Cigar Box Guitars (CBG's) have become very popular in the past few years. My theory is that it is due to two things: the economic downturn and the emergence of the hipster culture. CBG's are very cheap to build. And they are fun to play while sipping a Pabst and wearing an ironic T-shirt.

A cigar box guitar, if you don't know, is a simple stringed instrument that uses a small wooden box as the resonance chamber. CBG's generally have 3 or 4 strings (some have 6; and some variations have only 1 or 2) and have all of the basic components of a guitar: a neck, body, nut bridge, and strings. They are often made using recycled material or found objects.

This instructable will show you how to build a resonator or dobro-style CBG that is unique because it features a hidden compartment for a small bottle or flask of whiskey, some shot glasses, and a shot server. A resonator guitar is simply a guitar that has a metal vibrating surface rather than wood which creates a bright metallic sound. Resonator-style CBG's are often built using license plates or metal pet dishes. In this instructable I will use a metal hand saw as the resonator surface.

Since CBG's are made using recycled materials it's unlikely that you'll start with the exact same materials that I used. So this Instructable will serve mainly as a basic guide to building your CBG rather than precise instructions.

Step 1: Supplies and Tools

Some basic woodworking tools are needed. You should be able to cobble together a very nice CBG using nothing but hand tools.  But even a modest workshop will make this project exponentially easier. Don't be intimidated though. You'll be shocked at how easy (and satisfying) it is build something that makes actual music.

A Wooden Cigar Box:
Obviously, you'll need a cigar box. These are really easy to find. You can use eBay. You'll find really cool boxes there but you'll also spend quite a bit more than you have to especially after shipping is factored. Instead, I suggest a local cigar shop. Most shops sell empty boxes for a dollar or two and might even give them for free. Look for a box that is wood and has a thickness of at least 1.5". The length and width can really be any dimension but bigger is better in my opinion. If you can find a box greater than 6" x 6" then you're golden for this project.

A Metal Plate of Some Sort: An old license plate will work great. Or a hand saw. Or roof flashing. Or a street sign. Or a cookie tin. Or, I don't know, go root through the neighbor's trash.

Other Materials:
  • Wood: Generally you'll want hardwoods. At the large box stores you can find maple, poplar, and oak.
    • 48" long 1x2 hardwood (maple recommended) for neck. Avoid soft wood like pine)
    • 30" long 1/8th inch or 1/4th inch hardwood board for a fret board
    • Screws (various)
    • Guitar strings
    • Guitar tuners (half a set)
    • Piezo pickup
    • 1/4" mono phone jack
    • light insulated wire
Tools and Supplies:
  • Four-in-hand rasp/file combo
  • Square
  • Tape measure and/or long straightedge
  • Wood glue
  • Super glue
  • Pencil
  • Painter's tape
  • Clamps (several)
  • Small handsaw
  • Screw drivers
  • Hand drill with bits
  • Paper (for drawing, notes, etc.)
  • Utility knife
  • Files and rasps
  • Sand paper
  • Soldering iron
  • Handplane
  • Chisel
  • Spokeshave
  • For installing frets (optional):
    • Dovetail saw
    • Mallet
    • Wire snippers
    • File
<p>This is fantastic!</p>
How big is the box in the instructable?
<p>Great idea gona have to do some thing similar for the cbg I take fishing</p>
I just wanted to say Cigar Box GuiBar.....That is all
<p>looks great!</p>
<p>This is awesome!</p>
<p>Click the video to launch it into a new window and then click the speaker symbol with an 'x' next to it (it's in the top left) to unmute the sound. <br><br>The video is probably what clinched my decision to make one of these. I just started making these guitars. I have so many ideas. My builds are more rudimentary (in that I don't build a traditional guitar neck... my neck's surface is typically the fretboard as well). Mine may not sound as good as yours, but if it's close then I will be proud. I love hidden compartments. Mixing the two ideas is genius!</p>
<p>Btw... I voted and plan on posting this to my Facebook and Twitter later to hopefully drum up some more votes. :-)</p>
<p>Great!!!!</p><p>But i can't dowload to...</p>
<p>Amazing!!!!!!</p><p>but can't download =(((..sent an email to instructables already, asking whats wrong...</p>
I got the cover pic changed by using the new editor. Sorry the Vine doesn't work for you. It would have been the best 6 seconds of your day, no doubt.
<p>Bummer. The Vine video doesn't play on my Safari. Want to hear what this sounds like!</p>
<p>[Note: I unpublished and republished this Instructable so I could change the cover image. Original publish date was Jan 10, 2014]</p>
<p>[It didn't work, btw]</p>
<p>You should be able to change the cover pic without unpublishing it. Some bug at work...</p><p>Very nice instructable!</p>

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