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Found this site while looking at home made guitars. After viewing some of teh posts etc. i've decided to make a CBG for my son. He normally plays an electric 4 or 5 string bass, but also can play an acoustic guitar and is starting a college music course in september, so i thought this would be kinda cool for him to have.
I've gathered some parts, a Cigar Box, length of Oak for the neck, strings, machine heads, fret wire piezo discs, a pot and 1/4" jack. I plan to make a 2 pizeo 4 string guitar. No real reason except it seems a nice idea. I'm ok with the soldering etc of the pizeos and jack, but i'm not good with woodwork.
The plan is to mount the neck though the box, fix the pizeos to the underside of teh box lid, use a bolt for the nut and maybe bridge, and string it so i have 2 strings at each side at the head of the neck. I would like to fret it as well but unsure about fret spacings.
So has anyone got any tips based on all this? Any suggestions and help, all welcomed. I'll try to post pictures as i'm going so you can all see the progress.
Ok one thing i got to ask is about frets. I want to do frets on teh fingerboard. I'm thinking of using a scale length of 25" and maybe 16-18 frets? Does it really matter the number of frets used? And how accurate do i need to be with fret placement. Using a calculator it shows teh fisrt fret might be 1.403" from nut, obviously i cant meaure that accurate with a tape measure.
I have a beginner's video for fretting on my page here. It may help answer some of your questions.
Thanks for the info, i wathed your video and found it helpful. I'm now cutting fret slots! 18 of them! I used the Wfret software to get a template that seemed ok and am using my razor saw to cut the slots (having to guess depth so going slowly). I wont be fitting frets yet as i plan to stain the neck before final assembly.
you need to be as accurate as you can be. its nerve racking, cutting fret slots the first few times..
i would consider a slightly shorter scale length than 25, try around 23..
if you can get your head around metric, a lot of ppl find that easier to be accurate with, including me (but i grw up on metric)
there are online fret calculators that'll print a template for you, check it against your ruler, glue the paper on the wood carefully and just saw thru the lines..
you can do as many frets as you can fit, its up to you. I routinely do 24 clear of the box, but thats because i like to bring the bridge towards (but not all the way to) the box center compared to a lot youll see around here who do it quite near the edge.
Thanks for teh advice. Why do you suggest a 23" scale? what differnce will it make? I just based mine close to a fenders 25.5" with 18 frets as thats the number my sons acoustic has. I would use metric being from UK but as most of templates and plans seems to be states based thier all in imperial, which i can work with just as well.
I guess it could come under personal preferences but I have made quite a few cigar box guitars and prefer to mount the Piezo onto the neck on the opposite side to the bridge.
When I have attached the pick up to the box it sure worked fine but I found Issues with feed back if connected to large amps
Also I consider two piezoes in parallel to have better tone and again protect against feedback. there cheep so it will not cost much
Like I said it may come down to personal taste but it is something to consider
check my blog out it covers some other cigar box stuff you might find usefull
Well after several months, money problems and other issues i finishedmy first CBG. I used teh fret software mentioned, and bought 2 lots of fret wire to use (have half a rod left), The first set of strings were too short (cheap chinese rubbish) and have had issues with keeping teh lid shut, lining up teh strings and getting a bridge. But now its all done.
The neck was a nice piece of planed oak bought on ebay, the box a job lot on ebay, the tuners again ebay, strings from local music shop, and the rest just a lot of hard work.
What went wrong? well as you can see on the neck, strings werent lined up, initially used brass pins neatly in a line but they didnt match heh nut bought after so had to resort to screws at last minute (as you can see not aligned very well), Bridge was making strings too high so that had to be cut in half and refitted, my cutting of the fret slots wasnt perfect and straight in a few cases. But the shaping of the rounded end on the neck worked a treat!
The sound is produced from 2 pizeos wired in series with a pot for volume and on first test sounded ok. As it was for my lads bithday, it was 2 days late, he's now got it to try to properly tune and play with.
Would i do one again? probably but not for a long while. Too much time and money on this first one, and like others tried to do everything at once rather than a little bit at a time. But still, hoping it now plays ok and sounds good just so i can say, yes it was worth teh effort!
Paul, at first glance it looks dandy!
And far better than your son carrying around a very valuable instrument in a new place.
That being said, yah, it looks like everything is half a bubble off.
But what a fun tale you have to tell !
I'm noticing PK is down and dirty with spot on advice for many people in need.
I'll build on the twenty - three scale as he suggests, for the reason he said. And I too, was planning on using the fender 25.5 for the same reason you described. I'm staying with three string. Less complicated than more and still a relatively complex sound.
btw, I did notice you wired the piezos in series when it was advised to do so in parallel. and they still worked well enough for you?