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



Views: 225

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

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



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



  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



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.


Hi Taff,

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



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




The Essential Pages

New to Cigar Box Nation? How to Play Cigar Box GuitarsFree Plans & How to Build Cigar Box GuitarsCigar Box Guitar Building BasicsCigar Box Guitar Parts Store

Site Sponsor

Recommended Links & Resources


r.e. testbed...

Started by James Pobog in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by James Pobog 18 hours ago. 1 Reply

new bridge

Started by James Pobog in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Paul Craig on Monday. 22 Replies

Make a Lo-Fi Telephone Microphone! EASY 5 Minute Project

Started by Shane Speal shanespeal.com in Feature Articles. Last reply by Shane Speal shanespeal.com on Monday. 5 Replies

Salt when clamping!

Started by KOOL DOG HOOCH in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Titch the Clown on Sunday. 15 Replies

Homemade Fretless Bass Schematic

Started by Shane Speal shanespeal.com in Feature Articles. Last reply by BrianQ. on Sunday. 2 Replies

Latest Activity

Danny Gordon commented on Dave Lynas's video

Jailhouse Blues

"another great job Dave, those older songs seem to fit your style really well"
21 minutes ago
Danny Gordon liked Dave Lynas's video
21 minutes ago
Danny Gordon commented on Uncle John's video

Welcome Table ~ on CBG and tin sandwich

"is that an original Unc? Great job fits right in there with Give me that old time religion"
24 minutes ago
Danny Gordon liked Uncle John's video
25 minutes ago
Danny Gordon commented on Jason Mills's video

Dog Water Blues. Township Wide.

"awesome awesome performance, hard driving rhythm and some great lead"
26 minutes ago
Danny Gordon liked Jason Mills's video
27 minutes ago
3 String Guitars replied to Taffy Evans's discussion Visitors to the workshop
1 hour ago
Larry Cuddy liked David Hopkins's photo
1 hour ago
BrianQ. liked David Hopkins's photo
2 hours ago
BrianQ. commented on David Hopkins's photo

Hopkins' Lightnin'

"Lightnin’ n thunder!!"
2 hours ago
the anonymous pick commented on David Hopkins's photo
2 hours ago
Dave Lynas commented on Dave Lynas's video

Cheroots Part 4

"Thanks Brian, thanks Daniel. Started coloring the neck tonight. Water color wash of blur and green.…"
2 hours ago



© 2019   Created by Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

\uastyle>\ud/** Scrollup **/\ud.scrollup {\ud background: url("https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/963882636?profile=original") no-repeat scroll 0 0 transparent;\ud bottom: 25px;\ud display: inline !important;\ud height: 40px;\ud opacity: 0.3 !important;\ud position: fixed;\ud right: 30px;\ud text-indent: -9999px;\ud width: 40px;\ud z-index: 999;\ud}\ud.scrollup:hover {\ud opacity:0.99!important;\ud}\ud \uascript type="text/javascript">\ud x$(document).ready(function(){\ud x$(window).scroll(function(){\ud if (x$(this).scrollTop() > 100) {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeIn();\ud } else {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeOut();\ud }\ud });\ud x$('.scrollup').click(function(){\ud x$("html, body").animate({ scrollTop: 0 }, 600);\ud return false;\ud });\ud });\ud \ua!-- End Scroll Up -->