Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 74

COLUMN Shop of Hard Knocks
Steve, and plenty of
others. I was recently
chatting with Rick Vito
when the topic arose,
and we were soon
scheming on the design for a cool CBG.

1

SMOKE 'EM IF YOU GOT 'EM
Building a DIY Cigar-Box Guitar
By Will Kelly

C

igar-box guitars are experiencing a resurgence, not only with amateur builders, but
amongst performing players. In the early
days of the blues, a precursor of the modern
cigar-box guitar was one of the first American
instruments - a strand of bailing wire nailed to
the side of a cabin or barn and called a diddley
bow. A piece of wood under the wire acted as
a bridge, and the player used a bottleneck or
section of pipe to slide along the string. This

2

was the first instrument played by legendary
blues men like Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and
Elmore James.
Eventually, it evolved into a portable version
called a jitterbug box which was made using
necks fashioned from broomsticks and shovel
handles attached to bodies made from hubcaps,
washboards, cigar boxes, or whatever was handy.
Today, cigar-box guitars can be found in the
hands of Samantha Fish, Glenn Kaiser, Seasick

3

VINTAGE GUITAR

74

September 2018

1) The components are a
neck blank, cigar box, and
specialized hardware such
as four-string pickups and
bridges. This particular box
is from Camacho and is a
beautiful example of bold
colors and art-deco design.
2) Rick designed a headstock that mirrored the color
scheme of the box. Matching
the paint was tricky.
3) After printing a scale
image of Rick's design, I
overlaid the printed image
on the headstock blank and
cut it to size using a band
saw. A bit of fine-sanding and
shaping, and it was ready.
4) My next step was to
fashion a wooden spacer
for the bottom of the neck
blank's tongue, to fill the
gap between it and the inside
bottom of the box. To maximize sustain and tone, I
wanted the top of the tongue
to be flush against the inside
of the lid while also seating against the bottom of
the box. After
careful measurement, I
milled a piece
of birch plywood to 7/16"
thickness and
used epoxy to
carefully glue
the shim to
t he bot tom
of the tongue.
5) I a l s o
had to fashion a bridge
plate; I used
a pie c e of
maple sized
to the exact
width of the
box, t hen
notched the


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 3
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 4
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 5
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 6
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 7
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 8
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 9
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - Contents
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 11
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 12
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 13
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 14
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 15
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 16
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 17
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 18
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 19
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 20
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 21
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 22
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 23
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 24
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 25
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 26
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 27
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 28
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 29
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 30
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 31
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 32
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 33
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 34
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 35
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 36
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 37
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 38
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 39
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 40
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 41
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 42
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 43
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 44
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 45
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 46
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 47
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 48
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 49
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 50
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 51
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 52
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 53
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 54
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 55
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 56
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 57
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 58
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 60
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 62
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 63
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 65
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 66
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 67
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 68
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 69
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 70
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 71
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 72
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 73
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 74
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 75
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 76
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 77
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 78
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 79
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 80
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 81
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 82
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 83
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 84
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 85
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 86
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 87
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 88
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 89
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 90
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 91
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 92
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 93
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 94
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 95
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 96
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 97
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 98
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 99
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 100
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 101
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 103
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 104
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 105
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 106
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 109
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 110
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 111
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 112
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 113
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 120
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 121
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 122
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 123
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 124
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 125
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 127
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 128
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 129
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 131
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 132
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 133
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 134
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 135
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 138
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - IBC
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - BC
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