i bought a cigar box guitar and iv read it can be fitted with top 4 strings from a standard guitar. iv done this but am finding it impossible to tune! iv used my tuner and tuned to E, A, D, G  and it sounds terrible as soon as i play a chord. i also tried tuning top string to E and then tuned string to string by ear as i would on my guitar, still sounds awful!

any one have any ideas?


Views: 1343

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

It could be lots of things but you need to give some more information if possible.

What scale length is it (nut to bridge), what gauge strings are you using and is the bridge fixed or moveable?

Also is it fretted and is the string height high for playing with a slide?

A photo of the guitar would also be useful. 

thanks for reply David. the scale lenght is 59cm or 23 1/4 inch. i have ernie ball super slinky strings, gauge 42, 32, 24, 16. the bridge is fixed. it has frets the same spacing as my standard guitar, the strings are high. it sounds ok when i play a chord with all strings covered but sounds awful if any strings are open...


what is your standard guitar? if your fret spacing on your cbg is the same as your standard guitar then your nut to bridge length on your cbg should be the same as your standard guitar. i say this because 23 1/4 inches usually isn't standard length on most guitars  

It would also be helpful if you could define "sounds awful". Are the notes you fret out of tune? Do the strings buzz?

Hi Graig,


Printing out the guitar picture it looks like the bridge is in the wrong place for the guitar fret scale by quite a distance.  The scale length in relation to the frets is that the distance

nut to the 12th fret

should be equal to the

12th fret to the bridge length (an extra mm or two is sometimes added to the 12thfret to bridge distance to help intonation).

Can you please measure nut to 12th fret and 12th fret to bridge and see if they are similar?



I think David is dead on with his conclusion, I measured off of the pic (which is not real accurate but) and it appears as if the 12th fret is not centered. As a matter of a fact it appears off by a pretty good sum, which would account for the "awful" sound. Check the measure like David mentioned Craig.

It would appear the distance from nut to 12th fret is greater than 12th fret to saddle.

I think the middle four strings would be better (32-24-16-11),  less strain on the neck, tune them GDGb to get you going, most chords will barre easily. (-:


thanks all

the distant nut to 12th fret is 12'3/8. distance 12th fret to bridge is 10'1/2. i had noticed other cbg iv seen had the bridge further down so i thought this might be the problem.

im in the uk and bought it new from the states so the postage costs sending it back would be too much i may as well attempt the repair myself... so simply the lengths should be equal? is it worth angling the bridge so the top string is slightly longer? what glue should be used for fixing bridge? hope its not screwed on from the inside!

correct that the bridge should be turned slightly to allow for intonation adjustment, and not glued down (-:

overall scale length is measured from the centre of the nut to the centre of the bridge.

Simply put yes this will put you in the ball park of where the bridge needs to be. Slight angulation of the bridge can help with intonation but some people do and some don't.

Is the bridge glued in place? Often they are just held by string tension and if you slacken the strings will be mobile to push further back. Photos can hide a lot but from the picture the builder looks to have made a lot of effort with dot inlays and reasonable quality tuners and a mandolin tailpiece - I was wondering if the bridge has slipped in transit?

My second thought is do you have enough space to move the bridge backwards enough without the tailpiece catching? If not that might be why it was shunted forward.

It should be repairable if you have enough space once the bridge is in the proper place with a different modified tailpiece or even a hardtail type strat bridge if the mandolin tailpiece is taking up too much room.

heres the link to the ebay listing-  http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Cigar-Box-Guitar-/271081847749?_trksid=p2...

the tailpiece is too long so i will make a new custom one and save the original for something else as it looks nice. the bridge was glued and its left a scar on the case i may attempt to paint it to match, but main thing is to get guitar working!

i checked the ebay sellers other cbg and they look to have bridge in the same place. he didnt have any ideas about tuning problem i will let him know about what iv learned here, the build quality seems pretty good generally.

i will report back when iv finished modding. thanks again

Seems to me the builder should handle shipping and repair costs in my opinion, it was designed wrong from the word go. Is this a builder that sells them or just a seller/agent?


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


Truss rod?

Started by Engblom in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Taffy Evans on Wednesday. 7 Replies

Discussion: Toothpick Frets?

Started by Habanera Hal in Feature Articles. Last reply by Mark Miller Nov 17. 27 Replies

Your take on this bizarre guitar

Started by Infirmity Citrus President in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Vladimir Mazic Nov 16. 11 Replies

Build this Wooden Kick Drum Pedal

Started by Rose Ericson in Feature Articles. Last reply by Murray Wall Nov 12. 34 Replies

Latest Activity

BrianQ. replied to Dan's discussion Boxes no stamps
"Also, search “how to remove labels” here & you’ll probably find some info,…"
1 hour ago
BrianQ. replied to Dan's discussion Boxes no stamps
"There is no such thing, it’s been a regulation since before we were all born? The all wood…"
1 hour ago
Korrigan posted a video

Santa Sings Santeria by Sublime

I don't know where yer from but round these parts this is considered a Christmas carol. :DHappy Holidays Everybody!
3 hours ago
Silent Jim posted a photo

Wes Carl Slide Amp and Boost

Fly away home Brotherman...I love you.
6 hours ago
Dan posted a discussion

Boxes no stamps

Hi all!Any info on boxes with no tax stamps or cautions.Thanx in advance!DanSee More
6 hours ago
Dan liked Dan's profile
7 hours ago
A.D.EKER commented on A.D.EKER's video

Whatyoumaycallit BCB 2022

"thanks AGP# ! thats a nice one  aswell , Will keep that one in mind…"
7 hours ago
Taffy Evans replied to Engblom's discussion Pickup type and placement
"Hi, I thought I would show how I mount pickups in my CBGs and still keep the top free of any…"
8 hours ago
Gary W aka Rev. Bluejeans commented on Vladimir Mazic's photo

My first CBG

"Really nice, especially for a first build!  Welcome to the addiction!  (It's a good…"
8 hours ago
Taffy Evans commented on Rich's photo

cloth box headstock view

"Hi, looks good to me, as long as the string stays in its groove, all good. OR... you could wind the…"
8 hours ago
Gary W aka Rev. Bluejeans liked T-Gripped's photo
8 hours ago
Gary W aka Rev. Bluejeans commented on Brian Fink's photo


"Great repurposing!  Looks awesome."
8 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 -->