Mom & Pop guitar shops are a treasured rarity in the fast-paced world we find ourselves living in today. Screw Guitar Center! Check out Gear-Vault’s Must-Stop Music City Mom & Pop Guitar Shops in the […]
Whether you’ve been playing the guitar for years or you’re just beginning to pick it up for the first time, pretty much anybody can recognize good acoustic guitar songs and appreciate them for their simple beauty. Unfortunately, not all acoustic guitar songs are all that easy to play. You have to master more than just chord progression and rhythm; the key to great acoustic guitar songs passion and drive […]
Martin D-45 Authentic is made exactly like Martin made the original 91 pre-war D-45 Dreadnoughts. And like the originals, these new D-45 Authentics could well become the next “Holy Grails” of acoustic guitardom […]
Electric guitars, for all of their versatility and technology (never mind popularity), owe their existence and success to just one thing: The acoustic guitar. Somewhere in between those two types of the same instrument lies […]
Buying an acoustic guitar depends more or less entirely on the plan you have for the guitar and also the experience you have using one. For instance, if you are a beginner then you will want an inexpensive guitar that you can try your hand at first without needing to spend too much money. Such a guitar should also be not be too much of a loss if it gets damaged of course, many guitarists starting out tend to break, scratch and end up deforming their guitars. Acoustic Guitar Buyers Guide […]
1. Basic Shape of the Neck at the Bottom. The neck and the body of the guitar should fit together very snugly. Also, you want the neck to come up flush with the body, so you need to cut a notch exactly as long and deep as the lid. Here’s how to do it: Take the neck of the guitar and line it up with the box lid so that the bottom of the neck (where the strings will be coming up from) is an inch or so from where the box lid ends. Make a mark on the neck there and where it protrudes from the other end of the lid. These marks designate where the lid groove needs to be carved so that you can get the neck to line up perfectly with the body. Cut out the area between the marks, as deep as your lid is thick. I used my wood file to do this. It was slightly tedious, but gave me great depth control. After reaching proper depth, I used sandpaper to smooth out the rough spots so the neck would rest evenly on the body.
2. Preparing the Body for the Neck. The body of the guitar needs to have notches so the neck fits snugly, and also needs sound holes drilled in it so you can hear the twangy goodness you create. This next step preps your body. Take the cigar box and measure halfway across each of the left and right side. From that point measure ¾” towards and away from the lid. Even though the wood for the neck is called a 1X2 it’s really a ¾ X 1½. At each of the endpoints you just drew, draw a line ¾” towards the bottom of the box, then connect those two lines. This will guide you for cutting out the notches for the neck to fit into. Be sure to cut just inside your marks and not quite as deep as you think you should. Try to fit the 1X2 in the notch, and when it doesn’t quite fit use the file and sandpaper to widen and deepen the notches.
The idea is to have the tightest fit possible. Remember, you want the lid to close easily over the neck of your guitar with no bowing of the lid (notch not deep enough) and no space between the neck and the lid (notch too deep). Once you have the notches cut to perfection, you are ready to drill out the sound holes in your guitar body. Any number of techniques can be used including the use of a scroll saw. I personally don’t own such things, so I just drill holes in the lid. Don’t make holes where the neck goes, since the neck will end up covering them. I don’t really have anything intelligent to say about how you should prepare the sound holes as I have not experimented with this much. One caution: be careful not to crack the lid of your cigar box while drilling madly.
3. Working on the Neck. The top of the neck will be comprised of a headstock and a bridge. This next part discusses how to prepare those parts. Remove the neck from the body of the guitar. Make a mark around 4 inches from the top of the neck. This will be where the headstock ends and the fretboard begins. Before you shape the headstock, I suggest you drill the 3 holes for the tuning pegs. This is because you need to be sure you don’t cut the headstock too thin (the tuning pegs won’t screw in snugly). Drill 2 holes on the left side of the headstock and one on the right. The two holes on the right should not line up with one another, one should be slightly offset so the strings don’t interfere with one another when you string it. I offset my top hole about 3/8? further in than the bottom hole. The holes are about 2? apart. I drilled the left hole between the top and bottom right hand holes to make sure the headstock strength was not compromised. You can make a template with paper or business cards so you have the holes lined up properly before drilling.
