Using Four (!) Piezos in a Cigar Box Guitar for Percussion Effect

four piezos

Cigar box guitar builders go to great lengths to reduce tapping noises in their acoustic pickups.  However, an ingenius builder/performer from Australia, known as “Chick Who Tinkers” has taken the opposite approach.  She has wired her cigar box guitar with four individual piezos to enhance tapping, rhythm and thumps as she plays.

Her design uses four small piezo pickups that are connected straight to a guitar jack.  No volume or tone pots are used.  This allows 100% signal to go to the jack.

Here’s how she wires it up: Continue reading “Using Four (!) Piezos in a Cigar Box Guitar for Percussion Effect”

Cool Cigar Box Amplifier Mods!

by Shane Speal

I’m an electronics idiot. There, I said it! I suck when it comes to soldering and breadboards and all that crap. I couldn’t wire my way out of a paper bag, if the truth be told.

…But then C. B. Gitty came out with a pre-wired cigar box amp kit and I just had to dive in and try one out. And then another and another.

The Gitty amp kit a simple 2.5 watt amp that delivers living room volume in a tiny package. Most of their pictures show a standard cigar box with a hole cut in the middle and a speaker with some sort of grill or cover.

I figured if I was going to build cigar box amps, I might as well use as much found-object stuff on them to make them look otherworldly, just like some of my best cigar box guitars. Here’s three examples that used the standard Gitty kit and the parts I used to mod them: Continue reading “Cool Cigar Box Amplifier Mods!”

Build a “Throbbing” Tube-Driven Vibrato – Vintage plans from 1957

From the archives,

Build Your Own Vibrato

Make like Elvis with an “electronic” throbbing guitar

These vibrato (actually tremolo) plans were first printed in the Popular Electronics December 1957 issue. We’ve taken all text and re-typed it and provided good resolution scans of all schematics.  Everything is compiled in one PDF document below.  Download and print out.
Continue reading “Build a “Throbbing” Tube-Driven Vibrato – Vintage plans from 1957″

How to Transform a Gold Foil Pickup into a Vintage Top Mounted Pickup

The C. B. Gitty Gold Foil acoustic pickup is one of the most versatile and easiest magnetic pickups to mod for cigar box guitars. At only $14 each, they’re deliciously cheap and I always have a half dozen of them in my woodshop at any time. (It should be noted that these suckers have such a gloriously trashy 1960’s vibe to them, just like Hound Dog Taylor’s guitars.)

I recently used a Gold Foil in a cigar box guitar and I radically modded it to look like a rusty old Harmony/Teisco top-mount pickup. Here’s how I did it. Continue reading “How to Transform a Gold Foil Pickup into a Vintage Top Mounted Pickup”

Daily Tip: Have you ever thought about trying to sell your Cigar Box Guitars?

Selling Cigar Box Guitars at a FestivalShane Speal, the King of the Cigar Box Guitar, has been building and selling cigar box guitars for over twenty years. Recently he has begun writing a series of articles aimed at helping others get started selling their CBGs and other handmade creations at festivals. So far the first two parts of the series have been posted in the blog over at, with more on the way.

Part 1 – Selling Cigar Box Guitars at Festivals for Fun and Profit

Part 2 – Selling Cigar Box Guitars at Festivals for Fun and Profit

Part 3 – (Coming Soon) Setting up Your Vending Booth

Daily Tip: Choosing a Volume Pot for your Cigar Box Guitar

A 500KOhm Potentiometer Volume Control for Cigar Box GuitarsYou can use either 250KOhm, 500KOhm or 1000KOhm (1MOhm) audio-taper potentiometers (pots) for disk piezo volume controls in cigar box guitars. C. B. Gitty recommends the 500KOhm, but it is always good to do some experimenting to discover your own preferences.

To learn much more about wiring cigar box guitars with piezos and magnetic pickups, check out the related category in our knowledgebase!