My own cigar box guitar
A few years ago I met with Andrea Maietta and Paolo Aliverti, founders of Frankenstein Garage in Milan. Frankenstein Garage is a fab lab that came to life in May 2011 in front of a coffee machine – one of the most dangerous places in the world because it hosts conversations that can lead you to the most strange and unimaginable places and situations. Which is exactly what happened to Andrea and Paolo. Of course we discussed Make Magazines from Maker Media and in particular an issue in which Andrea found the famous cigar box guitar he built. I was in awe: this thing works! Andrea was kind enough to make me a copy, which is now proudly sitting in my lounge waiting for me to write this post and learn to play.
What do you need to build your cigar box guitar?
- One hardwood, knotless, long and narrow piece of wood, 102 cm x 4 cm x 2 cm for the neck (oak or maple works well)
- 2 small pieces of wood to be used as rest for the strings – is it a bridge?
- Strong cardboard cigar box, 4 cm, x 2 cm x 23 cm. Yes, the box has to be empty and we don’t care about the brand.
- Nuts and bolts of different sizes to be used as tuning pegs
- Elastic bands
- Different size plastic strings
- A drill
- Sanding paper
And now for building the guitar – it all looks very easy to me(!) –
- drill 6 holes on the baton for the strings (3 at each end)
- drill 3 larger holes for the bolts used as tuning pegs
- stick one small bridge at approximately 10 cm from the end of the neck
- place the other bridge at the other end
- stick the box on the back of the baton
- lastly add the strings and make sure they are tight enough to make a lovely sound when played.
I should add that Andrea and Paolo have now written a book – Il manuale del maker. La guida pratica e completa per diventare protagonisti della nuova rivoluzione industriale (The maker’s handbook – The practical and comprehensive guide to become protagonists of the new industrial revolution). Unfortunately it is in Italian so hopefully somebody somewhere will translate it. Watch this space!