How to Use Strap Buttons

What are Strap Buttons?

Basic chrome strap buttons from C. B. GittyA strap button is a piece of hardware mounted to a guitar or other instrument, as an anchor point for attaching a strap.

A strap allows the instrument to hang from the musician’s shoulders, making it more comfortable to hold and play, especially when standing up.

A strap allows an instrument to hang comfortably from musician's shoulders while standing.
A strap allows an instrument to hang comfortably from musician’s shoulders while standing.

While strap buttons are optional on a guitar, including them will make the instrument much more appealing to a person used to performing on stage, and can lend more of a professional, finished look and feel. We recommend that builders always put them on their cigar box guitars. Continue reading “How to Use Strap Buttons”

Introduction to using Magnetic Pickups

A typical humbucker magnetic pickupIf you have been thinking about using a magnetic pickup in your next cigar box guitar build, but aren’t sure about how they are different from piezo pickups, then here is a quick overview for you. Magnetic pickups can be a nice addition to most any cigar box guitar, but they do require some different handling and some knowledge of their unique properties. Continue reading “Introduction to using Magnetic Pickups”

Master String Size & Tuning List for 25-inch Scale

bulk-strings-500pxThis article is presented by the Southbound String Company – the first brand focused solely on providing strings specifically chosen and voiced for Cigar Box Guitars and other handmade/homemade instruments!


This chart shows you the string size to use for every pitch from double-low B (one Octave below the low B on a guitar), all the way up to High A.

Using this chart you can figure out the strings to use for pretty much any tuning you want. These strings should work for instruments with a scale length of 24.5 to 25.5 inches, with 25 inches being the middle point.

The string gauges shown below are for a “light” string set. For a “medium” set, add .002″ to the wound string sizes and .001″ to the unwound string sizes. For example, for a medium set, for low C you would want .036″ instead of .034″. For high E you’d want .011″ instead of .010″. Increase string gauges from there to move towards “heavy” sets.

Continue reading “Master String Size & Tuning List for 25-inch Scale”

Piezo Wiring Diagrams

Putting electronic components into a cigar box guitar, and getting everything properly wired and connected, can be a daunting task for the first-timer – but it doesn’t have to be. In this article we will present several basic wiring diagrams created by Ted Crocker, and discuss each of them in some detail to help you understand what is going on.

Don’t forget that you can get most of the parts shown in this article, including piezos , jacks, volume potentiometers and potentiometer knobs , right in our C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply Web Store!
Continue reading “Piezo Wiring Diagrams”

Rod Piezo Primer

Rod and Disk PiezosWhen looking at the use of piezo elements as pickups in acoustic instruments, and specifically in cigar box guitars, there are two main types that get used – disk-style piezos, and rod-style piezos

While disk piezos are perhaps more prevalent, because they tend to be cheaper and easier to find, many builders feel that the rod-style piezos offer superior sound and tonal quality. This article delves into the differences between disk and rod-style piezos, and takes a close look at how rod piezos are put together.

Don’t forget that you can find all sorts of great rod and disk piezos in various sizes and configurations (and at great prices!) over at C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply.

First, a little bit of piezo basics. Piezoelectric elements, whatever the type, are based around layered ceramic wafers and conductive metal. Continue reading “Rod Piezo Primer”

Soldering Tutorial

This article covers some of the key basic methods for successful soldering, whether on your Cigar Box Guitar or other electronics project. Filled with photos and good advice that comes from years of experience, this short tutorial will have you successfully soldering in no time.

Topics covered include: the importance of tinning your iron and wires, what good solder joints look like, soldering to a tone/volume pot,  soldering to a piezo, and wire aesthetics. If you have been uncertain about your soldering skills, this tutorial is a great place to start improving.

 For great deals on potentiometers, piezos, jacks,
hook-up wire and other CBG parts, be sure to check out our
C. B.
Gitty Crafter Supply Web Store

Continue reading “Soldering Tutorial”

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

Piezo ElementsA 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

50-014-01-Product-Image Full SizeThis 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: 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.


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!