Cigar Box Ukulele exercise.

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This is about another “leftover” project.
Time by time, while shopping for the cigar boxes I collect the small boxes if they are nice looking and free (my favourite price).
I also had 3 tuning pegs and a 2′ poplar plank which left from the 6′ plank used in P-Bass Cigar Box Project

It’s not enough for another cigar box guitar. Mostly about the small sizes. So I decided to build something small. Ukulele. Cigar Box Ukulele. That’s how I named it.
Firstly I just have put all those three components together. And here’s what I’ve got.
Cigar Box Ukulele
And I still have a very strange feeling that I should of been stopped at this step.
I even know now why. But that’s later.

So I had proceeded making it electric. At the same time I was experimenting with DIY CBG pickup.
As a result, here’s how the instrument face looks like:
Cigar Box Ukulele: Frontend

Looks quite busy. Right?

And the worst of all is the ugly hole for the pickups.
There was a reason behind this issue. Originally I was going to make the pickups from the ferromagnetic buttons that you may find in many of the fridge magnets. But they are weaker and bigger in size. So I’ve ended up with the neodimium magnets from the old broken headsets. Read this for more details…
And that’s what making me think that I’d better left this ukulele just an acoustic thing.

“Amigo” Travel Guitar Goes Electric.

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It’s been almost a year ago when I claimed that my “Amigo” travel guitar goes on the wall.
Amigo Travel Guitar
I was not impressed about its tuning ability and too high action.
I still think it has these problems.
But recently I have read a small post at some blog that the guy uses it as a lap style guitar and it worked for him pretty good.
Moreover, the high action turns from minus to plus in this case.
Well, I tried and it worked for me too!

DIY Pickup in 4 Easy Steps.

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Here is my way to make Cigar Box guitars pickups.

1. Get a sewing bobbing.
You are lucky if you have a sewing machine at home.
That means that you should have plenty of small bobbin around it. Or inside it.
The worst case scenario (which is my case) you may buy them by $1 for a half-dozen in Walmart.


Mandolin in the woods: Miracles still may happen.

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It was my already quite old dream: to have and try a mandolin.

As a common hobby player collector I could not let myself to buy a brand new instrument just to give it a try.

So, I started to dig the CraigList and Kijiji  in a hope that someone may want to get rid of his mandolin which is just collecting the dust in some cabinet.

Especial gain in such hunt is if someone gives it away for free. No luck. While I know it’s possible.

Now. Slowly. My wife and me went from our good friend Allan’s place deep in the woods north of Lachute, Quebec.

It was around 11pm. Dark as it can be in the woods. The  road was running through the wooden hills. Time by time we were riding through he small summer time communities. “Mandolin!”, – my wife suddenly noticed? “What mandolin?” – I asked.

“There’s a mandolin upon the recycling bin on the side  of the drive way we just passed.”,  she responded. I was too curDSC_0022ious just to ignore it. A mandolin? In the woods? At 11pm? Upon the recycle been?  Sounded way too mystical.

So I stopped and backed up. There was a nice looking while way too dusty mandolin upon the bin!

No wonder, I picked it up.

Later, at home the ugly truth came out. Of course, the neck has a crack. But still, it can be glued and fixed.

I believe it’s a cheap Korean brand “Tradition” with serial # M405. Have no idea what is it.

here it is. I had to remove the rusty old string to return the neck to it original position.

Here it is cleaned up and unstrung.

Just another $1 CBG/Diddley Bow pickup. Part I.

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First of all. It’s not about most common well known piezo transducer. And well, I’m not sure that it’s not another “most common” thing.  But I was curious if it is possible to find the source for building a MAGNETIC pickup. Because all CBG fans know about the drawbacks of the DIY piezo pickups.

What is magnetic pickup consist of? Right, its a magnet and a a wire coiled around it. So I had to find: (1) a source for magnets and (2) a source of copper wire or (3) both. And of course the main goal is to get it FREE! It’s everyone’s favourite price, right?

Do you know anyone who works in the call center or some customer support department?  DSC_0086

If yes, then ask them what  they usually do with the broken headphones.

I’m sure that you can easily convince them to give it to you instead of just throwing away.




NEXT STEP: Crash them! But carefully. Inside each of two head sets you will find … Right, there’s a magnet with the copper coil around it.


It is covered with some sort of plastic membrane. I remove it. It serves to produce the actual sound in the earphone. We don’t need it.

Because if we leave it the pickup will act almost the same way as the piezo pickup: the membrane and not only the metal string itself will produce the waves which will be converted to the electrical signal.

Just trust me you will not be happy with the resulting sound.

Tip. When you cut off the membrane fix the coil around the magnet with scotch. Otherwise it will be easily displaced.

The fastest way to test the “earphone” pickup is to put it into didley bow.

We just need to solder the 1/4″  jack to the pickup and fix it on something.

So, you can see the “electric part” ready for installation on the following  image.



Stay tuned to know what came out of this experiment and if it was a success. The Part 2 with the  demo video  will be posted shortly.

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