This may be a dumb question, but are licence plates suitable soundboards for an acoustic CBG? Any tips would be gratefully accepted.

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Yes made a few, tried to upload photo from my new computer but failed miserably. Have a look at photos on my page

resorted to my old steam Dell

and still failed

License plate guitars look really great and allow for a individual look. With a proper pickup and amp they sound fine and play well. However, as an acoustic only instrument, you might be disappointed. There is little volume inside most license plate guitars unlike a traditional acoustic guitar. The license plate itself is quite irregular with the raised numbers. This doesn't help with good acoustic sound reproduction. Further, due to the thinness and flexibility of the license plate, it is necessary to support the underside of the license plate at the bridge. This, of course, deadens sound, which is the opposite of what you are looking for in an acoustic.

There may be make a license plate guitar produce clean sound of reasonable volume, but it will likely be a challenge.

All that being said, why not give it a go. It if lacks the volume and clarity you are looking for you can always add a pickup and be off and running.

Thanks Tom, some very valid points.

Pictures/Comments Never fails…

Flatpup pickups are ideal for license plate git’s? I would suggest a lid off a paint can, the thickness & rigidity will give you more volume? Actually, some of the thicker food cans work quite well for acoustic resonators, especially Tuna & Corned beef cans? And they don’t cost much either? Good luck with your build  :)

It did fail more than once

I was noticing that C.B. Gitty’s “Rodeo king” has a license plate on top of the box, rather than the plate being the soundboard? You may want to try that instead? I believe there’s a video of Shane Speal playing one acoustic on their YouTube channel? 

Hi guy's, some time back I pondered the same ideas put forward here. a tin top as described here would sound bad, to my ears. Also, a tin licence plate fitted to a wood top could be a bit better but acoustically challenged as well.

Notice I opened up the soundholes for better volume and tone.

So, what I did was to mount the licence plate off of the top with spacers so the wood top is free to vibrate. I cut a hole in the plate for the bridge to sit on the top itself. play well acoustically but the sound/tone was still influenced by the plate on top. 


Found it! Actually sounds pretty good for what it is, or maybe it’s just who’s playing it that makes it sound good?


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