3 Strings CBG (cigar box guitar) #1: The beginning

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Blog entry by FreddyS posted 10-15-2012 10:28 PM 5432 reads 2 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of 3 Strings CBG (cigar box guitar) series Part 2: More neck work »

Hi everyone, finally I come back with a blog for a little project I been doing in my free time for the last 2 weeks.

As it was bound to happen I think, having been a professional musician for nearly 20 years and now interested in woodworking as a hobby among some other things, finally bit the bullet and started building a CBG (cigar box guitar), and this is the short story, short because there really is not too much to tell as the build can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be.

So, a couple of years ago I found out a cbg photo somewhere, that lead to some youtube videos and a plan to build one for myself. Then I bought some nice wood for the build but life got in the way so the build was postponed, till a couple of weeks ago when I took vacations from my job and the build finally started.

I didn’t had a plan in place so I had to browse a couple of websites to get a general idea about cbg requirements so I could drew a blueprint, with that out of the way, I went downtown to see if I could source locally a cigar box and the tuning machines, luckily for me I found both and actually not expensive at all.

And the work started, I got to do a few “first timers” here as I’ll show, but forgot to take the first photos so you’ll have to imagine the first steps hehee:

Maple neck cut to length(33 3/4”), ebony fingerboard cut to length, guitar tuners installed:

This is the first time I get to work with maple wood, I found it to be really easy to work with but probably wont be using it to build a lot of stuff as it is quite hard to find it locally, the pieces I got, two 3×1 4’ boards were like “this is all we have” and not cheap.
I got the ebony from rockler like two years ago, small 3 1/2×24” 1/4 board just enough for a fingerboard at us$60, not really instrument grade I guess but hey, it’s ebony. It cuts easy and the cuts look like already being planed but you have to be careful as this wood is brittle, I had to remove 1/16” extra from my first crosscut, but second time I backed up the wood from top and bottom, this time the cut was really clean.

I think this is the only time I will use ebony as is not cheap, and looks like it wont get easier/cheaper to get more, but I’m glad I got to try it.

Headstock closeup up without the tuners, the neck was already routed:

And some inlay tests in the leftover ebony:

First I tested with fret markers, the ring you see in the pic is a 3/8” aluminum round tube, I took some tube and small file to make a couple of teeth in it, like a door lock saw but tiny. I thought the teeth wouldn’t last against the ebony but it dig just fine.

Then the small ring inlay was placed in, it worked really well!

As this neck is going to be fretless, or that’s the plan so far, I experimented also with fretline markers but I’m not so sure about this idea, don’t want to risk the ebony while doing 22 fret lines hehee.

Ok, that’s it for now, seeya in a bit!

-- Learning one thing at a time

3 comments so far

View Mauricio's profile


7144 posts in 3295 days

#1 posted 10-16-2012 02:28 PM

wrong thread

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Mauricio's profile


7144 posts in 3295 days

#2 posted 10-16-2012 02:30 PM

I’m looking forward to seeing how this turns out!

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View FreddyS's profile


211 posts in 2917 days

#3 posted 10-17-2012 02:01 AM

Thanks Mauricio, probably i’ll finish it in a couple of weeks it time allows :)

-- Learning one thing at a time

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