I guess I'm  having a problem with the "Goldilocks thing. The lids are either way too thick or flimsy. Which brings me to my situation. This lid is very flimsy, so much so that any pressure makes it crack and pop(as in breaking). Remembering something Taffy Evans said about guitar builder thinning braces down on the ends to tune the box I watched a video of a hand crafted guitar(a work of art) on how he tuned it. This is 1/4"x6"x5/16 poplar. My question is it done right or should I do something different. Its placement is directly under the bridge.

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Bracing the lid is not a bad idea at all. Many builders do it. In fact, most of the CB Gitty kits actually include bracing bars (shown below). The double-edged sword is that you want the box lid to vibrate as much as possible because that's where your acoustic sound come from. The more bracing you add, the less the top will vibrate. That said, I think what you have above looks like a reasonable compromise.

Always remember they're aren't really any rules when it comes to CBG building and you often just learn a lot by simply trying something new. Use what you learn for your next build. 

Thanks, I was wondering if I should thin it some more. If didn't brace it the  bridge would come right through. On the other hand, I've seen bridges that span almost full width of the box. Because of the back angle, there will be a substantial bridge height. Would a long bridge tapered on the ends and thin the brace be the way to go? 

I think what you have in the pic looks pretty good. Give it a shot.

Hi Will, a few notes on your bracing question.

There are bracing used as structural stregntheners and others used to control the tops vibrations and tone, this applies to the full guitars I build but I think the same rule applies to any stringed instrument, even cbg's.

The brace you show on your top is for strength, as you mentioned, so I feel it would do its job better if it was "keyed" into or supported at its ends, by the sides. See my photos. Its easy to over brace, and I have done it in the past.  

Its a vast subject so I will not go into it here. Hope the photo's will help.

Fully braced top, some structural some tone enhancing. Testing the vibrating areas of the top....then more carving of the braces. Showing the braces supported at their ends where needed. All now carved for best response of top. Brace goes all the way across the top. Again will be suppoted at the ends of the braces. Cheers Taff

  • Taff, You are a wealth of information to tap and I appreciate you sharing it. I wish you didn't live sooooo far away, it would be great to have a discussion with you and see your shop. This old dog has learned alot of new tricks! For that I thank you and everybody on cbn for inspiration, encouragement and advice!

Just think light, if the bracing is too heavy its just like a thicker top you'll get the same result.

Hi Will, yes RTZguitars is correct about the weight of the braces, that's what I meant about over bracing. You have to balance it against the flexibility of the top. These are about 5mm wide.

In the photos I show the bracing before carving, obviously way oversize, I then carve them down lighter to suit the top. In the photo here you see three braces, that's due to a very thin Cedar top and its weekend by the holes cut in it and the cutout for the neck. I just carved them until things velt and sounded right.



What process(formula, tool, listen for) determines the sound quality of the lid? I compare the top to the bottom by thumping on them with my knuckle. I tried using my 'infamous' tuning fork but I'm not seeing or hearing anything to indicate it's right. I guess it's only good for irritating thrift store patrons. : ) This is take two of the CBG for the cigar shop. She wouldn't have a clue if it was right  or not, but I would! Thank you all for any and all advice. KD

I suggest that if one is interested in the quest for better sound they research the internet to get better informed on the subject.

Tuning plates, carving braces, and testing responses of the top is too large a subject to cover on this forum. It's not just tapping. There are many ways and means and techniques to achieve good volume, balanced tone, good response and playability. My way is only one way and it may differ from the approach of others.

But I should point out that if you are buying different cigar boxes each time that are not the same size or materials, I think it's going to be difficult to experiment and to base one outcome against another. Also I may spend hours testing tuning and carving on full acoustic guitars, not on my cbg's, their for fun and for the price I can charge not worth the effort.

However I did start, from day one, making my own boxes, mainly so that I had a "constant" that will show me where, what and how changes I make improve the sound or not.

But careful planning and execution can bring about a real nice sounding box style guitar. I have to tell myself not to demonstrate them to a customer first, or they think the others sound a bit ordinary. Ha ha.


I found some videos on tap tuning and I was really intrigued about the process. Also came into play  were explanations on braces. The where for, what for and the how come of doing so. Fascinating information if you're serious about building acoustic instruments. The one that peaked my interests was about tuning a mandolin. The builder showed how you didn't need the scope by tapping on the braces, then finding the corresponding note on a cheap keyboard. Thank you Taff for pointing me in the right direction. I'll take quality over quantity anytime! This very old dog has learned new tricks. Tuning plates, Process or item?


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