when I started building the Tin Pan Alley three string, I knew I wanted to put some kind of pickup in it. I had doubts about a disc piezo, and frankly, as a new builder, wasn’t keen to take the dive into messing with a magnetic pickup. So what about a saddle bridge and rod piezo. Nick at CB Gitty pointed me to the three string rod piezo I needed, and the rest was a bit of engineering. I no longer have much in the way of tools to work with, but I do have a Dremel and a router base for it. So I cobbled together a fixture to hold the bridge and guide the Dremel so a 1/8” end mill could cut straight. With the help of some powerful magnification so I could see what I was doing, I spun up a little bridge out of poplar, with a saddle cut down out of a Uke bridge. The piezo is buried in a channel milled in the bridge, it’s cable out a hole in the bottom, and through a matching hole drilled in the resonator.  I’ll leave the editorializing about the sound to others, but using my little tin can 2.5w amp it sounded ok to me. It’s definitely sensitive to where you pick the strings, producing more metallic sound closer to the bridge, and a fatter sound when played a bit closer to the fret board tail. 

Views: 92


Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Nice work Bruce! And it sounds to me like you might be a machinist.  : )

My dad was a machinist at GE and elsewhere. I taught myself lathe and milling machine work incidental to my other endeavors. I’ve still got a tiny tabletop mill with a rotary table. Unfortunately it suffered bad storage, and is on the short list of winter projects to see if it can be saved. That would’ve made this project easy peasy, if the thing wasn’t rusted up. 

Very cool. I'm a CNC service technician. Which means I really don't know anything about machining, I just fix machines. lol

I can tell you that WD-40 and 3M Scotch-Brite 7447 pads will do wonders on your rust problem.

A machinist uses motorized machine tools and skilled knowledge to make things. A CNC machinist uses computer controlled machines, often with someone else’s knowledge, to make things faster. CNC is more reliable at making many pieces exactly the same, but only the keepers of that special knowledge who write the master programs know much about machining. They’ll make car engines that run longer without using oil, all pretty damned close to print. But it takes amaster machinist to make just one that is perfect, so most in the old days were only close enough. 

Then there are toolmakers, possessing the knowledge of machines and materials needed to use the machines to make machines. With a lathe and a mill, you can make a lathe and a mill, or virtually anything. I pretty much began as a stubborn and overly optimistic designer, who taught myself toolmaking because I couldn’t afford to pay others. As a production machinist I’m too slow and fiddly, but I’ve made some cool stuff.   But never let these CNC jockies pass themselves off as machinists. 


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


fret cutting jig

Started by Alan Dillard in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Bruce Young 6 hours ago. 7 Replies

VIDEO & PHOTOS: Naughty Cigar Box Guitar Has "Peep Show" Window!

Started by Shane Speal shanespeal.com in Feature Articles. Last reply by GARAGE HERMIT 20 hours ago. 2 Replies

R.L. Burnside

Started by Mike Seymore in Performances, How to Play, Lessons, Concerts. Last reply by Mike Seymore yesterday. 6 Replies

Shane Speal Woodshop Diary: "The Beauty of Rust & Scratches"

Started by Shane Speal shanespeal.com in Feature Articles. Last reply by Don Stachovak yesterday. 24 Replies

Bedpan pickups

Started by Robert Bryan in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Paul Craig on Sunday. 5 Replies

Blog Posts

Double cake box guitar

Posted by Hans on October 17, 2018 at 8:00am 2 Comments

fret marker ideas

Posted by Philip Hopper on October 17, 2018 at 4:06am 0 Comments

CBG project

Posted by Philip Hopper on October 13, 2018 at 3:45pm 3 Comments


Posted by Freddie Cisneros on October 13, 2018 at 2:24pm 2 Comments

My Foray Into the World of CBGs

Posted by Poorness Studios on October 13, 2018 at 10:30am 2 Comments

Latest Activity

Dave Lynas commented on Rhialto's video

Hard time killing floor blues, Skip James, cigar box guitar

"Wonderful Rhialto! I love your play and voice. You do the R.L. Burnside style so good. Skip James…"
4 minutes ago
Dave Lynas liked Rhialto's video
7 minutes ago
Dave Lynas liked cbgkent's video
13 minutes ago
Dave Lynas commented on cbgkent's video

Folsom Prison Vs Pinball Wizard Inspired Mash Up

"Great play and vocal. No excuse needed. Nice to see you play."
14 minutes ago
Dave Lynas commented on Rowdy Berry's video


"Great play and vocal! You get into the groove! Thanks."
17 minutes ago
Dave Lynas commented on Dave Lynas's video

Tree Wrap

"I get the munchies from music Brian. I play for food. Home Cookin."
24 minutes ago
Dave Lynas commented on Dave Lynas's video

Tree Wrap

"Sounds delicious Uncle John. Yes on Califest, And i’ll Bring all my Dogs to sample. Today my…"
25 minutes ago
Marvin walker posted a status
"Thanks for the nice comments!"
46 minutes ago
BrianQ. commented on BeetleJuice!'s video
50 minutes ago
BeetleJuice! commented on BeetleJuice!'s photo

Antique 19??'s What cha' ma call it?

"CNN-N!    Cigar Nation News Network!"
51 minutes ago
Rowdy Berry posted a video


CBG 1 and 5 (redo, on #1, and eventually #5. On build #13 now) Seasick Steve cover. Cigar Box Guitar
1 hour ago
BrianQ. liked Dave Lynas's video
1 hour ago



© 2018   Created by Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service