Rod piezos can give you great improvements in overall tone and sound on your instrument builds, compared to a standard disc piezo. However, the standard rod piezo is made for a 6-string guitar, and at 2 ¾” in length, is often longer than a cigar box guitar builder needs or wants for embedding in a bridge. Fortunately, it is a fairly simple process to cut the rod piezos to a shorter length, for 3 or 4-string setups. However, it is important to cut it them in a certain way so you don’t ruin them, which is what this article will show you.
Electrifying your cigar box guitar or other homemade instrument build can be a very rewarding experience. Being able to plug into an amp not only gives you more volume, but it opens the door to a huge range of effects that would not otherwise be available. And it is a proven fact that having a pickup in a guitar makes it easier to sell – being able to plug in and rock out evokes images of Eddie Van Halen and Slash and is sure to get any would-be rocker’s blood pumping.
Glenn walks you through how he installs the mini humbucker pickup in the “Mi Amor” cigar box guitar he designed for C. B. Gitty.
How I Took This Cigar Box Guitar to a Whole New Level
The Mi Amor meets the Snake Oil Humbucker: A Killer Combo
It sounds raw and dirty.
A single coil pickup in a cigar box guitar has grit and a surly swagger. But for this build, the sound of a solitary single coil pickup is missing something.
When designing the Mi Amor – a recent addition to the C.B. Gitty line of guitars – I wanted it to have a big punch. Picture a cinder block-sized fist, wearing brass knuckles, being thrown into your gut. You know, really taking the air out of you.
This illustrated guide written by Glenn Watt walks you through how to install the C. B. Gitty Part number 54-020-01, “Pre-Wired 4-String Single Coil Pickup Harness with Volume and Tone.” Cutout and drill bit sizes are given and the steps clearly shown for mounting one of these handy pre-wired pickup harnesses into cigar box guitars.
The principles in this guide can also be used for most any single-coil or humbucker pickup with a neck-through cigar box guitar, where you often have to notch down into the neck (and brace underneath it) to get the pickup into place.
So you want to hear that new gitty you’re building through your amplifier that’s been sitting unused behind the holiday decorations in the basement? Do you want to make certain that you can crank that little bad rabbit when everyone leaves and you’re left to your own devices in a quiet home? Or maybe you’re looking to level-up and retro-fit a pickup into a guitar you already have that’s been sorely needing a little volume. In the Pre-Wired Piezo and Jack Harness from C.B. Gitty you have the simplest way to electrify your instrument with the most basic of installation requirements.
Fretting directly onto a guitar neck is a great option to showcase the natural beauty of the wood you have chosen for your neck, rather than using a fretboard. However, this does make using a traditional nut a bit more challenging. This article shows you one way you can install a bone (or hardwood) nut blank onto your fretted cigar box guitar neck.
One of the most frequent questions we hear from new cigar box guitar builders is what strings they should use on their cigar box guitar, and how they should tune it. This can be a very mysterious for a builder, especially folks without much of a musical background. While it is often said that there are no rules when it comes to building CBGS (and that is often true, which is one of the great things about this hobby), it can be very frustrating to hear when you just want a simple answer to a question. In this article, we’ll try to demystify some of the theory behind strings and tunings, and also give some straightforward clear answers for those who just want to know what to do.
First, we’ll give a clear answer for those of you who just want to know what to do: at C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply we consider a “standard” cigar box guitar to be a 3-stringer with medium-gauge acoustic strings tuned to either Open G (for slide playing), or G-B-E for fretted playing. The strings used are equivalent to the three highest-pitched strings on a standard six-string guitar, and the scale length of the instrument (the distance from the nut to the bridge) is around 25 inches.
This happens to be the most popular set of CBG strings we sell in our shop – our C. B. Gitty 3-String Acoustic Medium Open G/Standard Set. If you are building your first cigar box guitar and have no idea what to do or what you need, start with these strings. These strings are based on a “medium” weight set sold for a standard 6-string, but includes only the 3 highest-pitch strings (the smallest/lightest ones) from the pack, so you don’t have any leftovers. It can be tuned either in “Open G” tuning for slide playing (G-B-D), or if you have a fretted neck it can be tuned like the 3 highest-pitch strings of a standard guitar (G-B-E).
In this video, Ben “C. B. Gitty” Baker and Glenn Watt show you the basics of getting your cigar box guitar in tune. Both tuning “by ear” and using a digital tuner is covered, so even if you have no experience with musical instruments or tuning, this video will help you get started. At the end of the video, Ben and Glenn even do a little bit of jamming with their newly-tuned cigar box guitars. Continue reading “How to Tune a 3-string Cigar Box Guitar to Open G GDG”
Hard-tail bridges are a must-have piece of hardware for building professional-level electric guitars and cigar box guitars. This article walks you through the different styles and varieties, as well as how to install them on your special build.
What are Hard-tail Bridges?
Hard-tail bridges are pieces of hardware often seen on solid body electric guitars. They combine bridges and saddles in such a way that the intonation and string action (height over the fretboard) can easily be adjusted post-install. These styles of bridges are best known from Fender’s Stratocaster™ electric guitars.
Because of how they are made, hard-tail bridges work best when used with magnetic pickups (the sort seen on solidbody electric guitars) as opposed to piezo-style pickups. They help with achieving a professional intonation, maintaining a nice low string action, and increasing sustain (due to their solid metal construction).
Some hard-tail bridges also include openings for pickups such as Fender-style single coils and humbuckers. The basic versions just have the bridge and saddle components.
Although they are best known for use on solid body electrics, hard-tail bridges also work great for cigar box guitars. There are now 3 and 4-string varieties available, which make them even more suitable for electric cigar box guitars that have magnetic pickups.
A 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.
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”