How To Build your First Cigar Box Guitar

Master Luthier, Ben Crowe, at Crimson Guitars loves a challenge.  When Ben’s Daniel Tarrant first visited the studio, he brought with him several of his own instruments – Cigar Box Guitars.  Ben decided, on the spur of the moment, to try his hand at making one himself.  Unfortunately, he made this decision late in the day and had only three and a half hours before he had to be home with his wife and kids.

So with this short video series, we’ll see how Ben copes with making this instrument and if he keeps to the deadline.

Video 1 – Here Ben reveals that he is actually working to a strict deadline and doesn’t really know where to start.

Video 2 – The time at the start of this video is 13.59, and Ben glues the fretboard in place with quick drying polyurethane glue. Once the neck is clamped and curing, Ben then cuts ‘f’ holes into the lid of the cigar box. Time is ticking on…

Video 3 – This video begins at 2:25pm with Ben marking out where he needs to cut into the cigar box for the placement of the neck.  The glue holding the fretboard to the neck piece is almost cured.  Fingers crossed Ben makes it home in time for dinner.

Video 4 – The cigar box is getting even more holes cut into it.  Ben’s favorite saw rasp comes into play and the neck is finally de-clamped and trimmed on the bandsaw.  Things are progressing well, but will Ben make it in time…?

Video 5 – Ben continues to work on the neck of the cigar box guitar by adding side dots and prepares to install frets.

Video 6 – In this video Ben installs the frets quickly, but does not cut any corners.  Do Ben’s years of guitar building experience benefit this build?  Or is he going to run out of time because of all the additional work he is giving himself?

Video 7 – In this episode Ben is finally fitting the neck piece into the cigar box body.  Will it fit into the holes Ben cut previously?

Video 8 – It is after 4pm, will Ben finish in time???  In this episode he is working out where to put the tuners and should he have straight string pull???

Video 9 – It’s down to the wire… nearly 5pm.  Is Ben going to make it home in time???  Ben is shaping the neck using a variety of tools, from a spokeshave to a saw rasp; a traditional file to a random orbital sander.

Video 10 – It’s the penultimate episode.  Nearly there.  In this video Ben applies Crimson’s Guitar Finishing oil and installs the strings.  Just how much trouble is he going to be in with his wife…..?

Video 11 – The final video in the Cigar Box Guitar build series.  He began filming at 1:30pm and finally finished this cigar box guitar at…

Video 12 – This really is the last video in the Cigar Box Guitar build series.  Here Ben demonstrates the finished guitar, after his kids got hold of it over Christmas.