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rem50
11-20-2011, 11:10 AM
i am going to try and build one. I have an old uke I ripped apart and want to put the neck on a cigar box. I have never done anything like this before so I will be asking lots of questions and posting pics as I go. I am hoping for lots of support from you seasoned builders. :) First question is what kind of box should I look for? Any specific characteristics it should have? Thanks Again for the help in advance! rem

Huna
11-20-2011, 02:59 PM
I've been making cigar box guitars. The novelty of them in my opinion is being electrified with a piezo. Also, they seem best to be 3 string instruments tuned to an open chord and used to play the blues. As far as boxes go, the bigger the better I think. Also I think using the back of the cigar box for the front of the instrument seems to work well because it is a bit thinner. The best way to play them is with a slide, not frets. This is where I am now anyway. I guess you could put a neck on a cigar box but most folks use a beam (the neck) through or on top of the box for the string tension, but they use steel strings. Maybe if you use nylon you won't have a tension problem but otherwise you will have to find some way to hold the stress. My ukuleles are louder than the cigar box guitars save for using an amp and or using steel strings and electrifying.

rem50
11-21-2011, 03:18 AM
do you have any pics of unassembled ukes so I can get an idea of what I am doing? I really have no idea but thought it would be a fun project. your ideas sound great. I would like to see some of your finished products.

wolfybau
11-21-2011, 03:30 AM
my brother made me a realy nice cigar box uke, and t has a thick top but still soudns good and plenty loud enough imo. it is nice to play with a lide too. it has nlon strings and a squareish neck so it is very versitile.

but I have been thinking of trying the same things. I had dug up a lot of relay great resources and plans, when he and I were discussing them I will try and find those links for you and post them here. mine has a bolted on neck. IVe seen the neck through ones too. I think the main thing is to have a proper reinforced neck joint. But Im not exert and havnt done it either , just a lot of reading ;) I'd be interested in more info and opinions too

artoode2
11-21-2011, 07:21 AM
http://carolinafiddle.com/images/pdf%20files/How%20to%20Make%20a%20Cigar%20Box%20Ukulele.pdf

A good read on making a cigar box uke.

I was planning on making one but put the project off for now. A luthier friend of mine said to use Spanish cedar for the neck as it is easy to work with.

Liam Ryan
11-21-2011, 09:20 AM
I've made a couple in the past. I tried spanish heel joints and butt joints to fit the neck to the box.
The boxes I used weren't very deep so, bigger ones would be better. I fitted "guitar tech" double piezo
saddle pick ups for a bit of fun.

Since making them though, I have learnt that you will get a better sound by fitting a cedar or spruce top
to the box.
(The second photo shows a spanish heel joint).

3017230173


How much work did you have to do to the box to make it strong enough to be a uke?

PhilUSAFRet
11-21-2011, 02:38 PM
Been here? http://www.cigarboxnation.com/

Many, many demos on YouTube. My son and I currently preparing to build two. Got two large wood cigar boxes free (around 7" x 10.5" or so, two inches deep.....sells for around $18 on ebay...plus shipping.

BlackBearUkes
11-21-2011, 02:40 PM
I keep seeing these threads where someone doesn't know anything about building a uke but they want to start out with a cigar box uke. Building a good sounding and well constructed cigar box uke isn't something that is just going to happen folks more than any other beginners ukes. You should know a little something about how a uke woks before you just start gluing and screwing things together. I get the idea from beginners that because it is just a cigar box, it should be easy. If you want the easiest way to begin get a uke kit. Everything is practically done for you and most people don't mess it up too bad. Most cigar box ukes I've seen built have the bridge too close to the back edge, the bridge is way too big, the top is too thick and etc. Some of the links on this thread prove my point and these are suppose to helpful? Sorry for the rant but come on people, do a little homework on uke construction! There, I'm done.

