Everything Cigar Box Guitar – News, How-To & More

Cigar Box InstrumentsWelcome to CigarBoxGuitar.com, the headquarters of all things related to Cigar Box Guitars and the homemade/handmade music revolution! 

This site is presented by C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply and Cigar Box Nation. This is the central landing page and clearinghouse for all things CBG – from the most recent news and events, to an ever-growing knowledgebase of how-to information, to builder profiles, featured instruments and more!

Here are some handy links to help you find what you need on this site:

  • The Cigar Box Guitar Manifesto – the mission statement and rallying cry of the Cigar Box Guitar movement, as written by C. B. Gitty.
  • How to Build Cigar Box Guitars – An ever-growing collection of articles specifically on how to build cigar box guitars.
  • How to Play Cigar Box Guitars – Articles and Videos related to making music with cigar box guitars.
  • CigarBoxNation.com – Home of the Cigar Box Guitar movement on the internet, with over 12,500 members from around the world. The perfect place to talk to other builders, get advice and tips, ask specific how-to questions, view and upload pictures and videos, and generally have fun.
  • Cigar Box Guitar Kits  – If you are looking for an easy way to build your first cigar box guitar, consider one of C. B. Gitty’s kits!  Gitty’s new “Pure and Simple” Cigar Box Guitar kit is the easiest-to-build kit available anywhere, and the perfect way to get started on this amazing hobby!
  • Cigar Box Guitar Parts, Gear and Accessories – C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply is the largest supplier of kits, parts, gear and accessories to the cigar box guitar and homemade music movement. Check out their web store and get ready to start building!

How-To Video: Installing a Magnetic Pickup Harness in a Cigar Box Guitar

If you have been wanting to try a magnetic pickup in your a cigar box guitar, but weren’t sure where to start, check out this new video from Glenn Watt. Glenn walks you through the installation of C. B. Gitty’s “Florentine Screamer” pre-wired magnetic pickup harness from start to finish, giving you all of the know-how you need to dive into your next build.

Cigar Box Guitars get a mention in Rolling Stone

The humble Cigar Box Guitar recently got a mention in Rolling Stone, at least the online edition. In listing the 20 most iconic guitars, Bo Diddley’s rectangular electric guitar came up and they mentioned how he used to build his own cigar box guitars, and even gave one to Dick Clark once. Check out the Rolling Stone page here.

What 3-string Cigar Box Guitar tuning would you like to see us cover next?

We’ve covered the popular Open G “GDG” and the Open D “DAD” tunings so far here on CigarBoxGuitar.com – so what would you like to see next? We are looking to finish off the popular 3-string tunings before moving on to anything more advanced. The remaining “standard” open chord 3-string sets are certainly options: EBE, AEA, CEC, FCF… then of course there is a range of “full chord” 3-string tunings, that include all 3 tri-tones in a chord: GBD, DF#A, EG#B, etc.

Let us know what you’d like to see and we’ll try to make it happen!

Open G “GDG” Cigar Box Guitar Tuning Article now has Sound Clips!

We just added sound clips to go along with each of the tunings in the Open G “GDG” Tuning Article, so you can hear what each string combination sounds like when strung up on a cigar box guitar! All four of these clips were recorded on the same cigar box guitar, using the actual strings/gauges recommended in the article. Enjoy!

New Cigar Box Guitar Glossary feature here on CigarBoxguitar.com!

We recently installed a Glossary add-on to the site here at CigarBoxGuitar.com, which allows us to define key terms and concepts related to cigar box guitars. The neatest feature is that it will automatically highlight (via a dotted underline) any of these defined terms it finds in articles and posts. So if you are reading an article where scale length is mentioned, and you don’t know what scale length is, just mouse over it and a pop-up will appear with the definition! The glossary can also be browsed separately, and we will be adding a page/link to assist with that.

There are a LOT of terms to define, and we are chipping away  steadily at it, so this resource will only get better as time goes by. We hope you find it useful!

Open D “DAD” Cigar Box Guitar Tunings and String Sizes Article – with Sound Clips!

Cigar Box Guitar StringsC. B. Gitty has published another how-to article in his series of popular cigar box guitar tunings, this one focused on the “DAD” Open D tuning. This article follows up on the last one that covered GDG, and even goes one step further by including sound clips of how each of the 4 DAD varieties sound on the same cigar box guitar.

The string sizes and combinations recommended in this article are not just theoretical exercises of what should work – Gitty actually strung a 25″ scale cigar box guitar up with each set, and then used that guitar to record the sound clip. In doing so, he made some tweaks to the string gauge lineup to make sure they were just right.

Take a look, have a listen, and consider giving this great tuning a go in one of your cigar box guitars!

Click Here to view the Open D DAD Tuning Article

Why the Cigar Box Guitar Revolution Really is a Revolution

Back in the mid 1990’s, Shane Speal played a primary role in the rediscovery of the cigar box guitar. Drawn to their primitive, raw sound and power, and how far removed they were from the main-stream musical establishment scene, he declared the start of the Cigar Box Guitar Revolution.

Cigar Box Nation LogoThese days, 20 or so years into the modern CBG revival, people sometimes roll their eyes or scoff a bit when we still refer to this movement as a revolution. I am here to tell you it still is, and I just a reminder of why this morning.

A couple of days ago, I posted a knowledgebase article on Zero Frets, with the goal of introducing cigar box guitar builders to this often overlooked or misunderstood topic. This morning I found in my inbox a comment from a man who is a luthier, and runs a website dedicated to luthiery. I will not name him or his site, that is not the point of this blog post. Suffice to say, it is the sort of site where the subcellular structures of certain strains of Sitka spruce grown in certain soils, and the effects of all of that on tonal quality, are discussed.

His comment on my zero fret article was this, and I quote: “Utterly wrong. Sorry. Indefensibly so. Back to the drawing board.”

Immediately, I thought “what did I get wrong”? Read More…

Open G “GDG” Cigar Box Guitar Tunings and String Sizes explained by C. B. Gitty

Cigar Box Guitar StringsCheck out the new knowledgebase article here on CigarBoxGuitar.com, in which Ben “C. B. Gitty” Baker explains exactly how to achieve the popular “Open G” GDG tuning on your cigar box guitar.

This tuning is the de facto standard for playing the blues on cigar box guitars, and in this article Gitty walks you through the 4 different ways that you can tune to GDG, and covers the string gauges that you’ll need for each.

Plus there’s a bunch of other good info in there about strings and tunings, to help you start figuring some of it out for yourself!

Cigar Box Guitar Free Album Feature – Rolling Stones Tribute

Cigar Box Guitar enthusiasts have been busily recording original and tribute/cover albums for years, and over at CigarBoxNation.com Dan Sleep has diligently been organizing all of it into a single page of free downloads. In this post we are featuring the tribute album to the Rolling Stones that Cigar Box Nation member “407bug” organized last year.

Like most of the albums organized by CBN members over the years, this one mostly features homemade instruments and a wide range of styles and methods – and did we mention it’s free?

Click here to visit the Cigar Box Nation Free Albums Download Page, then scroll down a little to find the Rolling Stones tribute link. Clicking on the download link will take you to an external site where you can download the ZIP file that holds the MP3s (because of copyright issues the actual tracks can’t be hosted on CigarBoxNation itself).

Enjoy!

Zero Frets – What they are, and Why and How to use them on Cigar Box Guitars

This photo shows a fretted cigar box guitar with a zero fret installed. We'll be showing you how (and why) to do this in this article.

This photo shows a fretted cigar box guitar with a zero fret installed. C. B. Gitty shows you how (and why) to do this in this article.

We have just added a new how-to article by Ben “C. B. Gitty” Baker to our knowledgebase, which deals with the topic of zero frets. Zero frets are sometimes considered an arcane topic by cigar box guitar builders, and in this article Ben tries to demystify them, showing you in simple terms and clear pictures what they are, why to use them and most importantly how to use them.

Click Here to View the Zero Fret Knowledgebase Article