Cigar Box Guitar in One Hour, the Uncle Crow Way!

Hey all you instructables fanatics!

Today we're going to have a step-by-step cigar box guitar building class!

The total time to build is about one hour, not including the introduction video, or video 8, where we're just playing the guitar.

Build a three string, slide cigar box guitar with the following items:


wooden cigar box - $3
1x2  - $1
three eye bolts, 3/16" x 3" , 24 thread - $1.50
six #8 washers - $.98
three wing nuts, 3/16", 24 thread - $.98
three 6/32 machine screws with matching nuts - $.98
machine bolt, 1/4" x 2" long - $.98
guitar strings, one pack - $5
three wood screws - 1 1/2" long - $.98

these items are really much cheaper than i list here. most of them are bought in bulk, so for just a little more money you could build a LOT of guitars. the prices listed above are the average hardware store price, if you were to buy the item in small numbers in individual bags from the pegs in the fasteners section.

1/2" paddle bit for three sound holes (you could use 1/4 bit with six holes)
regular smaller drill bits
phillips bit
hand saw (box saw is best)
sand paper

additional items
guitar picks can be bought at most box stores, like walmart, target, or kmart
slides can be bought at home depot. go to the cabinet section, and ask for a 2" long 3/4" steel spacer. they cost $1.50, and are the best slides i've ever used!!

Teacher Notes

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Step 1: 1 - Workspace, Parts, and Tools

Step 2: 2 - Cutting the Neck and Body Block

Step 3: 3 - Neck and Body Block Prep, Tuner Installation

Step 4: 4 - Mounting the Neck and Drilling Sound Holes

Step 5: 5 - Fret Calculation and Fret Markers

Step 6: 6 - Installing Strings and Using the Eye Bolt Tuners

Step 7: 7 - Tuning It Up, Playing It, and Adjusting the Bridge

Step 8: 8 - It's Done! Let's Play It! Cover Song: Collective Soul - "Shine"

Step 9: Play More Songs Than You Could Imagine!

feel free to check out my youtube channel for more inspiration, to see all kinds of music that can be played on it, and more!



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    9 Discussions


    5 years ago on Step 6

    Great videos. One thing I might suggest though, and it would probably add to the one hour it takes to make the guitar, but you would get a fuller / louder sound if you had the 1 x 2 go inside the cigar box and the bridge was directly touching the cigar box. It requires cutting the cigar box and the 1 x 2.


    6 years ago on Step 9

    cool build and lots o soul bro


    8 years ago on Introduction

    wonderful build - you made it possible to be the easiest thing to make with some patience. Awesome!!!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I love the build. I love your pants in the first vid of you playing more


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Cool set of vidios!!!! I watches all learned much. I do wish the sound was a little louder, I am just a deaf old grand dad


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you very much for this instructable. Great clear instructions, especially the simple explanation of fret calculation. Everything I see that's solid and hollow looks like a potential instrument now!

    5* from me.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    hi, will be starting today (I know it'll take longer than an hour for me) on this project. I've watched all the videos, and your explanations are crystal clear. (sometimes the video is a little dark!) I shouldn't have much trouble. You alluded to an electrification instructable; is it available yet? Thanks! Robert


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Does the tightness of the wing nut or the tension of the string hold the tuner from turning?  and do you worry at all about the wear on the head from the threads?

    1 reply

    sorry for the delayed response! it's a "compression" styled tuner, which relies on the pressure of the wing nut squeezing the wood between the washers to hold tension. i've build lots of guitars with this setup, and i have success every time. occasionally i will get a poorly made bolt or wing nut that does not thread well, or the threads feel really loose. but it's rare. i just throw it away and use another one!