So I ordered 10 wooden cigar boxes and they're all gorgeous but I'm not sure what the best use is for the really shallow ones. Like this stunning red PDR box only has 1-1/4" of interior space....

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I have come to pretty much ignore the depth of the box, having found that shallow boxes often sound as good, or better, than some of the deeper boxes.

Look up doubledecker

I was just looking at one of my builds, it is less that 1 1/4" deep. It's one of the best sounding guitars I have!

do you have any pictures of your 1 1/4" build? Love to see it as I'm about to venture into my second build (first was a kit from Gitty) and found a 1 1/2" box I really love the looks of.

I do an under the box frame

So what would be the result of using a 1 1/2" exterior dimension box. I've also run across a stunning fuego red box and would love to use it. I saw one poster who mentioned that thinner boxes may be louder. Thoughts on acoustics from personal experience?

Thanks in advance,

A box with a 1 1/2" exterior thickness would usually have an interior thickness around 1 1/8". That assumes that the top and bottoms are around 1/8" thick each This box would easily accept a standard 3/4" thick 1 x 2. If you notch the neck for the top thickness, you would have around 1/2" of remaining box interior height. That is enough for a nice heel and pass through neck piece..

If you are using hard wood for the neck, and reasonable string sizes, you should have no problems with neck bending with three or four strings. I've built a number of guitars with this size box and it works our nicely.

As for thinner boxes being louder. Face it, a commercial cigar box is not high quality acoustically, If one is louder than another, it is likely due to other build parameters. To get decent tone and volume you will have to amplify which really reduces the importance of an acoustically superior cigar box.

So much to learn, thank you. I do plan to amplify but am hoping the guitar will sound good enough to play without the amplifier.

I suppose I should also be looking into the characteristics of different woods and box dimensions. My third guitar will probably be made with a box I make myself.

Thanks Tom

Hi Mel, what Tom T says pretty well nails it. Me, I have a stash of these thin boxes and I will not use them unless I put a pickup in them.

If one looks at how sound is created in a stringed instrument it will be easier to work it out for oneself. 

In layman's terms, the sound we hear when we pluck the strings is soundwaves carried in the air. The string when excited does two things it creates sound waves off the top of the instrument, but more importantly, it moves the air in the soundbox, by also exciting the top, into soundwaves that exit through the soundholes, along with lots of different harmonics. So, the more suitable the top material [sensitive] the better it will move air, also the larger the soundbox the more air to move so can result in more volume.

But, bigger does not always equate to more volume or better tone as there are many other factors in the build and material choices that can effect outcomes also. Changing one thing often nessitates changes in other areas. Things like soundhole size, string gauge, brace size and positioning. That's what keeps me going.........



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