Free Plans for 3-string Balalaika

Free Balalaika PlansExperienced cigar box guitar builders know that studying traditional & conventional folk instruments is a great place to pick up new tricks and methods for building CBGs.

These free plans are for a 3-string, triangle-body Russian instrument known as the Balalaika. They were written by James H. Flynn, Jr. in the early 80’s and some time ago he made them freely available. This version of them are listed on, the site of the Guild of American Luthiers.

Click the image to the left, or click here, to view the full how-to guide in PDF format.

Product Feature: The Electric Delta 3-pole Cigar Box Guitar Pickup

Electric Delta 3-pole Cigar Box Guitar PickupFINALLY! An inexpensive magnetic pickup for 3-string Cigar Box Guitars!

For years, cigar box guitar builders have been asking for 3-pole pickups specifically for 3-string cigar box guitars, but that has always been the rather pricey realm of the hand-wound pickup makers. Now, those days are over, with the introduction of the C. B. Gitty “Electric Delta” 3-pole single-coil pickup. With its laser-engraved wood-top bobbin, wooden bobbin base and pre-wired 1/4″ output jack, popping one of these little growlers into your next cigar box guitar build is a no-brainer.

Priced as low as $16.99, this pre-wired pickup system is ready to install, no soldering or additional wiring required.

Check them out here at the C. B. Gitty web store.

Shane Speal plays The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood” on the Cigar Box Guitar

This is the classic Beatles song, beautifully rendered by Shane Speal on his stage-beaten and time-worn Macanudo 3-string cigar box guitar. Shane really captures the dark and subtle depth of this simple yet nuanced tune.

What 3-string Cigar Box Guitar tuning would you like to see us cover next?

We’ve covered the popular Open G “GDG” and the Open D “DAD” tunings so far here on – so what would you like to see next? We are looking to finish off the popular 3-string tunings before moving on to anything more advanced. The remaining “standard” open chord 3-string sets are certainly options: EBE, AEA, CEC, FCF… then of course there is a range of “full chord” 3-string tunings, that include all 3 tri-tones in a chord: GBD, DF#A, EG#B, etc.

Let us know what you’d like to see and we’ll try to make it happen!