I went to a Amp Shop/Guitar Shop that has a guitar tech who's done work for me...I asked if she had a junk drawer with a bunch of random parts for me to dig through -- I hunted through a big box of crap and found six Epiphone Les Paul tuners and six chrome 'crappy' ones -- then weeded out a few shaky ones and ended up with two sets of 3 (luckily 2 righty, 1 lefty for each set)
upshot -- they sold me all six for 10 bucks --- but I think I'll have to spring next time and get a few decent after market sets of 6 inline lefty and six inline righty and mix and match.
So maybe just get a $19 - $30 dollar set of three-on-a-side -- (or for the first one, raid your local guitar tech for three junkie ones to use on your prototype!)
another possibility: I bought threaded bolt blanks of different diameters and cut them down to various sizes rather than use actual bolts with heads on them --- made for a nice way to try different custom things before i settled on the final set up. it allowed me to play it for a few days before realizing I needed to raise the action for slide work without hitting the neck --- so I was able to just switch the nut bolt with a fatter one. made a big difference.
just for yuks, take a look at my page that shows my first build ( I used a pre-made basswood box from Michael's crafts and did a stain job on it. You can do your first with a regular 'cheap' cigar box. but take a glance at the inside construction of mine. those blocks in the corners and the middle neck made the thing RING like a real instrument. the thing explodes in your hands with resonance, no errant weird vibrations --- and I gotta think the solidness of the build really helps that.
I did my whole thing with hand tools and clamps -- I'd love to get a hand router for future builds, would save HOURS of carpel tunnel inducing labor on the headstock and the neck rout.
fell free to ask me anything. I learned a ton on my first one and it plays well and sounds great straight OR through a Wah cocked to a single sweet spot and straight into a ender Blues Junior -- the wah somehow compresses the signal a bit and allows me to sculpt a sweet spot of highs and mids without having the piezo pickup go a little soft/dull when I play in the middle of the neck. I can get it to sound like a banjo or a guitar. I know it'll be very recordable.
hello from one born and raised in the Pioneer Valley (now in CA),
I just built my first one. came out a lot better than I thought it would. things I learned:
Make sure you take a little time but treat it as a prototype so you don't' let it get too precious -- allow for a mistake or two. even if it means a botched placement of an element -- just redo it quick and patch the screw up if you want OR let it turn into a happy accident:
I 'screwed up ' on the placement of my tuners on the headstock (hadn't' really placed the fret markers and checked scale length before starting , doh) but then before I re-drilled the tuner holes to move them I thought "I just need a good break angle over the nut so... I made a little string retainer and well, I like the set up so much that's gonna be part of my future builds a retainer on the headstock and maybe even one behind the bridge depending on how I set up the bridge placement. That sharp break angle sure makes a nice solid connection for good vibration transfer.
Consider gluing a couple blocks INSIDE the box that the neck lays flush on and screw through the back (or the front of the neck like a bolt on fender (just one screw at the front and one at the back) so the whole thing is solid -- you won't get errant buzzy artifacts from the box edges meeting when the thing is played. I know some peopel do screw the thing tight and others it seems just let it all go together a little loose and glue it...I like the idea that you can get back INTO the box to redo the electronics or piezo (Radio Shack Piezo transducer part# 273-073)
Welcome aboard, Stan! You will find lots of helpful folks and information here on all things CBG (CBU, CBB, etc.) Feel free to poke around, ask questions, and post your stuff (photos, recordings, videos, etc.).
Up in the Free Resources menu at the top, you will see a number of plans for building and playing cigar box guitars/ukuleles/banjos/dulcimers/violins. I encourage you to download any of the plans, take a look at them, and ask questions from there. Also our site is VERY searchable. I bet you your questions have already been asked, so take a few moments and look around.
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