Three Cigar Box Guitars

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Project by GnarlyErik posted 03-22-2017 02:05 AM 1304 views 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Three cigar box guitars are finished and ready to deliver! At ten stringed instruments since November, I’ve now covered all the bases with grandkids and wife. Whoo hoo! I have one more started which I plan to take my good sweet time with – a 4-string tenor dobro/resonator guitar. With this next one I will apply everything I’ve learned so far – which is quite a bit! There is a lot of fun in building these, a lot more than I had suspected.

These sound really good, especially when plugged into an amp, and I think the kids will enjoy them. Each one has an amp piezo pickup installed. These have geared mechanical tuners and they are a 24” string length with fifteen frets each. The cigar boxes are part of a lot from a swap meet, all brand-new, and had ‘never seen cigars’, not that I would have cared. Two of the necks are white ash with cherry fretboards, and one is black walnut all the way.

Guitar players will likely note one of these has a left-handed peg-head. However, that one is currently also strung for a right-hander. The left-handedness was not intended and is just a mistake on my part. Like I said, I am learning a lot. But, it could make it disconcerting for someone to tune until they get used to it!

I did not keep track of the total time spent on these, but a rough estimate would be at twenty to twenty-five hours each, and possibly more. One problem was I had to re-build all the (cheap Chinese) tuning gears. They were far too sloppy as received and I had to disassemble them to tighten them up with some judicious taps with and upholsterer’s hammer, then reassemble them with LocTite Threadlocker since the screws were very loose, allowing the gears to slip. I turned a wooden socket on the lathe so the tuners can be quickly adjusted with a power drill – a huge time-saver for me!

These were about as much fun as I’ve had with my clothes on in quite a while!

-- "Never let your dogma be run over by your karma!"

6 comments so far

View tyvekboy's profile


1848 posts in 3283 days

#1 posted 03-22-2017 02:51 AM

Nice work.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View johnstoneb's profile (online now)


3078 posts in 2443 days

#2 posted 03-22-2017 03:22 AM

Nice job. I may have to try that one of these days.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View hunter71's profile


3335 posts in 3457 days

#3 posted 03-22-2017 10:58 AM

Wow, 10. I wasn’t counting but you have been a busy man.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3137 days

#4 posted 03-22-2017 03:47 PM

These are very nice musical instruments and they look like the would be fun filled projects. They certainly do look like the are well done. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View ralbuck's profile


5675 posts in 2536 days

#5 posted 03-22-2017 09:24 PM


-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View NormG's profile


6415 posts in 3274 days

#6 posted 03-23-2017 01:24 AM

Wonderful instruments, look awesome

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

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