When it comes to electrifying a cigar box guitar (or really any stringed instrument, for that matter), there are two basic options: either a piezo pickup (sometimes called a contact pickup), or a magnetic pickup. Well, really there is a third option – a microphone – but we’ll not cover that here. So, what are the main differences between a piezo element pickup and a magnetic pickup?
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.
If 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”
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!
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.