Welcome to Cigar Box Nation! A letter from C. B. Gitty...

If this is your first time visiting Cigar Box Nation, you may be a little overwhelmed by the great amount of information in here.  Let me give you the nickel tour...

Building a Cigar Box Guitar

We have a variety of cigar box instrument plans that are free for you to download.  Some are new and others are more than 100 years old.  If you're new to woodworking or are looking to start with something simple, I suggest the following:

How to Build a 3-String Cigar Box Guitar  -  This new 8-page set of plans walks you through building a simple but fully playable 3-string cigar box guitar from scratch. These present well-illustrated, up-to-date how-to info in an easy to understand method that will enable young and old to build their first cigar box guitar with minimal effort.

If you want something more challenging, then dive head-first into our vast selection of instrument plans!

You will probably have some questions along the way.  That's what makes Cigar Box Nation so great!  We have forums, discussions and even a live chat room on the front page just waiting for your questions. 

How to Play a Cigar Box Guitar

We have lessons in Video, TAB and other formats for every level of player.  You can see them all here.

Where do I get the parts needed to make a cigar box guitar?

Cigar Box Nation is run by C. B. Gitty, the cigar box guitar superstore.  We have kits, parts and great building ideas just waiting for you.  Visit us at www.CBGitty.com.

Join the Community!

Now that you have the basics, I encourage you to create your own Cigar Box Nation profile and really dig in to all the conversations and photos. 

Thank you for visiting Cigar Box Nation. 

Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker 

(visit my own Cigar Box Nation profile here!)

P. S.  If you want to know more about this whole Cigar Box Guitar movement, check out the Cigar Box Guitar Manifesto.



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Comment by Erasmo Coco on November 2, 2016 at 4:40pm

Why not . Try playing the four.You never Know .If not take strings off.

Comment by Fomhorach on November 2, 2016 at 4:40pm

Or. Walk up to a piano... See how many fingers you can use to play some stuff. If it's 2 or 3 go for 3 strings. If it's 1. Go for a diddly Bow.

Comment by Fomhorach on November 2, 2016 at 4:36pm

The way we tune 3 stringers is not far away from any of the ways we tune 4 stringers.
It's a good way to start out to play a 4 stringer but.. 3 stringers are a whole breed of instrument in themselves. Having a 3 string guitar does not mean you are restricted in music. What you loose in the distance between notes, you gain in both ease of play and (i know this seems contradictionary) style of playing scale runs.
3 string players (in my opinion) learn the relationship betwen notes faster than 4 string players. If you ask a 6 string player why that shape produces that chord most of them say that 'it just does' but they don't know why.
With 3 strings you begin to learn note relationships faster because there is a lot less to think about. Why is a fourth, what is a fifth..
4 strings takes you into shape playing, 3 strings let's you find out more about twin note relationships.
All this might seem like 'woah! That's deep musical theory' but really it's not, when you play a 3 string for a while. So yeah, try a 4 string with 3 strings for a while. You might actually decide not to add the 4th string as (in my opinion) it has the most scale note variance for playing.

Comment by Jayme Russo on November 2, 2016 at 4:16pm

Can I get some opinions ?? I had every intentions on buying a diddley bow when I went to buy my first cbg considering my skill level (none) and age (57), but when I got there I kinda fell in love with a 4 stringer. I was thinking I would take 3 strings off to begin with. What do you think of that idea?

Comment by Fomhorach on November 2, 2016 at 4:12pm

we build and play musical instruments. This internet forum style of chat thing had my head spinning for a good few weeks. There's also the fact that it's not very reliable and seems to do stuff that it's not meant to and refuses to do stuff that it's supposed to. 

People are tearing hair out as I speak. Well perhaps not but they have taken to whiskey to calm down. Perhaps not but if I was in their shoes I would use it as an excuse.

Comment by Fomhorach on November 2, 2016 at 4:07pm

No worries Jayme. :)

Comment by Jayme Russo on November 2, 2016 at 4:06pm

Comment by Jim Morris on October 18, 2016 at 10:49am

Welcome Chris. As someone who has lugged around Hammond B3's and Fender Rhodes pianos in the past I gotta say that a 3 string CBG is a lot easier to sit on the porch with! Lots of helpful folks here with playing and building tips if you get a notion to build one of your own.

Comment by Chris Anderson on October 18, 2016 at 10:21am

This website rocks! I'm a keyboard player bored with keys, always wished I could play guitar, just moved to Nashville and am looking forward to sitting on my front porch playing my first CBG I'm waiting for from eBay (hopefully it's built well.)

