James Nee

Hand Made Cigar Box Guitar
Growing up I was always playing musical instruments. It was common for me to work on homework for a couple hours, and then strum on my guitar, or play some scales on my violin. Missing that dynamic, I thought about buying a cheap guitar, but I came across a MAKE article on cigar box guitars (CBGs), and realized that this would be exactly what I wanted. Small and portable, not so loud as to bother my suitemates, but still fun and interesting to play. Furthermore, it was a project that I could easily build myself! Instead of using an actual cigar box for the body, I decided to make it out of some scrap plywood I found. The neck is white oak, with a nicely polished fingerboard. I turned the strap brass button for the strap, and milled the tailpiece; both were polished to a mirror finish. Originally, the strings were suppose to anchor to the rear plywood piece of the cigar box body, but the tension of the strings when tuned was so great it tore the plywood apart. Heartbroken, I nearly threw away the guitar, but after getting a scrap piece of 6061-T6 aluminum from a friend, I quickly designed a piece that would slide on top and replicate the through holes. I milled it in an hour, and that night was strumming away!