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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Join Cigar Box Nation

Comment by Dave D on Friday

Hi All, thanks for approving my app.  I arrived here whilst looking for something fun and interesting to do, I have built valve amps in the past and toyed with making instruments...I think the a CBG will be just the thing - I have most of the bits I need kicking around already in my spares boxes :)

Comment by Pete Mason on February 13, 2018 at 10:53am

Hi everybody. I became interested in a cbg after seeing some for sale at the Rory Gallagher International tribute Festival in Ballyshannon, Ireland last year. I'm planning to buy one first then have a go at building one. If I can get a slide sound even remotely like Rory did, I'll be delighted!

Comment by Erasmo Coco on February 8, 2018 at 11:59am

Welcome Methos !

Comment by Methos on February 8, 2018 at 11:40am


New board member here and newbie to all things CBG. I am a musician of 30+ years but in just the last week I went from believing that that Cigar Box Instruments were just toys to realizing they are mean sounding and very capable instruments! I am so inspired! I will be making my first CBG pretty soon. First build will be a 3 string tuned GDG, that should get me started nice. I've watched enough vids, and read enough I think to take on this project. I think it is very likely I will mess it up this first time around but I think I should learn a lot in the process!

 Thanks all!


Comment by Fergus Lester on February 1, 2018 at 2:43pm

Hi. I ended up here mainly while researching amp building. Have not built anything from an actual cigar box yet but I get the whole DIY thing. Next project using a wine case though.

Here are some links to my amp, lap steel and harmonica mics. 

Comment by Jim Wayts on November 28, 2017 at 10:46am

Im a newbee to you folks.Im 73 & a diebetic thats board to death .Looking towards a hobby .Looking for help in deciding  to find a Used 3 string slider to begin with since im living on social securty.my name is Jim Wayts live in Dingmans ferry  P.A..can anybody give me advise that would help me out.   AKA wooziewaz.Thank you  quietman5@gmail.com

Comment by Philip Hall on October 15, 2017 at 3:06am
Hi to everyone. I'm new to CBN. I'm an Aussie and I have just finished building my second CBG using a red biscuit tin box (photo's have been uploaded). My first CBG was a kit which went really well, think I've got the CBG bug now. My tin box build threw up some challenges regarding piezo pickup shorting out due to all of the tin. Managed to solve the problem using electrical tape and plastic bolts to connect the lid and body. Also tried 4 different bridges to remove a sitar buzz; settled on an Aussie hard wood block called Jarrah with angled string slots for better intonation.
Comment by Bob B on September 25, 2017 at 4:16pm
Hello all,
I decided that I can't play a 6 string (to many strings and too short fingers), so when I stumbled upon 3 strings, I said Bingo, I can play those. Boy was I wrong. I have built 4 CBG's but struggle to play. Thank god you guys post all the tutorials that you do, I keep trying.
Does any one build or play in the 08844 area of NJ?
Comment by Ken Johnson on September 12, 2017 at 12:24am

Good evening folks, I'm glad I stumbled on your page, I'm brand new to both the Cigar Box and the more traditional guitar. except for a small engineering problem, I have built my first Cigar Box Guitar. Next will be an amp for it and then another guitar with a black cigar box. Their a lot of fun to build and real frustrating at the same time.

Comment by Lee Boekhout on May 29, 2017 at 10:29pm

I'm not sure where I should go with this, as I am new to the forum. Any direction would be appreciated. I am looking for information on tuning of a hammered dulcimer I have recently purchased online. It has 9 courses of three strings each. It has only one bridge, no base bridge. The strings were all rusted, and I am in the process of restringing the instrument. I is reportedly made my the Amish, and is of excellent quality wood workmanship. The label inside states it is made in 1971 by Sam Rizzetta in Arlington, VA. It does not show a brand. It appears to have a nice hardwood frame (possibly maple) and the sound board appears to be quarter sawn spruce. The existing strings (all rusted) measure .120. It is unknown if the strings are original. If anyone has any information on this instrument, especially what the tuning is, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you one and all. Lee Boekhout

Comment by Lee Boekhout on May 8, 2017 at 4:58pm

Thanks, Jim, for your information. I thought I'd try nylon strings. I just like the mellowness of their sound better, like a classical guitar. As soon as I get my current projects caught up, this will be on my priority to-do list. Thanks again. Lee

Comment by Jim Morris on May 8, 2017 at 1:44pm

Hi Lee, welcome to CB instrument making! I've made and played several cigar and self made box dulcimers. The scale length (nut to bridge) can be the same for any type of strings. It's a matter of making sure the fret placement is correct for the chosen scale length. I use Stewart Macdonald's fret calculator for this and measure as accurately as humanly possible. I've never made a nylon string mountain dulcimer and know am curious as to how one might sound. Here's one I made last year

Comment by Lee Boekhout on May 8, 2017 at 12:28pm

Hello again. A question comes to mind, if I may. When choosing strings, is there any difference in the nut to bridge measurement between nylon and steel strings?  Thanks for your help. Lee

Comment by Lee Boekhout on May 8, 2017 at 12:26pm

Hello to all. My name is Lee, and I am new here, so please forgive any fubars I make right off the bat. I am interested in building a cigar box mountain dulcimer (yeh, I'm one of those). I welcome any helpful comments. I play the autoharp in our park band, and am currently trying to learn the dulcimer, so I do have some basics to start. I live in the beautiful Prescott, AZ area. Hello again to all.

Comment by William Smith on April 2, 2017 at 3:29pm
Hi to all of you.
I am building my second CBG. Looking forward to learning to play better. I played drums in bands have had trouble learning Bass , Guitar.
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.

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