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Building a Cigar Box Guitar 101


Building a Cigar Box Guitar 101

This group is for discussing the basics of CBG building for newer builders - where to start, what to do, common pitfalls, tips and techniques.

Keep in mind that new builders can find other great informative articles on CBG building, as well as most of the parts you'll need, over at C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply!

Members: 1219
Latest Activity: on Tuesday

Discussion Forum

Gitty Man manual

Started by john mackay. Last reply by James Huey Sep 13. 4 Replies

Newby CBG builder questions

Started by Brian Geisel. Last reply by Brian Geisel Sep 9. 17 Replies

Comment Wall


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Comment by David McQueen on Monday
On a standard guitar, the bridge slant is 1/8" per inch. The high strings are set up shorter and the bass strings are set up to be longer from the nut to the bridge.
Comment by Thomas "Duck" Petry on Monday

To get proper intonation you will probably need to adjust the bridge closer to 90 degrees Dave. If anything I have found with my builds that the string length will be a little longer than scale on the heavy strings and a little shorter on the high notes. I'm sure there is a formula out there for how to figure it out, but if you have a movable bridge and a tuner you can get it hit or miss.

Comment by Oscar Myer on Monday

Providing you have the frets positioned right, the 12th fret should be the middle of the strings & the next octave of that string.

Comment by Dave Steingart on September 13, 2014 at 1:22pm

I build my first cigar box mandolin for my son and had a blst doing it. 14 inch scale, walnut and hickory thru neck design, GDAE strings, with bolt nut and floating saddle Although I built it, I'm not a player,and am having trouble with intonation. Open tuning is about all I can do.

How do I learn to tell (and fix) if my fretting and action are set correctly?

Comment by gary sheldon on August 28, 2014 at 1:48pm

Nice stuff Richey


Comment by Richey Kay on August 28, 2014 at 1:26pm

I made this guide on making banjo style bridges for CBGs:

Comment by tdq on August 28, 2014 at 1:24pm

Interesting to hear about using banjo bridges. So I did a google, found this hand made banjo bridge.  My give it a try.

Comment by Suspect Device on August 28, 2014 at 1:05pm

Yeah. That is a good idea, Sam. I'm definitely going to try doing one with a fret wire saddle. I use floating banjo bridges on my film can builds. Normally I just laminate a saddle of hardwood or bone, then carve it from that point. But a fretwire saddle would be easy to install, once you had the bridge height correct.

Comment by gary sheldon on August 28, 2014 at 12:46pm

I like that idea.  I'll have to try it.  Since I often make my own bridges, it should be easy to just cut a fret slot in the top and drive the fret wire in.

Thanks for the tip

Comment by Wichita Sam on August 28, 2014 at 12:31pm

Gary, thanks for the reply.... I have recently become infatuated with "violin/banjo" style bridges, topped with fret wire. This gives a really crisp tone, but depends on the tail piece for the spacing..... thebest, Sam


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