What a wonderful site, a real Aladdin's cave for anything and anyone concerned with Cigar Box Guitars.

I am a retired engineer and enjoy making things in wood - games, toys, novelties and puzzles. I read an article recently about making a Cigar Box Guitar and thought I would have a go at making one for my Grandson. He has a guitar or two but not a CBG!  Personally, I know nothing about music other than what I like to listen to.

The CBG I plan to make is the 3-string, neck-through design taken from this site. I have two questions;

1. When cutting the recess in the neck for the lid of the box, the design suggests that the lid should fit tightly against the neck. Surely this will dampen the sound vibrations. My engineering instinct tells me that the recess should be a little deeper to allow the lid to vibrate!

2. Does the 'sound hole' have to be circular? Could I cut a letter shape (eg my grandson's initial) for the sound hole?

Will be pleased to hear what you 'seasoned' CBG players think

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Welcome to the CBG community, I know you're making this for your grandson, but believe me it won't be your last.

As for your questions, if you don't have the neck securely fastened to the box, you're correct, you will let the box vibrate more.  So much more in fact that you will start to get a buzz.  Also, keep in mind the entire guitar will vibrate to some degree to produce (or, really, amplify) sound.  Take a look at a mass produced, store bought acoustic guitar, you could pour a couple of gallons of water in to one and it won't leak, they're sealed up tight.  Loose joints act as dampeners and you want as much solidity as possible so all the vibration will transmit and eventually escape through a sound hole.  
As for the sound hole itself, make it any shape you like.  There's a lot of theories out there about sound reproduction, hole placement, etc, but the main thing to keep in mind if you've never done it before is to make the hole wide enough for sound to escape, regardless of shape.

Most importantly, try stuff.  Some of it will fail and some will work.  That's part of the fun

Many thanks Jittery Jay for your prompt reply to my query. Much appreciated and very helpful. Having read some of the discussion trails the enthusiasm for CBG's is certainly infectious!

Well, hello and welcome! I am by no means an expert, but I want to encourage you to follow your instincts. You may come up with a way to build a cigar box guitar that we have not thought of. Many builders will remove a slice from the top section of the neck and put a spacer under the bottom. They will secure it with two screws on the bottom and the pressure from the strings holds the lid down( some add a screw.) There are no rules. I threw in a pic for you. Chickenbone John has some really great videos on you tube. Oh there are a million great videos on you tube and here on this site. Check em out! I like what Jittery said "try stuff" And welcome again!!

Many thanks Rose for your prompt reply to my query. The picture is appreciated, shows another slant on the assembly techniques.

Welcome Norman!.  I'm only making my second now, but what I've done is recess the neck so it's level with the surrounding frame that the top sits on.  Then I recess the neck deeper so the neck floats under the top, or soundboard, and the top will resonate better (I think).  The end of the neck is fastened inside under the top  at the back frame piece.  I use glue and a brad-shooter to assemble all the parts.  When set, it's a one-piece construction and it resonates just fine in my opinion.

The back is held on with four screws so I have access to the inside and piezo if necessary.

Good question, made me stop and think again about what I'm doing.

Thank you Don, all helpful and builds up a bigger picture. I'm learning fast!

Hello the anonymous pick and many thanks for the link to a previous trail on the subject. Certainly is food for thought - almost have indigestion now! Great stuff


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