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Cigarbox Guitar project - Interested in making a 5-string version

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Jul 6, 2020 - 12:33:38 PM
77 posts since 2/16/2015

I'm stuck at home, retired, got a brand new hip, on lock-down so I thought I might try to build something to play. I thought a banjo might be a little over my skill set so I opted for a cigarbox guitar kit. I ordered a Mountain Tenor 4-string guitar kit from C.B Gitty for about $100. I plan on tuning it like the first 4 strings on a banjo so I don't have to re-learn chord positions. If it turns out nice, I might order another one and add the fifth string (or modify the one I built). Not much risk but I bet I'll spend close to another $100 decorating it!!

Has anyone done this? If so I would appreciate comments.


Jul 6, 2020 - 3:14:53 PM
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21753 posts since 7/6/2005
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Check out banjomkr here on the hangout.

Jul 6, 2020 - 3:20:30 PM
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3182 posts since 5/29/2011

Yes, I have. I got the neck from C. B. Gitty and the cigar box from a local tobacconist.
The fingerboard was an old guitar board I bought on eBay and cut to fit, then fretted with StewMac wire.
I cut pieces off a square dowel for the peghead ears and covered the peghead with a black pearwood overlay from First Quality. I remember having to sand the back of the peghead with a belt sander because it was too thick.
I used Grover friction banjo pegs and a friction fifth string tuner that I picked up somewhere, probably in a lot of parts that I bought.
The nut was filed out of a bone from a pot roast. The fifth string pip was a slotted round head screw.
Part of the piece of square dowel that was left was used to make the upper portion of the neck from the fifth fret on. Two pieces cut off the neck were glued together and shaped to make the neck heel. The fingerboard was glued to the shaped neck and the whole thing was belt sanded into final shape.
I strung it with LaBella nylon strings and it sounded pretty decent. While I was building it someone saw it and wanted it when it was finished so I don't have any pictures of it.
I hope I haven't rambled too much but I was putting down thoughts as they came to me. I hope it made sense. Now don't ask me about the banjos I have made from cheese boxes.

Edited by - Culloden on 07/06/2020 15:21:39

Jul 6, 2020 - 3:26:08 PM
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363 posts since 3/26/2009

Good luck!   The cigar box guitars are a lot of fun.  You can go as complex or as simple as you want.  

I've done a couple of "CBBs".



If you are interested there are more pictures and videos of these and some pretty standard cigar box guitars on my blog.

Sorry for the shameless self promotion!  I'm not selling anything...just showing off.laugh

Jul 6, 2020 - 3:55:30 PM
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55049 posts since 12/14/2005

Simplest way would be to add a bit to the side of the existing neck, if it's a 4 string, or shave some OUT, if it's a six string..

Jul 6, 2020 - 5:35:02 PM
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4516 posts since 9/7/2009

I have built several cigar box banjos. There are a lot of pictures on my home page, and also videos of them if you want to check them out for sound, with and without amplification.  You can also go to my YouTube channel for videos. Just search for "Marvin Walker banjo" on YouTube.

Jul 7, 2020 - 5:23:36 PM

256 posts since 2/22/2010

Good to see the beautiful work from your skillful hands. Nice.

Jul 7, 2020 - 5:46:35 PM
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4516 posts since 9/7/2009

Here's a short build video.... It is basically a box with a stick run thru it. They don't sound like a standard banjo, but they play like one. It is quiet enough when not using picks that I can pick without annoying someone (wife) in another room! :)  

Edited by - BNJOMAKR on 07/07/2020 17:52:53

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