2×4 Lap Steel Guitar Build

Check out this excellent steel guitar build that was released by Shane Speal earlier today. It’s a great introduction to instrument building and a lot of fun to play.

http://www.cigarboxnation.com/m/discussion?id=2592684%3ATopic%3A2444949

Thanks,

uW5Z0b

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Baseball Bat “Cigar Box Style” Guitar

I just finished my baseball bat guitar prototype over the weekend. I learned a lot from making this one—the next one will be way cooler, with less broken screws and filled holes. Regardless, I’m really happy with the results.

It’s a three-string electric guitar, that holds its tune and is super durable. I left this one fretless, but I may install frets cut from brass rod on the next one.

Just pictures for now; I’ll follow up with some build pictures and perhaps some video down the line.

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Thanks,

uW5Z0b

Duct Tape Case for Resonator Guitar

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After completing the resonator guitar project, I set out to find a case for it. It was difficult to find a reasonably priced guitar case, so I thought of making something distinctive out of wood. Then, I considered how duct tape could be used as a primary building material—this case is the product of that notion.

It took seven rolls of duct tape, one large 2-ply box, and a length of chain.

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I began by tracing the guitar for a custom fit. I cut a thin sponge down to a 3/4” strip, and taped it to a marker to create about a 1” outline around the body of the guitar. Then I measured about an 1” on either side of the tuning machines and finished the neck portion of the case with a ruler and a compass to round off the top.

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At this point, the box was folded in half creating an 8-ply thickness. I cut along the guide line with a mini hacksaw, which produced a pretty clean cut. Then, I filed the perimeter of the cutout, following up with some 150 grit sandpaper. I checked the cutout against the guitar and it appeared to fit well.

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I split the cutout in half and duct taped two sets of four plies together to create a top and bottom for the case. I placed the guitar in between the cutouts and measured the thickness needed for a secure, yet comfortable fit. Five inches appeared to be reasonable, so I drew a 5” strip on the remaining cardboard from the cutout and cut it with a circular saw. I cut two additional bundles of strips.

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Using duct tape, I formed the outside shape for the side of the case. I added a second and then a third layer to the inside of the case—at this point it felt pretty solid. I spliced the ends together and then checked the fit of the guitar, along with confirming that the sides were deep enough by checking the lid. I reinforced the bottom and sides with gray duct tape and then began applying black duct tape to the bottom. I decided to create diagonal stripes with the tape and covered the bottom, pulling it tight as I secured the ends up the sides of the case.

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I applied tape to the sides of the case. Starting at the bottom of the case, I placed strips of black duct tape around the sides, progressing upward until there was about a 2” gap at the top. (I found that using duct tape meant that you had to plan out how the layers would be applied, so that each layer covered the messiness of the last layer. It would never be a perfectly flat finish, but the bumpiness would at least be covered.)

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I prepared the lid and sides of the case for the magnets that would hold the lid on the case. I cut small holes in ten places around the rim on the sides of the case and then cut ten holes in similar locations on the bottom of the lid. I installed the magnets such that the sides would attract the lid, and then secured the magnets with duct tape and tested the lid.

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The spiral design is something I created a long time ago for a band that never came to fruition. I placed tight layers of red duct tape in steps (much like the back of the case) until I reached a desired length and width. Then, I sketched out the circular graph on the back of the tape with a ruler and compass. I drew the spiral backwards and then cut it out with an X-acto knife. It attached to the lid easily and turned out surprisingly well.

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I was concerned about what to use for a handle for most of the project, but I couldn’t be happier with the chain handle that I ultimately decided on. It installed easily. Two cuts in the side of the case and some scrap brass bar to hold the ends securely in place. A couple pieces of gray duct tape finished the ends nicely.

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As for the remainder of the case, I added red duct tape to the bottom interior of the case in the same diagonal patterns as the outside. Next, I added vertical overlapping red duct tape around the interior sides, starting at the bottom side interior, up and over the rim, and onto the black tape around the exterior—the red duct tape was then cut flush with the black tape and the excess removed.

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To create the red stripe around the outside of the rim, I continued running the black duct tape in overlapping strips up the side of the case until there was a thin strip of red around the rim. I applied red duct tape on the bottom side of the lid—I cut the strips of tape long and cut it to shape so that there was a thin strip of black around the underside of the lid. Lastly, I used scrap cardboard and red duct tape to create a neck rest and storage compartment.

Building this case was a lot more work than I had anticipated, and ultimately cost slightly more that the used cases that I passed on because of price, but it was an awesome project just the same.

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Resonator Guitar Project

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I had been considering this idea for over a year and knew this acoustic would be an excellent candidate when I picked it up at a local antique mall for under fifteen dollars. I found the stove drip pan and two small drains early on and fabbed the stainless steel cat bowl with a pair of tin snips and a grinding wheel a couple of months before starting.

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I measured the drip pan and then found the center of the guitar. Using painter’s tape. I marked the vertical center and then placed the drip pan on the guitar to find the correct position. I marked the horizontal cross point with painters tape.

I placed a large adjustable compass on the center mark created by the tape and traced a circle. Then, I peeled the tape off and completed the circle. To cut the large hole, I drilled a couple of starter holes and then carefully cut along the reference line with a mini hacksaw.

I had two small 1-1/4” drains that if felt would look cool as sound hole inserts and their 1-1/4” depth would keep the switches beneath the guitar’s surface. I located the bracing beneath and found a happy medium between the pick guard, bracing, and outer edge of the guitar. A 1-1/4” spade bit made a quick hole on each side.

I took all of the finish off—head, body, neck, fretboard; everything—with 120 grit sandpaper and followed up with 600 grit sandpaper to smooth the wood. I also polished the brass frets, which turned out to be a nice feature. I had planned to apply a vinegar and steel wool mixture that creates a rustic finish, but decided instead to leave it natural.

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I filed small notches for six strings in a 3-1/2” hinge, lined it up with the fret board, and then installed it. I had found a brass friction lid support that would make an awesome tremolo arm—I cut the extra material away and fabbed the nut plate. Additionally, I added a 1/4 mono endpin for the strap and a 1/4” stereo jack. By that time, my new tuners had arrived, so I installed them, screwed the drip pan down, notched the cat bowl with a round file, cut a brass bolt to length for the bridge, and strung it up. It tuned well and strobing was as easy as moving the cat bowl.

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I began working on the pickup and had found a nickel plated drain cover that seemed like it would serve both as a cool looking cover for the sound hole and a stable acoustic pickup adapter. I bought a mounting bracket that usually holds lights to the ceiling in a junction box and cut off the cross piece. I found brass screws that would thread into the mounting bracket, added some springs to each side, cut a rectangular hole for the pickup and installed it on the guitar.

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The pickup is made of two power adapters, four picture hangers, eighteen neodymium magnets, and electrical tape. If you would like more information on how to make one please follow the link below:

https://junkshopaudio.com/9-volt-power-adapter-guitar-pickup/

These make excellent replacement pickups for electric guitars, are a practical way to amplify an acoustic guitar, and half of a pickup is perfect for a three string cigar box guitar. If each side is wired independently, as was the case with the electric and acoustic guitars pictured, a stereo effect can be achieved, which sounds pretty cool.

I’ve been happy with it’s sound and playability thus far and the semi-high action makes it excellent for playing slide.

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