#1 resource for Cigar Box Guitars, Free Plans, How-To, Parts & More!
Cigar Box Nation is sponsored by C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply, your one-stop-shop for Cigar Box Guitar parts and accessories!
I have built two CBG's so far. I am looking to electrify my third. I am totally new at this and not sure exactly what to get. I need cost effective and ease of installation. Also what is the best gauge strings. Does anyone recommend the fret saw from StewMac ? Thanks for any help.
Old Man Vinegar :-)
The simplest and most cost effective would be a piezo and mono jack, both can be purchased from Radio Shack for a few dollars. From there you can use single coil or humbucker guitar pickups, volume controls, tone controls, preamps; however complicated or simple you want to make it.
Here is a page I refer to with wiring diagrams.
Gauge of strings is entirely predicated on what kind of tone you want and how many strings your instrument has. If it has 3 strings, you can get Open G with: .44w .34w .26w tuned GDG, and .26w .17p .13p tuned Gbd.
Easiest and best may be an oxymoron . easiest would be a piezo and a jack . mount the pieZo close to the bridge and stick it on with hot glue then cover the back with hot glue too . you shoud test a spot for sound first . .
best in my opinion would be a mag pickup .. . and may involve more cutting etc ..
remenber mag pickups need electric strings .
a piezo will work with all types of strings ..
best guage ? . knida your choice .. mediums seem popular with piezos .. light or extra light seems popular with electric .
the strings you use are up to you , i like to use # 3, 4 , 5
One other thing about strings, the length of the scale (distance between nut and bridge (or apron) will determine what tunings you can use. In other words for a particular scale, say 25", there is a range of notes you can hit with a particular gauge string. Otherwise you can end up with strings that are too loose or too tight for a particular key. I learned this through trial and error on my first build before understanding the how and why. Here is a helpful tool:
I use these.Good sound and cheap price.If order from Suntekstore use Fedex shipping.Cost few dollars but comes fast.
Piezo and a jack. I'm sure the stumac saw is nice, but for 10. bucks I don't think you can beat the the Japanese pull saw from Harbor Freight, if you have those in your area.
I picked up one of those Harbor Freight pull saws and it sure has been handy. Only paid $7.20 with a 20% off coupon.
wormil makes a good point about the scale - I'd hoped to be able to tune the 25.5 inch scale four string I made like a tenor guitar, but you can't get to pitch with anything but specialist strings I don't think and I don't want to fold it in half trying! 23" scale for a tenor, 25+ probably just open tunings close to the natural string pitch.
If you've got an old pickup laying around, maybe just use that? I've mostly let the parts I have guide what I build.
Out of curiosity, when you say you couldn't get tenor tuning with normal strings, do you mean just the intervals, or specifically CGDA? Because there shouldn't be any reason not to just tune it in fifths but lower
Thanks for thehelp guy's :-)
Specifically CGDA Chris. Dumb move on my part, but it makes a sweet open G (GDGB) so I'm not too upset. This building stuff is a fun learning experience for me, so will try a shorter scale next time
If you go for the piezo path I would consider two in parallel
I have also coverd it in my blog too