Long time guitar player here, but I'm mostly an electric bass player these days.  Anyway, someone posted a link to a Samatha Fish video on the TalkBass forum a couple of weeks ago.  That put a burr under my saddle re- CBG.  I have a tad of building experience, I made two electric bass guitar bodies last year.  Paired with bolt-on commercial necks, that was fine and worked well. 

Anyway, low and behold last week at the community garden, there's a wooden cigar box sitting on the "Free" shelf.  The guitar gods had spoken, apparently. 

Anyway, I snagged it and used the community shop CNC laser to burn an F-hole in it yesterday.  Soaked some hardware from the junk box in vinegar night before last to age it.  That worked well.  Next up -  hunting for neck wood.  I think I'll buy a pre-slotted fretboard to epoxy to the neck. 


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Burning them with a torch is a quicker way to deconstruct the finish of metal? Good luck on this build, have you checked out the cigarboxguitar.com archives down the bottom right side of the page, plenty of build info there?

Welcome to the rabbit hole. That’s a great lookin’ start!

Welcome Lark, nice to see your project taking shape. Epoxy glue isn't really needed to hold a fingerboard onto the neck, but if you already have it, it won't hurt.

Enjoy the journey.


I ordered a fretted walnut neck today.  I felt myself getting pulling into a neck building vortex.  I'm a perfectionist and it ain't pretty when it hits.  Awake at 3 am pondering options, etc.  I had some Paypal money sitting there and what better use? 

I did find a recommendation somewhere on the 'net for using the left handed bolt from a cheap turnbuckle for the bridge.  Point being, the bridge generally needs to be angled so the higher strings have less scale length.  The left handed thread aligns better with that bridge orientation.  So I bought a turnbuckle at the big box store today.  

I think I'll settle on GDG tuning.  I was really leaning toward DAD, given my guitar/bass playing and that feels "closer" to what I'm used to.  But - best I can tell -  the majority use GDG.    I'll likely stay low.  I like the low end.  


Thinking about the fingerboard and the box top.  How close should these be to the same height?  I had been thinking that I want the base of the fingerboard flush with the box top, meaning the top of the FB would be 1/4" higher than the box.  Is that right?

Hi again, what guides my design is bridge height and position and of course string height over the 12th fret.

I look for a bridge height, say 1/2" as this will give me a decent back angle to the strings, and down loading on the bridge.

Then I would look at the lay or positioning of the fingerboard/neck, (will putting them flush or above the top give me the string height I want)

I find that with the f/b over the top plus fret hight plus string height at the 12th fret will give me suitable bridge height. If not I would consider changing neck angle.

There's other ways, this works for me.


Thanks Brian and Taff

Yeah it's dawning on me that it's all about the bridge height.  I'm thinking a long straightedge on the frets with the bridge in place will get me a good place to start.   I'm used to Fender style neck pockets and necks with truss rods.  Meaning more adjustability than a set neck with no truss.  On the other hand, the worst thing that can happen is I go too deep and need to buy another cigar box.    

This video really helped my understanding.  Graphs starting around 11 minutes. 


Another helpful link here re- string height, neck angle and more


Tailpiece is done.  Strike plate from the junk box, 1/8" holes drilled at 21mm centers, black chalkboard paint.  I want 19 mm spacing at the bridge to match both my basses.  


My neck came in, it's 25.5" scale already fretted in walnut.  The fretboard is 18.25" inches long.  If I butt this against the side of the box , then the bridge will be 7.25" from there.  My cigar box is 8.25" wide.  It seems to me that this puts the bridge too close to the end of the box.  BTW - I'm not doing a neck through, although I could.  My plan was to screw a tailstock to the end of the box.  I'd certainly have plenty of break angle.  Is this something to worry about?  Should I plan on moving the neck back, leaving the FB "sticking out" a bit from the box?


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