Need Some Inexpensive Percussion? Build a Cigar Box Guitar Stomp Box

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* (See below).

I've made these a few different ways, but we're going to make a simple version.

Here's your recon mission for this week:

  • Cigar box, roughly 6-by-12 inches by 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches (or just make your own)
  • Two license plates
  • Piece of 1/8-inch all-thread, roughly 6 inches long
  • Two zip ties or tie wire
  • Six 3/4-inch wood screws
  • One piezo disk
  • One 1/4-inch jack
  • Bits of wire and solder.

Refer to the photos in the gallery below for assembly.

•Make two holes on either side of the license plate, leaving enough space for the all-thread to fit between.

•Use the zip ties or tie wire to secure the all-thread to the plate.

•Solder the piezo to the jack, use a 3/8-inch bit and make a hole in the side of the box for the jack.

•Affix the piezo to the bottom of the box with glue or tape.

•Place the plate of the box and use two of the wood screws to connect to the box.

•Place the second plate on top of the other plate and use the reaming screws to secure to the box, leaving one side free (If you were going for a bass drum sound, you would just use the top plate on the box -- more on this below).

•Plug into an amp and start stomping!

* NOTE: If you want a bass drum sound, use a single plate connected to the box. Also use some spare fabric or hot glue to help deepen the tone.

TIP: You might want to add some rubber stoppers or fabric on the bottom to keep your cigar box stomp from sliding around.

Next time, we'll have a demo of our beer can mic from our last blog post, and we'll be building pickups under the guidance of the folks at We'll also give you an inside look at the Pennsylvania Cigar Box Guitar Festival. It's a free event that takes place August 25 in York, Pennsylvania, and it's one of the largest CBG festivals in the nation.

There will be 14 bands with such acts as 7 Hills Stomp, Stone Breath, Shane Speal and Glenn Kaiser, just to name a few. There will be guitar builders from across the country, myself included. So stop by and try a few guitars and other unique instruments and see a some great performers. I'll have some info on The Pennsylvania Cigar Box Guitar Festival up on my website

Keep on playing!

Brian Saner owns Saner Cigar Box Guitars, which makes custom handmade guitars and amps using local dry-aged wood in every guitar. These guitars are handmade and might have imperfections, but that's what makes them unique. Once you hear the howl of a CBG, you might not want to play a Fender or Gibson again. Get one at, and Main Street Gallery. Check out his Facebook page.

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