Cigar Box Fiddles - Plans, ideas, tips & more

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Cigar Box Fiddles - Plans, ideas, tips & more

Idea trading post for bowed instruments. Share photos and tips of fiddles and whatnot that you've built, acquired or seen.

Members: 143
Latest Activity: Nov 7

Discussion Forum

Bow for cigar box fiddle

Started by Phil Thomas. Last reply by Phil Thomas May 23. 2 Replies

My First Cigar Box Fiddle

Started by Tim LaFave. Last reply by Alan Hawkins Mar 4, 2016. 7 Replies

Pochette build

Started by Jaber. Last reply by Jaber Jan 20, 2016. 2 Replies

First cigar box fiddle

Started by Slow Slough Guitars Dec 23, 2014. 0 Replies

First "cello" build

Started by Jaber. Last reply by Jaber Apr 26, 2014. 7 Replies

Building the "Stumpwater" fiddle

Started by Al Lyons. Last reply by Gipson Fat Fingers Shoemaker Feb 8, 2014. 29 Replies

Bass

Started by Redbelly. Last reply by Reeds Taylor Sep 21, 2013. 3 Replies

how to add an adjustable shoulder rest?

Started by Paul Cooper. Last reply by Paul Cooper Aug 29, 2013. 6 Replies

Tremendous online violin making site!

Started by Diane in Chicago Jun 16, 2013. 0 Replies

"Tips on How I Build a CB Fiddle"

Started by Tim LaFave. Last reply by Tim LaFave May 25, 2013. 4 Replies

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Comment by Mark Bliss on November 7, 2017 at 7:05pm

What I meant about the fingering is that most people struggle with the half step on a single string, being so close as the feeling like full size fingers almost need to overlap a little to hit the right notes. Especially as you move away from the first position.

I cant offer much on the tuning question, I usually trend the other way if I use alternative tunings tuning a concert uke to fifths like a mando etc....  

I cant imagine trying to play a fiddle with re-entrant tuning, but hey..... People have done stranger things.

Comment by PhilUSAFRet on November 7, 2017 at 6:14pm

Thanks, planning on a 2 string anyway, so not worried about standard "fingering." Wondering how gCEA tuning would work, have it on my mando, tenor banjo, and of course my ukes.

Comment by PhilUSAFRet on November 7, 2017 at 4:01pm

Thanks Mark.

Comment by Mark Bliss on November 6, 2017 at 9:56pm

I'd suggest a full sized neck/scale length.For one thing, half step fingerings will be near impossible for adult hands on any shorter scale length. Its alrady difficult enough!.......

What you will find is that with most "box style" builds, a shorter tail piece may be desired. 

I strongly recommend a scale drawing/layout/plan for figuring out what is needed here. Guessing isnt gonna have a great result without a heap of luck.

Comment by PhilUSAFRet on November 6, 2017 at 6:40pm

If I use a regular unfinished violin neck, what size works best, full size? 3/4?

Comment by Dave Steingart on May 5, 2017 at 11:21pm
Yes got it. Thanks again!
Comment by James McFadyen on May 5, 2017 at 10:45pm
@Dave Steingart: I didn't glue the fingerboard in place until I got the action pretty close to what I wanted. I think I used a straightedge to measure the string action before actually stringing it up as I usually do that when making a guitar. I taped the bridge in place temporarily when checking just to keep it from moving around. If you look at the side view of my build, you can see the shims.
Comment by Dave Steingart on May 5, 2017 at 9:47pm
Thank Mark, great advice and very helpful.
Comment by Dave Steingart on May 5, 2017 at 9:25pm
Thanks James. I thought the fingerboard is glues down. How do you shim it if it is fastened to the neck?

T
Comment by Mark Bliss on May 5, 2017 at 9:16pm

Looking at your mock up, and judging from some experience:

First, getting the angles and dimensions deemed "ideal" by some builders will require an extremely high bridge, which presents some of its own issues, beyond availability.

I would suggest focusing on playability, and the previously mentioned side clearance, its a big issue that many overlook on first builds.

While comparing action and setup to a common fiddle is useful, trying to match those angles and dimensions is very difficult with a flat topped box. And taking that further, the angle and downward pressure that is ideal for an arched, carved top fiddle may not relate directly to a flat box top.

All that said, options:

If that neck is not yet fully attached, you could shift it back toward the back of the box, reducing the distance between fingerboard and box top. Another alternative would be to lay the neck back a few degrees instead of what looks like a flat angle parallel to the box top.

Either would give you a little more of a relative angle and break over the bridge, which in turn would create a little more pressure on the top.

Whether this is a benefit or not is open for experimentation. What is fairly critical for a fiddle or cello may not be relevant for a cigar box bodied instrument. I have set up a few of both and am skeptical of the information translation between the two worlds.

Build it, play it and do another with what you have learned.

PS, an opinion for what its worth- The good "Dr." who presents himself as an authority on cigar box fiddles presents a nice set of instructions for building a "period correct" appearing civil war era instrument. But if you are looking for general tips on building a decent playing instrument, his information misses the target by a wide margin IMO.

If you don't know who I am alluding to, ignore it. If you have seen his stuff, you will know who I mean.

 

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Discussion Forum

Bow for cigar box fiddle

Started by Phil Thomas. Last reply by Phil Thomas May 23. 2 Replies

My First Cigar Box Fiddle

Started by Tim LaFave. Last reply by Alan Hawkins Mar 4, 2016. 7 Replies

Pochette build

Started by Jaber. Last reply by Jaber Jan 20, 2016. 2 Replies

First cigar box fiddle

Started by Slow Slough Guitars Dec 23, 2014. 0 Replies

First "cello" build

Started by Jaber. Last reply by Jaber Apr 26, 2014. 7 Replies

Building the "Stumpwater" fiddle

Started by Al Lyons. Last reply by Gipson Fat Fingers Shoemaker Feb 8, 2014. 29 Replies

Bass

Started by Redbelly. Last reply by Reeds Taylor Sep 21, 2013. 3 Replies

how to add an adjustable shoulder rest?

Started by Paul Cooper. Last reply by Paul Cooper Aug 29, 2013. 6 Replies

Tremendous online violin making site!

Started by Diane in Chicago Jun 16, 2013. 0 Replies

"Tips on How I Build a CB Fiddle"

Started by Tim LaFave. Last reply by Tim LaFave May 25, 2013. 4 Replies

Newbie from Asheville, NC

Started by Al Lyons. Last reply by Diane in Chicago Jan 10, 2013. 2 Replies

Little travel fiddle

Started by Diane in Chicago. Last reply by Diane in Chicago Jan 9, 2013. 9 Replies

3/4 Ohio fiddle

Started by the cigarbox table guy. Last reply by Yellowbelly Flatt Dec 30, 2012. 5 Replies

some violin pics

Started by Elmar Zeilhofer. Last reply by CrocBite May 22, 2012. 4 Replies

CB Fiddle #2 and furthermore

Started by Diane in Chicago. Last reply by Elmar Zeilhofer May 21, 2012. 18 Replies

My first attemp at a cigar box fiddle. :-)

Started by Rick Hunt. Last reply by Rick Hunt Mar 19, 2012. 23 Replies

How to take a fiddle apart?

Started by Dave Onastik. Last reply by Diane in Chicago Mar 13, 2012. 5 Replies

Build Update

Started by Bobby Wallen. Last reply by Order99 Mar 4, 2012. 5 Replies

First time build and I have a few questions

Started by Bobby Wallen. Last reply by Tristan Chambers Feb 22, 2012. 2 Replies

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