Appreciate everyone's insight, lessons, videos, sales & such.

Comment by Ian smith on October 9, 2016 at 9:43pm
gday all,

I'm very new to CGB and can not as yet play I have decided not to build but to buy and found Nigel McTrustry in Brisbane to build my CGB
Comment by the anonymous pick on October 2, 2016 at 1:56pm

welcome to  the addiction .,chance  ;-)

Comment by Chance on October 2, 2016 at 10:14am


I'm a newly joined member and just wanted to say "hey!"

This site is really great and packed full of info.  I'm very slowly learning how to play 3 string cbg and my guitar is built in the Uncle Crow style.

There are about 15 cigar boxes piled up in my garage now which need to be built, but I'm taking what little spare time I have and trying to learn to play.  Based on what I've read here, It seems building them is as addictive as playing. 

I'm sure I'll have many question about playing and building as time goes on.



Comment by joe martinez on September 25, 2016 at 9:07am

you guys are great,  I have been building cbgs for about a year now,  and recently built a mini amp with your 2.5 amp circuit board kit.  The kit came with a pot that shorted out when I installed it, and I made a phone call to get a replacement,  when I didn't hear back, I was initially a bit disappointed, but 2 days later a new amp kit showed up at my door, WHAT GREAT SERVICE!!  CUDOS TO ALL OF YOU AT CIGAR BOX NATION!!       


Comment by Fomhorach on September 13, 2016 at 5:17am

I did a little search on Swisher sweets, it seems most of the boxes were made from pressed cardboard. This could be problematic but it can still be done with good results. Try and find a decent box (even if you have to order it from ebay).

My advice would be to get a couple of other boxes and build 3, the last one being the swisher. Building the first 2 will be fun and you will make mistakes that you can learn from for the third build to be 'the one'.

Also look over this forums groups and ask around in the ukulele group for tips and advice. Read through the older posts and ask questions. You could even start a new thread.

On a personal note,I find building shorter scale length instruments like ukuleles to be easier than longer scale lengths and I would advise people new to building to head down this route first.

Comment by jimmy circle on September 12, 2016 at 11:03pm

I want a swisher sweet uke. How do I go about that?

Comment by the anonymous pick on August 15, 2016 at 5:29pm

sure thing gary  ,  you  can   post them  here 


use  (for sale) catagory  .

  or  post a vid   or  pictures  on the main page  , they   may get  more  exposure  there .

Comment by Gary Williams on August 15, 2016 at 4:58pm
Haven't been on here for a long time but due to circumstances I have to give up theCGB building and I have a lot of stuff for sale machinery, boxes ,wood and parts
Are we allowed to sell on the nation
Comment by Leanna King/aka/BluesBabe on July 31, 2016 at 2:42pm

Been a Loonnggg while since I've been on this site...Life took me in a different direction as far as the ART World is concerned, Found I wasted a lot of time and Effort, sales suck and so does the weather this year...So Back to building CBG's. !!!.My main squeeze is Elated by the whole thing..So here I go again, just purchased many parts from the Gitty store, gearing up to do more guitars only this time makin' them Electric..so I will be asking for help in what to do, what I'm missing and HOW to DO IT BETTER..Glad to be back and excited too. Ordered 3 Necks from Catoctin Mountain Music/ Willis Johnson..now for the boxes..Still have 2 from Darren Brown..using those..have 6 boxes to start so will be busy for awhile..I paint mine or burn in the design since I'm an Artist..Need help as far as electrics are concerned..parts are on there way..but I know I didn't order everything I needed..So any body out there willing to let me drive them NUTS, Let me know..looking for someone to step up and take on a 75lb / 5' blond and has the answers I'm looking for ..sure would appreciate it. Wish me Luck you guys,,these are set to go for Sale at Next Years" Blues on the Chippewa" festival (Durand , Wisconsin) next fall..Feels like I came home..

Comment by Barry Sholder on July 5, 2016 at 12:52pm

anyone have blues tabs for 3 strings slide or fingerpicking

Comment by Al Wenkebach on July 1, 2016 at 9:23am

I seem to be having a hard time posting a profile photo. I have tried JPG and JPEG. I do not know how to re-size one, if that's the problem. What do I do?

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New to Cigar Box Nation?How to Play Cigar Box GuitarsFree Plans & How to Build Cigar Box GuitarsCigar Box Guitar Building BasicsCigar Box Guitar Parts Store

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