View Full Version : Back burner project CBBU #665 (Cigar Box Bass Uke)

Inksplosive AL
04-25-2015, 02:59 PM
A cigar box bass ukulele designed to use Aquila Thunder Red strings.


1. A playable 21" bass ukulele for well under $500 USD.
2. Build an interesting unique instrument using found items and established CBG techniques.
3. Build to last, its not worth it if it is junk in a year.

I have a local cigar shop that sells nice boxes for $1 but they are all pretty small. I'm going to ask them if they have larger boxes and maybe the guy will call me when one is ready for the pile. I have seen something built using two boxes back to back but thats not my goal. I do believe I will need some kind of a truss rod in the neck and thats scares me honestly. My last woodworking project besides carving a wooden spoon in High School was building a step stool in Jr High.

Its been years since I have looked at CBG design but I'm picturing a straight through neck with the strings attached to the neck end. I would like to use brass rod for unique frets after seeing a CBG's fretwork done with a coat hanger. So far I have zero ideas for the bridge, perhaps simple like a banjo bridge. I figure a piezo pickup under the bridge or top will easily wire up for sound.

Now I have watched a video on making a truss rod using a t-nut and honestly I wouldn't trust a t-nut on anything I cannot easily disassemble. I also think the type of truss rod made is way to much overkill for a uke-bass being an aluminum channel Martin style design.

My questions.

1. Adjustable truss rod or just a steel or graphite rod to stiffen the neck?

2. Wanting to try to use local or even possibly repurposed wood what should I be looking for to make a strong stable neck from?

3. I am correct in thinking I have no concern in using "tone" woods being its an electric bass the sound comes after the pickup.

4. Any thoughts on using an old baseball bat cut in half and shortened for a neck? The thought popped in my head as I was writing this.

5. The Kala U bass has 17 frets, 12 to the body with a 21" scale while the SUB bass has 22 frets with the same scale. I think for my needs this is done due to the different sizes of body?

Maybe the use of an aluminum bat could do away with the need for a truss rod. I could cut it to size and glue in wood for the fret board. Perhaps a few trips to the local goodwill and other thrift stores are in order. CT's a small state there are 5 or 6 Goodwill stores in roughly 30 minutes driving distance, a couple of Savers, a hobby lobby, Michael's, Joann Fabrics, and on and on. Come to think of it just about anything you can name like pizza is much the same.

Thanks for reading any ideas, thought, stories, concepts, etc that anyone would like to add or share please do.

Pictures and more to come as things progress.

Inksplosive AL
04-25-2015, 05:32 PM
Further thinking a bat just might thin out too quickly to be of much use.

04-25-2015, 05:36 PM
Why not buy a quarter sheet of 4mm plywood from Lowes and make your own box? You could tear up an old pallet for neck wood. I've done it, but its a lot of work. Piezo p.u.'s from C.B.Gitty are cheap. You could come in WAY under $500 if you want to. Maybe even under $100. Graphite and hardwood should do for the neck, maybe just hardwood. Many pallets are made of oak, but I've seen cherry and birch, also (the twist nails used in pallets are near impossible to pull). Its been decades since I've scrounged for wood, but I admire the people who make the effort.

04-25-2015, 09:32 PM
This might not be exactly to your liking, but you could buy a Rondo Hadean 20.75" scale bass for $150, then replace the body with a box of some kind, moving all the hardware to it. I bought one and having it modified to make it different and cooler looking.


http://www.fairfax67.com/images/Rondo blue bass.jpg
http://www.fairfax67.com/images/Rondo blue bass pick.jpg

04-25-2015, 10:19 PM
Having seen pictures of a few of these bass ukes but not having made one myself is to think whether you use center spacing or edge to edge of string spacing for the nut. Dan Hulbert's version was center spaced and looks quite different from the above photos which are spaced edge of string to edge of string. On most ukes, and even guitars it is hard to tell the difference at a glance but on these big fat strings with noticeable differences in diameter you can see the difference instantly. Not sure what the difference in terms of playability are though.

If I were making one I would use one of our Australian hardwoods and be done with it but I am not sure if what you have access to would be up to the job. In any case part of the fun of CBGs is the ability to replace bits if things go wrong.

04-26-2015, 09:50 AM
Visited www.cigarboxnation.com for ideas. They have a separate group for basses. I've been watching these on ebay http://www.ebay.com/itm/220536724688?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Inksplosive AL
05-06-2015, 04:40 PM
To any future readers this stalled out after I saw the Rondo Hadean bass. While the body appears a little big like a jazz bass I can always modify it as mentioned. I never understood the need for a giant body on a bass but I saw a guy with a modded and custom painted Kala SUB on YouTube so I guess the smaller body still wasn't small enough for him.

I talked to a few neighbors and friends and found out that many old dresser drawers are made of really clear clean oak. Pallets seem so bottom barrel. I also took a cruise through eBay to see what is available there and things seem reasonable enough. I did join up over at Cigerbox nations forums I had mentioned it in a post here but seem to have lost it in an edit.

Maybe my UAS has become controllable.