Sunday, January 26, 2014

Pickin' And Grinnin'

I was asked, by a friend, if I would build another cigar box guitar for him. He wants to give it to a business associate of his. I decided, this time, I would attempt a resonator style. They incorporate a metal cone that the bridge rests on. The strings cause the cone to vibrate and it gives it a nice, different sound, as well as a degree of amplification. Again, I grabbed a piece of maple that I salvaged from some old church pews. I laminated a billet for the neck with it and some thin strips of walnut. The fingerboard is also walnut. I bought some fret wire from a luthier supply. The fret markers are brass on the face of the neck and on the edge. I transferred the fret positions from a guitar that I have. It has a 25 1/2 inch scale. That is, it is 25 1/2 inches from the nut, which is the piece that the strings rest on at the end of the neck, to the bridge. The scale length is very important, otherwise, you'll never tune it properly. I cut the grooves for the frets with a Japanese pull saw and a homemade miter box. The tuners were also ordered from the same people. I ordered a resonator and cover from a vendor in Texas. It looks real nice. I had selected a real pretty box that I got from the local cigar shop, but when the cone arrived, it proved to be too small. I had set my mind on the box being fancy, rather than the typical, paper covered box. I was not able to find anything at the store that was large enough and pretty enough to suit my plans. I went to the lumber yard and bought a piece of African Mahogany and set about to build a box. So, this will not be a cigar box guitar, but a pseudo CBG. I hope the purists aren't too upset. The box turned out well. I finger jointed the corners and inset the top and bottom panels in. The bottom was made up from alternating, quarter inch, maple and walnut strips. I like the way it looks. I cut two F holes in the top with the scroll saw. It was the first time that I've had a chance to use it. I sprayed 3 or 4 coats of lacquer on it, sanding and steel wooling between coats. It has a nice satin sheen. The volume knob, the neck strap knob thingys (don't know what they're called) and the bridge biscuit were turned from some maple burl that I have, laying around. The tailpiece for the strings was cut from a piece of brass stock. Since I have no idea how to tune or play a guitar, I took it to couple of guys from my church. After some tuning, they picked out a few tunes on it and announced that it played well. We were unable to connect it to an amp because either one had a cord with them so I'll have to wait until this Sunday to check it out. In the meantime, I think I'll make a nice box to put it in. The old bluesmen may have carried theirs in a gunny sack, but I think it deserves better