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Well ok i am confused here   i seen a build video by glen that he has a space between box lid and neck  and then i see a pos on cbg on how to build a cbg and i see this  i have copy and paste it so you can see it     The idea is to have the tightest fit possible. Remember, you want the lid to close easily over the neck of your guitar with no bowing of the lid (notch not deep enough) and no space between the neck and the lid (notch too deep)    well   WTF   please someone tell me why 

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Hi Rick.  There are many ways to build a CBG.  It is a highly-individual folk-craft with as many variations are there are... well... people.  

That said, in my experience it's best to raise the fingerboard and strings a bit off the box top for several reasons:  You won't hit the top with your pick as much.  The strings come off the bridge at a steeper angle and can increase pressure on the bridge, providing richer sound.  It leaves more room for a pickup if you decide to add one.

Since I install FlatCats on most of my guitars (1/4" thick), I try to bring the strings  between 3/8" and 1/2" off the surface of the box.

Here's an article I wrote some time back on two ways to build a CBG, and one preferred method (of course this isn't the only viable method).  Mind you this is all personal taste... with some reason and logic thrown in.   Some folks like to cut their necks and fingerboards from one piece of wood, tilted backward and the strings moving upward toward the bridge (like a violin).  Others like to put those strings right down to barely above the body.   So like all things CBG... the decision is yours.  Here's a link to the article:

Building a Cigar Box Guitar

http://wishbringer.spruz.com/pt/BUILDING-A-BOX-GUITAR/blog.htm   <-- text link

The reason builders have space between the top and the neck is the guitar will be louder acoustic.  It allows the box top to freely vibrate to get volume and tone.

The rules change when you go electric...

Ted makes a very good point there.  When one uses a standard electric pickup, the design of the guitar usually has to be centered around that pickup, since the actual sound will be broadcast from that pickup and not the vibration of the guitar itself.

But there's a third complexity which adds to the mix... and this has to do with both piezo and FlatCat pickups.   With a piezo, while it is electric in nature, it is microphonic, which means it works not from the interruption of a magnetic field (as with most pickups), but from the vibration of the strings, neck, and the guitar itself.  Piezos are very sensitive to vibration, so the acoustic properties Ted mentioned come very much into play.

Interestingly, although the FlatCat is a magnetic-field pickup... it has the unusual property of sitting on the surface of the CBG.  This means that not only do the strings vibrate (which disrupts the magnetic field and creates the sound), but the FlatCat itself vibrates along with the surface of the guitar.   While this is not microphonic... it does add the vibration of the neck and instrument itself to the sound mix (although not nearly as much as a piezo).  Interestingly this actually improves the sound of the pickup, giving it that "Delta Swamp" sound for which flat pickups are so well-known. 

So with a FlatCat we need somewhat of a mix between piezo (acoustic) and mag setup.  The key to that is to have the strings within 1/8 to 1/4 inch above the pickup for maximum sound reproduction. (I prefer 1/4" above.)

There are other pickups on the market which like the FlatCat, are hybrids.  Understanding how each pickup is designed will determine how you set your neck.  My "rule of thumb" for neck placement (which I find applies in almost all situations):  try to have your strings about 1/2" off the surface of the guitar.  That will allow for just about any setup you require.  It allows a steep enough string dive off the bridge to provide a good acoustic sound for a piezo.   It places the strings about 1/4" above a FlatCat, which is ideal.  If you're using a standard mag, it's sunk down into the CBG and will rise above the surface about 1/4" just like a FlatCat, so while the strings will remain at the same level, you'll want to allow for interior needs for the body of the pickup below the surface.

Summary:  general rule-of-thumb:   strings approximately 1/2" above the surface of the box.   Hard to lose with that.  However the second rule of thumb:   measure twice, cut once.  Every guitar differs.  It helps to draw your design and measurements on paper before committing them to wood.  That way anything you miss in the thinking process will stand out when the figures appear on paper.

Thank you Ted  for your feed back  i been away for a long time but my cbg hobby and the club has aways been in my heart i have so much to learn still

Ted Crocker said:

The reason builders have space between the top and the neck is the guitar will be louder acoustic.  It allows the box top to freely vibrate to get volume and tone.

The rules change when you go electric...

Thank you for your feed back yes so true so many ways to build a cbg  and my learning never ends lol  so with that being said i must say i like your design but i must ask in the pic your neck is not notch out right  if it was notch out the lid would not sit above the box thus string height would be ok  sorry i hope you undersand me but i thought that is why the neck gets notch out for getting it lower  

Wayfinder said:

Hi Rick.  There are many ways to build a CBG.  It is a highly-individual folk-craft with as many variations are there are... well... people.  

That said, in my experience it's best to raise the fingerboard and strings a bit off the box top for several reasons:  You won't hit the top with your pick as much.  The strings come off the bridge at a steeper angle and can increase pressure on the bridge, providing richer sound.  It leaves more room for a pickup if you decide to add one.

Since I install FlatCats on most of my guitars (1/4" thick), I try to bring the strings  between 3/8" and 1/2" off the surface of the box.

