Hi all,

I'm a first timer from the UK and I would love to share my first project with you and ask some advice.

I'm building a fretless three string guitar from bits of hardwood from old furniture for the neck and ply and pine for the resonator. I chose to build the box from scratch as I was having difficulty finding a decent cigar box.

As you will see from the photos I have shaped the neck, yardstick and heal from one piece of white oak to which I have laminated a mahogany fret board.

This leads me onto my first question: my board is currently 8mm, is this to thick? Should it be more like 6mm?

Second question: what is the optimal action for slide? And optimal distance from string to soundboard?

Third and final for now: My machine head shafts are a little short, should I countersink into the back of my headstock, or reshape the top of the yardstick to make it narrower.

Please have a look at the pictures I've posted and feel free to comment / offer advice.

Thanks in advance

Views: 950


Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Neck looks beautifully carved, but a tad thick. So, I'd mill the fretboard down another 2 mm to 6. Beautiful construction. Shave your headstock so it's no more than 1.8 cm (3/4") thick; you can do this from the top, to increase your string break angle from the nut to the machine heads, or from the backside of the headstock if you're happy with the top.

String height above the fretboard for a fretless can literally be any thing you want, if you are playing lap style, but if holding it like a standard git, then use your own hands with a slide on the third or pinky finger for a quick eyeball estimate. This will primarily depend on your nut, and bridge / saddle, height above the fretboard.

Looks like its gonna be a beauty.
Thanks Ron for your very kind comments and thanks for the advice. I.'ve made the neck thick to compensate for my long fingers. I may take your advice and shave the yardstick from the top. How important is the string break angle? I.m happy with yardstick back, please see new pic.

I meant headstock not yardstick!?!?

looks like Ron covered that,might want to check for your bridge height with a straightedge and give yourself a bit it of "neck angle " when you plane down the fretboard if need be...

 looking good...welcome

Thanks Jabes

Very welcome advice

The thickness of your headstock will depend on the type of tuners you are going to use,Using enclosed single tuners I aim for  9/16".Use traditional,three mounted on a plate style,and the thickness has to be about 3/4".This one uses a combination of the two so the headstock is recessed to accommodate the single enclosed tuner.As Oily says remove material from the front face of the headstock.

Yours looks as though it's going to be a really nice build.

Thanks Michael

I've removed some material from the headstock and the enclosed tuners I have fit great. I'm toying with idea of removing a tiny bit more material and laminating a veneer I've made to the front to hide the fact I've laminated two pieces of timber together for the neck.

Love the look of the guitar in the pic YOUR lamination is super clean.

I feel this may be the first of many.

Thanks for your advice

Take an extra slice off and add some contrasting veneers to give an interesting face to the headstock

Wow! That looks great. Safely I lack the tools and know how to make anything that pretty!

Can all be done using hand tools and what I've seen of your build so far you don't lack the skills

That's really nice to hear coming from a builder as gifted as yourself, maybe I'll do some research and try it on the next project. I'll post some more pics when there is a bit more progress.
Ok, so I took on board all the greatly appreciated advice and did some work on this, my first cbg build.

As per Ron "Oily" Sprague I've trimmed the fretboard down to 6mm, which I'm hoping will make the neck easier to handle. Also on Ron's advice I shaved the front of the headstock, I took this opportunity to laminate a piece of timber the same stock as the neck to the front of the headstock to give it a cleaner look.

The neck is now glued into the box and I've "dry fit" the tuners and sink drainer sound hole covers.

Please have a look at the pics and let me know what you think.


The Essential Pages

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

Site Sponsor

Recommended Links & Resources


Piezo feedback

Started by Jerry Draper in Performances, How to Play, Lessons, Concerts. Last reply by Jerry Draper 4 hours ago. 9 Replies

Your take on this bizarre guitar

Started by Infirmity Citrus President in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Taffy Evans yesterday. 8 Replies

Guitar Amp

Started by Chase N Williams in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Paul Craig Sep 21. 5 Replies

Blog Posts

Let’s talk Aeolian…

Posted by BrianQ. on August 27, 2022 at 12:05am 0 Comments

Building a Violin w/ GITTY Parts

Posted by Brad Craig on August 11, 2022 at 6:39pm 3 Comments

Effects Pedals

Posted by Trey Allensworth on May 26, 2022 at 10:04am 12 Comments

Latest Activity

Korrigan posted a video


My rendition of the LZ classic recorded with a single 4-string tenor guitar going through 3 different effects chains to 3 separate channels. Sounds pretty hu...
1 hour ago
Poorness Studios liked A.D.EKER's video
2 hours ago
BrianQ. left a comment for Larry Sobol
"Here’s how to Add Pics,Vids,Content: Heres how to add Pics in a Topic…"
2 hours ago
BrianQ. left a comment for Larry Sobol
"Larry, to message someone, just click on their icon & you will go to their page? Pretty much…"
2 hours ago
Jerry Draper replied to Jerry Draper's discussion Piezo feedback
"Very helpful. I needed that. Thank you."
4 hours ago
AGP # liked Doug Thorsvik's video
5 hours ago
Larry Sobol commented on Poorness Studios's blog post Saying Goodbye To a Long Time Friend
" Remember all the joy that Ellie brought into your life. It can be extremely hard to lose a…"
5 hours ago
Larry Sobol replied to Larry Sobol's discussion Aluminum License Plate in the group Building a Cigar Box Guitar 101
"Brian. Larry Sobol here. Thanks for the link to the Video. Just found Mike Simpson to thank him as…"
6 hours ago
Larry Sobol replied to Larry Sobol's discussion Aluminum License Plate in the group Building a Cigar Box Guitar 101
"Mike. Larry Sobol here.  Thanks for the tips yesterday. Sorry for the slow response but Im new…"
6 hours ago
3 String Blues posted a video

Station One - Last chance for 200 miles! - 3 string cigar box guitar

Old School Blues - from the webpage https://www.reddogguitars.com There is CBGs for sale and more cigar box music#cigarboxguitar #3stringguitar #reddoggui...
6 hours ago
Gary O'slide posted a video
8 hours ago
Doug Thorsvik commented on Doug Thorsvik's video

Put Your Hand in the Hand: 2-String Surf Chugger Cigar Box Guitar

"That’s encouraging Brian! We try to surprise and delight when we can. I have to admit, I have…"
9 hours ago


© 2022   Created by Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

\uastyle>\ud/** Scrollup **/\ud.scrollup {\ud background: url("https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/963882636?profile=original") no-repeat scroll 0 0 transparent;\ud bottom: 25px;\ud display: inline !important;\ud height: 40px;\ud opacity: 0.3 !important;\ud position: fixed;\ud right: 30px;\ud text-indent: -9999px;\ud width: 40px;\ud z-index: 999;\ud}\ud.scrollup:hover {\ud opacity:0.99!important;\ud}\ud \uascript type="text/javascript">\ud x$(document).ready(function(){\ud x$(window).scroll(function(){\ud if (x$(this).scrollTop() > 100) {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeIn();\ud } else {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeOut();\ud }\ud });\ud x$('.scrollup').click(function(){\ud x$("html, body").animate({ scrollTop: 0 }, 600);\ud return false;\ud });\ud });\ud \ua!-- End Scroll Up -->