampshire, business.

Cigar Box Nation member, Jim In Tuscon created this beast with a bayonette headstock, machine gun body and three strings of sonic destruction. This wonderful piece of Americana is an inspiration to us all to build your own musical instrument. Product Features plans to make the Torres Classical Guitar actual size – printed on 36 by 44 paper mailed in large envelope…folded. Lots of links about building a modern guitar but nothing about how to build a guitar like you build a craft project, nothing basic with found materials.

I spent a bit of time thinking about tuning and eventually decided on G and D – it works well with the open G tuning on the guitar versions and allows for some nice droning sounds when playing the two strings together. There are any number of things that can be used to make a tail piece – a fork with bent tines, picture hooks, screws, tacks and the like, but a good old fashioned ornamental brass hinge with a little bit of modification is perfect. You can stain the parts different colors too; I stained the box one color and the neck another. Look how cool this is, It’s a three string reso something or another, but coolest part is it’s all stuff you have lying around in your kitchen or garage.

I’ve been in a lot of music stores in nearly 60 years and I’ve never seen one.” Southwick noted that guitar players aren’t the only ones interested in his cigar box guitars. He built his first cigar box guitar back in July and has made about 30 since then. Speal uses a belt sander to make the neck smooth, but you can use a handsaw to smooth out the edges. The Nut is the string guide that sits near the head of the guitar and the bridge is the string guide that sits on the body and transfers the vibrations of the strings into the body so the instrument produces sound. I will probably reinforce the inside with either a neck block or a neck rod like used on banjos.

I really feel I need to get on with playing, experimenting and recording some music so the building side of things has taken a bit of a back seat. C.B. Gitty Crafter Supply sponsors cigar box guitar events and festivals, supports musicians who use these instruments in their acts and provides deep discounts to teachers and schools. There are lots of fantastic cigar box instructables on this very site, just do a search!

Many of his patients have cancer and he wouldn’t encourage them to smoke, but he likes to hang out at his favorite cigar store and purchase their empty boxes for his instruments. Left-handed tuners are those on the left side of the head as you look at the upright guitar from the front and vice versa for the right-handed. I’m gathering my materials along with ideas and this one will serve as my inspiration and guide.

Fold the cabinet hinge centered over the front lower edge of the cigar box, then drill pilot holes and screw it to the lower end of the box. Now he works at Heights Guitars in Cleveland Heights and plans to enroll at the Galloup School of Lutherie in Michigan, which trains students in guitar building and repair. Many builders are starting to mount Soapbars in their cigar box guitars and the results are an even wilder, more primal sound than before.

Using a yardstick and a square, make pencil marks along the length of the neck to indicate the location of the frets. You will also be receiving the weekly Make: Newsletter to keep you inspired with new projects and more product reviews. This design of guitar is only held together by friction and the tension of the strings, so care and precise cutting are important. Stain or varnish – a plain sanded neck is great but a stain or varnish can really elevate your work and bring out the natural beauty of the hard wood in your neck. Hyman goes so far as to credit the cigar box with the development of point-of-sale advertising.

Like most people who get involved, he couldn’t stop with just one and he has been building instruments ever since. I know I keep jumping in on these comments, but mainly because I keep coming back for reference on one I’m building now. C. B. Gitty brings back the tradition with these acoustic box kits made from select birch. This meant I had to position them so they could all turn and shave a small part off the neck by the tuning pegs. Standard guitar tuning pegs (3); Pack of Acoustic Guitar Strings (11 to 13 gauge).

It didn’t take long for enterprising musicians to figure out that a cigar box can resonate sound, just like a guitar’s sound chamber. As you can see this was made by a craftsman at home, yet paying attention to detail though-out the build. He’s using a simple 3-string side cigar box guitar, the same one he’s been performing with since 1996. Any offcuts from the neck can be used to accurately measure the holes for the neck to pass through the body of the guitar.

Next I wanted two circular sound holes on either side of the guitar, this way i can run the neck all the way down the body. Many of the original blues guitar players used open G, and it’s a favorite with Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. I think this has the potential to become a really cool black and silver 1930’s style three string guitar inspired by the H-1 Racer that Howard Hughes flew and set those speed records and wrecked in 1937. One small mishap with the router while I was thinning down the neck to keep the fingerboard above the level of the license plate.

People used to take cigar boxes, drill a few holes in the box for a broomstick fret and sound hole, then pull wire from their screen doors to string their guitar. If you would like to learn how to play Old Time & Delta Blues on 3 string cigar box guitar, I have a DVD I can mail you anywhere in the world. In this new knowledgebase entry , Glenn walks you through installing a C. B. Gitty Snake Oil Mini Humbucker in a cigar box guitar.

So, I woke up and started my day as normal, in the shop working on a cigar box guitar….and then it suddenly landed in my head a flash of inspiration for a cool guitar and some art for a guitar Pickup cover. Baker started the business by selling fret wire on eBay to help fund his new guitar hobby. If you enjoy making a guitar using this method you can move on to more professional approaches.cigar box guitar plans