I'm trying to work up a very short scale (prob. 19.5") CBG that should be able to fly on most airlines without them batting an eye at the case as a carry-on. In my quest to reduce length while maintaining sound, it occurred to me that I could use a square cigar box, or I could use a rectangular one...But flip it sideways to the way most CBGs are made.

Now I'm not acoustics scientist, but it seems to me that if something like a berimbau or a canjo can work, then the positioning of the cigar box is somewhat arbitrary. It's probably based more on comfort and tradition than on any particular sound which is conveyed by having it lengthwise instead of widthwise (if that's a word).

Anybody done this? Any notable change in sound? Or is it, as I suspect, six of one, half dozen of the other?

Thanks, fam.

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There are no rule! 

I’m with Will, Go for it! What’s the box look like?

And the #1 answer is,A cigarbox! Sorry couldn't help myself.

I'm no sound expert either but my instinct tells me that the vibrations will mostly travel in waves parallel to the neck. Thus they will have less distance to travel with this orientation; so perhaps less volume.  Never the less, go for it.

Being narrower the sound waves will be shorter, therefore sounding higher in pitch. I have several 6-8" square boxes that are being turned into mini dobros. Also I personally think putting the neck on the side will be uncomfortable to play! Imo.

Haven't made a sideways box. Another way to shorten the overall length is to put the tuners in the box.

Oh, that's clever! I'll have to have a look see to find some examples.

Really appreciate folk's input on this. I'm actually considering making a larger square box at this point (most of the square CBs that I see don't have the surface area of the larger rectangsles and I DO believe surface area impacts sound).

More work, but ehhhhhhn. You only have to set up a cigar-box-sized dovetail corner jig once...

Hi John, I just like to add (and I know it's also true with CBG's) that it's not so much the size of the top (vibrating area) but it's responsiveness to strings vibrating energy. 

I can get more volume from a smaller body if I pay attention to getting that top to "work"better. And the back of course. 

When a mate and I get together to play (he has a CBG I built) his is square, mine was oblong and larger, but he always tells how much better his sounds. He has a pine top, the one I played has a plywood top. You could still get a fair sounding small CBG, but you may have to experiment a bit.

Its all part of hunt for better sound. Taff

So following along those lines, I'm noticing a lot of 'fancier' modern boxes have tops which have a sort of fluted or inlet edge that's very pretty...But I'm concerned that means the whole box top must be pretty darn thick! Perhaps one could mill it out or something...

You could try having some of the fret board over the box (a standard size box) kind of like a dulcimer is built and you might end up with a shorter git. Art

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