Cigar Box Instruments

A few years ago my grandmother was showing me some pictures she had taken one Saturday at Gruene market days. The photos were of guitars made from a license plate and a cigar box, and as I was doing a lot of Woodworking at the time, she thought I could do something similar.

Well, a few weeks passed and she found a page in a magazine that talked about them, and mentioned them to me again. So I started researching to see what I would need to make one.

I mentioned that I was planning on making one to a friend, and he said he could get me a cigar box, and I said sure. So he got me the cigar box, and thus began my journey into cigar box instruments.

The first one I made is a stick dulcimer (or strumstick), and is tuned DAdd:


After that, I realized that this was a very fun hobby, and I continued to make more.

By the second one I had found a lot more info on making them, this one is tuned GDg:


On the third one I used a piece of longleaf pine as a solid body, and made a pickup for it, I also made the fingerboard fretless (tuned GDg):


The fourth one is another stick dulcimer  (or strumstick), and is tuned DAdd:


The fifth one is a 4 string irish bouzouki, and I messed up on the fret markers (put them in the wrong places), tuned GDAd:


Number six is another stick dulcimer, DAdd:


Number seven is a 8 string mandolin, tuned GDAE:


Eight is a 4 string mandolin, tuned GDAE:


Nine is a CBG (cigar box guitar) that I made for my father as a father’s day gift, tuned GDg:


Ten is another CBG, tuned GDg:


And eleven is a mountain dulcimer  (or lap dulcimer), tuned ddAD:


I took a break from making them for a few years after the first four, but now I’m back in business.

As you can see, it is a hobby that I enjoy, and I plan on making many more.

I might be making some to sell here soon, if I do, I will post the details on my Facebook or my Instagram. I’ve also wanted to make a how-to, but once I start working on one I just faze out and forget, lol. Maybe some day in the future.


Thanks for reading,

Alex T.

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