Here's an article I wrote some time back on two ways to build a CBG, and one preferred method (of course this isn't the only viable method).  Mind you this is all personal taste... with some reason and logic thrown in.   Some folks like to cut their necks and fingerboards from one piece of wood, tilted backward and the strings moving upward toward the bridge (like a violin).  Others like to put those strings right down to barely above the body.   So like all things CBG... the decision is yours.  Here's a link to the article:

Building a Cigar Box Guitar

http://wishbringer.spruz.com/pt/BUILDING-A-BOX-GUITAR/blog.htm   <-- text link


wow thank you i have learn so much thank you for sharing your wisdom and knowage with me  
Wayfinder said:

Ted makes a very good point there.  When one uses a standard electric pickup, the design of the guitar usually has to be centered around that pickup, since the actual sound will be broadcast from that pickup and not the vibration of the guitar itself.

But there's a third complexity which adds to the mix... and this has to do with both piezo and FlatCat pickups.   With a piezo, while it is electric in nature, it is microphonic, which means it works not from the interruption of a magnetic field (as with most pickups), but from the vibration of the strings, neck, and the guitar itself.  Piezos are very sensitive to vibration, so the acoustic properties Ted mentioned come very much into play.

Interestingly, although the FlatCat is a magnetic-field pickup... it has the unusual property of sitting on the surface of the CBG.  This means that not only do the strings vibrate (which disrupts the magnetic field and creates the sound), but the FlatCat itself vibrates along with the surface of the guitar.   While this is not microphonic... it does add the vibration of the neck and instrument itself to the sound mix (although not nearly as much as a piezo).  Interestingly this actually improves the sound of the pickup, giving it that "Delta Swamp" sound for which flat pickups are so well-known. 

So with a FlatCat we need somewhat of a mix between piezo (acoustic) and mag setup.  The key to that is to have the strings within 1/8 to 1/4 inch above the pickup for maximum sound reproduction. (I prefer 1/4" above.)

There are other pickups on the market which like the FlatCat, are hybrids.  Understanding how each pickup is designed will determine how you set your neck.  My "rule of thumb" for neck placement (which I find applies in almost all situations):  try to have your strings about 1/2" off the surface of the guitar.  That will allow for just about any setup you require.  It allows a steep enough string dive off the bridge to provide a good acoustic sound for a piezo.   It places the strings about 1/4" above a FlatCat, which is ideal.  If you're using a standard mag, it's sunk down into the CBG and will rise above the surface about 1/4" just like a FlatCat, so while the strings will remain at the same level, you'll want to allow for interior needs for the body of the pickup below the surface.

Summary:  general rule-of-thumb:   strings approximately 1/2" above the surface of the box.   Hard to lose with that.  However the second rule of thumb:   measure twice, cut once.  Every guitar differs.  It helps to draw your design and measurements on paper before committing them to wood.  That way anything you miss in the thinking process will stand out when the figures appear on paper.

Not sure what you mean by "the neck is not notch out right".  Cigar box lids come in all shapes, forms and sizes.  Some of them fit inside the box, some on top of the box, some of them extend out over the edges.  Some are perpendicular, others angled.  How you attach the stick-through and the neck will depend very much on the design of the box.   It even depends on whether you decide to attach the neck to the lid or the backside of the box.   I've made several CBGs where the back of the box was the front of the CBG and the lid opened from the rear for internal access. 

So how you need to attach the neck will differ from instrument to instrument.  The diagram provided in the article is to demonstrate basic concept and needs to be adapted to whatever box design you choose.  I know one builder who (due to a shortage of cigar boxes in his area) makes his CBGs out of cake pans. Must adapt to whatever's at hand.  : )



rick harris said:

Thank you for your feed back yes so true so many ways to build a cbg  and my learning never ends lol  so with that being said i must say i like your design but i must ask in the pic your neck is not notch out right  if it was notch out the lid would not sit above the box thus string height would be ok  sorry i hope you undersand me but i thought that is why the neck gets notch out for getting it lower  

Wayfinder said:

Hi Rick.  There are many ways to build a CBG.  It is a highly-individual folk-craft with as many variations are there are... well... people.  

That said, in my experience it's best to raise the fingerboard and strings a bit off the box top for several reasons:  You won't hit the top with your pick as much.  The strings come off the bridge at a steeper angle and can increase pressure on the bridge, providing richer sound.  It leaves more room for a pickup if you decide to add one.

Since I install FlatCats on most of my guitars (1/4" thick), I try to bring the strings  between 3/8" and 1/2" off the surface of the box.

Here's an article I wrote some time back on two ways to build a CBG, and one preferred method (of course this isn't the only viable method).  Mind you this is all personal taste... with some reason and logic thrown in.   Some folks like to cut their necks and fingerboards from one piece of wood, tilted backward and the strings moving upward toward the bridge (like a violin).  Others like to put those strings right down to barely above the body.   So like all things CBG... the decision is yours.  Here's a link to the article:

Building a Cigar Box Guitar

http://wishbringer.spruz.com/pt/BUILDING-A-BOX-GUITAR/blog.htm   <-- text link

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