Build a Box Guitar

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Tune up your woodworking skills with a project that will bring enjoyment for years to come.

Cigar box guitars have been around for a long time; the earliest versions date back to the Civil War era. Two centuries haven’t diminished the appeal of this homespun instrument. Though a box guitar won’t have the same acoustic properties as a standard version, it provides just the same playability, in a compact, rugged package. Building your own version is a great way to get started as a luthier.

I began making box guitars with high school students in my shop class several years ago. Rather than depend on a ready supply of cigar boxes for these guitars, I decided to put my box-making skills to good use. Although the box I’m building here is a basic rectangle with finger-joint corners, other joinery details and box shapes are also possible. The goal remains the same: Have as much fun making your guitar as you’ll have playing it.

Let’s get started!

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