DIY: Make Your Own Cigar Box Guitar

I’ve always wanted to create my own instrument, you know; build my own guitar, design my own bass, re- build a piano to my specs but I lacked the time, tools and talent for woodworking so I put the idea in the back of my mind in the “one of these days…” department of my brain.

I came across an interesting link last week on how to build your own cigar box guitar. The website is here:

I decided to take my cigar box guitar a level higher. I thought to myself why not a cigar box resonator? (i.e. also known as a dobro) and went out and for a few bucks bought a few things:

1.) cigar box $4.00 (I actually bought 5 of them at $4.00 each but I’m only adding up the cost for THIS resonator)

2.) Stick of Poplar wood 3 feet by 2″ X 1.5″. Cost= $2.16

3.) 3 Gibson guitar tuning heads: $15.00

4.) 3 metal plates $5.23 ( which are actually commercial shower drains, the type you find in a gym. Any Home Depot carries them.)

Total cost: $26.39 (under $30.00)
Total project time: About 4 hours
(not including 24 hour dry time)

Below are the steps that I took in creating the cigar box resonator, some of the pictures didn’t come out very good, but you get the idea of what went into building it:

Get a box for the body and a stick for the neck

Sand down the neck, drill 3 holes for the guitar headstock tuners

Cut a hole in the box for the neck to be placed in.

Place the neck in the body.

Use clamps to grip down, I used some Gorilla glue to seat the neck to the body and let it dry overnight.

Make sure to let it dry overnight to seat the neck in the body

Since this is a RESONATOR, I decided to cut three holes in my cigar box for the resonator plates. The holes aren’t pretty, but that’s okay, because they’ll be covered up by the plates. I also sanded down the cigar box.

I whittled the neck down and re-sanded it so the tuners would fit snugly.

I stained the whole project

I created a bridge and nut out of scrap wood, sanded and stained it.

I put the tuners on, the bridge and nut in place and….

then I put the resonators in and strung it up………Finished!!!! Project complete!

I’m sure that I MIGHT be playing this out every once in a while once I get the structure and progressions and tunings right, it might take me a lil’ while, so don’t expect to see me out slinging this thing at every show until I get it down pat.

Okay, now the BIG question is….how does it sound? Well to find out, I created a sample that you can listen to by clicking below. BUT be forewarned, before clicking on the track…..REMEMBER that this is a very basic THREE (3) STRINGED homemade instrument and my first one at that and that I still don’t really know how to play it and need to fiddle around with it before I learn all the tunings and keys. In other words, listen to it with a very open mind. It’s a very rough test run and recording of my cigar box resonator.

Click or copy & paste in your browser to listen:

15 Albums / Musical Artist That Changed My Life

I decided to list the 15 musical artist and the albums they produced that had a profound effect on me and inspired my musical psyche. These are the albums that brought me to life when I heard them, they royally affected me, kicked me in the wazoo and literally socked me in the gut. I listed them in no particular order. What are the albums that affected you?

1.) Thelonious Monster——Baby, You’re Bummin’ My Life Out In A Supreme Fashion

2.) 17 Pygmies——Jedda by The Sea

3.) The Violent Femmes——Hallowed Ground

4.) Red Hot Chili Peppers——Freaky Styley

5.) U2 / (the ‘trilogy’ of Boy, October & War)

6.) The Cult——Electric

7.) Men at Work——Business as Usual

8.) The Sex Pistols——Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex-Pistols

9.) The Ramones——The Ramones

10.) Johnny Cash—-Live at Folsom Prison

11.) The Repo Man Soundtrack

12.) G.B.H.——City Baby Attacked By Rats

13.) Larry Norman—— Only Visiting This Planet / In Another Land (Two’fer)

14.) Hank Williams——Greatest Hits

15.) Bob Marley & The Wailers——Legend

Here are five (5) photos taken by Atlanta Daniel (aka isobel78). I’m planning to use one of these photos as the CD cover to The Muckrakes upcoming CD, “Grandiphonia”.

At first review of these pictures, I really didn’t care for them and thought about using another photographer or maybe a graphic design of some sort. But after listening to the CD (in production) along with looking at the photos, I think they fit the CD’s mood which is surprisingly dark, sparse, simple, mellow and even haunted at times.

Check out Atlanta’s Music Blog:

A Rock N’ Roll Fail.

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A fan sent me this remix of a song that The Trauma Dolls wrote called “Good Boy”. The Trauma Dolls are an off-shoot of The Bottle Babies in case you didn’t know. You can listen to the original version of the song[here] ( Compare the two.

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Kingdom of Fear by The Muckrakes.

Grandpa gets his rebellion on.

Grandpa gets his rebellion on.

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Here’s a lil’ banjo-stomp tune to kick Tuesday off right. It’s called “Black Rock” by The Muckrakes. It was taped live in Hampton, VA.

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Trailer Park Love Story by The Muckrakes, recorded in Richmond, VA. at The Capital Ale & Music Hall.

Sounds like the stack of leftovers in old margarine tubs, wobbling on the wire shelves of a ColdPoint fridge, tilting forward on the cigarette-burned kitchen linoleum of a 1978 single-wide, propped up on chocks cut from a telephone pole in the Goldrun Village Trailer Park.

I wrote the music to this song in 1996, Idle wrote the lyrics. The song’s titled ” My Dad Smokes Crack”.

It was featured on MTV’s show MADE in the episode where ‘17 year old Selena is MADE into a Surfer Chick’ after she decides she wants to become a competitive surfer.

Here’s a link to the MTV episode.

Waiting for 1980’s skinny piano tie to come back in fashion. Maybe waiting a while.

Waiting for 1980’s skinny piano tie to come back in fashion. Maybe waiting a while.

Expose Your Kids to Wildlife

Poster I’ve had for about 15 years, maybe longer. It’s a lil’ faded and dated, but everyone that sees it gives it a thumbs up. I contacted the photographer several years ago and tried to by the negative, but he wanted $1500.00; too much. Need to get this poster re-done somehow.

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For “Free Music Tuesday”, here’s “Until They’re Gone" by The Muckrakes. Another download to the song can be found at this link: