Bolt-On Cigar Box Guitar Neck and Other Building Tips

More tips and a bolt on neck visual.

  1. Much has been said about thinning tops and bracing them. I would go a step further and say try to have the top and bottom sound boards vibrating differently (i.e either braced/not braced, or differently braced- use ladder on the bottom sound board as it takes less strain from the strings, or different woods/thicknesses)  the sides make very little difference but need to be as stiff as possible! i.e. make them thick and solid!!

  2. The first thing I learnt from the old forum (pre nation days) was the sound hole size needs to be no bigger than a quarter. On a smaller box you can lose treble sounds with a sound hole too big.

  3. If you are going acoustic get the bridge in the middle of the sound board as much as possible, I forever see bridge near the tail of the guitar which will dampen the vibration and therefore the sound.  Of course this can reduce the break angle that’s available, and it’s not important if you are planning on using it plugged in.

  4. The following is a photo of a bolt on neck design. Ignore the bent thread :) but it gives another way of attaching a neck to a box.  It has the advantage of being able to swap the box or neck out, and by changing the cut angle the neck can have a slight relief which makes it more playable – especially with fretted necks, you can get a really low action this way.  Gives a lot of room inside the box for pickups too, as well as removing the weak point that normally happens with a stick through box design as the neck enters the box/ or the neck gets altered to make room for pick ups etc. Note the box has been re-inforced to handle the strain. And as you can see it can be forgiving for shoddy workmanship…

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Comment by Rooster on October 26, 2015 at 3:18am

Great post Kalmario.........................Wayfinder, great diagram. Looks like the perfect way to bolt on a traditional acoustic neck ;-)

Comment by Kalmario on October 22, 2015 at 4:18am
Just glued at this stage. Usually put in a couple of screws too for insurance. Only time I've had one fail was with pva glue and left in a hot car all day in summer:)
Comment by Pickedmoor Jon on October 21, 2015 at 1:27pm

Hi W, what type of joint did you use to link the fret neck to the sub frame that has the rod, surely it is not just a glued butt joint, I wouldn't have thought that it was strong enough?                             I do like this idea, it leaves lots of space and you can use quite delicate cigar boxes or other antique items, maybe a jewellry box and I think it would be an ideal system for fuel cans or pots and other non standard items. I wonder if this can be adapted for resonator cones or plates. Nice post , thanks again

Comment by Kalmario on October 20, 2015 at 8:41pm

Hi Wayfinder, cool diagrams. I found the box I had wasn't the best as far as its own construction went the paper/wood attachment wasn't stable, and neither was the corner where the heel block and side attached (moved quite a bit). re-enforcing the box fixed it easy. some of those heavy duty boxes all wood boxes you on here would not even need a heel block at all. I also think your system would be a lot more visually pleasing 

Comment by Kalmario on October 19, 2015 at 2:30pm
Cool, thank you for tidying it up too
Comment by Cigar Box Nation on October 19, 2015 at 12:01am

Great article!  We're going to feature it. I edited it by adding a top image and made main topic text bold.   Thanks, Kalmario. 

(And I remember those soundhole discussions in the old Yahoo group. Doctor Oakroot introduced us to the Helmholtz acoustic theories.)

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