If you are a DIY guy, then this article will be a great delight for you as you will learn how to make a cigar box guitar which is probably the best instrument in the world. You can easily make one at home with your effort and some time. Follow the complete step-by-step instructions given below and make one for yourself.
What Do You Need For A Cigar Guitar Box?
Cigar box guitars are easy to make, and you can learn how to make one in less than half an hour. You can even purchase cigar box guitars online. But if you want to make your own, here’s how.
The following materials are needed to make a cigar guitar box:
- Cigar box
- Wood file or sandpaper
- Chisel or knife
- Screwdriver or drill bits
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Step By Step Guide: To Make Cigar Guitar Box
Step 1: Measure and Cut the Cigar Box
Initially, you should measure your cigar box and then cut it down to size. With a standard-sized box, this should not be too difficult. Depending on the size of the box you are using, you will have to modify your plans. You can use a jigsaw or bandsaw for this step, but if you do not have one of these tools handy, then you can always use an old pair of scissors (or even a knife) in place of them. Make sure that you do not cut yourself when doing so.
Step 2: Cut Your Neck Slots Into the Top of Your Cigar Box Guitar
Now that we have got the sides cut down to size, we can move on to cutting some slots into the top of our cigar box guitar body. These are used for attaching the neck to our instrument later on in the process. You can make these slots as large or small as you would like, but they should at least be wide enough to fit securely over a standard guitar neck. Their size or shape could influence how your guitar plays. If you have an extra cigar box lying around, use it as a template for this step.
Step 3: Cut Your Fretboard Into Shape
We have the sides and neck slots taken care of, and we can begin shaping out the fretboard. Angle grinders with thin cut-off wheels are ideal for cutting this. To make sure the cuts are straight and even, set up a straight edge along one side of your fretboard and clamp down onto it securely with clamps or C-clamps.
Step 4: Drill Holes For The Frets And The Strings
We need to drill some holes for the frets and the strings. It is probably the most challenging part of building a cigar box guitar because you need to drill each hole precisely at the right angle to fit properly into its slot when you glue everything together later on. I used a handheld drill for this part, but I would not recommend it because it takes forever (and makes your hands hurt). Instead, use a drill press if possible.
Step 5: Cut A Hole For The Tuning Pegs
Now that our frets are in place, we can cut out a hole for our tuning pegs. It is crucial because if you do not do it properly, your strings will not be able to move freely, and therefore they will not vibrate properly. To get my tuners positioned correctly, I put my guitar face down on top of another cigar box that already has its tuners in place (so that they are exactly parallel). Then I traced them with a pencil to know where each one needed to go.
Step 6: Put Everything Together
It is where things start getting exciting. You can begin to glue everything together.
- Put a layer of wood glue on the inside edges of the top and bottom pieces.
- You want the visible side to be up when you place them face down on a flat surface.
- Place your neck blank between the two pieces and clamp them together using as many clamps as possible.
We used an entire roll of duct tape to hold down one side while we glued another piece on top of it. You may need to use clamps on both sides of your neck if it is too long or wide for one clamp to hold down ultimately. Let everything sit overnight before removing all your clamps and sanding everything smooth.
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How To Make A 4-String Cigar Box Guitar?
A cigar box guitar is a homemade musical instrument made from an empty cigar box. Cigar box guitars are an excellent project for beginners. The sound they produce is fantastic, and they are relatively simple to make. These materials are needed for this job:
Cigar Box: You can buy one online or at your local cigar shop. I bought mine at my local cigar shop for $10. To ensure that the box is in good condition, make sure it is not damaged.
Wood Glue: You will want to use a high-quality wood glue like Titebond III or Gorilla Glue so that it will not only adhere to the cigar box but also last for years to come.
Sandpaper: I use 80 grit sandpaper, but you can use anything between 200-500 grit, depending on how smooth you want your neck to be.
Nails: You will need about 25 long nails (about 2 inches) for the neck and another ten short nails (about 1 inch) for the neck as well (you can use screws instead if you want, but it will not look as cool).
Screws: You will also need some screws (I use 3/8″) so that you can secure your neck inside of the cigar box with them once you finish building it (this step is not necessary unless you are worried about your guitar falling apart).
Follow these steps to make a four-string cigar guitar box:
- Find a cigar box that fits the shape of your guitar. The cigar box should be at least 8 inches long and 4 inches wide (otherwise, it will be hard to play). You can use any wood for this project, but I have found that pine or cedar works best.
- Cut out the top and bottom of the cigar box with a saw to have one flat piece of wood left.
- Drill holes along the top edge of this piece to attach it to your neck later in steps 5 and 6. Please make sure these holes are about 1/4 inch from each other to line up with where your strings will sit when playing.
- After they have dried completely (this can take several hours), take your final piece of wood and cut it down so it matches up with where your strings will sit on your neck when playing. It should be about ½ inch deep and ¼ inch (or slightly larger).
- Now drill two holes through this piece to line up perfectly with your big hole from step 3 above, then screw both pieces together using small screws or brads until they are snug enough to hold together without falling apart while playing.
- You can now cut out the top of your guitar, a straight line from one side of the fretboard to the other. The depth of this cut will depend on how deep you want your body cavity to be. You will get more resonance from your instrument the deeper it is. If you are looking for a starting point, try cutting your top out so that it is about 2 inches deep, and then test play your instrument to see if it needs more depth or not.
- Once you have decided on how deep to make your body cavity, cut out the top of your cigar box guitar using a straightedge and utility knife or razor blade. Ensure that there are no sharp edges left over when you are done cutting.
- Now use some sandpaper or steel wool (or both) to smooth down any rough edges left over after cutting out the top of your cigar box guitar. Then use some wood stain or paint to give it an excellent finish.
- For the neck, take two pieces of wood that are the same size and glue them together with wood glue. Sand them down until they are nice and smooth, and then cut another piece that is about 1 inch longer than the first two pieces combined, but not as wide. Cut a hole in this piece large enough for your tuners to fit through, and then glue it on top of one end of the glued-up block of wood from step 8.
- To ensure everything fits properly, lay your glued-up block on top of your headstock, lining up all sides as best as possible (see picture below). Once you have everything lined up properly, use some clamps to hold everything together while your glue dries overnight (or at least 24 hours).
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is A Cigar Guitar Box Easy To Play?
The cigar box guitar is a great instrument for any musician to play. You can easily learn how to play it and create it from parts found around the house. The cigar box guitar is an acoustic instrument that uses a wooden cigar box as a resonator.
How Do You Make A Cigar Guitar Box Pickup?
How to make an electric cigar box guitar? The cigar box guitar pickup is a great way to make your cigar box guitar into an electric one easily. There are two main ways to add a pickup to your cigar box guitar:
- Install an external magnetic humbucker pickup
- Install an internal piezo transducer pickup
Looking at the aforementioned guidance on how to make a cigar box guitar, you must be thinking of building one for yourself. If yes then you have a great opportunity to create such a fantastic instrument for yourself and save money at the same time. The process is simple as well as quite interesting. So why are you still waiting?