Hi, at last I found time to finish a cigar box style guitar after months of working on other projects.

My idea was to use a licence plate but try to keep the guitar acoustic sounding, well it plays ok acoustic but not with the quality of the others I have. It lacks volume and decent tone. The plate does not actually touch the top it is suspended on four posts. The bridge also does not touch the plate, it goes through holes and into the top. The knobs on the pots are caps from after shave bottles, they looked like tyres so I used them.

The piezo pickup sound is lacking also. So, I plan to install a magnetic single coil and make the guitar more electric than acoustic. We live and learn. Well at least the bike runs great.


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Looks great! But it sounds like you put a muffler over the loudest part of the guitar. Energy travels through the supports holding the plate up. Then into the plate. This loss of energy is why the guitar isn't as loud as it could be. 

Before drilling up an awesome plate try a piezo under the bridge. It wont help your acoustic sound. But would look better than a mag pickup in this build. 

Hi Blue rate, thanks for your input. I've done some searching and found some main causes and made improvements.

The biggest improvement was made by changing the bridge.

The next was to uncover the soundholes, much more volume. I've put the plate back on to test but I'm going to revisit that soundhole thing, an easy fix.

The other big difference, and I did not realise it, was that this cbg has a plywood top whilst the ones I was comparing it to had solid timber tops. I cant change that on this guitar.

The top generates the sound, some comes off the outside surface of the top but most of the quality sound  comes out of the soundholes. so I'll focus on them.

I did not want to cut into the Route 66 plate, so used the JD one. Taff

Not sure that plate will get you that far in fnq... 

This a question, not an answer, or maybe it is? Shouldn't the bridge be in direct contact with the license plate? And the bridge and top plate be in direct contact with the neck ? Not only for sound but for support of the bridge and transfer of sound? Inquiring minds would like to know.lol

Hi Robbie, sorry for the delay in answering your question.

If I wanted a tinny sounding guitar I would do as you mentioned, put the bridge on top of the licence plate, some do this to replicate the sound of a resonator guitar. If doing this I would use the plate only and not a wooden plate as well. Using a metal plate and a wooden top plate defeats the use of both materials. You lose a lot of the metallic sound due to the dampening of the license plate by the wooden top, and lose any acoustic responses due to the metal plate dampening the top wooden plate. 

We often sacrifice function for good looks.

When you ask if the plates should touch the neck, are you thinking of a "through neck" system? If so then the touching of the vibrating top plates to  any thing in the box that does not vibrate, like a solid neck stick, will also cause unwanted dampening to the top.

I tried to get the best of both worlds, the looks of a LPG with the sound qualities of an acoustic CBG, by not having the tin plate touch the wood top. I was not please me at the first prototype, but the JD version works so much better. even more so now that I have increased the soundhole sizes.


Cool. Thanks for answering Taffy. I'm still split on piezo under the LP or flat humbucker mounted on the neck under the bridge. With the latter, and yes , this is a neck through design, how to support the hardwood bridge will be the question. especially with a electro pu directly under it but not touching the LP Oh yes, this is a 1956 LP so minimal holes is a bonus.


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