Hello everyone!

 

I am brand new to cigar box guitar and really want to learn to play then build. My instant gravitation was to a 2-string, especially after watching Shane play a Chugger. I am open to any and all suggestions for how to get started.

 

Thanks, in advance, for your input.  

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Replies to This Discussion

Start your 2 string the same way as with any cigar box guitar, go find a cigar box. Good place to start, the phone book under cigar store. Good luck.
Here is a video Uncle John just posted. Great for first timers on two strings :


Find more videos like this on Cigar Box Nation
Then about the building, my advice is try to build something simple, the old way it was done, it will be fun and easier and rewarding and you will learn a lot from trials and errors. Go for something accoustic, grab the bigger box you can find and nail a piece of wood on it for the neck, the mountain dulcimer way of building. Some people say you have to place neck inside the box to get a louder sound but that is not always true and depends on many things, some dulcimer plays louder than any pass-through neck cigar box guitars. You will easily find web pages here describing how to place bridge, nut and tuners. The only thing you may have to spend money for is the tuners but if you have some woodworker skills you can go for cheaper alternatives, else buy the cheapest open gear tuners you can find and that will do. The neck don't need to be angled or overworked, just drill small holes to send the string on the other side so it will ensure your strings have the right pressure, then place the tuners on top (you can see many examples in my photo albums here). This is the simplest and most efficient. Be sure the bridge is a little bit higher than the nut. Adjust heights dependng on action you need for your strings wether you will play a lot slide or not.

Having this, completed, in your hands should not take you long and will be very rewarding, as from now on you will be able to play on your own instrument. You will have all the time you want to think for later improvements like place a piezo in it or electrifying your guitar a way or another, or even building another one...

Have fun :-)
...about the building, here is a video of John Paul Soars playing a 2 strings guitar close to the one I was describing (except for the tuners) The end of the video is zooming in enough you can see how were installed the pickups :-)
It's interesting to notice the neck he used is a little bit wider than what most of the builders use, its one is around 4cm and I think it's mainly because of the magnetic pickups (they need space because they were placed perpendicular instead of diagonals) and it is more confortable because the neck is above the box, so when you strum strings you don't want to scratch the wood any time...
Thanks so much for your input.

LittleBigOne said:
Here is a video Uncle John just posted. Great for first timers on two strings :


Find more videos like this on Cigar Box Nation
Then about the building, my advice is try to build something simple, the old way it was done, it will be fun and easier and rewarding and you will learn a lot from trials and errors. Go for something accoustic, grab the bigger box you can find and nail a piece of wood on it for the neck, the mountain dulcimer way of building. Some people say you have to place neck inside the box to get a louder sound but that is not always true and depends on many things, some dulcimer plays louder than any pass-through neck cigar box guitars. You will easily find web pages here describing how to place bridge, nut and tuners. The only thing you may have to spend money for is the tuners but if you have some woodworker skills you can go for cheaper alternatives, else buy the cheapest open gear tuners you can find and that will do. The neck don't need to be angled or overworked, just drill small holes to send the string on the other side so it will ensure your strings have the right pressure, then place the tuners on top (you can see many examples in my photo albums here). This is the simplest and most efficient. Be sure the bridge is a little bit higher than the nut. Adjust heights dependng on action you need for your strings wether you will play a lot slide or not.

Having this, completed, in your hands should not take you long and will be very rewarding, as from now on you will be able to play on your own instrument. You will have all the time you want to think for later improvements like place a piezo in it or electrifying your guitar a way or another, or even building another one...

Have fun :-)
Thanks again! I will take you up on the suggestions and let you know how the build goes. Love the JP Soars videos. Eventually I would like to build an electric version like the ones he plays.

LittleBigOne said:
Here is a video Uncle John just posted. Great for first timers on two strings :


Find more videos like this on Cigar Box Nation
Then about the building, my advice is try to build something simple, the old way it was done, it will be fun and easier and rewarding and you will learn a lot from trials and errors. Go for something accoustic, grab the bigger box you can find and nail a piece of wood on it for the neck, the mountain dulcimer way of building. Some people say you have to place neck inside the box to get a louder sound but that is not always true and depends on many things, some dulcimer plays louder than any pass-through neck cigar box guitars. You will easily find web pages here describing how to place bridge, nut and tuners. The only thing you may have to spend money for is the tuners but if you have some woodworker skills you can go for cheaper alternatives, else buy the cheapest open gear tuners you can find and that will do. The neck don't need to be angled or overworked, just drill small holes to send the string on the other side so it will ensure your strings have the right pressure, then place the tuners on top (you can see many examples in my photo albums here). This is the simplest and most efficient. Be sure the bridge is a little bit higher than the nut. Adjust heights dependng on action you need for your strings wether you will play a lot slide or not.

Having this, completed, in your hands should not take you long and will be very rewarding, as from now on you will be able to play on your own instrument. You will have all the time you want to think for later improvements like place a piezo in it or electrifying your guitar a way or another, or even building another one...

Have fun :-)
Hey Joe. The chugger guitar should be a good starter. One you could play and use as a model to build. I sure like octave tuning, the 2 strings an ovtave apart. I makes everything simple and instinctive and especially with an amp, it sounds amazing. Good luck.

Hey Uncle John,

 I can see where tuning an octive apart would be cool, any secrets on your 2 favorite strings out of the six you get in a set that you use on the 2 string? Also what is your favorite key to tune to an octive apart? Thanks for all the tips. ...

Actually I have contacted JP Soars, his neck is the stanarded 1" X 2".

LittleBigOne said:
...about the building, here is a video of John Paul Soars playing a 2 strings guitar close to the one I was describing (except for the tuners) The end of the video is zooming in enough you can see how were installed the pickups :-)
It's interesting to notice the neck he used is a little bit wider than what most of the builders use, its one is around 4cm and I think it's mainly because of the magnetic pickups (they need space because they were placed perpendicular instead of diagonals) and it is more confortable because the neck is above the box, so when you strum strings you don't want to scratch the wood any time...

Any opinions on neck size? Noticed a few 2 stringers with what looks like a 1 x 1 instead of a 1 x 2. Any major benefits to the sound or is it more about the simplicity of the build/ using what is around? So many ideas in my head and not enough time... I know the possibilities are endless...

Glenn Watt has posted a DIY video on YouTube for a broomstick style 2 string "Chugger" using a big "Acid" cigar box. As soon as I can get the parts together, I'm making a fretless version, and hopefully adding an electric pickup and a magnetic clip-on set of fret markers on the side that can be changed out, so I can work with a diatonic, chromatic, makam, and other fret positionings for slide. Bluesboy Jag has a video on his channel that covers his 2 string CBG, with some suggestions for playing and tuning. 

Here we are in June. Due to some medical problems, the build got delayed. I had to change the design a bit-it uses a cigar box rather than the big wood "Acid" cigar box. 

Suggestions for tunings would be appreciated. D/C? C/A? A/C? I know you need three notes to make a chord, but what are good combinations for two string things?

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