I tried a search of this forum but didn't come up with hits that addressed what I'm talking about.

I'm new to CGB building and have spend a number of evening bouncing around the internet looking at building instructions and videos.

I hit a video a few days ago that talks about cutting a 3 degree taper on the top side of the portion of the neck that is inside the box. This will cause the neck to angle downward (from box to head).

According to the video, this is done to address bending of the neck under string pressure and help keep the action height constant across the length of the fret board.

Is anyone familiar with this technique? Is 3 degrees the default standard?


Tom T

Views: 1153

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I give all my builds at least a 3 degree back angle to improve playability, most commercial guitars also have this back angle.

3 degrees is not a standard but seems to be the best compromise. Lutes tend to have a more extreme angle.

I built a two string gourd bass with a 12 degree back angle to compensate for the high bridge.

Thanks for a quick response Robert. This site is proving invaluable in adding to my limited knowledge base. You use of a 3 degree neck angle is good enough for me.

Thanks again

Tom T

Are you not thinking of the extreme headstock angle on a lute ?

Seems legit. Some here have even put on necks with adjustable angles. The exception is for fretless instruments where the height of the strings doesn't matter. All a balancing act between the string tension pushing the bridge down and the height of the strings over the fretboard. Then again the main rule of cigar box guitars is there are no rules and of the rules it doesn't have a 3 degree angle sounds like a very good one.

pitched necks and tall bridges are great!


warning: once you start you'll never go back.

Why?  a greater percentage of the string tension is directed downward into the box. = much more volume.  Take a look at a violin.

some years ago i worked out a easy way to do it with a scarf join on a bandsaw, see here http://handmademusicclubhouse.com/photo/thetinyguitarsbodyendscarfj...

3 degrees is sod all, i don't measure, i just rule a line and cut, but its more like 7-10 for sure.   enjoy

I really appreciate your inclusion of the link to the photo. So, you cut the angle you want out of the top section of the neck where it passes thorough the box, then glue it on the bottom so the two sections remain parallel to one another, but the neck above the box is tilted down..........

Very clever.....


Tom T

Wow, you just blew my mind.

Of course, you have earned the right to blow my mind with your "I See Threes" lesson in the basics of music theory.

That scarf joint inside the box, to angle the neck, is such an elegant solution to alter the string tension on the box lid.

On my ukes with CB Gitty concert necks & fretboards, I attach then to the box with a hanger bolt after I cut anywhere from 1 to 3 degree down angle to the heal.  Most of the time it's 1 to 1.5 degrees.  3 degrees if huge.  Remember - trucks have to use low gear on 6 degree down grades.  Even at 1 degree, sometime I have to put a tooth pick under the bottom of the heal, because the strings hits the 12th fret.

Thanks Will.

I actually drew out all of this to see what it looked like full scale.

With a 25" scale and a 1/4" fret board flush with the top of the box, I need a bridge 1/2" tall to keep the strings a constant distance from the fret board from nut to the end of the fret board. That is, of course before any bending of the neck under string pressure. That would lead to use of shorter bridge to keep strings parallel.

I'm a ways from construction of a new neck, but gathering this type of information is useful.

Thanks for your help.

Tom T

Make the bridge last and it'll all come together great. Let the angles and desired string action dictate the height of the bridge

That's my thinking.......



  This is a little off subject ,  but I always put the bottom of a 1/4" fret board flush with the box, so the top of the fret board is a 1/4" above the box .    That moves the strings further away from the box and makes it easier to pick with out hitting the box .   


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


Completed Builds

Started by ThePracticalPeasant in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by BUGGSY 16 hours ago. 3 Replies


Started by Mitchell Cutsinger in Performances, How to Play, Lessons, Concerts. Last reply by Carl Floyd Sep 29. 5 Replies

Blog Posts

Leonard Cohen Life

Posted by Keith Rearick on October 7, 2021 at 11:18am 0 Comments

CBGer’s Lament

Posted by Ghostbuttons on October 3, 2021 at 12:11am 0 Comments


Posted by Mark E. Martinsen on September 29, 2021 at 8:39pm 3 Comments

Prototyping with a big ol' wine box

Posted by Ben on September 23, 2021 at 4:00pm 0 Comments

Mr. Bells

Posted by Stephen Cohen on September 4, 2021 at 12:30pm 0 Comments

Latest Activity

Martin replied to Martin's discussion Drawings or pictures on the box in the group Building a Cigar Box Guitar 101
"Hi guys, I found this  and I will try it on the box. It is called a transfermarker. I…"
2 hours ago
ChickenboneJohn posted photos
3 hours ago
BUGGSY liked Richard Sundberg's video
5 hours ago
Art Box Guitars liked Randy S. Bretz's photo
6 hours ago
Art Box Guitars updated their profile
6 hours ago
the anonymous pick commented on Poorness Studios's video

Big White Taxi (a tribute to Dave Lynas)

""felt i had to do something ,but couldnt quite figure out what to do " .. I'm…"
8 hours ago
Darryl Tuttle posted a status
"Anyone ever use a masuter 4040 cnc router?…thinking about getting one"
12 hours ago
Doug Thorsvik commented on Poorness Studios's video

Big White Taxi (a tribute to Dave Lynas)

"A fitting tribute like only you can do Kale! Dave’s memory lives on."
14 hours ago
Richard Sundberg commented on Richard Sundberg's video

Blues On and On. Dave Lynas and Richard Sundberg

"Thank you very much Buggsy! This is one of my favorites with Dave. We were talking about doing…"
15 hours ago
AGP # liked Darryl Tuttle's photo
16 hours ago
AGP # liked Darryl Tuttle's photo
16 hours ago
AGP # commented on Randy S. Bretz's video

Four String Bone Crusher

""Deep & Dark" Randy, Sounds GR888888888888888888888888888!!!!! :-)"
16 hours ago


© 2021   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 -->