Next, the shaping of the headstock is in order. I like to use the wood file because I can file away little bits of the headstock at a time without going overboard. I use it and the pocketknife to shape the headstock into the shape I want. After that, you can round out the back of the neck for a more comfortable playing experience. Just don’t mess with the neck portion that goes inside of the body of the guitar since nobody will see that part and since you want to retain a snug fit between the neck and body.
4. The Bridge and String Holes. The last manipulation of the neck piece is the drilling of the sting holes at the bottom of the neck and the creation of the bridge groove. Drill 3 very small equidistant holes at the bottom of the neck, approximately ½” from the bottom, this is where you will thread the strings. On the top of the neck, ½” below where the headstock begins, use the wood file to cut a small round groove across the neck. This is where the bolt you use for the bridge will sit. The groove should be deep enough that 2/3 of the bolt is above the plane of the neck and 1/3 is below.
5. Staining and Prettying Up the Neck. Remove all hardware from the neck. Sand it down nice and pretty and get off all the rough spots, nicks etc. Stain and seal it.
6. Attaching the Neck to the Body. Use the wood glue to affix the neck of the guitar to the lid. After it has dried, you might want to use a few finishing nails as well. Be careful that you don’t crack the lid when doing this. Use the finishing nails to close up the lid. I like to drill pilot holes so that everything goes in straight and easy. (Note: If you want to wire this baby for sound, see the note at the end of these instructions. Don’t do this step yet!!)
7. String Her Up! Using acoustic guitar strings is recommended by Shane Speal, the King of the Cigar Box Guitar, and I’m not one to argue with the king. He uses Martin Darco acoustic guitar strings, gauged .045, .035, .026. Place the bridge bolt in place, as well as the eye bolt at the bottom of the guitar and tune it up. Shane suggests a few different types of tuning including: A (A, E, A’); G (G, D, G’); A7 (A, E, G’); G9 (G, D, A’). A note about the strings: The first guitar I made has some grooves cut into the wood by the strings, directly above where the three small holes I drilled in the bottom are. The stress put on the strings is causing them to cut holes up from those I drilled. I’m trying a new design where I use 3 small washers at the base of the holes. I’m hoping this will keep the strings from cutting too deeply into the wood.
Making the Guitar Electric
Note for those interested in making the guitar electric I have found one of the cheapest ways to do this and still get a reasonable sound. You can wire your cigar box guitar for about $3.00. You will need the following: A Radio Shack Piezo Transducer (part number 273-073 or 273-073a) and a ¼” output jack.
The transducer is in the section with the buzzers, not the microphones. Connect the transducer to the jack via two wires.
Simply glue the buzzer to the inside of the cigar box lid and drill out a hole for the jack to mount to. Voila, electric cigar box. After doing this, continue following directions 6 and 7. The transducer has a somewhat bass bias, in that sounds come out somewhat deep sounding. I found that turning the bass tabs on my amp fixes this problem. Also, running it through various pedals nullifies the problem (chorus pedals etc.) […]
For those on a budget or those that are looking for a fantastic bargain here are the best acoustic guitars that are available for under $500. Gone are the days when you needed to break the bank to be able to afford a great guitar as now you can have both great sound and a well built guitar that will last for years at under $500.
Here then are my recommended best acoustic guitars for under $500 in no particular order.
Washburn D10S Acoustic Guitar
The worlds best selling acoustic guitar and the one that acoustic guitar magazine named the best guitar available for under $500. Although I don’t totally agree with that statement it certainly is a fantastic guitar for the money. It is easy to play and sounds fantastic, in fact it sounds better than many acoustic guitars that cost twice the price.
This is one of the best acoustic guitars in the world in fact if you didn’t know it’s price (under $400 ) you would swear it would be a $800 plus guitar. The Seagul S6 sounds almost as good as many top end Martins, Taylors and Gibsons but for a fraction of the price. It may be a little more expensive than the Washburn d10s but for that you will have a guitar that will last you a lifetime.
