Cigar Box Guitar

How to Make a Basic Cigar Box Guitar: Cutting the Sound Holes in the Cigar Box

The type of sound holes and their placement in the cigar box is entirely up to you, but I would recommend that you place your holes towards the top of the box because holes at the bottom tend to make the guitars sound too bassy.

People use all sorts of sound hole covers, from sink hole covers to grommets and even mesh. For this cigar box guitar I have chosen to use some brass grommets I purchased from a local hardware store for a couple of pounds. There are 30 grommets in the pack, so you can do a few guitars out of them.

For this guitar I am placing 3 grommets on each side which are slightly offset. First thing to do is mark where you want the sound holes to go, I like to lay out the grommets on top of the box to check that they are in the right place before cutting.

Mark where you want the sound holes to go.

Laying out the grommets to check if they are in the right place.

Drilling the sound holes

The grommets I have are around 15mm, so I grad a 16mm auger drill bit and fit it into my drill. Make sure to use a scrap bit of wood under the cigar box lid before you drill to protect your work surface; I use a wooded chopping board.

Drilling the sound holes; notice the wooden chopping board underneath to protect the work surface.

The sound holes have been drilled.

Fitting the grommets

You can fit the grommets in various ways, I use ordinary wood glue as I had that to hand, but you could use superglue or epoxy. Put a small bead of glue around the lip of the grommet and place onto the box. Once all of the grommets have been placed wipe away any excess glue and place a weight on top to hold them in place while the glue dries.

The grommets have been glued in place.

When I’m drilling the sound holes I also drill any other holes that the guitar needs like a jack socket hole or volume and tone holes.

8mm hole drilled in the bottom of the cigar box for the jack socket.

Next we’ll be finishing the neck.

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