Grounding: Is it necessary for all electric cigar boxes; piezzo vs "normal pickups'?

Planning my first build and have read a few articles about grounding the instrument when building an electric guitar cigar box. However, I don't see these recommendations very often. It seems most builds don't talk about this. How important is it, and is it recommended for all electric CBGs or just certain builds (piezzo, P-90s, mini humbuckers, match book pick up, etc...)? Thank you

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Well, if you use a magnetic pickup (P90, Humbuckers, single wound, etc,) you should consider grounding the strings as part of your build plan. The strings really are antenna that can pick up signals from lights, other electrical devices and such.

Depending on the type of mag pickup you use and the quality, you may get away without grounding the strings, but it's a crap-shoot and you may end up trying to figure out how to ground strings after the build is completed. To me it's a pain in the butt to try to go back and do the grounding.

It doesn't have to be a complicated process. If you use a metallic bridge (bolt, dowel rod, etc., then all you have to do is ground one string and it will connect electrically with the other strings via the bridge.

With a piezo pickup you may be okay without grounding if the piezo wires are wound around one another. I could be wrong here, but I've never had a piezo guitar where touching the strings changed the "buzz". Hopefully the Piezo-pro will weight in soon.

Thank you for the feedback. This is very helpful. I am trying to do my research now so I can plan and increase my chances of getting a product I am happy with.

I think that planning your project is a really good idea. You will learn a lot through planning and even more in building. Just keep in mind that this is your first CBG..Make it as good as possible, but you have to understand that there will be a second (and a third). It's a very habit forming endeavor and by the time you finish one you will just "know" that you can do better on the next one. All in all it's a lot of fun both building, playing and learning.

Only necessary for magnetic pickups.

It is generally a good practice whenever your guitar MIGHT  have electrical components, it is very, very easy to have everything grounded generally, sometimes the strings take a bit of planning/ thought, but it definitely eliminates 1 source of possible elect. interference, planning the circuit so that everything is grounded in series will also help to avoid a ground loop, I have guitars with minimal grounding from my early builds, I had no issues luckily, but once I had my 1st git that screamed loudly I've grounded everything

I've done a fair amount of wiring work both on CBGs and conventional guitars/basses, plus I've built several DIY synthesizers and effects pedals. My general advice is you can't overground. Some circuits seem to be really quiet with minimal grounding while others hum a lot, even if you ground every component. I think different pots and whatnot just pick up the noise differently.

In general, circuits with more components (pots, switches, etc) tend to be more hum prone, but again, I've seen some that are very quiet, so it just seems to be a case by case basis. I often run a ground wire on every component if I'm trying to fix hum. On my recent CBG builds, I started mounting a small steel plate inside the box to give me something to ground to if needed. It makes it really easy to add a ground on the bridge, jack, switch, etc.

I'm kinda being long winded here, but I guess I'm saying it varies a lot from instrument to instrument, and component to component. The important part is to test it out and add more grounding wires if necessary. Once in a while you find one that is just hum prone no matter how much grounding you do, but typically you can quiet them down with a little extra grounding. And while magnetic pickups seem to be more likely to hum, I've certainly seen piezo circuits that are noisy too. The hum might not come from the pickup itself, but if you've you've got pots, switches, etc... that's a potential source of hum whether the pickup is magnetic or not.

Hi, I find the easiest way to ground the strings is to use a metal tailpiece and run a wire to that. If it's a wooden tailpiece get inventive.

Keep in mind d that hum can come from the amp, lighting in the room, a cheep lead and even appliances running in another room but on the same power circuit.


Also it depends mainly on the quality of your soldering, that’s what really causes a lot of hum? 

Wow!! Thanks everyone for the great discussion. This was all VERY helpful, especially the picture (worth a thousand words!) This has helped a lot. I guess I WILL be grounding my instrument. 


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