My "CBG`S" will not have “Cigar” Boxes but everything else one can imagine. Self built boxes, bought boxes, Tin boxes, Cardboard boxes, Wooden Boxes with Plates, … whatever.

I think i will try out many things.
BUT if you have made Experiences with different Boxes, well, advise is always appreciated. ;-)

It’s important to me that my ”CBG`s” will have a good acoustic sound, even if they will have pickups.

And because I never did build a Guitar before, I know little about “Guitarbodies” and what does have an effect to the sound. I did do some research. But in am not sure about what I have “collected”. So I am asking You.

  • Back and sides have very little effect on the sound, right?
  • Does that mean I can built boxes with thick back and sides? Or better to use thin wood and strips to make them stronger?
  • Is it important to glue the box or can I leave hinges so that it still can be opend?
  • The Top has the most effect on the sopund, right?
  • Specialy the last 3rd?
  • Wich effect does the soundhole, its form and position have?
  • What is a good thickness of the top?
  • Anything special to consider whyle experimenting with “Boxes”?


Yes plenty questions, but if you can answere one or two, it would be appreciated ;-)

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A CBG sounds different from you regular acoustic or semi-hollow/hollow body electric because of it's size, depth and materials used.

A CBG can be made to sound more like a acoustic if the depth, size is increased and similar materials and construction are used.

Thin top wood vibrates better and produces more acoustic volume. Thin tops need bracing. The back and sides are less important than the top.

Sound hole/F-holes work better if they are the correct size and in the right spot.

A sealed box will be louder. If the hinged opening is on the bottom with insulation used around the edge, then it will be loud and have access to the inside.

Piezo's have to be placed in the right spot for best results. Best spot depends on the CBG and your tastes.

All types of materials/wood can work to make a good sounding guitar if it's built right and tight. All materials have their own unique tonal qualities, which is better depends on your tastes and your ears.

Thank you for your response.

What would you use fpr insulation ?

I would only apply it if the opening lid was on the back though because it would interfere with vibration transfer otherwise.

I would use a thin rubber insulation for windows with a stick on adhesive or some felt/material or even cork gasket material would work. Depends on how big/thick it needs to be. 

Ok, Thanks

I've had success using old guitar bodies, cut down in size.

Two ukes so far, with a 'normal' guitar currently on the bench.  The guitar donates the sides and back.  I added some purfling from strips of plywood.  The tops are 1/16" model-makers ply, with a little bracing added inside.

I've been playing the ukes regularly for some time now.  Both have a bright, clear tone.


I managed to get two uke bodies form this old folk guitar body.

The 1/16 ply soundboard gets a bit of bracing internally.

Assembling the first uke body.

Both ukes - 4 and 8 string.

The current project guitar, cut from a dead 12-string folk guitar..  The purfling is from water-soaked ply strips.

This one will be a resonator!

I love these.

I find it better to just dig in & use what u have. That’s the way you’ll know if you like & what works. They’re cbg’s, so don’t think to much, build a few, take what works & doesn’t & find a formula that works for you. Then apply it to any box. Top & back aren’t so thick for a reason, it allows more tonal vibration. Most boxes are up to 1/4” thick, 1/8” or thinner may need bracing in the bridge area. Most tins need bracing due to their flimsiness, but that’s expected. You may want to use the search box for topics of your questions, theres tons of info here. Have fun & good luck

Thank you for your response.
I think you are right, not thinking so much and just doing it will be a good start for me.

Actually all parts of an acoustic instrument plays a part in it's sound.

Making a box to match the construction of a cigar box is easy. 1/4 ply and very thin brad nails. Use a coated paper for the hinge. Coating the paper on both sides with acrylic would work. Making it better than a cigar box would mean using glue and supports. The best part is you don't have to look for the perfect size box. make one any size you want.  Making the sides out of 1/2 ply and the top and bottom out of thinner makes for a sturdy box. 

Is the placement of a sound hole important? Acoustic guitars have the sound hole where it is because it's the best spot for projection. On a CGB? I think most folks go for looks. Yes you will get different sounds by placing a hole in different locations. F holes were designed because rectangle holes didn't look as good. But they will do the same job. The idea behind F holes is to have 'fins' that allow the wood between the bridge and cut to vibrate as much as possible. 

Leaving part of the box unglued to open is only important if you have some kind of pickups and knobs in the guitar. Unless you want to store things in the box. Slides, picks, a tuner. A box is a box. : ) 

Comfortable to play. Wide narrow boxes are more comfortable to play on than chunky thick smaller boxes. 

Here's an experiment you could try. A way to find out what hole placement you like best. Make your box with no top. have the sides thick enough or put supports in each corner. Now cut four tops. Clamp all four tops on the box at one time. Drill a hole in each corner and down into the side or support. Mark the same corner on the box and each top. Doing this will help keep from stripping out the holes in sides or supports. Now make each top different and try them all. You really haven't wasted any wood. You can always use the other three tops for piezo or electric pickup builds. Or acoustic boxes with a different look. 

What ever you do have fun doing it. Don't expect a Stradivarius for a first build. We all have scrap piles. : )

Hi, I have just posted an answer to this question in "Nead some help" just a minute ago. Have look it may help your decision making.


i, I have moved into making CBG's from a background in building full acoustic guitars, so I base my building designs on the principles that effect full size guitars. I also keep in mind that it is a basic, and small instrument,but I still strive to get best out of the box, even though it may not have ideal materials.
So, I what keep in mind is, that that only 10% or less of a strings energy, when plucked, is converted into sound. The amount of sound produced stems from the amount of vibrating surfaces of the box is available to move the air in the box cavity. The more sensitive the top and back are to string input, the better volume and I'd say the better the timber used the better the tone.
I plan so as to have as little interference effecting the top and the back as possible. On more important builds that are acoustic, the magnetic pickup does not touch that top at all and neither do the control pots.
For the same reason, regarding air movement and volume, I avoid having the neck going though the box (sound chamber).
One can ignore all of this and still get an instrument that is very playable and enjoyable. Or you can take up the challenge. I'd recommend building a CBG that "works", play it, then when you build # 2, 3' 4, apply the principles used for getting a better performing/sounding cbg.
Bottom line....the box must be responsive to string vibration. The top plays the most important part, the back also plays a big part in sound quality [tone], production and projection.

I do not talk in thick or thin terms when talking about fronts and backs, more important to me is flexibility. A timber of one species may be more flexible than another [even timber of the same species can be different, depending on grain]  so may need to be thicker or braced differently. The reverse also applies.  

I just pasted this from the other thread, with a bit added , I thought it might help.
Phew! Taff.

Hi Andreas, your question has got me experimenting again.

And your question about how thick is the top, got me to see how guitar building principals would work when applied to cbg's.

I am at the moment building 6 identical guitars, 3 with a pickup in the top and three full acoustic. I have just thinned one top [pine] to half the thickness of the others. All will use solid timbers.

If I told you the thickness it may not mean much as I do not know what timber you are using. But what may help is if I told you that when the top is laid on the sides and pushed down with the thumb, the top will flex. How much? well that's when experience comes in. That's the fun off all this, gaining experience.

Next I'll see what the fundamental frequency of the top is, add braces or brace and start the tuning process, just for fun of course.

I often tell people any woodworker can build a guitar, its building a good one that's the challenge. 



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