Cigar Box Tenor Ukulele

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Project by stanley2 posted 08-15-2014 01:33 PM 1142 views 3 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My first cigar box guitar (cbg) is a tenor ukulele for my ten year old grandson, intended to give him a break from the piano.

I’m a woodworker, not a musician so I had a lot to learn and really appreciated the advice available on Cigar Box Nation and other forums.

The neck is spalted birch overlaid by a paduk fret board. The headstock is veneered with tiger maple. I couldn’t get the surgeon general’s warning label off the graphics so I removed the graphic paper and veneered a piece of white oak in its place. On the veneer I placed a decal with “sidekick” along it. That is the nickname I gave him as he handed me tools when doing maintenance at his home. After running a bead of CA glue along all edges and seams of the graphics I applied several coats of spray lacquer to finish.

I was lucky in peeling the embossed Punch graphic that was in the center of the box and relocating it to its new location, hopefully out of the way of strumming.

I used Acquila strings and was very careful trying to get the action to the right dimensions at the first and 12th frets. If it is right then this ought to be a musical instrument, if not its a toy.

The father of our grandson is Ecuadorian so I couldn’t resist making the nut out of Tagua Nut which is a vegetable ivory native to Ecuador.

Thanks again to everyone who shares their knowledge on the internet. I had a blast making it. Now my guitarist nephew wants a cbg electric.

-- Phil in British Columbia

5 comments so far

View Earlextech's profile


1159 posts in 2114 days

#1 posted 08-15-2014 01:36 PM

I like it! As a cigar smoker, a musician and a woodworker. You’ve combined three of my favorite things into one project!

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View drbyte's profile


724 posts in 3486 days

#2 posted 08-15-2014 03:45 PM

Great job! It is easy to electrify those with a Piezo Element ( from CB Gitty! I use a lot of them on my CB Guitars (!cigar-box-guitars/c1ndn) and ukes! And he’s really great to deal with, very prompt service! Be forewarned, after you make one, they become a (fun) habit that can consume lots of time!!

-- Dennis, WV

View PaulDoug's profile


1076 posts in 1127 days

#3 posted 08-15-2014 08:27 PM

Careful, building those can be addictive. Before you know it you have a shop full of cigar boxes…...

yours is very nice. For some reason I enjoy building the ukes more than the guitars.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View 489tad's profile


3085 posts in 2435 days

#4 posted 08-16-2014 12:58 AM

Awesome job!

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View stanley2's profile


335 posts in 3219 days

#5 posted 08-16-2014 01:22 PM

Thanks guys – I have a fair supply of boxes and my nephew has picked his for an electric guitar.

-- Phil in British Columbia

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