Cigar Box Guitar Building Tip: Neck Reinforcement with Humbuckers

In the video below, Shane Speal shows his technique of reinforcing internal bracing on neck-through cigar box guitars with extra wood. He also shows how to use a Forstner bit to route out the cavity for a mini humbucker pickup. (Note: the pickup used is a C. B. Gitty Toaster Bucker mini humbucker.)

Speal uses the traditional “through-neck” design in his cigar box guitars (also known as “Japanese spike fiddle” construction). This means the neck wood extends through the entire length of the cigar box and protrudes out the back. This allows the wood to double as internal bracing for the box and provides an easier way of building guitars.

The drawback to this design is that certain sections of the “through neck” area sometimes needs to be routed for pickups, creating weak spots that can cause warping or even breakage. Speal shows how to alleviate this problem:

EVEN MORE REINFORCEMENT: After filming the video, Speal decided to add even more wood in the neck-through area by gluing two pieces of scrap poplar to the sides.

He used two small strips of poplar, approx 3/4″ x 1/4″ and cut to length of the neck inside the box. The strips were positioned right at the base of the Forstner bit route (as seen above) and glued into place.

Another view with the neck turned over, showing the underside. There won’t be any warping here!

One more view shows the box lid in place with the pickup resting in the route like a puzzle piece.

Learn more about Shane Speal’s guitars at http://SpealGuitars.com Official site: http://ShaneSpeal.com

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