Epiphone Hummingbird Acoustic Guitar
It’s amazing how close this comes to the Gibson hummingbird when you consider the difference in price but Epiphone have done a fantastic job. It may not be a Gibson but for many it is as close as they will come to owning a hummingbird because of the price. This guitar is fantastic for beginners and even experienced players will find some joy.
Fender DG100 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
The beautiful DG100 has a fantastic feel to it and is well suited to almost any style of play. The strings that come with the guitar are a little harsh but this is easily fixed with new strings. If your looking for great acoustic guitar from one of the biggest names around then this is definitely worth a look for under $300.
Takamine G320 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
If your looking for a bargain then this is it. I’ve played $800 acoustic guitars that don’t have the same quality of sound as the G320 Dreadnought, and yet this cost under $150. This is another example of the quality that Takamine guitars provide. It may not last you a lifetime but for value for money this is amazing.
Yamaha FG730S Solid Top Acoustic Guitar
Whether a complete novice or a veteran player the FG730S offers an amazing playing experience. The feel of it is that of a much more expensive guitar and the sound is also great. It may not be as easy to play as some of the others which is something a complete novice may want to consider but it is a wonderful instrument for the price.
Alvarez RD8 Regent Series Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
I’d never played an Alvarez guitar before trying the RD8 and to be honest I wasn’t expecting much but this is a great guitar for the price ( under $200 ). It has a clear and full sound that not many $200 guitars can match and is a great purchase for any beginner or for someone looking for a solid second guitar.
Ibanez AEL20E Acoustic-Electric Guitar with Onboard Tuner
This is the best looking guitar you will find for under $500 but it deserves to be in this list of the best acoustic guitars for under $500 for more reasons than that. The Ibanez sounds absolutely beautiful whether plugged in or acoustic and is a match for many higher priced guitars available. If you can afford it this has to be considered.
Takamine G Series 340C Acoustic-Electric Guitar
In my opinion I have saved the best until last as I believe the 340C to be the best of the best acoustic guitars for under $500, in fact in terms of sound I doubt you will find a guitar for less than a $1000 that sounds better. Takamine have produced, in my opinion the best value for money guitar in the world.
And there you have my best acoustic guitars for under $500. If you have the complete $500 I’d go with the Takamine 340C but whichever of these guitars you opt for I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. […]
Taylor Guitars has unveiled its new 2011 Fall Limited Edition Guitars, featuring premium tonewoods: Cocobolo, Koa and Indian Rosewood with new inspired inlay designs.
The stars of the Taylor Fall Limiteds are the Koa and Cocobolo. They are exceptional tonewoods that have unique signature acoustics.
They also have sophisticated grainy and earthy wood visuals that compliments the sound, rounding off their over all organic and aesthetic vibe.
The Cocobolo and Koa are usually reserved for the exclusive Presentation Series or via custom builds, but this fall you will get the chance to own one as long as the limited production allows. The looks of these guitars are further enhanced by matching artistic rosette and inlays. These guitars are suitable for those who are looking to expand their tonal palette
The Cocobolo line features Cocobolo back and sides with Sitka spruce on top. Since Cocobolo is one the densest and heaviest rosewood around, it allows the guitar to produce clear bell like high tones and piano like low tones.
The Koa series features an all Koa guitar, or an optional Englemann Spruce top. The Koa is a unique and sophisticated wood and brings out natural midrange. It tends to be more balanced in terms of attack and less boomy, which makes it suitable for stage performance.
The Indian Rosewood line although not as exotic as its brothers, has its own unique look and sound to offer. These guitars have the traditional Sitka spruce top and is designed to be more of a workhorse guitar for hardworking musicians. Its a great deal if you are looking for flexibile and all around acoustic guitar tone with the Taylor brand backing it up.
The other more traditional version of the Indian Rosewood line are the nylon string guitars with Cedar top. If you are into latin or classical music, or you want to give it a try, then maybe this affordable guitar is for you.
The 2011 Fall Limited Edition cast of guitars have something to offer for almost all types of acoutic guitar players. For more information head over to TaylorGuitars.com […]