• Im working on my first actual CBG. I was not expecting it to be as loud as my acoustic guitar but, the volume projection is much lower than expected. I have one sound hole in upper left. would adding another sound hole make it a bit louder?

  • also, I think it would have been better to brace the box under the bridge instead of supporting it with the wood coming through the body, if that makes any sense. I did cut away a large part of the top and bottom of that wood coming through the box so to allow the box to resonate more, but left it in contact with the box under the bridge and near where the neck starts.

  • the bridge itself is made from oak flooring..I used the edge with the tongue and filed it an angle for intonation. would it have been better to use a less dense wood? or cut notches on the bottom of the bridge where it contacts the body?
  • Neck and fret board are also oak. (its what I have an abundance of), though, I wont do the fret board out of oak again.
  • any experience shared would be appreciated

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Brendon,cigar boxes are not usually all that loud accoustically due to the lack of volume of air to move, but some things that might help, first, I always have the soundboard clear of the neck except for the very front and rear of the box, but others will tell you that their gits sound fine, even with the neck touching all the way, either under or over the soundboard uncle Crow style, i've never tried that so can't comment yey, or ney, next, the bridge being a denser, or harder material will transfer more vibration to the soundboard instead of sponging it up like a softer material might then, looking at your pick, i'd say your bridge is probably a bit too far to the rear to get the best results, somewhere around a 3rd of the box or even a bit more will help, with your guitar being fretted, that's hard to change without a new fretboard/ neck, but you can slide it forward just to see if it gets louder or not, as for sound holes, more, or bigger sound holes will alter the tone more than the volume i'd think and your current sound hole doesn't appear too small for that size box. It's a pity as it's a nice looking guitar, but I would try freeing the soundboard from the neck under the bridge, you can always glue a piece back in if you need to, then move your bridge forward just to see if it gets louder,[ I'm assuming the bridge isn't glued down] if that makes a large difference, it might be worthwhile making a new neck to suit the scale and using the old neck on a different guitar, but I would do that only if the volume was clearly louder when you moved the bridge.

unfortunately,  with the short length from the tailpiece it was necessary to glue the bridge down.. I originally was going to make a 21" scale for this box, but decided to use a 25 1/2 fret board that I had already made previously. It actually sounds pretty good, especially tuned gdae or gdad, needs a few tweeks here and there, but I'm pretty happy with it, for a first attempt. 

I may take it back apart and remove the wood under the bridge and brace, if only just to experiment. I will have to get a pressure cooker and make a steamer since I glued rather than screwed, but I like tinkering anyway. Thanks for your response!

if it sounds good, and plays well, just take some wood off the neck under the soundboard, if it's still not loud enough, add a p/up or a piezo, and build another accoustic, I wouldn't recommend killing a good playing/sounding guitar just to make it a little louder

soundboard and and soundboard surface area followed by volume inside, all seem to be sound killers when lacking, which is why my next build will incorporate it own built inside battery operated mini amp and speaker self contained within itself, with either a charging port for the 9v battery or easy access panel for it. Nothing to make it sound super loud, just louder acoustically.

 You can try  harder or softer materials for your saddle ,Thinner saddle . a fret in a peice of wood etc. may help

A CBG will never match the volume that a acoustic guitar will have. It's all about the size of the sound chamber.

Acoustic strings or steel strings? Steel strings will be louder.

Sound hole size, how many sound holes and where you put them all make a difference. Too many holes is just as bad as not enough. Always best to research all things about a git before you build.

Looking at your guitar, the sound hole size looks about right. Placement might have been better in the middle of the box or using F-holes to the sides may have been better, but that won't matter on this git now.

I would change the bridge to include a piece of steel. A bolt, large fret, skeleton key or something similar will most likely do wonders. Then you may want to use steel strings if your not already using them. Heavier gauge and larger size strings can make a difference.

What material are using for the nut? Softer materials used for nut and bridge will enhance tone at the cost of volume.

Hope all that helps.

Its a bone nut, I am toying with the idea of remaking the bridge to incorporate a piezo rod, I dont really like the piezo buttons much, hell I may buy 4 rods and cut one down for each string while I'm at it. I guess I would need to do the same with the bridge material which would need to bone or metal. I have a Godin with a set up like that and it sounds really good plugged in {with absolutely no mic effect). 

I have electric guitar strings on it now, the middle 4 from a set of 10's. I am planning on increasing the size just a smidge. I like the gdae / gdad tuning so I should probably look at guages for a bousouki or mandola.

Put a piece of fret wire on top of the bridge you have first. If that doesn't do it, then Id consider a heavier gauge strings. Mandola strings usually have  12 - 12 - 24w - 24w - 34 - 34 - 48 - 48 gauge strings for the G/D/A/E tuning at 18" to 20" scale.

Your idea for separate rod piezos sounds like a good idea.

OK with the few I've built the first one I but the bridge sitting right over the through neck sacked a few sound holes in it and yes it was quiet then UJ recommended that next build I move the bridge towards the center of the box to increase the sound that worked a treat and I do think its better to have a really solid bridge than soft wood again just my 2 cents .

On thing that seems to help  (yes, this is an anecdote, not data)  is to use a banjo style bridge...  I hollow out the bridge and make it an inch wider than the neck.  The only part that touches is about 1/4" on either side.

You will find lots of opinions on whether to notch the neck or glue it all down.   Personally, I've done both, and I glue it down across the box  (for now).  

As far as Piezos, I've used rods and TONS of discs.  27mm discs work great if you cover them (foam tape or hot glue).   If you use a preamp, I would go with 20mm, as they reduce the handling noise.  Rods are still better, but don't overthink it... It's just a cigar box!

Hi, looking at the photo I would suggest a larger sound hole, or a series of soundholes. I have often added holes in a suitable array until I get the desired effect. Even removing a grill from a soundhole improves the volume.

All of the above suggestion would be worth pursuing, but the soundhole would be where I would start.
Cheers Taff

Hello: I agree about bridge placement. Here's a tip to find loudest bridge position. Take a ping pong ball and starting at tailpiece bounce the ball on top of your guitar. Listen to the sound, move up the ball in small incriments toward the other end of the box while listening. At some point the click of the ball will be loudest. This is usually around the 1/3rd point. That's the sweet spot.. Then put a small mark on the top of the guitar at that point. Then do your neck layout  using that point for bridge location and build the neck.  Hope this helps.


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