Using Piezos in Cigar Box Guitars: Part 1 – Piezo Basics

A lot of new Cigar Box Guitar (CBG) builders (and more than a few veterans) tend to get a bit uneasy when the topic of piezo pickups comes up. Everyone seems to have a different idea of how to use them. Some folks say that they should be built into the bridge, others attach them to the exterior of the bridge; some mount them inside the box lid, others attach them to the outside of the lid. Add in concepts such as insulation methods, multiple piezos, volume potentiometers and wiring schematics, and the waters tend to get pretty muddy pretty fast.

This two-part article is meant to be a basic “here’s what you need to get started” approach to helping people install a piezo pickup into their Cigar Box Guitar build. We will cover the basics of what piezo to use, where you can put it, how to mount it, and how to wire it to a jack. We will also briefly discuss the topic of wiring in a otentiometer.

Be sure to check out our web store for a nice selection of piezos, jacks and other components at great prices!

Continue reading “Using Piezos in Cigar Box Guitars: Part 1 – Piezo Basics”

Using Piezos in Cigar Box Guitars: Part 2 – Placement & Mounting

This article is a continuation of the Piezo 101 Introduction to Piezo Basics. In this article we move from theory and general information to how-to info you can put to direct use in your builds. There are two main themes to this section: WHERE you should mount your piezo, and HOW you should mount it. Both of these are very important to consider when your goal is to get the best possible sound out of your cigar box guitar.

Be sure to check out our web store for a nice selection of piezos, jacks and other components at great prices!

Continue reading “Using Piezos in Cigar Box Guitars: Part 2 – Placement & Mounting”

Video How-To: Installation of a Pre-Wired Magnetic Pickup Harness in a Cigar Box Guitar (C. B. Gitty’s “Florentine Screamer”)

In this video, Glenn Watt walks you through installing a pre-wired magnetic pickup harness, in this case the “Florentine Screamer” sold by C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply. While the video only shows that specific harness, the methods could easily be used to install other such harnesses that include a pickguard/cover plate. If you have been wanting to take the plunge into using a magnetic harness in a cigar box guitar build, take a look!

Video Lessons: Famous Blues Licks and Turnarounds for Cigar Box Guitar – by Shane Speal

If you have ever wanted to learn how to easily play some of the most famous and recognizable blues riffs and turnarounds on your cigar box guitar, this video series is for you! Shane Speal sits down with his video camera and a 3-string cigar box guitar (tuned to Open G GDG), and walks you through five of the best-known blues riffs that we’ve all heard hundreds of times. Each lesson is just a few minutes long – you’ll be belting out the blues in no time!

Lesson 1: The Classic Blues Lick

Lesson 2: Variations on the Classic Blues Lick

Lesson 3: The Peach Rundown

Lesson 4: The Nasty Pull-off Lick

Lesson 5: The Grinding Lick

Video: How to Install a P90 “Soap Bar” Pickup in Cigar Box Guitars

In this 10-minute video, Glenn Watt walks you through every step of installing a P90-style soap bar pickup in your neck-through cigar box guitar. P90’s have an almost mythic reputation and a cult-like following for their tone and sound, and they sound absolutely awesome in cigar box guitars.

More good news: you can find inexpensive P90-style pickups at C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply! Click here for the “pickup only” version that you wire yourself, or click here for the pre-wired no-solder pickup harness!

Video: How To Install Fret Markers on your Cigar Box Guitar Fretboard

In this video how-to, Glenn Watt walks you through a great way to add fret position markers your cigar box guitar fretboard using wooden dowels. While a lot of folks are happy with just using a Sharpie or woodburning fret marks into their fretboard, using inset fret markers looks really good and definitely can give a build a more professional look. If you’ve consider it but thought it too hard or too much effort, think again! Glenn shows you just how quickly you can add this great feature to your next build.

Video: How to Install Open-Gear Tuners (C. B. Gitty product #31-001-01) on a Cigar Box Guitar

In this video, CBG craftsman Glenn Watt walks you through installing basic open-gear tuners on a cigar box guitar, such as C. B. Gitty’s economy tuners.

In this video, CBG craftsman Glenn Watt walks you through installing open-gear economy tuners such as C. B. Gitty’s Chrome Open-gear Economy Tuners on your cigar box guitar.

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Video: How to Make a Scarf Joint for a Cigar Box Guitar Neck

Glenn Watt recently created a great how-to video walking you through how to create a scarf joint on a cigar box guitar neck. A scarf joint is a special angled cut which, when glued back together, angles the headstock away from the fingerboard surface of the neck at a specified angle (usually about 15 degrees). Having the headstock angled like this makes it easier to get the strings to stay tight against the nut (this is referred to as the “break angle” of the strings).

So check this video out, and give a scarf joint a try on your next build. It does take some care and attention to detail to make one, but it is well worth the effort!