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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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.


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.


Resonator Guitar Project


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:

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.


Resonator Guitar and Custom Duct Tape Case Projects


I apologize for my absence. I went back to school over the summer and am currently working to obtain my teaching certificate, so that I can teach high school English.This has taken much of my time, so I have not been working on projects with detailed instructions—such as the SlipStick and 2×4 slide guitars, which need more time to develop and have roughly 25 steps worth of instructions to create. However, I have been and will continue to work on personal projects that won’t necessarily include detailed instructions, but will include pictures from various steps and general descriptions outlining what I did.

My newest creations are a resonator guitar made from a crappy acoustic that I picked up for under fifteen dollars and a custom guitar case made entirely of cardboard, duct tape, chain, and magnets. Here are some pictures for now. I will offer posts with greater detail soon.

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Pictures of the Completed SlipStick Carry-on Electric Slide Guitar


I was planning to release the SlipStick Carry-on Electric Slide Guitar mid-March, but I decided to change the overall design dramatically and needed some time to get it right. Previously, the action was extremely high, the wiring was sloppy, and the body was unfinished. 

Although this is not currently a fretted instrument, I want it to feel more like the action on an acoustic guitar setup for slide; therefore, I have lowered the strings, while simplifying the nut/bridge installation and reducing the profile on the tuners. 

The homemade pickup is now recessed and the 1/4″ jack mounted in the wood, thereby allowing the wiring to be run through the inside the body. 

The body is stained with a homemade stain comprised of steel wool and vinegar—a mixture that has been oxidizing in a jar for the past three months. I had tested the solution on a sample piece of wood and was happy with the results, so I brushed It on and it turned out pretty cool.

Here are some pictures of the instrument I finished last night. I’m still making adjustments, but  the pickup is clean/noise free and the action feels nice. Soon the instructions will be complete and the project posted, but until then, here you go:



Jumper Wire Test Box


I originally created this test box in preparation for building a portable guitar rig. I had found an old RCA repairman’s vacuum tube box that, if modified, could hold a small tube amplifier, a 10″ Celestion, and a few effects pedals. I’ll likely present this “road rig” as an ongoing, realtime project later this year, but for now I will show you this excellent tool for figuring out complex wiring schemes. 
The box is simple in form; the only criteria I used in choosing the donor box was that it be flat as possible and have a length and width just larger than 8.5×11, so that a sheet of computer paper can be used for a template. To create the template, I used a drawing program from an old software cluster called Apple Works, but you can likely use just about anything.
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I tried to make my box as versatile as possible and therefore included two rows of six 1/4″ jacks, one row of switches and one row of RCA jacks (which require the same sized hole and are interchangeable), one row on the bottom for speaker jacks and speciality items, and one row above with pilot holes drilled for expansion. You need not fill all of the holes with components, as it can get quite expensive; it’s better to get a few items to play around with initially, leaving space for project specific components.   
The pictures are self-explanatory, but the easiest way that I have found to make a box like this is to print the template, tape it to the box as straight as possible using painter’s tape, drill pilot holes with a small bit, remove the template, and then drill the various sized holes for each component. If you like my template (shown below), follow the link to my Google Drive account and download the “jumper wire test box template” file:
The strips of painter’s tape between the components allow you to label each component when wiring for easy removal and reuse; and the jumper wires make experimental wiring a breeze. Simply wire, plug up, test, and rewire if necessary. When you are happy, set up your permanent project box and wire it based upon your tested design.
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Check out our other fun projects in the menu above and don’t hesitate to comment or contact us if you have questions, concerns, or need advise regarding a project.

Homemade Promotional Guitar Pick Project

Homemade Guitar Picks


Over the past few months, I’ve been
trying to get the word out about this site and recently entertained the idea of making homemade, promotional guitar picks to distribute. I believe I have stumbled upon a reasonable process and wanted to share it with you.

The process entails printing 56 pick-sized designs on a sheet of transparency film and then laminating it. After that, four laminating pouches are cut into eight separate sheets and are then laminated to the back of the primary sheet one at a time. Finally, the picks are harvested with a Pick Punch and finished with 600 grit sandpaper.

This project takes a little effort, but the final product is a very excellent, medium-gauge pick. Detailed instructions are in the works—in the meantime, have a look at the attached images.




Sneak Peek — First images of SlipStick Carry-On Electric Slide Guitar prototype


I’m here at Orlando Airport waiting for a flight back to St. Louis. I was at a management seminar over the past few days and had originally designed this guitar for the trip, so that I would have an instrument to play during the down time.

I call it a carry-on electric slide guitar because it is 20 inches in length and designed to fit diagonally across a carry-on sized suitcase. It worked well and though I brought a distortion pedal and mini amp, I really only needed my iPhone, the GarageBand app, an iRig interface, and a pair of headphones.

The bench image is early, as I have since moved the strings closer together and added a 1/4″ jack, but I will likely install three strings on the on the finalized model.

There will be more to come.

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