So here is my first build.  I had be looking around all over the internet about CBGs.  I have been a musician for years and have played guitar for a long time.  I have always wanted to build a guitar, and I figured this would be a good starting point.

The box isn't a cigar box.  It is a hobby box from one of those Hobby Lobby type stores.  One of my best friends had a baby, hence the Hayes on the box.  He is a big Hayes Carll fan as well.There is a burning of some of his lyrics underneath.  This is a gift for him and his baby boy.

I used a "through neck" design.  It is made of 1x2 poplar with a 1/4 inch poplar piece as the fingerboard.  The bridge and nut are threaded bold from home depot, and the tuners are from CB Gitty crafter supply.  It has one of those prewired piezo pickups on it, and it works well.

I plan on making more, and want to get them cleaned up.  I have encountered some problems along the way.

My first problem was that when I didn't have the fretboard, the action wasn't set and the strings would contact the box.  I love the fret board and like the contrast of color.  As I have read frequently, poplar doesn't hold stain well, and I have seen it first hand with this project.  Problem is, it is hard to find strips of 1/4 hardwood that are readily available.


The one thing that bugs me about this build that I CANNOT figure out is how the notes don't sound right.  I used the 25.5 inch scale length.  I'm willing to bet that part of the problem is that the fret wires probably aren't all the same depth, but I could be wrong. I can put my finger on the third fret and the tone will change if I slide from the front to the back of the fret- flat and sharp.  Has anyone encountered this problem?  And anyone know how to avoid it in the future?

 I already have ideas for future projects, and I am constantly on the lookout for boxes or anything that could be made into a guitar.  I'm loving the shovel idea and even the Mailbox on I've seen with Shane Speal.

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You need to move the larger string side towards the tail of the build, and keep checking the tuning as you move it. Then see where the other two strings sound. It shouldn't take much of a move, for it to come into tune.

Thanks.  I'll how that does.

With a round nut the center of the bolt is where the string rests. Unlike a regular nut where the outside edge is where it rests. Also string hight plays a big part when it's pressed down to the fret. The higher the string the more out of tune it will be when played. And the thickness and hight of the fret wire itself. The thinner the wire the more precise your playing has to be. With all that said you can check your frets to see if they're level. Use a credit card to check between three frets. If it rocks the center fret is high. Plenty of youtube vids about fret leveling. They'll give a lot more detail than what I can in a short post. 

Totally ding the sound holes. Nice looking build! 

Congratulations on your "First" build. I say first because there will be more..........

Your current tuning issue is not uncommon and you can work it out methodically.

1. Using an electronic tuner bring the 3rd string (the biggest one) up to tune.

2. Using a slide, very lightly place the slide on the string exactly above the 12th fret. Very little pressure is needed.

3. Pluck the string and see if it is the same note as the open string (only an octave higher). If it is sharp, then move your bridge toward the bottom of the box and repeat steps 1 through 3. Do this until the intonation is correct.

4. Do the same steps for lower (smallest string). If it does not intone correctly, you will have to angle the bridge to bring it in while not upsetting the intonation of the 3rd string.

Once the guitar is intoned correctly, start checking your individual fret positions using a slide and very light pressure.. The notes of each fret should be correct if the frets are in the correct location. If this is not the case......

Use a stainless steel ruler (the MM scale). Tape the ruler to the fret board so the 0 is exactly centered on your nut (or roller nut).

Do not measure the individual distance from one fret to another (cumulative error will kill you). Measure the cumulative distances from the 0 position. This is the most accurate means to measure fret positions.

Hopefully, you will not find any frets out of place.

Again Congrats.......

Hi, very nice first build well done. 

We all do things different I know, but this is my way and why. I do as mentioned above, but, I play the string open and then fret it with my finger at the 12th, those two notes should be the same note only a diffferent pitch. Then if not move the bridge to get same notes.

This will compensate for the strings mass and how far it goes sharp due to being stretched down to the fret. The higher/thicker the string the more compensation. That's for a player who frets with their fingers.

lf playing slide only, then very little compensation will be neaded as the strings are not stretched out of tune by a slide player as they don't fret the notes. I play slide and finger notes so compensate using my method above.


Taffy brings up a good point. If you finger notes, then you want them to stay in tune when you do. If they go sharp, it is usually an indication that the action is too high (something totally different than intonation). It's all about having the guitar hold tune when you play.

Follow Taffy's advice is you finger notes. It is a good insight.

Thanks for all the advice.  Listening to the 12th fret helped.  I have noticed that some of my frets are level so some work will have to be done to that.  Onto the next one!  Thanks again guys.  Loving the creativity with these bad boys.


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