How to Build a Cigar Box Guitar

Written by ehow hobbies, games & toys editor
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Many guitar enthusiasts enjoy making cigar box guitars. Cigar box guitars add personality and varied sounds to performances. They can be painted or left with their original cigar covers. There are many ways to go about making them. The steps below outline one of the easier ways to assemble one.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Wooden cigar box
  • 3 feet of 1/2-inch poplar board
  • Drill
  • Tuning pegs
  • Guitar strings
  • Guitar pickup
  • Eyebolt and screw
  • Box clasp with screws
  • Small saw
  • Wood glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood file

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Make the neck flush with the lid. To do this, cut a notch in the poplar as wide and thick as the lid, starting 2 inches from the end. Next, you will need to cut a notch in both sides of the bottom of the cigar box the width of the freshly trimmed poplar board.

  2. 2

    Glue the poplar board guitar neck into the notches in the bottom. Hold off on sealing the lid down for now.

  3. 3

    Amplify the sound. Drill a hole in the side of the cigar box on the end by the extra 2 inches of poplar. Fix the jack part of the pickup in the hole with glue. Glue the pickup to the lid of the cigar box.

  4. 4

    Install the tuning pegs. File down the last 3 to 6 inches of the poplar board to about 3/4 the original width. Next, drill three alternating holes in the newly filed space. Place your tuning pegs next to the neck to make sure you drill the holes far enough apart. Insert the tuning pegs.

  5. 5

    Close the box. Secure the lid with a clasp. This way you can open it if you need to adjust the pickup.

  6. 6

    Be string ready. Glue the eyebolt to the top of the neck and the nail to the bottom. Cut slits in the bottom to secure the strings to the poplar. The eyebolt and the screw work to hold the strings in place.

Tips and warnings

  • A cigar box guitar can be made with a full set of strings or just 3.
  • Sand down all the edges. This is especially important after filing or sawing.

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