A large number of the greatest musicians to ever shape the history of sound first learned to play on cheap, dirty, and often times even homemade instruments. There is a very unique atmosphere that comes about when creating music with something made by your own hands—out of what was no more than garbage at the start. There is a sense of accomplishment that inspires the maker, and gives motivation to learn the limits of their creation. Those who have the desire to build an instrument are often those who also have the capacity for great musical talent that may lie hidden even unto themselves.
Cigar box guitars have been around for nearly as long as their traditional counterparts. They have been crafted both by those who could afford nothing else, and by many who simply possessed a do it yourself spirit. They have now become a growing trend in many forms of music for their unique tone and style.
In the following video, I show how to make a very simple electric model that uses only the first four of the six strings usually found on a guitar:
This guitar uses an open tuning, so it is easily played with a slide. Starting from the thickest top string the tuning is: D A D F#. Any number of strings may be used, the standard for a cigar box guitar being three.
Parts used for this project:
- Tuning Heads - $18
- Cigar Box (wood, not cardboard) - $2
- 1/4" Jack - $2
- Bolts (bridge/nut) - $1
- Neck - Free
- Microphone (speaker harvested from any outdated electronics) - Free
- Finishing Nails - Nearly Free
- Guitar Strings - Cheapest you can find
Enjoy your new instrument. Similar building techniques have been applied to make guitars out of everything from mailboxes to toilet seats. It's your project, create as you please.