A note from Shane: When I received these plans from Ward Shrake several weeks ago, I had to double check my blood alcohol levels to make sure I wasn't imagining things.  Sure enough, I was 100% sober...and I was gazing at a full set of instrument plans based on an obscure episode of the Batfink cartoon from 1966!  

I think these are the wildest set of plans we've ever published!  I dare one of you to build this.  

IMPROVE THESE PLANS?:  If you improve these plans, post them in the comments below.  Also post your finished photos!!!

But first, I present the original cartoon featuring the diabolical Professor Vibrato and his cigar box cello weapon:

Professor Vibrato's Cigar Box Cello - by Ward Shrake

Hey, I'm wondering if maybe you would want to post this stuff I'm sending, onto the "tech article" section, over at Cigar Box Nation?

[I used] screen-grabs from a 1966 TV show and some fan-made measurements to go along with it.  

Even though the TV show only shows one size, I'm including measurements here for two sizes. What I'm calling the "full scale" version (on the sheet of figures) was gonna be way too big to be much like most other real-life "cigar box guitars," in terms of size and shape, so just for kicks, I drew up another at approx half of that "toon" size.That "half scale" version was, to my eyes, a bit too small in "real life". I did some math and (some occasional rounding-off) and to me, a "five-eighth's scale" version looked pretty close in size to what most CBG-building folks would be used to.

Hopefully, you'll get a kick out of this silliness!


 -- Ward Shrake --

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  • Alright guys, did this yesterday while we were snowed in. Posted a video of how it sounds. Still trying to get the destructive high freq's from it like the professor did.1174679960?profile=RESIZE_710x

    • "Coolness," Jim Morris! That's the spirit!

      Yesterday I mocked up the 23-inch version, as per my written plans. I used "foam core" (flat paper-faced sheets, about 1/4 inch thick) for the two boxes, and a (not quite thick enough, but pretty close) piece of "foundation insulation" for the mock-up of the neck and "lower tube". I'll try to get some pics of that mock-up soon, and post them here, for additional smiles and giggles.

        -- Ward Shrake --

      • Okay, here's some early mock-up pictures. When I took these photos, I made sure to put common items (some CBG CDs, and the BatFink DVD set, etc.) in the scene, for "scale reference" or a familiar, real-world size comparison.

        Note that this isn't the final version, by any means. This is just a "mostly foam" model or mock-up, sort of as a "proof of concept" but also a visual aide to what I had in mind with that hollow tube thingie I mentioned, before ... with this version using the numbers for the 23-inch scale-length version; that is, the one I judged to be closest to "everyday CBG-size".

        The pickups shown here aren't necessarily final, either: I just had them handy, and felt it wouldn't be a bad thing to show a pre-wired set of C.B. Gitty three-string humbuckers, spanning the "hollow" lower tube -- but it's basically it's another "size comparison" effort, more than a suggestion or anything I plan to actually do, later.

        Note that this isn't a perfectly-perfect mock-up, by any means. The main thing being the neck portion: I had a wide enough (from front view) piece of insulation foam, but it wasn't deep enough. It should be 3/8ths of an inch "deeper" than shown here. And the "actual neck" portion should also (per my drawings, anyway) be that much thicker or deeper. I just ballpark'ed those things, in order to get this done quicker ... figuring I could explain it, and it'd be fine. Main thing is the comparison to CDs, etc.

          -- Ward Shrake --




        • More "mock-up" pics. The last one has a random (half-finished, for another project, entirely) C. B. Gitty neck -- again, mostly so folks have a familiar size comparison.

          In terms of the overall size, this is approximately 57 percent of the size of the one I would call the "full sized" version. Which doesn't make the "big one" sound too-too ridiculously large, until one considers that doubling the size, overall, is really doubling the overall height; and also doubling the overall width; and also the depth. I had to tape three biggish poster-boards together, just to have a piece of paper big enough to contain the "full sized one" -- hence saying that version might make a better "alternative to a wash tub bass" than a "CBG".

            -- Ward Shrake --



  • I am getting on in years, and on the eastern side of the great pond (England) so I only learned the phrase "bat shit crazy" in the last six months.
    Up to others to decide whether this comment has anything to do with this thread or not, but I moght start using "bat fink crazy" instead
    • LOL

  • Hi
    Figured out the questions I asked so disregard
    Just pondering
    Should the head angle away from the neck ?
    10 to 15 degrees?
    • >  Just pondering
      >  Should the head angle away from the neck ?
      >  10 to 15 degrees?

      On your build, it's your call ... but on the drawings I recently did for the "23 inch scale length" version, yeah, I angled that back about 15 degrees: to see how it would look. (Partly so that a "C.B. Gitty" style neck would drop right in, as it were.) And it looks like it "belongs there".

      With apologies for "lack of sleep" mode, on this next (attempted) explanation ...

