My friends.

I have a cigar box with the following measures:

4 cm height, width 15 Cm and length 22.4 Cm

that scale length which is more appropriate and how many frets ?

Views: 7871

Replies to This Discussion

Scale length doesn't depend on the box, but how you want the CBG to sound, and by that I mean how long your want the scale to be.  The story goes that a Fender Strat has about a 25½ inch scale, and a Gibson LesPaul has about a 24¾ inch scale. I go with a Paul Reed Smith scale myself at 25 inches (warm tone with a lot of room for room for options).

The number of frets is up to you as well.  Are you planning on mainly playing it with a slide?  Will the action be good enough for notes past the 14th fret to even resonate enough to sound good?  Will you even chord it past the 12th fret.

I am very much a newbie, but your question comes with several others for me.  Hopefully I have been a little help and not a discouragement.  Best advice I continually get on here is to not forget... "It's just a stick in a box". Don't be afraid to fail, or else you won't ever try anything new. 

Best of luck!

Hi Wagner,

The scale length is to a large extent a matter of personal taste. I prefer shorter scale lengths in the range of 18" to 22", so most of my builds range on the short side. If you have no preference, and want to make the neck more or less proportional to the length of your cigar box, then I can give you the way I calculate the neck and scale length for a given box. My method assumes all the frets will be over the neck, but this need not be a limit as some builders extend the fretboard over this sound box. I find it simpler to limit my fretboard to the length of the neck outside the box (and some will say this is good because it allows you to open the box should you need to assuming your instrument design allows you the capability of opening the box... not all do). Anyway, here's how I reckon it...

Scale length is the distance between the bridge and the nut (or fret 0, if you use a fret 0). So, the first thing to decide is where you want your bridge. On a non-resonator instrument, I generally place the bridge about 1/3 of the way up the box from the tail end of the box. The tail end of the box is the side where the tail piece will be secured. This allows 2/3 of the top of the sound box to be used by your picking/strumming hand. This 2/3s of the box length will also be part of your scale length. The neck length (exclusive of the headstock length) will be the Scale Length minus two thirds the Box Length. It's also wise to add another inch or so as a fudge factor as little things like the need for space between the last fret on the fret board and the end of the fretboard can affect your neck length calculations.

If you want to double check to see if your neck (or fretboard) will be long enough to hold the number of frets you are planning to have, use your favorite fret calculator (either on-line or separate program) and specify the desired scale length and number of frets. It should produce a table of values with measurements from the nut to each of the frets. Check this distance between the nut and your last fret. Add a couple of cm for a fudge factor and you should have a good idea whether your neck (or fretboard) will be long enough to hold the frets you are wanting. If you decide to go with a short scale length, you will find that the space between frets quickly become too close together on the final several frets, so you may decide to omit them. On full size guitars they often have just 18 or 20 frets, but with a shorter CBG sound box, there is no reason why you can't put a full complement of 24 frets on it, unless your scale length is particularly short as I mentioned before. I usually put "24" into the fret calculator and see what it gives me, then decide it I want to forgo a few frets because the fret-to-fret spacing is much less a centimeter.

Here's a diagram to help you see what I'm talking about...

My headstocks tend to be 15cm (6") in length for a 3-stringer, and 17.5cm (7") in length for a 4-stringer.

Hope this helps.


Thank you
will certainly help.


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

Discussion Forum

beginner mistake

Started by r.j. hassler. Last reply by Thomas "Duck" Petry Jul 3. 1 Reply

Removing box labels

Started by Robert Dawkins. Last reply by Order99 Jul 6, 2020. 8 Replies

Build 2!

Started by Sean Murphy. Last reply by Sean Murphy Oct 28, 2018. 3 Replies

Can a box be too shallow?

Started by Sean Murphy. Last reply by ChickenboneJohn Nov 15, 2017. 2 Replies

Best/"Easiest " Way to notch out CBG Neck......?????

