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Thread: Cigar Box Guitars

  1. #11
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    Photos of my second build and the upgraded #!;

    cbg#2 assembled, no bridge or strings.jpg

    cbg 2.1.jpg

    cbg #1.1.jpg
    Playing my Magic Fluke and grinning like a fool!

  2. #12
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    I've built about a dozen Cigar Box Ukuleles, but they all ended up being sold, or given away. A couple of years ago, I decided it was time I made one for myself. I found a suitable box on ebay (branded WD & HO Wills, "Embassy") and used a neck that I had made some years before, but never used. The neck is maple.

    I discarded the back of the box and used a nice piece of instrument grade Western Red cedar for the soundboard. The fretboard is from a piece of Lilac wood, supplied by my good friend Sven Nystrom, maker of Argapa ukuleles.

    The soundboard is not as thick as the inset hole lining makes it appear. The pale abalone fret position dots were a mistake on the very light coloured Lilac wood - I added ebony side dots after this photo was taken.

    It is an acoustic instrument only, and (though I say it myself) it sounds extremely good. I painted 'Emperor' on the front because that name is given to the type of cigar - and I thought it sounded impressive.Sept 2016 - The 'Emperor' CBU.jpg

    John Colter
    Last edited by ukantor; 05-30-2018 at 03:48 AM.

  3. #13
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    My current favorite YouTube, slide CBG old school blues;


    John Colter[/QUOTE]
    Playing my Magic Fluke and grinning like a fool!

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ukantor View Post
    I've built about a dozen Cigar Box Ukuleles, but they all ended up being sold, or given away. A couple of years ago, I decided it was time I made one for myself. I found a suitable box on ebay (branded WD & HO Wills, "Embassy") and used a neck that I had made some years before, but never used. The neck is maple.

    I discarded the back of the box and used a nice piece of instrument grade Western Red cedar for the soundboard. The fretboard is from a piece of Lilac wood, supplied by my good friend Sven Nystrom, maker of Argapa ukuleles.

    The soundboard is not as thick as the inset hole lining makes it appear. The pale abalone fret position dots were a mistake on the very light coloured Lilac wood - I added ebony side dots after this photo was taken.

    It is an acoustic instrument only, and (though I say it myself) it sounds extremely good. I painted 'Emperor' on the front because that name is given to the type of cigar - and I thought it sounded impressive.Sept 2016 - The 'Emperor' CBU.jpg

    John Colter
    That's a rare beauty John. Someday I'd like to build something similar for myself.
    What type of bracing system did you use on that?
    Last edited by maki66; 06-01-2018 at 07:29 PM.
    Playing my Magic Fluke and grinning like a fool!

  5. #15
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    Hi Maki, I can thoroughly recommend making a cigar box uke. If you use the neck off an existing instrument, it makes the job very much easier. I don't have any good photos of the interior of the "Emperor", but these are of a CBU I made using a 'La Paz' box. The box measures 9 1/2" X 6 7/8" X 2" deep - pretty close to ideal for a soprano.

    The back of the box became the front of the uke, and was replaced by instrument grade Western Red Cedar, thinned to around 1/10th". The soundhole is lined with three layers of veneer, and the veneer ring (formed around a suitable glass bottle) is inset into the sound hole by about an eighth of an inch.

    The bracing is very simple. The neck was salvaged from a damaged uke.

    John Colter

    'La Paz' box uke - 001.jpg'La Paz' box uke - 002.jpg'La Paz' box uke - 003.jpg

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by ukantor View Post
    Hi Maki, I can thoroughly recommend making a cigar box uke. If you use the neck off an existing instrument, it makes the job very much easier. I don't have any good photos of the interior of the "Emperor", but these are of a CBU I made using a 'La Paz' box. The box measures 9 1/2" X 6 7/8" X 2" deep - pretty close to ideal for a soprano.

    The back of the box became the front of the uke, and was replaced by instrument grade Western Red Cedar, thinned to around 1/10th". The soundhole is lined with three layers of veneer, and the veneer ring (formed around a suitable glass bottle) is inset into the sound hole by about an eighth of an inch.

    The bracing is very simple. The neck was salvaged from a damaged uke.

    John Colter

    'La Paz' box uke - 001.jpg'La Paz' box uke - 002.jpg'La Paz' box uke - 003.jpg
    I know this is an old thread, but did you just attach the neck with screws or something?

  7. #17
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    Hi, Captain J,

    The neck is fitted with a simple butt joint, strengthened with a 1/4" wooden dowel. This picture illustrates the method. If you are supremely accurate with the drilling and positioning, the dowel can serve to locate the position of the neck, as well as adding strength to the joint. However, neck position is of paramount importance and if the dowel does not give a perfect fit (I've not managed it yet!) I just make it a sightly "sloppy" fit.

    I suppose it is debatable whether the dowel adds much strength, but it feels worthwhile to me. I've done it with all my CBUs.

    John ColterNeck joint 1.jpg

  8. #18

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    [QUOTE=ukantor;2255982]Hi, Captain J,

    The neck is fitted with a simple butt joint, strengthened with a 1/4" wooden dowel. This picture illustrates the method. If you are supremely accurate with the drilling and positioning, the dowel can serve to locate the position of the neck, as well as adding strength to the joint. However, neck position is of paramount importance and if the dowel does not give a perfect fit (I've not managed it yet!) I just make it a sightly "sloppy" fit.

    I suppose it is debatable whether the dowel adds much strength, but it feels worthwhile to me. I've done it with all my CBUs.

    IMG_20201130_115957982.jpg
    IMG_20201130_120321632.jpg
    IMG_20201130_120307568.jpg

    I've tried both dowel and screws and yes, the angles are a real pain on these. I actually shimmed one with inner tube slices that weren't too bad.
    This one's a 10" remo drum with a salvaged concert neck. You can't really see the shims.
    Last edited by captain-janeway; 11-30-2020 at 10:18 AM.

  9. #19
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    Sheet rubber shims would dampen vibration in the crucial body/neck joint but, as it's a banjo, that might be a blessing!

    For me, it must be wood to wood, with as much close contact as possible.

    John Colter

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by ukantor View Post
    Sheet rubber shims would dampen vibration in the crucial body/neck joint but, as it's a banjo, that might be a blessing!

    For me, it must be wood to wood, with as much close contact as possible.

    John Colter
    Thanks. That may be it. I wondered why the one I shimmed was so quiet. I made one with a soprano neck too just for fun. Yeah, I have the bridges all over, but I'm just playing around. Fun to see what you can do with a handsaw and some good wood chisels.
    IMG_20181230_191632118.jpgIMG_20181231_111741458.jpgIMG_20190113_120734881.jpgIMG_20190114_194709312.jpg
    Last edited by captain-janeway; 12-02-2020 at 01:29 PM.

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