Compact Travel Guitar

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Project by drbyte posted 04-23-2019 06:28 PM 2014 views 7 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After 40 or 50 Cigar Box Guitars I decided it was time to try a solid body 6 string version. I needed a small guitar to play while lounging around the house. Overall I was shooting for 32 inches (overhead airline bin legal) and had it until I added a thicker string-tree than planned. It’s about 32.375 inches final. 25 inch scale neck, 43mm wide at nut (same as several name-brand guitars). Neck is Cherry, straight through body. Body wood is Walnut, Maple and Cherry glued up “cutting-board” style. Fretboard is Bubinga with 23 frets (at least 3 too many). Fret markers are “mother-of-pearl” buttons (just to be unique). Dual action truss-rod in neck for both forward or backward adjustment as needed. The saddle is Purpleheart with 3/16 inch Stainless Steel Rod for bridge. Dual-Coil humbucker pickup in center of body. It is very hot! A real learning experience to say the least! Finally got it where it is fairly nice to play. Already have improvements in mind for next model, like a fully adjustable roller-bridge for one. Probably Mahogany for the next neck. I’m always open to suggestions or constructive criticism—hit me up if you can see a definite improvement to be made! Thanks to Perry for the really great photos!

-- Dennis, WV

10 comments so far

View jumbojack's profile


1691 posts in 3737 days

#1 posted 04-23-2019 06:50 PM

Either I’ve been gone a longer time than I thought or, you have really stepped up your game. That is beautiful.
Mahogany neck? I dunno grain is wide open. You may have to fill the pores to get a smooth feel.
Very nice work. Thanks for posting.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View drbyte's profile


848 posts in 5175 days

#2 posted 04-23-2019 07:04 PM

Thanks jumbojack! Will look into Mahogany for guitar necks!

-- Dennis, WV

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2880 days

#3 posted 04-24-2019 12:31 AM

Absolutely beautiful.


View mikeacg's profile


1915 posts in 2170 days

#4 posted 04-24-2019 01:29 AM

Whoa! That got my attention! Very cool design…

-- Mike, A Yooper with a drawl,

View RPhillips's profile


1318 posts in 2949 days

#5 posted 04-24-2019 11:32 AM

Nice. I bet she sounds as good as she looks!

FYI… Mahogany and Maple are the most common species for necks.

-- Rob - Indianapolis IN - Learning... one mistake at a time...

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

1293 posts in 2405 days

#6 posted 04-24-2019 07:46 PM

Wonderful project. Looks like your a luthier. On that note. I wish we could hear the maestro perform.

-- James E McIntyre

View drbyte's profile


848 posts in 5175 days

#7 posted 04-24-2019 08:11 PM

Thanks to all you jocks! I thought a lot of necks were made of Mahogany. May need some filling to make super smooth but that’s okay too! It is very hot RPhillips, had to crank the pickup down away from the treble strings a little! I definitely “make” better than I “play”!

-- Dennis, WV

View gtrgeo's profile


161 posts in 1543 days

#8 posted 04-25-2019 03:51 AM

Awesome job Dennis. One of these days my goal is to build my own guitar. I took the easy way out and bought a Traveler guitar.

Regarding wood for necks, most Les Paul style electrics have a mahogany neck, all else are generally maple. Acoustics are generally mahogany. That said, use what you like. One of George Harrison’s most revered telecasters has a rosewood neck. Brian May’s guitar has a neck made from an old oak mantelpiece.


View drbyte's profile


848 posts in 5175 days

#9 posted 04-25-2019 01:50 PM

Thanks George! I know a lot of necks if not the majority, (especially acoustic) are mahogany. I’ve used mahogany on several of my Cigar Box Guitars and have made several Native American Style Flutes with mahogany. I usually wet-sand with 400 or 600 grit and danish oil so they turn out pretty smooth. I’ve used about every American hardwood imaginable on those CBGs. I don’t use anything softer than Poplar and try not to use it. Most of them only have 3 or 4 strings so there is a lot less tension on those necks. I would not use it on a 6 string. Anything else would pretty much work if finished properly though.

-- Dennis, WV

View Serradura's profile


187 posts in 3056 days

#10 posted 04-26-2019 09:36 AM

An absolutely awesome instrument!

-- Não só Serradura, Tomar, Portugal

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