Hi All, I have just joined and have yet to build my first Cigar Box guitar. At the moment I am doing the research and I have some questions I hope the expert can help with.

For a 3, 4 and 6 string cigar box guitar:

  • What is the length of the fret board? What is the recommended number of frets
  • Do you ‘radius your fretboard’
  • Do you put any type of angle on the neck as some people do for better action? Some cut the rear neck thickness a little more than the front slot so that the tail is raised a little causing the neck head to angle down just a little
  • Do I insert a ‘truss rod’ into the neck

Thank you in advance

Cheers

Rich

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Hi Will, thanks for the response and the info.  This is exactly what I was looking for.  I am in the process of building a small workshop and I have built a guitar yet.  I want to do it correctly and these little details will add that extra bit of quality

Once again thank you for the advice

Cheers

Rich

In reading the various responses, I have begun to wonder if the "back angle" you are referring to is the slight downward angle of the neck (from body to nut) when viewed from the side. In traditional luthier terms, this is what is referred to as back angle. It is usually in the range of 1 to 1.5 degrees (not much)

Anyway, I've used this back angle on some builds as it leads to a taller bridge and greater string over the bridge. That being said, I have not bothered to cut this angle on any of past dozen or more builds. I can't really see any issues of not doing it. The bridge seems to have enough height to give good string angle, so I'm finding it a tedious angle to cut with no noticeable benefits.

Hope you can get a lot of mahogany in your carry on bag.

Hi Tom, thanks for the response - yes its the back angle from body to nut, Many builders recommend designing it into the guitar 

Thanks for the advice

Cheers

Rich

  1. Another tip I picked up and want to share. On a long piece of paper or cardboard. Layout in full-size your projects side view and plot your angle. That 3/8"drop on a 13" box 'will be' different on a longer or shorter box. Don't over think what you are doing! No one! Gets the first one perfect! But this is part of the learning curve, belive me! 99.9% of the first time builders have said to themselves "I'm not going to be like everyone else, my first one will be flawless!" Well guess what! 99.9% of us were wrong! Just remember this these aren't a new concept, people have been making CBGs at least 100yrs without the technology we have at our desposal. My first finished project "looked" good, but sounded like shit! Took it apart, used the neck, hardware elsewhere and the box I keep in full view(made a clock out of it) to remind me "don't get cocky"!  There are two steadfast rules. The 12th fret is always 1/2 way between the bridge and nut and There are no rules in building CBGs!

Hi Will, again great advice.  I have started building my workshop and look forward to having a go at my firth guitar

Cheers

Rich

Hi, I meant to mention this in my last post, prompted by Tom T's comment about where the fingerboard ends at the body.

For me that is governed by where the bridge sits on the top of the box. There is a "best" position for the bridge that enables the strings to drive the top more effiently into vibration, which in turn can result in better volume and tone, if building for the best acoustic results. I mention this as you mentioned quality.

If building your own box, thats what l do, one can get that spot easily. But if you change scale length or box size then that position may move too far back on the top. So if your fingerboard was over the body and you move the bridge forwards thats when I get a fretboard that will end at the start of the box and not overlap it.

in my box size that puts the bridge a third of the distance up from the tail end.

This will all make more sense as you learn more about the building whys and wherefore's.

Sorry to be a bore but bridge placement can be very important in an acoustic CBG. Electric, not so much.

Taff

Hi Taff,

Again, great advice.  Thanks again for the information, input and support

Cheers

Rich

Hi Taff, I am living in Thailand so I cant get genuine cigar box's here and to import would be a 'nightmare' to get through customs.  I plan to build my own boxes (mahogany, teak or macca wood) so this, again is great information and advice

Cheers

Rich

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