How I Attach a Lid to a Cigar Box Guitar for Best Acoustic Response - by Shane Speal

You've shaped the neck, cut the soundholes and put all those glorious electronics inside.  Now it's time to attach the lid to the box!

In the video below, I show the simple way that I attach the lid.  As you can see, I prefer to use "drop in lid" cigar boxes that feature a simple flat lid. 

Scroll down for a bonus video on installing my favorite preamp.    

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Hi Shane

You guys over there in the US seem to have an inexhaustible supply of poplar for your necks; we in the UK do not. However, I have found an excellent source of oak, iroko and mahogany, pre-rounded at the back, 35mm wide, 20mm deep. Perfect! But what's the best way- no, what's your way of carving out from a hardwood through-neck the bits between the tailpiece and the bridge, and the bridge and the other end of the box. I must have missed that video...

Hoping you can help- Wal

I notch it out using my table saw.  I'd do a video on it, but I'm currently writing a book about building these things and my publisher is asking me to save the big building tips for the book.

So I could wait for the book... Thing is, i take a rather empirical approach to CBG building, started with no tools at all, and now have one or two. And nowhere to work, not even a bench. When is the book out? Actual paper, or ethereal and web-based? Ah well, at least I can get shaped oak for about a dollar a foot...

Yep, actual book.  One of the biggest woodworking book publishers in the US.  A mix of DIY plans and cigar box guitar history, all from a musician's perspective

Boss!! Can't wait to buy a copy.

I use my bandsaw

Great tips Shane.


How do you put the screws into the edge of the sides of the box without them splitting?

very carefully!

Drill pilot holes.

Wal, Glen Watt has several videos on techniques (here on CB Nation, Youtube) to notch out neck blanks to fit inside of the box. Hand saw, chisel, hammer, rasp. More labor, less tool investment. I use a table saw or a band saw, because I have them. There are no steps to building a CBG that cannot be done with hand tools. Power tools make many steps quicker, often more precise, but you can build without them. Better, I think, to start with minimal tools, take your time, and get goin'!  We have seen videos in here where guys make gits using tree limbs, gas/oil cans, and kitchen knives. Then play them. It can be done with what you have.

Good points, well made. My first 'real' CBG saw me cut a strip 11" long and just a quarter inch thick lengthwise along an oak neck using just a blunt tenon saw and a sharp eye. Couldn't believe how muck work it was- or how well it turned out. What was cut out is pretty much veneer quality, and it will get used in a future build.

What I really lack is an actual work bench. Even crappy tools need a stable surface, and I haven't got one. My wife tells me there will be one under the Xmas tree, however... Meanwhile, the second 'real' CBG will appear in the photo library today- watch this space!


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