#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'm building my first instrument. It's going to be a tenor ukulele, which I'm calling a "banjolele" because the box I'm using is a rectangular tin that once held Whitman's candies. It measures 10" x 8.5". I've got all the materials I need at this point, and I'm working on making a nut out of scavenged bone, so that will take me a bit.
As I'm working on things, I've been thinking a lot about that box top. Because this is a through-neck design with a tailpiece, there won't be upward pressure on the lid, but the bridge will be pushing down hard on it. I'm concerned about the whole thing collapsing the first time I put tension on the strings. Because of that, I'm considering some kind of cross-bracing. When I do that, though, I'm worried about deadening the sound. I like the idea of the whole lid vibrating when I pluck the strings. Won't wood bracing keep that from happening?
Then there's the question of the bridge itself. Should I use a banjo-like design to minimize contact with the vibrating lid, or use a big flat bridge to distribute the pressure?
Finally, I'm thinking about soundholes. They will doubtless weaken the lid, so should I put them around the sides of the box instead?
Ideally, I want an arching bridge, no bracing, and soundholes in the lid. I guess wheat I'm asking for is reassurance that it will hold up to the pressure if I do that.
Here's a photo of the tin, if that will help:
Well, I've completed my tin uke. Ended up with a concert size instead of a tenor after deciding to add a tailpiece.
The only things I purchased were the tuning machines ($16 for 6) and strings ($6). I also bought a dollar store door alarm ($1) to scavenge a piezo from, but haven't used it. The uke sounds bright and pretty without amplification, and I doubt I'll ever need to plug it into an amp. I'll save the piezo for my next build!
So, total cost (less labor): $22 :-)
wow! Turned out real nice. I like what you did.