The Cigar Box Guitar

I like music, but I really don’t like practicing. Always quite taken by blues, and a Cigar Box Guitar certainly has roots in blues, and I can build one for cheap. If I lose interest, I’m not out a wack of money.

One summer, I threw this one together, for a total cost of about $9, and began teaching myself how to play it:

And a year later, this was still pretty entertaining. So I started building another one, this time with a pickup and much more coolness enhancement:

And then I tried to figure out a cool way to make the box. I used Mahogany plywood that came in my offshore sheet metal Shrinker/Stretcher. I wanted something sexy that would have the sides finger jointed together and visible on all sides, but it wasn’t in the cards. In the end I just mitered the corners and braced them. No pictures, of course.

Then Shane Speal showed a “Paint Can Lid Dobro” which intrigued me. What I really wanted was a saw blade as the resonator thingie, but this intrigued me. So I cut a hole in the body with the Death Spinner so I could use the lid if I wanted.

I didn’t have a 1-7/16″ hole saw for the sound hole sink strainers, but I did have a scroll saw. I also cut the hole for the offshore “Humbucker” pickup.

The saw blade was placed.

I used a three-pronged meat fork I found at the Salvation Army to hold the strings.

I fabricated the Skeleton Key at work from scraps of metal and a couple of washers.

At this point I rough assembled it with some Ernie Ball “Extra Slinky” nickel wound strings in 38/30/22, and gave it a go. It certainly is different in sound than my first guitar. Less “tone” but very detailed sound. It seems easier to play.

As of this writing, it needs to be sanded, finished, and wired.

So far, I really think I like it.