Prototyping with a big ol' wine box

It all started when I listened to Steve Arvey music, I had to try to make one cigar box guitar.

I was really eager to start, didn't found easily a cigar box so I went for a wine box. The idea was to make everything from spare parts and see how it would go.

In Belgium (Europe), it's hard to find wood other than pine, so I went with a simple neck from leftover.

After hours of watching tutorials I decided to stop there and just go with it, and learn by trial and errors, and this was the perfect decision for me :-)

I scavenged screws and strings, but I bought the tuning pegs, I preferred using real ones here (will try with other ways another time).

Playing here with the slide was a ton of fun already :-)

After a while I really wanted to play more complex play styles and decided to try my hands at fretting.

That's where the things got complicated: I discovered that you can't just add frets then go: once you add frets, your guitar should sounds "right" with the proper intonation, and the action should not be too high otherwise it's hard to play.

I had then to adjust the nut size, the bridge size, play with the back angle, ...

As it's still a prototype to play with, I added a plywood fretboard from scraps

I take me a lot of time, research and adjustment here to get something nearly correct (two strings are ok, the last one intonation is half a tone sharper, I can live with that and adapt my play !)

I found this nice website from Haze guitars which explains a lot of thing to setup guitar, and the book is really nice (this is not an affiliate link, just a nice reference).

After that I added a strap, and a piezo. But I will go back and remove the piezo (I was too ambitious) and conclude my prototype here by doing some adjustment like moving the bridge down (I'll need to add new longer fretboard and increase scale lenght here) + properly tune the nut and saddle.

Conclusion: this project was a lot of fun, I'm already building a new one from a real cigar box now. I learnt a of lot of errors made on this one, but it still really fun to play with.

What is really frustrating is the cycle: play, realize something can be improved, break the guitar and improve it, then play again. That's why I'm starting another one so I can always play with the other.

Another conclusion is the difference between the initial "simple" unfretted CBG and the fretted one. Lot of approximation and DIY can be done when unfreted, but once you want it to sound "right" with frets, it's a whole new level of complexity.

Let's see where this will lead me :-)