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Thread: Latest project - Cigar Box Guitar

  1. #1
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    Latest project - Cigar Box Guitar

    This should be a fun one. About a week ago I was checking my Facebook and saw a post from my "Nephew-in-law" I guess he'd be. (He just married my niece about three weeks ago) His birthday was September 04 and he posted a picture of a Cigar Box Guitar that my sister had just given him for his birthday. It looked really cool and since my son plays guitar, I did some net surfing and found a lot of information about them. They're supposed to be pretty easy and inexpensive to build. Most of the stuff can be gotten locally very easily, but because I've never done one I decided to buy a kit that had everything but the wood for the neck. It came yesterday and I got to work. They are pretty simple and straight forward. At this point, I've got it to where you could string it up and play it, but I decided that I wanted to add frets instead of doing it fretless and having to use a slide. Now I've just got to figure out the fret spacing and get to work. That should be the most difficult part of the process. I've test cut a couple small frets on some scrap and they work out well but I just need to work out the spacing.

    It should be pretty fun for him to play around with when it's finished. If he likes it and uses it much, I found that you can also make a Cigar Box Amp also. That would be too cool! I found that I can buy empty cigar boxes at the local cigar shop for $2! They've got lots of them and some are pretty nice. Here's what it looks like so far. Once I work out the fret placement and get the slots cut, I'm going to just put some BLO on the maple neck and that should work fine.

    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  2. #2
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    Very cool John! Nice and thoughtful gift!

    I think Jay? Or someone else here is also into the cigar box guitar thing.
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  3. #3
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    Thanks Brent,
    the gift angle was my first thought. I had planned it as a Christmas gift for my son. I started working on it yesterday while he was at the skate park. This afternoon, he wanted to go skating again. My wife drove him to the skate park. It was only about 2:00 and he usually skates until 6:00 when the close. They took off for the park and I had some time so I figured I'd put in a couple hours on it. I set up my work table out in front of the garage because it was a beautiful day out there. About 45 minutes later, she pulled up in the driveway with him by her side! There wasn't much going on at the park so he decided not to skate. Oh well, so much for waiting til Christmas.

    I decided to add a piezo pickup also. I'm just trying to figure out where I want to mount it but that shouldn't take long. I can't wait to hear this thing. I have a feeling that there will be several more of these things before long.

    John
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  4. #4
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    I cant remember if I posted one of those or not Brent. But they are on my bucket list...........
    A Turn N Time
    Components for John Smith Organs and the Hobby Organ Builder

    Frog Pond Guitars


    Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

  5. #5
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    Might be Paul Douglass then...
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  6. #6
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    Looks like it was a lot of fun to make. I gotta try one myself soon
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  7. #7
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    Sure looks like fun John and nice job.......
    A Turn N Time
    Components for John Smith Organs and the Hobby Organ Builder

    Frog Pond Guitars


    Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

  8. #8
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    Cool!

    I just found a fret calculator that's very easy to use. You just enter your scale length and the number of frets and it gives you the exact location of each fret. I just have to clarify one thing. The instructions in the fret guide that I got says that the scale length is from the "front of the nut" to the bridge. I'm not sure what they consider the "front". Is the front closest to or furthest from the bridge? Once I know that, I should be good to go.

    I'm going to head to Harbor Freight tomorrow because for about $10 they have a 24" aluminum caliper that's got fractional and metric readings in .05mm increments so that should be accurate enough.
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  9. #9
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    John, the front of the nut will be the side that's closest to the bridge. For fret spacing and measurement, everything is based on the part of the string that's vibrating, and that edge of the nut is essentially the starting point of those vibrations. (Actually, it's the left-hand end of the vibrations, but I think you know what I mean.)

    Cool-looking project. I'll bet your son will have a blast with it.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  10. #10
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    Thanks Vaughn!

    That's kind of what I figured. Actually I just got off the phone with my brother. He's out in your neck of the woods (Glendale). He does all kinds of guitar restorations and such and we spent some time talking about it. This is going to be pretty cool when it's done. I'm sure I'll be making more. As I said in the original post, I found a good source for some nice boxes very cheap.

    Will post more pics when it's finished.
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

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