Started by Brian M Nusser. Last reply by ChickenboneJohn Nov 14, 2017. 16 Replies

First build, not-great results

Started by Sean Murphy. Last reply by Slow Blues Dani & Ol' Grey Bear Nov 14, 2017. 3 Replies

Neck length

Started by Holly Hodson. Last reply by Thomas "Duck" Petry Nov 9, 2017. 4 Replies

"If you wand to get something done real bad . . ."

Started by Michael Zimmerle. Last reply by Richard Dean Oct 23, 2017. 2 Replies

First build and a broken string.

Started by Dan Mullen. Last reply by Richard Dean Oct 23, 2017. 8 Replies

What type of saw to use?

Started by Anne M. Fridley-Owen. Last reply by Anne M. Fridley-Owen Dec 4, 2016. 3 Replies

*()@%&$! Piezo

Started by Chance. Last reply by Chance Oct 24, 2016. 3 Replies


Started by tommy farrar. Last reply by tommy farrar Nov 28, 2015. 2 Replies

Tail - or where the strings are mounted

Started by evanmars. Last reply by Richey Kay Aug 26, 2015. 7 Replies

My fifth build

Started by James A OBrien Apr 7, 2015. 0 Replies

Cardboard Cigar Box

Started by Redbelly. Last reply by Thomas "Duck" Petry Jun 30, 2014. 3 Replies

Just Finished My First CBG. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (The Sequel)

Started by L. W. Carlson. Last reply by Thomas "Duck" Petry Jun 27, 2014. 3 Replies

Scale Length

Started by Wagner Richter. Last reply by Wagner Richter May 7, 2014. 3 Replies

Blog Posts

To Reach the Chord

Posted by Rich on November 12, 2021 at 10:20am 0 Comments

Seasonal build contest?

Posted by smilingdog1 on October 29, 2021 at 9:20am 9 Comments

Leonard Cohen Life

Posted by Keith Rearick on October 7, 2021 at 11:18am 2 Comments

Latest Activity

Dar Stellabotta posted a video

2-string Texas license plate bass made by New Egypt Folk String Instrument Co in Seviervielle, TN

Check out this 2-string Texas license plate bass ‼️‼️‼️💯 made by New Egypt Folk String Instrument Co in Seviervielle, Tennessee. Handmade with some P-bass p...
3 hours ago
Doug Thorsvik commented on Poorness Studios's video

Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground (cover on acoustic guitar)

"Not familiar with the song Kale, but I like it. You’ve got a great rhythmic grove going; love…"
6 hours ago
Uncle John commented on Poorness Studios's video

Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground (cover on acoustic guitar)

"I kind of like the White Stripes.  Had not heard this song that I can recall.  I like it…"
7 hours ago
Taffy Evans replied to Cigar Box Nation's discussion 2021 Throwback Holiday Build-Off Contest!
"Hi, Thought I would enter another instrument in the competition, mainly because I built every thing…"
8 hours ago
Darryl Tuttle left a comment for Scott Henriksen
"Welcome to cbn! got some pics of guitars you made?"
9 hours ago
Scott Henriksen left a comment for Cigar Box Nation
10 hours ago
3 String Blues commented on 3 String Blues's photo
11 hours ago
Glenn Kaiser commented on the anonymous pick's photo

1918 -Twang-A-Gong 014

"So sometime on at least 1 or more diddley bulids I MUST rip off your tuner idea, LOVE dat Pick!…"
11 hours ago
Glenn Kaiser commented on Niagarajoe's photo


"Excellent! I did something close w. flathead screws each into it's own small hardwood square,…"
12 hours ago
Glenn Kaiser commented on the anonymous pick's photo

1918 -Twang-A-Gong 014

"You ROCK bro... SO COOL! Kudos! -Glenn"
12 hours ago
AGP # commented on AGP #'s photo

AGP #449 - ''Merry XXXXmas''

""Thanks Doug",  :-)"
12 hours ago
Niagarajoe updated their profile
13 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("") 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 -->