Huna
11-21-2011, 03:06 PM
I'm working on putting a uke neck on a tambourine

wolfybau
11-21-2011, 03:30 PM
I'm working on putting a uke neck on a tambourine

nice idea :)

how about a cooke tin or cake pan. Then you can have your cake and play it too :P

wolfybau
11-21-2011, 03:42 PM
I keep seeing these threads where someone doesn't know anything about building a uke but they want to start out with a cigar box uke. Building a good sounding and well constructed cigar box uke isn't something that is just going to happen folks more than any other beginners ukes. You should know a little something about how a uke woks before you just start gluing and screwing things together. I get the idea from beginners that because it is just a cigar box, it should be easy. If you want the easiest way to begin get a uke kit. Everything is practically done for you and most people don't mess it up too bad. Most cigar box ukes I've seen built have the bridge too close to the back edge, the bridge is way too big, the top is too thick and etc. Some of the links on this thread prove my point and these are suppose to helpful? Sorry for the rant but come on people, do a little homework on uke construction! There, I'm done.

:( gee thats kinda harsh

I myself appreciate your concern, but I doubt any of us expect to build the next square 4 stringed stratavarious. we just have parts and parts is parts.
besides why would people ask for advice but to learn the right way to do it? Can you contribute instead of critisise? that would be awsome since you seem to know a lot about the subject. us ignant phuls will try to keep up.

I've worked on guitar setups for years and know all about intonation, string height and angle, have a formal education in audio an done some wood working over the years. I think Im ready for the outlandish challenged of stringing up an old box for the hell of it. Kindalike I used ta do wit a rubber band an shoe box when i is just a young'in. ppting

Liam Ryan
11-21-2011, 06:37 PM
I keep seeing these threads where someone doesn't know anything about building a uke but they want to start out with a cigar box uke. Building a good sounding and well constructed cigar box uke isn't something that is just going to happen folks more than any other beginners ukes. You should know a little something about how a uke woks before you just start gluing and screwing things together. I get the idea from beginners that because it is just a cigar box, it should be easy. If you want the easiest way to begin get a uke kit. Everything is practically done for you and most people don't mess it up too bad. Most cigar box ukes I've seen built have the bridge too close to the back edge, the bridge is way too big, the top is too thick and etc. Some of the links on this thread prove my point and these are suppose to helpful? Sorry for the rant but come on people, do a little homework on uke construction! There, I'm done.

I'm hearing you. Almost all Cigar box instruments I've seen have a neck-through construction method. IMO not a great way to build a uke. In order to remove the neck stick, the box needs to be strong. The cigar boxes I've got are held together mostly by the paper covering. They need to be beefed up and have a decent soundboard installed. Bridge placement needs to be right and therefore the neck length needs to be custom.

Most CB ukes I've seen look great, most sound terrible though and at the end of the day I don't just want to build wall hangers (uke-like-objects as Rick would say).

wolfybau
11-22-2011, 03:07 AM
depends on the box. if your thinkign of using one of those flimsy style paper decorated box, definately issues there. yeh you are definately going to need a lot of bracing. Im not sure the point of wanting to build it out of something that isnt all that condusive to the project or a good sound in the first place, to where you have to rebuild a whole box within a box unless you realy like the look of the box.
a good solid wooden cigarbox would be a better choice if you can obtain that. and I agree you do need good placement of the bridge and neck length , proper fret spacing etc

I dont like the neckthrough style either , it seems inhibiting to the sound board air flow and vibration. of course if you are just going to use it with a pick up , would it still be a big issue?

