I cut into a Don Thomas box to start a build and found the surfaces were made of Cardboard.  I was surprised as the box felt so solid.  So I switched to an Arturo Fuente box that I had handy, but I am now wondering about the acoustic properties of the cardboard.  Anybody out there use it?  What's it sound like? 

I suppose if I were to use a magnetic pickup it wouldn't make much difference.

Mark

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Cardboard is common and commonly used (blue Punch boxes, some Macanudo, Don Tomas, some Partagas, etc). It is definitely different from wood but most don't seem to mind as much. it [might] sound a little less bright but overall we use 'em. Build on.

If I were you, I would do this: look on the inside at the side panels. remove some of the white paper if applicable, and see if its cardboard (I call it pressboard. Same thing). Most likely the lid is pressboard. In my opinion, I would avoid boxes that are made of coarse, pressed sawdust like material. Kinda the same material as cheap laminated countertop or shelving is made of. It chips WAY too easy and doesn't saw well.

-WY
Agreed.
One thing I did on a cardboard build was to glue very thin wood (such as from a hollow-core door) to the inside of the box walls. It brightens up the tone quite a bit.


Wes "Blind Lemon Pledge" Yates said:
Cardboard is common and commonly used (blue Punch boxes, some Macanudo, Don Tomas, some Partagas, etc). It is definitely different from wood but most don't seem to mind as much. it [might] sound a little less bright but overall we use 'em. Build on.

If I were you, I would do this: look on the inside at the side panels. remove some of the white paper if applicable, and see if its cardboard (I call it pressboard. Same thing). Most likely the lid is pressboard. In my opinion, I would avoid boxes that are made of coarse, pressed sawdust like material. Kinda the same material as cheap laminated countertop or shelving is made of. It chips WAY too easy and doesn't saw well.

-WY
Also, keep in mind -- cigar boxes are just that. Cigar boxes. Never intended to be musical instruments*.

-WY

*Your mileage may vary. Results are not typical. Do not try this at home. Dealer retains all rebates and incentives. Subject to tax, tag, and applicable license. Use only in open areas. Not responsible for damages due to improper or illegal use. Unlawful in CA, WY, TX, OH, NY, NJ, SC, PR, AF, BR, EU, FR, and some parts of lower Mongolia. May cause cancer (or at least chronic sleepiness). Do not operate machinery for four hours.
I love em all ,they all sound great,but the vintage boxes ..with real timbers ...wow !
A lot of cardboard boxes were made during the depression and i often wonder about the glues and processes used in their construction.If your filing sound-holes or drilling ,the cardboard dust looks ...well concerning..allways use a mask on cardboard .
As long as the neck goes thru the box it doesnt matter too much what the box is made out of. Although it seems they all have different properties, which adds up to a different sound. I made a guitar all out of cardboard to see if it could be done. The neck is prone to warping though and I ended up only with a one-stringer.

Opps, I just looked at the price on Amazon and I totally retract my statement, well worth the money. Sorry.
Don


Don Thompson said:
Yes I have 3 builds in Don Thomas boxes and the top is not wood, Oh well the bottom is wood though, maybe turn it over and viola wood. They don't sound all that bad and I will site the " their are not rules" and that is my story and I am sticking to it.
Yah wood sounds better, deeper boxes sound better......and where will you end up Sitks spruce guitars sound better to.
So if I could find more wood boxes I would use them but in between Don Thomas boxes fill the gaps, I like the yellow.
You have brought up a good point though.
Cheers Ron
Brendan,

Dunno if this would work and I'm sure it wouldn't work past 3 strings, but if you took strips of .75" cardboard, glued them together to make a 1.5"x.75" neck so that the 'grain' was vertical, I wonder if that would add strength. Would need to be really tight cardboard to begin with, somewhat like a single ply paperboard like a cereal box and NOT this cheap crap cardboard from China.

I could see this as similar to a bunch of tempered hardboard glued together.

-WY


Brendan deVallance said:
As long as the neck goes thru the box it doesnt matter too much what the box is made out of. Although it seems they all have different properties, which adds up to a different sound. I made a guitar all out of cardboard to see if it could be done. The neck is prone to warping though and I ended up only with a one-stringer.

Are we talking about cardboard here or the press board that is used in the lids, they are two very different things. I have a few cardbaord cigar boxs and they would be useless for a cbg, they are real cardboard and the string tension would just crush the lid, too bad because they ahve nice labels. The press board lid is very usable, usually thicker than the plywood tops and as the above have said can be a duller sound, but you never know I've made few that surprised me. They do seem to work well with a piezo (I've never tried a real pickup). If its press board build it.
I used corrugated card board for the neck. I was trying to make it outta stuff that was just lying around. And I had the corrugation going both ways for strength. But it really doesnt like the tension or attaching tuners to it the way wood does.



Wes "Blind Lemon Pledge" Yates said:
Brendan,

Dunno if this would work and I'm sure it wouldn't work past 3 strings, but if you took strips of .75" cardboard, glued them together to make a 1.5"x.75" neck so that the 'grain' was vertical, I wonder if that would add strength. Would need to be really tight cardboard to begin with, somewhat like a single ply paperboard like a cereal box and NOT this cheap crap cardboard from China.

I could see this as similar to a bunch of tempered hardboard glued together.

-WY


I play a cbg made from one of them boxes and I think its got grate tone. I also use one for my stomp box it also sounds grate. You can check it out in the videos under the coco butter kids

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