Home Made Resonator Boxes 101, v.2.0

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Home Made Resonator Boxes 101, v.2.0

Beginning Box Building. Nothing too fancy, but functional. For people who don't have easy access to cigar boxes. Other home made non-rectangular box resonator discussions are also welcome.

Location: Planet Earth, but anyone from anywhere is welcome.
Members: 218
Latest Activity: Jun 1

Welcome to Home Made Resonator Boxes 101, Version 2.0

 

Updated: May 15, 2015


If you have ever built your 'guitar' with a home made sound box, let us know about it! Post your photos, especially any interesting construction techniques you used.


Due to my mistake of using the word "Resonator" in the name of this group, there now appears to be two groups of contributors:

1.) People wanting to discuss basic sound box construction (my intended audience):
2.) People wanting to discus building resonator cigar box guitars using metal resonators like what Old Lowe is famous for making and selling:

About This Discussion Forum

 

For those folks interested in building Resonator CBGs and Resonator Parts, please enter your posts under the Discussion Forum under either the "Resonator parts" discussion, or the "Placing the Resonator" discussion. Also be sure to check out my "Useful Links" which includes links to some interesting Reso-CBG related topics and photos (see below).

 

Most of the rest of this Discussion Forum is dedicated to people interested in discussing the various methods and styles of box building, including woodworking techniques, joinery, decorating and the like. Maybe we can have a different discussion forum for each style of box (rectangular, circular, octagonal, etc.) We'll see how the group evolves.


Useful Links:

  1. Basic Woodworking
  2. Basic Box Building
    • Project #13 "Boxtrot - Anything I Can Do (you can do)" by Mag Ruffman, the ToolGirl. In this article she shows how to make small wooden boxes complete with box joints using just a small fine toothed saw, a chisel and a few other simple hand tools to cut the box joint "fingers" and "holes". This is a very interesting article.
    • Tom Hintz & TheNewWoodworker.com - Building Basic Boxes (using power tools). He has many other articles on woodworking, too.
    • Gluing the Box Frame: Here's a diagram showing how to use two lengths of angle iron, several clamps and a web clamp to glue-up a box so that it will be nice and square. Read more about it in the Comment Wall, below.
    • Harbour Freight also sells a nice web clamp ideal for box building. They describe it as a 1" x 15 ft. Ratcheting Band Clamp, Item # 66220, and it sells for only $5.99. Here's a photo: What's nice about this web clamp is that it includes 4 corner pieces which means you don't need the two pieces of angle iron used in the box jig above.
    • Tony Hyman's Cigar History Museum - Types of Cigar Boxes has a lot of interesting photos of old cigar boxes that makes for some interesting viewing & reading, especially if you decide you want to decorate you home- made wooden box like an old cigar box.
  3. Advanced Box Building
    • Testing a box for bridge placement - a link to an interesting Cigar Box Nation discussion in the Super Advanced Cigar Box Building group that was started by a question posed by John Maw. The best solution was the idea of building a diddly bow in which to test your boxes for sound quality and optimal bridge placement. [Fixed link, 9/19/2011]
    • Here's a challenging box design ideal for a real cool Cigar Box Guitar:
    • Sound boxes don't have to be square or rectangular.They can have any number of sides. But remember that the corner joints must be cut at an angle appropriate to the number of sides the box will have. Here is a summary of that data:
      Num. of Sides = Corner Angles
      3 sided = 60 degrees
      4 sided = 45 degrees
      5 sided = 36 degrees
      6 sided = 30 degrees
      7 sided = 25.71 degrees (26 is okay)
      8 sided = 22.5 degrees
      9 sided = 20 degrees
      10 sided = 18 degrees
      11 sided = 16.36 degrees (16 is okay)
      12 sided = 15 degrees
      15 sided = 12 degrees
      16 sided = 11.25 degrees (11 is okay)

