There have been some big happenings in the CBG (Cigar Box Guitar) world during our writing hibernation. Who didn’t see Paul McCartney play a cigar box guitar with the members of Nirvana for the 12.12.12 concert — and then again, a few days later, on Saturday Night Live? Steven Tyler was also spotted with a cigar box guitar.
Can you make your own pickup out of a wall wart plug in under five minutes and less than $2? Yes, it can be done! I saw a clip on YouTube a while ago where someone made a pickup from pieces of a plug, so I thought I'd give it a try. The method described in the video is a bit dangerous, including separating the metal plates from the coil (I stabbed myself with a screwdriver attempting to do so), so here's a safer, faster way.
This year's Pennsylvania Cigar Box Guitar Festival, to put it simply, was a blast! We got in to York, Pennsylvania, late the night before and decided to venture downtown and see what the nightlife was like. Even for a small town, York has a bustling music scene.
Enjoying your new cigar box guitar? Well, now it's time to add a little percussion. Let's build a CBG (cigar box guitar) stomp box! This is basically an inexpensive percussion machine (also made out of a cigar box) that's perfect for a one-man band. It plugs into an amplifier and provides a good tone and a nice snare drum sound. It also can (with a few modifications) can make a bass drum sound. Come on in for more info!
So you've built a cigar box guitar, eh? Want to add some vocals while you rock the box? Then let's build a beer can mic. I've built several of these, and they have a great, old-time sound that's even better with a little gain.
Now that you've finished your axe, do you want to show it off? Feel free to post photos on our wall at our Facebook page. There are also some other cool sites for us CBGers. The one I use the most is cigarboxnation.com. It's free to join, and it's a great place for more information on building CBG and other musical instruments. You'll also find info on events, lessons and networking groups you can join.
If you're going to use a volume control, you will need to use a 9/32-inch bit to make a hole for the volume post. The next thing I'd do while the soldering iron is heating up is take some steel wool or sand paper and lightly sand the back of the volume control. There's a fine. oily finish on the back of these to keep them from rusting, but it needs removed before you start to solder. Read on!
There are some guides on the web on where to put your tuning pegs on a CBG, but I like to keep it simple. I set the pegs on top of the headstock and make a mark where I want them to go. I make sure I place the tuning peg for the middle string in about 1/4 inch from the side so I won’t have to use a string tree. Read on!
The air is crisp, sawdust and sparks are flying -- it's time to build a guitar! Hopefully you have been successful in your recon mission from last time. We are going to plan out and shape our headstock, shoulders and neck. I am going to build two guitars for you. One will be the classic CBG (cigar box guitar); with the other one, we will show you some of the upgrades. First things first, let's take a look at that cigar box.