#1
So I decided to build a cigar box guitar, seeing as how it's a pretty neat and popular thing to do nowadays. For my first, however, I decided to take the easy road and simply add the hardware from an electric guitar. I used the stuff from one of those cheapo wal-mart electrics, but am having problems with the pickup. I tested the guitar before I ever took anything apart, so I know the pickup/pots are in good working order. However, the way the wiring was, I had to de-solder a few connections to remove the electronics. I'm no wiring whiz, so I tried to leave everything attatched the way it was and simply install it in my box as a whole unit. The things I undid were I believe a ground of some sort because the stripped end of the wire was simply mashed beneath the metal bridge, and the other two wires coming from the pickup to the volume pot.

ANYWAY, the thing doesn't work now that it's reinstalled. There's a lot of noise, and no guitar sound. I believe my wiring is the culprit, but I'm pretty sure I wired everything back together how it's supposed to be. So any help on the matter would be great. Thanks guys!
#2
first - pics would be helpfull

second - is it one vol one tone?
if it is, is the pickup a humbucker or a single coil?
That’s how we’ll know. This is not a test, oh no
This is cardiac arrest


Of a world too proud to admit our mistakes
We're crashing into the ground as all fall from grace
#3
I've built a few electric cigar box guitars. I think you need to take that stripped wire and attach it to your tailpiece or bridge. It grounds the whole system.
Clean the exposed wire to get a good contact.
Loosen your tailpiece and push the wire through a hole so it touches the metal that touches the strings, retighten the tailpiece down on the wire, and you should be good to go if everything else is working properly. Using shielded wire will also cut down on background hum.
When I build mine, I put a weight in the cigar box to counter ballance the neck. One has a genuine GM brake caliper in it, another uses the lead strip weights used in tire ballancing. This weight helps a little cigar box body feel bigger. A guitar strap will also help keep it in place while playing.
I've posted some of my buildups over at www.keepmusicalive.com. Search for cigar box guitar. Properly setup, they play great. It's all in the neck.
Good luck.
Last edited by Guitbuilder at Nov 24, 2009,
#4
I'll try to get some pics posted soon as possible. And sorry I wasn't so clear, I typed the first query with limited time.

The ground wire I found. It was done as you mentioned guitbuilder, with the exposed wire smashed under the bridge. I soldered this wire to a bridge screw that protruded into the cavity of the box. I figured it was all the same hunk of metal, so it would be okay?

And demonic, it is a one vol, one tone, humbucker. A very simple, basic, (cheapo) layout.

I'm pretty sure it was to do with the ground or the other two pickup wires that I had to undo/resolder. The pickup wires both run to the volume pot, one attatching with a group of others to the body of the pot itself (a ground maybe?) The other goes to one of the tabs on the bottom of the pot.

Thanks again for the help!
#5
well i assume it will work like a normal guitar (correct me if I'm wrong)
so if there is just one pickup check the wiring it should look like this

That’s how we’ll know. This is not a test, oh no
This is cardiac arrest


Of a world too proud to admit our mistakes
We're crashing into the ground as all fall from grace
#6
Thanks very much for the pic, demonic. I will double check to make sure it looks like that and hopefully find my problem. It shouldn't be that difficult, being only three possible places to go wrong...
#7
Fixed it! I relocated the ground wire to directly beneath the bridge, having read a lesser resistance there than the screw. But the real problem was that I had the hot wire of my pickup steeped in a puddle of solder that connected it to the ground, thereby shorting the whole system

So now it plays through an amp! But I've got another problem. The notes are a few frets off... The open strings are tuned correctly, but when fretted, they are 1 or 2 frets off. I have an idea that it may be the distance between the bridge and the nut, but I'm not sure. I know it's a rather short distance, only about 5in. from the bridge to the start of the neck, and most other guitars have a bit more space in between.

Any help would be great. I know I can't salvage this build, since it's already cut and glued and all...but the next one I want to be right!
#8
Quote by Squier2Knight
Fixed it! I relocated the ground wire to directly beneath the bridge, having read a lesser resistance there than the screw. But the real problem was that I had the hot wire of my pickup steeped in a puddle of solder that connected it to the ground, thereby shorting the whole system

So now it plays through an amp! But I've got another problem. The notes are a few frets off... The open strings are tuned correctly, but when fretted, they are 1 or 2 frets off. I have an idea that it may be the distance between the bridge and the nut, but I'm not sure. I know it's a rather short distance, only about 5in. from the bridge to the start of the neck, and most other guitars have a bit more space in between.

Any help would be great. I know I can't salvage this build, since it's already cut and glued and all...but the next one I want to be right!


Yes, if you used a pre-made neck, you have to match the scale length of that guitar to the cigar box guitar or the frets won't work right. The distance from the bridge to the nut is what defines the scale length and thats what defines the fret positions.
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#9
the distance from the the nut to the 12th fret should be the same as the distance from the 12th fret to the bridge
#10
Double the 12th fret distance on the high "E" plus a little "compensation" to find the string's proper intonation and bridge position. Work towards the bass strings setting the intonation on the rest of the strings. Use an electronic tuner to discover this compensation length.
The little extra length is to allow for the string to sound in tune when it stretches down to the fretboard. More compensation is needed as the string get thicker.
That's why bridge saddles get further away from the nut as their strings get thicker.
Don't give up, move the bridge.
Last edited by Guitbuilder at Nov 29, 2009,
#11
Most cigar boxes are too short to work as CBG's,Cigar Box Guitar's. The bridge lands off the box if you inset the neck into a short box.
See if you can find a box like the Arturo Fuente Chateau Fuente King B box that's 13" long x 8 1/2" high x 1 3/8" thick with a great paper binding in gold and black. I've built CBG's out of this box using top loading Fender style Bridge/Tailpiece, and one with the tailpiece on the end and an archtop TOM type moveable bridge. Both with Fender style necks, gold hardware on one. Alan Jackson played one of these when he was in town .
My smallest electric CBG uses a Partagas Primero box that is 11 3/4" long x 7" high x 2 1/2" deep, with a toploadong Fender style Tailpiece/Bridge, Gibson Maestro neck, Seymore Duncan humbucker pickup, with gold hardware. It's a screamer.
I'm putting a Squire pickup/ electronics in a Particulares Box that's 13 1/2" x 9 1/2" x1 3/4" when I get the right neck for the project. My Squire Box Guitar.
Most cigar stores have empty boxes to choose from.
Ebay's a place to hunt for the right sized box too.
Your next one's gonna rock. Properly setup, using a good neck, they play exceptionally well. Enjoy the learning curve. Good luck.