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: 141
Latest Activity: May 23

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 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.

Comment by James McFadyen on May 5, 2017 at 8:44pm
On mine I shimmed the fingerboard up a bit because I didn't want to lower the bridge which would reduce the maximum bowing angle a bit. There was a bit too much action on the strings when I first set it up, so that's how I fixed it. I went to a music store and checked out a store-bought violin to see how high the action was. I didn't worry too much about the fingerboard angle as long as the scale length, string action and bow clearances are okay. A higher angle puts more pressure on the soundboard, so I think you get a bit more volume when playing, but the soundboard needs to be strong enough to take it though.
Comment by Dave Steingart on May 5, 2017 at 5:47pm

Thanks for the reply Jim. I'm using a standard bridge so I guess I'll keep working on the mock up, string it up and see how it works and sounds. I guess I'll shim the bridge up or sand for lower action.

Thanks Again.

Comment by Jim Morris on May 5, 2017 at 4:47pm

Dave, I've built over 2 dozen cigar box and self made box fiddles and the neck angle has been different on each one. From about 4 deg. to 10 deg.  They all work but you have to make adjustments on the bridge height.  The higher angles/higher bridge allows for more clearance on the sides when bowing the outer strings. The lower angles I've used for my gourd fiddles with skin tops to try for less down pressure on the skin. I sometimes make my own bridges to the desired height but most often use a standard bridge with the top lowered and reshaped.

Comment by Dave Steingart on May 5, 2017 at 12:07pm

I'm trying my first violin build and am laying out the parts and comparing against all the angles and measurements I have found here and over the internet. I cant seem to get the 8 degree fingerboard angle with the right sting action and the bridge height. When I lay everything out, I seem to be around 5 degree fingerboard angle. Will the fingerboard angle at 5 degrees make it unplayable?

Comment by Tim LaFave on May 10, 2016 at 12:50pm

For those desiring to build your first cb fiddle, take a look at my album "Steps To Building A CB Fiddle" for some tips that might prove helpful. This was my second build, which corrected mistakes made on my first one.

 

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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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