A Better Acoustic Pickup for Cigar Box Guitar: How I Install a Piezo Rod & Preamp

Get the most out of your acoustic/electric cigar box guitars with an inexpensive piezo rod & preamp unit. 

In this video, I show a simple mounting technique for neck-through cigar box guitars.  The sound is fantastic and really allows a great tone response from the strings.  (Scroll down for a demo of the finished guitar, too.)

Additional notes:

Parts used:

C. B. Gitty 4-Band Preamp & Piezo Rod Unit [with Volume Knob &a...

For the last 24 years, I have built my cigar box guitars with the stick-through-box method. In the past, I put a simple piezo disc pickup under the box lid and hoped for the best.  This new method is so much better in sound response.

Here's how it sounds when done:

Building tips:

I always make sure to notch-out the 1x2 poplar neck on my table saw, allowing the wood to only make contact with the underside of the box lid at the edges and right under the bridge.  (This allows the majority of the box lid to vibrate freely, giving louder volume and better tone.)

When mounting the piezo rod, I make sure that the "contact notch" under the bridge is at least 1/4" wide.  This allows me to go back and create a groove for the pickup by taking an deeper swipe in the middle with my table saw.

The rod is held in place with a quick line of glue from a hot glue gun

IMPORTANT - Cut the pickup groove to the exact depth where it will be flush with the wood notch.  The pickup needs to make contact with the underside of the box.  

I must give a big THANK YOU to John Nickel and Harry Harne for inspiration.  Nickel showed me that piezos really need to be mated to preamps in order to achieve proper string response and a fuller tone.  Harne had the audacity to just wedge a piezo rod between neck and box... an idea so simple, yet one that works perfectly.

Views: 911

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

These sound so much better than the round piezos to me. The round ones are good for a certain tone if that's what you like or need for a certain song though.

Got a question, would the sound even be better with a conventional bridge that housed the piezo versus under the lid?

I did that, once on a Cohiba box lid.  It was a half inch thick, I knew it'd be a problem if I just had it under that lid.  I cut a channel into the bottom of a wood bridge, and hot-glued directly to it.

Yeah, I think my next one might have a piezo incorporated in the bridge, have to make the bridge like a conventional electric acoustic bridge for best results.


The Essential Pages

New to Cigar Box Nation?How to Play Cigar Box GuitarsFree Plans & How to Build Cigar Box GuitarsCigar Box Guitar Building BasicsCigar Box Guitar Parts Store

Site Sponsor

Recommended Links & Resources


2017 "Kick The Can" Build-Off contest - Canjos, Tin Can Guitars

Started by Shane Speal shanespeal.com in Feature Articles. Last reply by Andries D. EKER 3 hours ago. 56 Replies

Tools Question

Started by Shawn Doyle in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by ChickenboneJohn 3 hours ago. 12 Replies


Started by Sean Albany in Performances, How to Play, Lessons, Concerts. Last reply by Erasmo Coco 11 hours ago. 8 Replies

Custom box

Started by Shawn Doyle in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Clark Rowden yesterday. 4 Replies

Shipping a CBG

Started by Ducati Scotty in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Richard Dean on Sunday. 24 Replies

Latest Activity

Oscar Myer replied to Jeffrey Greene's discussion O Holy Night--Can Anyone Help? in the group CBG Tabs
"If you tune to Open G, GDG, this might help you. Good luck. Intro:…"
13 minutes ago
Alan joined John Sims's group

Secrets of the CBG Underground

Tips, Tricks of the Trade and Secrets that (almost) no one is supposed to know about...Tell us your…See More
14 minutes ago
Alan liked John Sims's group Secrets of the CBG Underground
14 minutes ago
Alan joined Nation News's group

Homemade Dobros

"It don't mean a thang, if it ain't got that clang!!!"We're discussing homemade dobro ideas.  From…See More
25 minutes ago
Dave Lynas commented on Shane Speal shanespeal.com's video

My Favorite 3-String Cigar Box Guitar Lick! by Shane Speal

"Very clear lesson Shane. Thanks for your Giving."
1 hour ago
Dave Lynas liked Shane Speal shanespeal.com's video
1 hour ago
Jeff 'Bones' Reilly left a comment for Andries D. EKER
"magnificent Andries the bridge is great thats going to be pretty hard to beat my friend ."
1 hour ago
Milt Haselmire commented on Richard Sundberg's video

Midnight Special, Shine A Little Light

"Wow. Great version. Love it."
1 hour ago
Dave Lynas commented on Andries D. EKER's video

War ! A. D. Eker 2017

"Great guitar and play Andries! I like that you post a pic of the guitar you are playing in the…"
1 hour ago
Milt Haselmire commented on Milt Haselmire's video

Backslider Guitars Oil Can 3 String

"Thanks Richard. Just trying to have some fun without hurting myself."
1 hour ago
Dave Lynas commented on Richard Sundberg's video

Midnight Special, Shine A Little Light

"The light shown! Happy Thanksgiving Richard. Pease."
1 hour ago
Dave Lynas commented on Anthony Insetta's video

My tenor guitar

"Wow Anthony! Fabulous guitar well played."
1 hour ago



© 2017   Created by Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service