      Much above 16 sides and you may as well go with a circle. What ever number of sides you decide upon, the angle size can always be calculated by dividing 180 by the number of sides you want to have.
    • Block Rim Construction is a series of YouTube videos produced by Richard Brown (aka "bordertownbrown") detailing how to build round bodies as for banjos and similar instruments. Many of the techniques he shows are also applicable to the regular polygonal sound boxes described above. There are 7 or 8 videos and all the video files are named "block rim video partX.mp4" where "X" is the part number between 1 and 8. Use the search feature on the YouTube website to search for the additional videos of the series.
    • How to bend wood to form rounded sound boxes? Check out these two web pages set up by Jim Varnum: "Travel Guitar"and "Appalachian Mountain Fiddle". Both articles describe in fair detail the process of bending wood by soaking them in near boiling water for 30 to 45 minutes.
    • Also, on the Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer (FOTMD) website, there's a discussion entitled "American Cittern (Strummer) Building Discussions " which details how one builder (Bobby Ratliff) builds his round bodied stick dulcimers. It includes photos of the form he uses and mentions that he uses a propane torch to heat and bend his red oak sides; rather than soaking them in steam or water).
    • Another good source of information about bending wood is the Veritas® Steam-Bending Instruction Booklet, which is a free download - just click on their link "View as PDF" near the bottom of the page.
    • The folks at buildyourguitar.com have a very extensive list of links for folks interested in building guitars. I'm sure there are a lot of techniques explained in these links that are applicable to building box guitars.
    • (stub)
  4. Resonator Cigar Box Guitars
  5. Interesting Threads on Reso-CBGs
  6. Resonator Cone Makers/Sellers
    • Mike Lowe (Old Lowe) High quality 6" brass, copper or aluminum cones for CBGs ($25/ea). He also is now making matching cover plates ($30/ea). Also check out his tail pieces and sound hole covers. I especially like those with the lone star motif.
    • New: C.B. Gitty now sells 5.5 inch spun aluminum cones for like $18/each, a very reasonable price. It's called the "Lightning" cone. Gitty also offers a larger 7 inch "Thunder" cone for like $26/each. Both types of cones are made by Charles Atchison.
    • Republic Guitars has a nice 5.75" resonator cone ($25) and cover plate ($25) which they sell in a 4-piece kit that additionally includes a biscuit and a bridge ($55). Republic also handle the large 10.25" cones and cover plates should you be interested in converting a full sized guitar. They also have a few tail piece offering.
    • National Reso Phonic Guitars has resonator cones for Ukes and CBGs priced around $60, including the biscuit/bridge. They also have large reonators cones (9.5" and 10.5") for full-size guitar conversion projects.
    • Delta Resonator Cones (UK) Cones for Ukes and CBGs (£40.00). They also have a large resonator cone thats 10.5" for full-sized guitars.
    • Pete Moles (Molanator Guitars / Tasmania) Aluminum 'Molo Cones' for full sized guitars
    • Klangbox (Austrian) 4.7" brass cones... are no longer available.
    • Ben Moor's (Roosterman) Homespun Candy Cones for CBGs (£6 or £15 for 3). Measure 5.25" in diameter.
    • Ziggie's Music (on E-Bay) sells a complete set of hardware for home-made resonator guitars: 7" spun aluminum cone, stainless steel cover plate, tail piece and soundhole cover all for ($75). Three patterns are available: Slot Pattern, 50's Pattern and Star Pattern.
    • Note 1: Plus Shipping Charges
      Note 2: Klangbox also makes an interesting low profile magnetic pickup called the "Flatpup 3 Humbucker", which has been well received by some CBN builders.

  7. Guitar Builder's Glossaries

 

Discussion Forum

Piezo Placement

Started by Doug Patterson. Last reply by Paul Curry Apr 13. 9 Replies

If this is not the appropriate place to ask this question, I apologize.  I'm preparing my first box for a resonator cone but am unsure as to where the piezo should be placed.  Is it placed on the cone itself or somewhere on the box?  Any advice will…Continue

my first two guitars made this year

Started by Ron Lutz. Last reply by Ken Vickerson Apr 10. 4 Replies

My very first cbg build is the neck on top instrument made with walnut top, quarter-sawn sycamore sides, cherry back and red oak neck.  I did have a couple of small revisions after this photo was made, I added a walnut fretboard and put a veneer on…Continue