      Other's mileage may vary, but on that version (or interpretation) of things, I have the two sound boxes connected with a hollow tube; which is sized to fit the one-point-five-inch-width of a CB Gitty neck. Keep in mind, this is still all in the drawing (not yet prototyping) stages of things, and stuff keeps changing (a little bit, here or there) as I work on it, more, but for now the stated wall thickness of the "hollow tube" portion of the overall "through neck" is three-eighths of an inch. That way, with the "solid inner core" part of it being 1.5 inches wide, by that same number in depth (because I'm imagining the prototype with another chunk of a 1.5 inch wide by 0.75 inch deep Gitty neck glued on bottom) and a three-eighths-inch wall thickness, per side (or top / bottom) it adds three quarters of an inch, overall; making the lower half of the neck sort of a hollow "box" -- with the upper part of the neck (what one might call the "actual neck" or "visible part of the normal neck") sort of "sticking inside of that box" ... and spare bits of the neck being glued into the bottom of that "vertical box" arrangement, to stiffen the overall box; enclose it all around; and give something solid for the extend-able "foot thingie" to fit into.

      The way-easier work-around would be to just put some sound holes in the lower sound box; and put a solid neck all the way through the whole device. But I have seen some wooden Dobro's (I think it was a Weisenborne, or something like that?) that had sort of a hollow neck arrangement; to sort of add more of an empty, acoustic resonance space, inside the overall guitar. At first I was questioning the utility (or common sense?!) of trying to engineer a hollow neck, just to NOT make holes in the lower sound box; and to have one chamber talking to another, through some sort of a hollow tube arrangement. I almost talked myself out of pursuing it, but when it occurred to me how much sound manages to get through the tiny central / longitudinal hole in a flute, it was a short wait until my brain threw some sketchy memories of those Dobro's into the conscious part of my head, and I suddenly thought, "Darn it, now I have to figure out how to do it! Now, my curiosity won't let me ignore that partly challenge." And I think I mostly worked it out ... but it's hard for me to describe it, especially in a semi-short space ("low word count") without sharing some "blueprints" or "working drawings". Keeping in mind that I've played with this silliness for a few months now, and you guys are just seeing it all, suddenly ... well, anyway, it seems like "Drawings, sooner rather than later" should be my plan for the next steps. (In other words: despite the "there are no rules" aspect of CBGs, this is a specific item that's in replica form, and needs to look as close to the original item as reasonably possible ... so it sounds like I need to go ask the people with that very big scanner about the specifics of what it'll take to get that part of things going.) Overall, it seems like others need help to try to "picture this thing, in real life" ... and I can't blame them. Even with the several sizes of working drawings I've done, so far, some of the nit-pickier aspects of the "prototyping" challenges of this silly monster of a Toon CBG remain a bit fuzzy, even for me.

      Just thinking out loud, but maybe I'll ink the "half sized" version, for the first-seen public working drawing? (Because that version is still in pencil; whereas the 23-inch'er is in ink, but with "white out" in a few places where I had better ideas, as I went ...)

        -- Ward Shrake --

      P.S. -- Questions for the group: Are there any "washtub bass" players out there? Ones who could supply their own height; plus the vertical height of where their "plucking hand" ends up? That might help me to better visualize the "big version" better; and make the final drawing of that one, sized so that real-world play-ability is maximized.

      Also -- what's a good "scale length" for something like the strings one might use, on the full sized version? The current (still in pencil, not "technical pen" ink) drawing of the big one could be altered, if the 40.5 inch scale length is less than optimal, for emulating, say, a stand-up bass. (Which is probably one "practical" way to treat the full-sized item?)

      • I actually kinda like the idea of the hollow tube to connect both boxes.

        But if you don't want to go that way, it would also be possible to put a piezo pickup in the bottom box under the bridge along with a small amp and hide a speaker in the top box. But I don't think that would be in the spirit of the build.

        While looking at the toon, I noticed that the characters were pretty wide. This is definitely not helping in achieving realistic proportions, something that is probably impossible.

        One way that could give an easy to build result is to match a part of the instrument to an existing piece of hardware and then go from there... but then again, in a fantasy world anything is possible.

        Thanks Ward for finding this thing and showing it. I think we'll see some inspired builds sooner or later :-)

        • >  While looking at the toon, I noticed that the
          >  characters were pretty wide. This is definitely
          >  not helping in achieving realistic proportions,
          >  something that is probably impossible.

          Probably, yeah. My take on things was to take what I was seeing, pretty literally, and not try to "translate" too much between Toon-Land and Real-Land. Like grabbing the real thing off of the "movie set, during filming" and running back with it, to "reality". And picturing it not really changing, all that much, during "translation".

          >  Thanks Ward for finding this thing and
          >  showing it. I think we'll see some
          >  inspired builds sooner or later :-)

          You're welcome. And yeah, I figure this will likely snowball, over time ...

          Next we'll probably have someone tell us there was some random episode of Pinky and the Brain, or SpongeBob SquarePants, or something, that had cool CBGs in it? Wouldn't that be fun?! But, meantime, it's cool that CBG folks can see this bit of inspired silliness, from the BatFink 'toon universe.

            -- Ward Shrake --

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