How To Make A Fretted Cigar Box Guitar

A cigar box guitar tutorial was the first project video of this kind I ever filmed. That was 4 years ago. I've always wanted to build a fretted version from the ground up, and for this video I finally got around to it. I hope you enjoy! The goal I set for the design was to use only tools and materials that can be purchased at a local hardware store, other than a cigar box and guitar strings.

Below are the parts and tools used for this project. I occasionally overlook an item in a video this long so let me know if you notice anything missing from the lists. If you try this project be sure to let me know! I would love to see a video of your own cigar box guitars.

Tape Measure
Hand Saw
Drill w/Bits
Sand Paper/Sanding Block
Fine Grain File
Gel Super Glue
Paste Wax (optional)

1” x 3” Maple Plank (must not be warped)
Wood Cigar Box
1 1/2” Inside Corner Brace (x3)
4” Eye Bolts/Nuts (x3)
Door Hinge Pin
Fencing Staples
1 1/2” Finish Nails (x12)
#18 x 5/8” Pins (x3)
Acoustic Guitar Strings

Total build time should be around 8 hours, so the project can fit comfortably into a weekend. The cost of the materials not including any of the tools is about $35. Not bad for a guitar! I suspect I am going to receive quite a few comments saying I should have used wing nuts on the tuners so a wrench wouldn't be required, and that was initially my plan. The bolts are a little too close together on my model for wing nuts to spin without hitting each other, but feel free to try it yourself.

If you would like to build a guitar with a different scale length than 24" you can use this website to calculate fret measurements: ​

The first song I play in this video is 'Prelude to Cello Suite No.1' by Bach. The later songs are improvised blues. I was in drop D tuning.

I also want to give a shout out to one of my favorite song covers played on a frettless Cigar Box Guitar, check this out if you want to see how well a CBG can be played: #NightHawkInLight

Tags : make, fretted, cigar, box, guitar,

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