Tags: guitar, walnut, banjo

The Boat Paddle Box -- The Traditional Stick Dulcimer Soundbox

Started by Rand Moore. Last reply by Murdoc_420 Apr 4, 2016. 13 Replies

[Originally Posted: Mar 25, 2011] I have decided to call this the "boat paddle box", or simply the "paddle box" design, because of the shape of the final product. This body style is the traditional body style for stick dulcimers and was…Continue

Tags: sound box, stick dulcimer body, paddle box, canoe paddle, boat paddle

Notes on Making Sound Boxes for Metal Resonator CBGs

Started by Rand Moore. Last reply by Philip Hale Mar 29, 2016. 8 Replies

Hi All...For a long time I have wanted to build a resonator based string instrument, but I've put it off for a long time because of a poor success rate on prototype builds. I had lots of excuses. Chief among them was the difficulty of cutting an…Continue

Tags: resonator, reso, sound box

Homemade Box Clamp

Started by Monterey. Last reply by Monterey Jun 28, 2015. 13 Replies

I made a box clamp out of 1" x 1.5" Spruce I ripped from a 2" x 4" on the tablesaw.The back piece is the length of the box. The 2 sides are 0.5" shorter than the sides of the box, plus 1" for the width of the back piece. The front piece is 4" longer…Continue

Where do people find solid wood stock for soundboards?

Started by Barsymes Cratchnee. Last reply by Monterey Mar 9, 2015. 6 Replies

So I've seen a number of builds on the site with solid wood tops such as spruce and was wondering where people get that kind of lumber.  Buying thick stock, joining and planing?  Online site with soundboard material?  Just curious of people's sound…Continue

How I made the box for Reuben's birthday guitar

Started by sasquatch. Last reply by sasquatch Jul 28, 2014. 8 Replies

Let me start by saying that I don't consider myself an expert in this subject, but I have made two very successful resonator boxes with simplest of tools and cheapest of materials.This particular box is made from 6mm ply for the sides, 3mm ply for…Continue

Tags: boxes, resonator, made, home

Building your own box that opens? Anyone done this?

Started by Barsymes Cratchnee. Last reply by gary sheldon Jun 17, 2014. 12 Replies

Was thinking about building my own box and one of the things I like about some of the cigar box builds I've seen is the ability to open the box when the strings are off.  Seems silly, but a nice option if you want to swap necks (screwed, not glued),…Continue

Measuring wood ( and/or box) resonances - cheaply

Started by Darren Addy. Last reply by gary sheldon May 19, 2014. 9 Replies

I'll start off by saying that this may not be everyone's "cup of tea" and that some people might consider this "overthinking". To that I will simply say that one person's overthinking is another person's "understanding". Let's start with something…Continue

Box for three string reso

Started by Michael Fred Johnson. Last reply by Michael Fred Johnson Apr 30, 2014. 11 Replies

This is the design for a three string using a uke resonator cone and cover along with a photo of the finished result…Continue

Tags: resonator, string, three

Comment Wall

Comment

You need to be a member of Home Made Resonator Boxes 101, v.2.0 to add comments!

Comment by Bob Johnston on December 29, 2016 at 11:04am

Michael Fred Johnson thanks.  This was what I had in mind for my build.  Time to order some parts.  

Comment by Michael Fred Johnson on December 29, 2016 at 8:13am

These both use 6" bowls. The red one has the neck dovetailed into a block as in trad construction following my drawing in this forum.The black one has a through neck cut away under the bowl to make construction easier.In both builds the bowl is screwed to a support ring glued under the sound board

Comment by Bob Johnston on December 28, 2016 at 3:56pm

I'm starting on my first build and want to try a six inch dog dish build.  I noticed on photos of these builds the bridge is in the middle of the dish.  I'm guessing that this will allow the most resonation from the strings.  Is there any benefit of also using small sound holes in the top above the cone? My plan is to use bracing around the bowl that I can attach the neck to.  I'm going to install a pup as soon as I can decide which one to order but I would like to practice without an amp.

Comment by gary sheldon on November 2, 2014 at 1:06am

Progress:

I corrected an error I have been making.  The paint can lid fit pretty tight in the hole, and I kept taking it in and out.  But I neglected to physically connect it to the guitar top. This afternoon, I epoxyed it in and the sound is much better with less extraneous sounds and buzzing, etc.  Cleaner, but with the twang I have been looking for.  I am pretty happy with the sound now and I am getting around 97 db sound out of it acousticly. 

I also epoxyed the cookie tin into another top, but haven't tried that yet.

Comment by gary sheldon on November 1, 2014 at 1:09pm

I guess I don't know how to send an audio file on this site.  I can email it.  My email is 

glsheldon@aol.com

Comment by gary sheldon on November 1, 2014 at 1:03pm

Mark,

Paint can lids:

Now I'll try to send these 2 audio files to the site.

Stressed and unstressed.

The guitar is open G tuned.  I had to raise the bridge for the unstressed lid..  650mm scale length; acoustic only in these files.  Forgive my playing. The guitar

has a home made, rather larfe body made from cheap materials. 

Comment by gary sheldon on November 1, 2014 at 12:18pm

Mark, I'll try to get a comparison together in the next day or so.   I also need to try out my cookie can stressed lid.

On another subject, does anyone know if photographic printer paper with and adhesive back exists?  I discovered how much better the photo paper looks than the adhesive mailing labels.

Comment by Mark Bliss on October 31, 2014 at 10:07pm

I actually think the paint can lid is a pretty good idea. I had looked at one and considered doing exactly what you did.

My thinking was that the rim would maintain enough rigidity and the tension created by the hammered edge might just create something interesting

I'd like to hear your results in a comparison test Gary! I think you might be on to something good in home made resonator substitutes!

Comment by gary sheldon on October 31, 2014 at 7:44pm

Rand,

I decided to try stressing my cookie tin lid.  I tried the lid a few weeeks ago and didn't get a great sound.  It was a bit dead sounding also.  It is 7 1/2" diameter, so nice and big.  I'll put it in the guitar later tonight or tomorrow.  I'll let you know.

I am not even sure what I am looking (listening) for.  I think more of a banjo sound.  It is amazing how the really tight skin on a banjo sounds so much like metal.

Comment by gary sheldon on October 31, 2014 at 2:05am

Yes. I can easily hear the difference.  The unstressed lid has a dead sound.  Stressed a more lively sound, more tinny and gritty.  That's the best description I can give it.  The lids are cheap enough here.  It is possibler to try different things on different lids.

 

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Discussion Forum

Piezo Placement

Started by Doug Patterson. Last reply by Paul Curry Apr 13. 9 Replies

my first two guitars made this year

Started by Ron Lutz. Last reply by Ken Vickerson Apr 10. 4 Replies

Notes on Making Sound Boxes for Metal Resonator CBGs

Started by Rand Moore. Last reply by Philip Hale Mar 29, 2016. 8 Replies

Homemade Box Clamp

Started by Monterey. Last reply by Monterey Jun 28, 2015. 13 Replies

Where do people find solid wood stock for soundboards?

Started by Barsymes Cratchnee. Last reply by Monterey Mar 9, 2015. 6 Replies

How I made the box for Reuben's birthday guitar

Started by sasquatch. Last reply by sasquatch Jul 28, 2014. 8 Replies

Building your own box that opens? Anyone done this?

Started by Barsymes Cratchnee. Last reply by gary sheldon Jun 17, 2014. 12 Replies

Measuring wood ( and/or box) resonances - cheaply

Started by Darren Addy. Last reply by gary sheldon May 19, 2014. 9 Replies

Box for three string reso

Started by Michael Fred Johnson. Last reply by Michael Fred Johnson Apr 30, 2014. 11 Replies

deltaresonatorcones.uk

Started by martin baker. Last reply by martin baker Apr 29, 2014. 2 Replies

Placing the Resonator Cone

Started by Rand Moore. Last reply by Rand Moore Apr 28, 2014. 1 Reply

Most useful power tool for CBG

Started by David Ford. Last reply by Barsymes Cratchnee Jan 9, 2014. 14 Replies

My CATBRO Resonator

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Alt. box material

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My New "Thin-Walled" Sound Box Design

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Advice on first box build

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Rand Moore My Mountain Dulcimer Project

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My Flying "V" Dulcimer Project

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