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How to Make a Cigar Box Guitar

Updated on February 3, 2016

Cigar Box Guitars - Simple and Easy to Make

Cigar box guitars are becoming more popular as enthusiasts are proudly sharing their creations and popular musicians such as Tom Waits, are playing them. These simple guitars are made from the wooden boxes that cigars are packed in. They're easy to put together and very inexpensive to make.

There's evidence that cigar box guitars have been around since the 1840's. Early cigar box guitars had one or two strings, while our modern day ones usually have three. During the depression when money was scarce, cigar box guitars became a popular musical instrument because you could find a cigar box, a broom handle and a couple of pieces of wire from an old screen, almost anywhere. We are seeing a revival of cigar box guitars in the movies and with popular bands picking up the instrument. So let's get all our tools together and make one. Want to see some old cigar box labels? Visit Cigar Box Labels.

Make Your Own Cigar Box Guitar - Tools You'll Need

Many cigar box guitars are fretless guitars, however they can be made with frets or without frets depending on what you prefer.

  1. wooden cigar box
  2. 3 - tuning pegs
  3. 3' long, 1 x 2 (popular)
  4. 12 - 1" finishing nails
  5. hack saw
  6. pocket knife
  7. drill
  8. file
  9. 1/4" x 2 1/4" eye bolt
  10. 8/32 X 1 1/2" bolt
  11. sandpaper
  12. wood glue
  13. stain
  14. spongebrush
  15. wood saw

How to Make a Cigar Box Guitar Instructions

Cigar Box Guitar Parts

Cigar Box Guitar Kit - Everything You Need to Make a Box Guitar

Basic Cigar Box Guitar Kit with Detailed Assembly Instructions
Basic Cigar Box Guitar Kit with Detailed Assembly Instructions

If you are looking to build a box guitar this kit contains everything you will need, except for the neck (which isn't included to keep shipping costs down). A 1" x 2" x 34" hardwood neck can be found at any hardware store like Lowes or Home Depot. The box guitar kit includes a cigar box, 3 acoustic strings, open gear tuners with screws and bushings, 8 brass corner screws, 4 brass grommets for sound hole inserts, threaded rod lengths for the nut and bridge, brass tailpiece hinge, plus a 26 page instruction booklet. Build your very own CBG today!


Cigarbox Amp - All Wood Cigarbox Amp

Cigar Box Amplifier: "Gold Hurricane" Oliva G Series - Hand-made in the USA!
Cigar Box Amplifier: "Gold Hurricane" Oliva G Series - Hand-made in the USA!

If you are looking for an affordable cigarbox amp for your cigarbox guitar then this amp by C.B. Gitty will be just what you need. A 2.5W Artec SDA-T amp board powered by a 9V battery. Natural wood finish and gold box corners add to the beauty of this cigarbox amp.


Hear a Cigar Box Guitar Being Played

Do you have a cigar box guitar? - Or just leave a note to say you stopped by

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Early cigar box guitars had one or two strings, while our modern day ones usually have three.

    • thewarriorpoet profile image


      4 years ago

      I don't have one, but I want one now!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Yes I do! Made a "resonator" for it with a small metal chocolate box.

    • CruiseReady profile image


      6 years ago from East Central Florida

      These cigar box guitars are amazing! I had no idea . . .

    • Vincent Fleming profile image

      Vincent Fleming 

      6 years ago from Indiana

      I have plenty of boxes since I smoke cigars. I have always wanted to try to make one of these.

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 

      6 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      No I don't have a cigar box guitar, but what a super fun idea!

    • PBJasen profile image


      6 years ago

      Friend of mine is fanatic when it comes to cigarette box guitars.

      According to him, this is not just an idea it's a movement.

      Personally don't have it, but tried to play on some. Different than regular guitars ,but strangely charming :)

    • WatchMovie profile image


      6 years ago

      this is a cool idea, thanks for sharing this

    • MillBucks profile image


      6 years ago

      What a great idea, I never knew this was possible! Thanks for the great project idea.

    • karelito profile image


      6 years ago

      Cool idea, gotta make one =o

    • Board-Game-Brooke profile image

      C A Chancellor 

      6 years ago from US/TN

      What a neat idea! And a great way to repurpose used items.

    • WildFacesGallery profile image


      6 years ago from Iowa

      Love this idea. Blessed.

    • lilymom24 profile image


      6 years ago

      What a creative idea and I love the cigar box posters.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      itersting and funny! great!

    • APackageAtTheDoor profile image


      6 years ago

      I play the guitar but had never heard of cigar box guitars. Interesting lens. Thanks for sharing!


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