My First Cigar Box Guitar

I kept a couple of cigar boxes on hand for years (please don’t ask how many) with the idea of making cigar box guitars out of them. I finally got around to it in early 2016. I used an article in Make: as my guide (available here online).

My first cigar box guitar
My first cigar box guitar

While I love to scrounge up cast-offs for my projects, I had to buy some new materials for this one, including guitar tuners, a stick of 1×2 oak, some fret wire, guitar strings, and the hinge I used for the tailpiece. Other parts, like the twig I used for a bridge, the nut (a bolt – ha ha!), and the box itself. I added a homemade piezoelectric pickup made from a buzzer element, which worked fantastically.

I had some trouble with the action being high, which is good for playing slide guitar, of course, but less good when you’re fingering. For the next iteration, I might experiment with angling the neck relative to the soundboard, kind of like a violin. But all in all, it sounds pretty good, if I do say so myself.

I donated this one to a charity auction, so I don’t have it anymore. But I do know its owner. Before I let it go, though, I had a chance to record a snippet of music. Love that edgy cigar box sound!


A Wind Chime made from a Floor Lamp

chimeSo the lamp died after being tripped over one too many times. I tried to fix the cracked bulb housing, but it was one of those things you can’t buy unless you buy a whole new lamp to go with it. As I unscrewed the pieces, they started clanking against one another very musically. My lovely wife suggested that they could be made into a wind chime, and that was all the prodding I needed.

I found some good info online, including this one. I also copied a smaller chime we had at the house. I found the pendulum at Goodwill and cut some hexagons out of scrapwood from the garage.


At this point I’m still playing around with the position of the pendulum, which is why you might notice a trailing end of string. This was the first really breezy day we’ve had in a while, and it made some music, but not a whole lot. I’m thinking of making the string longer to see if that will make the chime more excitable.

lampHere’s a picture of a lamp just like the one I used, except it’s a different color. I think both of these originally came from Target, though the one I just cannabalized was yet another Goodwill find.