Note: The following plans were written by violin maker, Steven Miller and originally posted on Fiddlerman.com.
Cigar Box Fiddles have been known since the Civil War. Wooden cigar boxes had entered commerce by the middle of the 19th century, and provided ready material for the musician who did not have access to a store bought instrument. Most cigar box instruments have been a handy substitute for the real thing , made by musicians, not luthiers.
Consequently, most examples are of poor, homespun quality. Usually, they have been discarded as soon as a “real” instrument was available.
My inspiration is to create modern cigar box fiddles as real musical instruments. The essential dimensions of a full sized, classical violin are observed. Bass bar and sound post are installed in the body. Good quality boxes are selected. High quality materials made to modern design are incorporated. These instruments are gently humorous and unpretentious.
They are also rock solid, well made and good players.
Here then, is how to make a modern cigar box fiddle...