Intro: How to Make a Shoebox Guitar
Have you ever wanted to make a musical instrument? Are you interested in guitars? Well, we have a DIY project for you! We had a problem that there wasn’t enough music in the world, so we built a a guitar g a shoebox, a branch, metal wire, duct tape, and hot glue. We built it because we agreed that a musical instrument would be a creative idea to make out of household products.
Step 1: Gathering Materials
We first decided on what we should build our guitar with. Here is a general idea of what you should use, however variation and availability are promoted. A small, shoe box like container consisting of cardboard or wood Around 4-5m of small, bendable metal wire/ fishing line A long, flat, study surface for the strings to be able to be strung onto Glue or Duct Tape to hold it all together Nails or Metal Studs (Optional) A hard material for frets, and a tunable function. (Tuning and frets will go into detail with design ideas and theoretical blueprints.)
Step 2: Making Your Base
First, Make sure the shoebox is enclosed, as in the cover is on, and tightly secured. If desired, a small hole can be cut into the top, allowing for a more full sound. The most important thing to notice at this stage is if the material you are using is stable enough to support a average amount of pressure. Lastly, poke holes somewhere near the middle of the box, or below the hole that you have cut. This will be the area where you will insert the strings into the base.
Step 3: Making a Neck
The Neck will be where your strings will be tightened, and if desired, will be able to press the strings down into the frets for interchangeable notes. For the highway, make sure a sturdy material is being used, such as a wooden plank or moulded plastic. Anything that can hold an above average amount of pressure should work. Make sure it is comfortable to hold as well. Once you find your candidate, trace and cut a hole into the base, on the top or bottom, which ever is facing farther away from the holes you made earlier. Make sure the neck is not placed in the middle of the side, but on the edge of the side you have punctured the holes on. (Insert Diagram Here) Make sure your highway fits into the hole and securely fasten it with tape and/or glue. If frets are desired, use some hot glue to make lines about 10cm apart spanning the entire Neck. When this dries, these will become your frets.
Step 4: Making a Headstock
Now, we will be making a Headstock, the part on top of the neck where strings are inserted and are possibly able to be tuned. Anything will do, from a wood square to a pvc pipe, just make sure the material is sturdy, and able to be punctured. Don’t go making it out of obsidian! Anyways, what you want to do is put holes just large enough to fit your nails or studs all the way through, so there is a gap between the top of the nail or stud and the material, and a small bit sticking out of the bottom. Make sure you are able to wrap your string around the nail/stud to the point where the string is tight. Now, attach the headstock to the neck.
Step 5: Stringing
So you should now have a guitar-like instrument without any strings. You probably need strings for it to be a guitar, right? To start, make sure you have enough holes in the base for the amount of strings you want. The more strings you have, the more notes you can have at once. I’d say 6 would be the maximum you want, as that is how many strings are on an actual guitar. Now, insert the bottom of your ~3m string/wire into one of the holes. Make sure only a little bit is going into the base. Now take your hot glue, and glue the string into the hole. Once that dries, stretch your string all the way to your headstock. Make sure there is around 10cm of string past your nail/stud, and cut. Now wrap your string tightly around your nail/stud and glue it if you don’t think it will stay. Repeat until all strings are strung.
Step 6: Testing/Tuning
Now, to keep things simple, I will only go over a couple base ideas for how to tune the guitar. The model I made does not have any tuning capabilities due to time constraints, but an easy way to tune would be to use the bottom part of your nails/studs coming out of the bottom of you Headstock. You should be able to change the tightness of each string that way. Other than that, I encourage you to maybe add your own method of tuning!
Step 7: Ending
You should now have at least a halfway functioning guitar by now. I congratulate you on your new found musical instrument. Now go shred that thing!