Hi guys - Dogleg Steve here - firstly I hope that you have enjoyed the music and videos that I have posted on the site!

I play 4 string Cigar box in a picking style and want to have a go at building my own custom CBG this year and also later an electric guitar.

The thing that concerns me is the fretting of the fretboard - how to do it and how to do it accurately.

Any advice on procedure and tools to buy would be greatly appreciated from you master builders out there.

Thanks Guys - keep on picking (or sliding) !

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good advice thank you buddy

And if you want to know the nitty gritty of it all (and get a nice headache for free at the same time) you might want to check this out


Sadly, the site doesn't give coupons for free Tylenol ;-)

that's a very interesting read - if not a bit scientific for my simple musician brain! But thank you for forwarding me that Francois.

I would suggest spending a bit of time and a small amount of money tapping some bits of fret wire into an offcut of fretboard wood before you start on your custom job, just to get the feel of it.

Also, as was suggested before, measure each fret from the nut, not the previous fret, to avoid error stack-ups.  I use something like this calculator for distances, although I seem to remember one that offered compensated or non-compensated options:


Lastly, if you are going to taper the fretboard, cut the slots first.  It's a lot easier marking and cutting slots in wood with parallel sides.  I know this from my own errors.......

Put them wherever you want then just play slide. kiddin

A fret saw cost $40

a 18in. ruler in 100th cost $20

4 in. square $8

X-acto Knife $6

Lay your ruler on the fret board a 1/4 in. from one edge clap it down, go to Stew Mac and use the Fret calculator for your scale length and mark the fret board with the x-acto knife use reading glasses. Then use the fret saw and square to cut the fret slot on the x-acto mark, I usually widen the x-acto mark with the fret saw first.

The method I use to mark where the frets go is to use an existing guitar. I lay a strip of masking tape taught over the frets and mark the center of each fret with a small cut of an xacto knife. I gentle pull up the tape and lay it on my CBG fret board. Transfer the marks and behold, math free fret lines. Of course measure 7 times and cut once is a good thought when cutting for frets.

I took this method a step further many years ago........

Lay the tape after marking it on a narrow aluminium strip, mark the strip along one edge and slowly and carefully put saw cuts with a hacksaw at those positions. Next time lay the alum strip on the fingerboard and mark it by pushing an exacto knife into the noched saw cuts and into the fingerboard.

You can use the other edge for a different scale. I have 10 or more alum strips used this way.


Very nice, especially if you are making many. I seem to make one every 2 years or so . . . .

C. B. Gitty Fret Marking Templates

I use these and they are accurate and easy for someone like me to understand.

Can't go wrong.


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