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Cigar box guitar

May 16, 2011

2 Min Read
Cigar box guitar

Several years ago I was walking through the local guitar store with my oldest son, who was captivated by a black 3/4 scale Fender guitar.  The salesman helpfully got it down, plugged it in, and sat him on a stool in front of an amp.  He was hooked and wanted me to buy it for him.  We made a deal, that if he saved enough to buy the guitar then I would buy the amp and he’d be all set.

So about a year later we walked back into the store with a plastic bottle full of ones and tens, and he bought the guitar, and I bought the amp.  It’s been on and off since then, but he’s taught himself a few different things, mainly “Sunshine of your Love” and Harold Faltermeyer’s “Axel F“, which he actually knows as “Crazy Frog“.

Well I mention all of that because on Instructables I found a project where NightHawkInLight built himself a guitar out of a piece of maple that he cut off of a tree, and a cigar box.  It’s a video Instructable, so there aren’t any steps, just a video that you watch.  Not the best format in my opinion, but this project is simple enough that you can probably build it just from a description.

The starting point is a straight branch from a maple tree, about 1.5″ in diameter and about 2′ long.  He strips the bark and flattens one side so that it will serve as a neck, leaving a ridge for the nut.  A portion of the back side of the neck is also flattened so that it will glue well to the cigar box.  He bought tuning heads  for one end, and drove finishing nails into the end grain  to hold the strings at the other end.  Then a cutout in the box so the neck can fit through and the guitar is basically done.

Instead of a coil wound pickup he takes a speaker from a headphone set and hot glues it to the cigar box, and connects that to a 1/4″ jack so you can plug it in.  Then he spends a couple minutes playing it.  I don’t know anything about guitars but it sounds all right to me.  Total cost looks like about $20, if you have a maple tree in your backyard.  I could build 4 of those and then all of my kids would have guitars, and for less than the Fender cost.

Turns out there are all kinds of plans for building everything from your basic 3 string slide to a double neck cigar box electric/acoustic.  Just put “cigar box guitar” into your favorite search engine and get started.

Steve Ravet

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