I guess differnt strokes for differnt folks, some are more just interested in a novelty item, they built themselves, even if to just hang on the wall. why not ?

jhoneil
11-22-2011, 06:40 AM
I have been finding really good all wooden cigar boxes in antique stores. I might just make ukes out of them :)

ukebuilder
11-23-2011, 11:32 AM
I have made many cirgar box ukes and other cigar box styles. PM me if you need any help. Most wood boxes dont need any extra support for a uke.

wolfybau
11-23-2011, 02:23 PM
how bought a show of boxes? what were you planning on using

I posted a pic of mine in this thread

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?55711-Cigarbox-ukulele&highlight=cigar

PhilUSAFRet
11-24-2011, 05:18 PM
I keep seeing these threads where someone doesn't know anything about building a uke but they want to start out with a cigar box uke. Building a good sounding and well constructed cigar box uke isn't something that is just going to happen folks more than any other beginners ukes. You should know a little something about how a uke woks before you just start gluing and screwing things together. I get the idea from beginners that because it is just a cigar box, it should be easy. If you want the easiest way to begin get a uke kit. Everything is practically done for you and most people don't mess it up too bad. Most cigar box ukes I've seen built have the bridge too close to the back edge, the bridge is way too big, the top is too thick and etc. Some of the links on this thread prove my point and these are suppose to helpful? Sorry for the rant but come on people, do a little homework on uke construction! There, I'm done.

Gee, things were going so well! What happened, dog pee on your shoe? LOL

vickersdc
11-25-2011, 03:01 AM
Surely there's something to be said for building your own instrument and messing about with it? Equally there's a place for properly set-up, professionally built instruments where parts have been built, selected and installed in an attempt to achieve a true 'quality' product; but then 'quality' can be defined as "fitness for purpose" and if a home-made cigar box uke puts a smile on a few people's faces then it's a quality product :0)

I'm a pretty good woodworker, with a well-stocked workshop, built a few cameras and would love to build a uke of some description; I can also appreciate an expertly made uke as much as one that might not be technically perfect, but people still derive enjoyment from it.

There, I'm done ;0)

JamieFromOntario
11-25-2011, 03:57 AM
I hear what BlackBear is saying, particularly when it comes to those who just couldn't be bothered using the search function. Most questions have already been asked and I think it must be hard for the pros to be constantly pestered with the same questions which have all be already answered numerous times.

That being said, isn't one of the best ways to learn by doing? If I might make an analogy:

If someone who had never played before expressed an interest in learning to play ukulele, would one say that they should first learn all about 'proper' technique and music theory even if all they want to do is play a few simple songs using 3 chords?
Sure, if they knew a bit of both, their learning might be quicker but, perhaps, the new ukers goal was just to learn enough to play and have fun, not to learn the absolute best technique and learn as quickly as possible.



just my 2 cents

PhilUSAFRet
11-25-2011, 05:07 AM
Maybe someone could start a cigar box uke room!

ProfChris
11-25-2011, 11:43 AM
That being said, isn't one of the best ways to learn by doing?

As always, yes and no.

The problem with just doing is that there's a minimum level of knowledge required to get started.

Assume we have someone with a neck snapped off a Mahalo and a cigar box. Just bolt neck to box, add strings, and ... it doesn't play properly if at all.

This theoretical someone needs to know at least two things to get started:

1. The scale length is 2 x (plus a bit) the length from the nut to the 12th fret. So for our Mahalo neck, this means the bridge is around 6.75 ins from where the neck joins the body. The bridge needs to be around 1/3 in from the tail to make the soundboard work. So the box has to be around 10ins long. You can't just take any old box.

2. The box has to be rigid enough not to distort or collapse when strung up. But it has to be light enough to vibrate and make a noise. The "perfect" box, if it exists, is probably too light to cope without some reinfocement (bracing and a bridge patch) - you could just glue bits on at random, but then your box wouldn't be perfect any more.

I've seen some very nice cigar box ukes, but in all of them the builder effectively rebuilt the box, and made a custom neck to suit that particular box.

Or you could go "traditional" - take a 2 x 1 for the neck, knock the corners off where they'd dig into your hand, fret with fencing wire and use a bolt for the bridge. This probably wants steel strings to make much sound, so it's more a guitar than a uke. But even for this, there's a minimum knowledge level before you can learn by doing.