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Make a CBG

If you want to build a cigar box guitar, you'll need some strings, a stick, and a box. Bill Jehle demonstrates a building project in Songs Inside The Box, and we've got some great tips below including how-to videos.

Cigar Box GuitarHow to Sorta Build Yerself a Basic Cigar Box Guitar by Shane Speal

Shane Speal Ingredients:
– One wooden cigar box
– A stick (1x2x3 poplar plank bought at hardware store)
– Big eye-bolt for bridge (to raise the strings above the cigar box)
– Stove bolt for nut (to raise the strings at the upper end of the neck)
– Three used guitar tuners
– Three guitar strings (acoustic A, D, G strings recommended)
– Woodburning pen

Here’s How
– Shove the stick thru the box by cutting, notching and carving
– Cut out sound holes in box
– Notch out a groove for stove bolt ‘nut’
– Carve out headstock
– Put in guitar tuners
– Woodburn frets on fingerboard
– Drill 3 small holes in the butt end of the stick
– String her up by threading the strings thru the back of the stick butt and up to the tuners
– Wedge ‘bridge’ and ‘nut’ in place
– Tune to an open A chord (A, E, A’)
– Place a 3/4” socket on yer finger & grind out some pure Delta boogie

And here's a video that demonstrates this approach:




Now watch as Julia, age 11, shows off a slightly different method:




Remember, the number one rule of building a cigar box guitar is: "There are no rules!" Just have fun with it, but be careful... Once you've built one, you'll want to build another. It's addictive!


"I got me a cigar box... and got me a tune out of it. I kept my tune and I played from then on."
Lightnin' Hopkins
Texas Blues Musician


Cigar Box Guitar


Songs Inside The Box
a documentary by Max Shores

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