The Cigar Box Mandolin Project - Discussion Page for Questions & Answers

Hi all, it's Shane Speal.

On April 29, 2022, we debuted my mini documentary, The Cigar Box Mandolin Project.  I show you how I built a great playing acoustic/electric mandolin from a cigar box and parts from

In the documentary, I refer to the parts page, to get information.  However, the website doesn't allow for your comments, so I figured I'd open up a discussion here on Cigar Box Nation.

If you have questions on the cigar box mandolin I built, ask away.  I'll do my best to answer or open the discussion to others who can provide better instruction than myself.

Here is the documentary.  I've posted extra pics below.

Photos of my cigar box mandolin:

Here are the parts used in the project, not including the Arturo Fuente cigar box.  The neck is a standard size cigar box guitar neck from C. B. Gitty.  I had to cut 10" off of the end, as shown in the video.

The cigar box is an Arturo Fuente Chateau Fuente Cuban Belicoso.  You don't have to use this exact box, but I wanted to give you details in case you wanted liked this look.  

The box measures 11" x 6.375" x 2.25".  

The cigar box guitar neck was cut down to approx 25.5".  The extra 10" cutoff was used as internal bracing, as seen in the video.

The bridge was positioned at the exact center of the cigar box, 5.5" from the end.

Not shown in the video:  I used small brass brad nails as string trees for the two outer strings.  I made sure to drill the hole first before gently hammering the nails into place.  

I didn't go into detail on how to fret the guitar or make the bone nut simply because I was actually learning as I went along!  LOL.  I did YouTube searches along the way in order to figure out certain steps.

I didn't mention it in the video, but the strings are D'Addario Mandolin Strings, EJ74 Medium Gauge.

I'm sure there are many questions and thoughts about this instrument.  Post them below.  Always make sure to hit the HTML tab in the comment box before posting your answer.  (This ol' website can be a little glitchy.)


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Did you notice the extra little scoop at the end of the fretboard?  I cut the fretboard in this shape with my scroll saw before slotting for frets.  This shape is totally unnecessary, but looks very cool.  The highest fret gives me the second octave (24th fret) for the high string.

I also cut the pickguard shape to match.

This is exactly why you’re the King of cigar box guitars!!!!!

Was there any bracing under the lid? 

Nope, because the neck provides bracing with that notch in the center

Wow!  I am well impressed.  Mandolins are difficult to make.   I've had some failures.  That one seem to sound great.  I wish I would have had  a fret template for the ones I made.   Good version of Crawdad Hole song too.

Thanks, Unk!!!

I think I goofed on my 1st attempt at asking this question...

Hi Shane;

As usual... FANTASTIC job. Sounds amazing and looks killer!!

I was wondering what the spacings between the strings are?

Thanks and keep doing that thing you do;


Thank you sir. Much appreciated. Now, let the fun begin.



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