Build The BATFINK Cigar Box Cello - Our most insane DIY instrument plans ever!

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!

Batfink_Cigar-Box-Cello_Analysis-by-Ward-Shrake-1.pdf

 -- Ward Shrake --

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"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 --

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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 --

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