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View Full Version : Bridge recommendations for Steel String cigar box.



RAB11
06-19-2014, 10:07 PM
I love reading the threads here, even though I haven't the faintest idea what you're all talking about most of the time.

Basically, I'm becoming very tempted to attempt a cigar box uke, I haven't got the box yet but should be able to source on fairly easily. I've got a couple of old classical guitars I rescued from a skip that I want to give a new lease of life, one as a clock and the other to possibly salvage wood from to make the neck and fretboard from (feel free to shoot me down on that idea), but I'm not sure what to use for the bridge. I want it to be an open-tuned steel-string slide machine, with a pick-up. Tempted to go down the magnetic pickup route rather than piezo for the added sustain, but torn between using a wooden bridge/bone saddle set-up or an electric guitar-style bridge.

Any thoughts on which one would be more suitable, and suggestions on where to source parts in the UK?

tangimango
06-20-2014, 10:46 PM
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?97314-Ukulele-building-parts

Booli
06-21-2014, 07:52 AM
I love reading the threads here, even though I haven't the faintest idea what you're all talking about most of the time.

Basically, I'm becoming very tempted to attempt a cigar box uke, I haven't got the box yet but should be able to source on fairly easily. I've got a couple of old classical guitars I rescued from a skip that I want to give a new lease of life, one as a clock and the other to possibly salvage wood from to make the neck and fretboard from (feel free to shoot me down on that idea), but I'm not sure what to use for the bridge. I want it to be an open-tuned steel-string slide machine, with a pick-up. Tempted to go down the magnetic pickup route rather than piezo for the added sustain, but torn between using a wooden bridge/bone saddle set-up or an electric guitar-style bridge.

Any thoughts on which one would be more suitable, and suggestions on where to source parts in the UK?

You can use something as simple as a 3" long 1/4" x 20 screw with the head cut off, or even a simple nail with the head cut off, but there are lots of options...

AFAIK, the mother-lode of info on cigar box instruments is here:

http://www.cigarboxnation.com/

they have forums, as well as build logs of instruments other folks have made, for cigar box ukulele, as well as cigar box guitars, and cigar box dulcimer/strum-sticks.

TONS of info there.

Also, the above site is SPONSORED by what seems to be the premier vendor of parts, which is C.B. Gitty:

http://www.cbgitty.com/

Most of their prices are good, but you can get the actual cigar boxes cheaper from ebay.

Also, last time I was thinking about a cigar box build I went to my local J. & R. Tobacco shop and got 10 cigar boxes in various sizes and woods for $2 each out the door. If you have a Cigar Shop/Smoke Shop locally, you might check if they sell empty cigar boxes.

C.B. Gitty also has a presence on Amazon, if you prefer to go thru Amazon, they are also selling through eBay too.

I have bought quite a few small items at different times over the past 2 yrs from C.B. Gitty (rod piezo, disc piezo, and tuning pegs), and shipping is fast with competitive pricing.

Not sure if C.B. Gitty ships to UK (I am in USA) but you might find more focused answers for sourcing vendors if you ask this same question in their forums for CigarBox Nation.

Hopefully this will help.

Titchtheclown
06-21-2014, 12:07 PM
The one other tip I can give is that reusing a guitar fretboard for a uke is as simple as removing fretboard from the top. Measure the length from the bridge on the guitar to a fret a tad over 13 or 14 inches away and cut the fret board there. Making it more uke like by making it narrower without knocking the frets out might be tricky but.

For cbg type instruments I have seen anything from old spanners to carved bone to shop bought regulation standard bridges used. You can even reuse the one off the guitar if it works for you.

Booli
06-21-2014, 12:25 PM
The one other tip I can give is that reusing a guitar fretboard for a uke is as simple as removing fretboard from the top. Measure the length from the bridge on the guitar to a fret a tad over 13 or 14 inches away and cut the fret board there. Making it more uke like by making it narrower without knocking the frets out might be tricky but.

For cbg type instruments I have seen anything from old spanners to carved bone to shop bought regulation standard bridges used. You can even reuse the one off the guitar if it works for you.

Alternately, if you hold up a tenor scale uke to a guitar with a 24-25" scale, aligning the saddles to the same point, you will see that the nut of the tenor is about where the 5th fret is on the guitar, so if you allow space 'above' the 5th fret for a makeshift 'headstock' you will have a place to install your tuners, instead of just chopping it off betw the 4th and 4th frets.

What this means that if you chop the guitar neck where the guitar's nut is, it will be about the same length as a tenor uke to the end of it's headstock, then you can remove the 1st 4 frets, and then figure out how you want to install some tuners...

This is pretty much the same thing as putting a capo at the 5th fret of a guitar, yet cutting it down to size makes the 'capo' permanent :).

C.B. Gitty also sells a concert uke scale neck 'kit' which is almost everything you need except the body (or cigar box), for a nylon-stringed uke. see here:

http://www.cbgitty.com/cigar-box-guitar-kits/concert-ukulele-parts-pack-everything-except-the-body/

they also sell each of the parts in that kit as a separate item, which you can see here:

http://www.cbgitty.com/search.php?search_query=ukulele+neck

Booli
06-21-2014, 12:38 PM
I forgot to mention that Mainland Ukuleles (one of the well-respected luthiers and vendors here on UU) also sells neck kits in soprano, concert, tenor and baritone sizes:

http://shop.mainlandukuleles.com/category.sc?categoryId=8

But they are also a USA shop. (not sure if they ship to UK)

IIRC, fellow UU brother HoosierHiver 'Mainland Mike' (amongst other generous community involvement efforts) is the organizer of the annual UWC event (but I've not been to one yet).

(sorry if my last 2 posts were not specifically about bridges, but I figured this info might help anyway, at least to provide some ideas for the parts you could use in your CBG build)

RAB11
06-21-2014, 09:34 PM
Cheers for the responses guys. Glad my idea of re-employing a neck wasn't completely bonkers.

I've done a bit of digging and found some parts for a reasonable price (bass guitar bridge and a four-string magnetic pickup, just a matter of making sure the string gaps line up obviously), but this'll be a long term thing really, once I find the time and money to get it done. No doubt when I actually kick things off I'll be back with a load more questions.

anthonyg
06-22-2014, 12:09 AM
A bass guitar bridge/saddle is quite wide. My recommendation is a telecaster style bridge made for tenor guitars.

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/4-STRING-GUITAR-BRIDGE-GOLD-CIGAR-UKULELE-TENOR-BASS-/190513768143?pt=Guitar_Accessories&hash=item2c5b8166cf&_uhb=1

This is a eBay Australia link. The seller is bezdez. These have guitar string spacing. A little narrower than ukulele spacing but the advantage is that standard guitar pickups work just fine.

Anthony

PhilUSAFRet
06-22-2014, 09:31 AM
Yup, if you are going to build a cigar box based instrument, www.cigarboxnation.com is the cigar box instrument enthusiasts equivalent of UkuleleUnderground. I'm sure a number of UU'ers have built them as well.