I ended up not getting any practice in other than the ukulele beach time yesterday because once again a project that I thought wouldn’t take TOO long…well, let’s just say I was up until 4 am and after a few hours of sleep finished it at around 2:30 this afternoon…and, it sucks.


To be fair, they call it a prototype for a reason, and there are things about it that I legitimately like – the pocket and strap on the back, for example, worked out really well.

But everything else is crooked and off center. the seams are a disaster. The fabric (a curtain I got at goodwill for $2.99) is a nice thick fabric, but shreds like you wouldn’t believe, so was kind of a royal pain to work with. The angle between the body and neck is completely wrong, so the fabric pulls, the hand strap on the side I somehow sewed on crooked. The body portion of the bag is really about half an inch to an inch shorter than it ought to be, so the box part of the guitar fits, but the bottom bit has to be squeezed in, effectively.  If I’m going to make a button flap instead of zipper (I can’t believe how expensive zippers are! wtf? There has to be somewhere to find them cheaper…), then the carrying handle should be on the same side as the button flap. As this one is designed, if the button goes, the guitar would fall right out whereas, if you lose a button with the flap facing up, you’re basically hanging onto a tote bag, your chances of the guitar surviving in tact would be much, much better.

I’m thinking making a triangle-shaped or rectangle-shaped case might be a good deal easier, in the long run. It’s really easy to cut the fabric wrong between the neck and body if you’re inexperienced. Lots of things went wrong. But, I suppose at least that I have a hangable dust jacket for the new toy, until I can make another attempt at it, and I probably have enough of the brown fabric left to make another ukulele case, if I feel so inclined. It’s a pain in the ass to work with, but it is a nice, sturdy fabric that suits this sort of project well. Waste not. lol.

I did spend a bit of time yesterday afternoon looking up what these things can do and it’s pretty darn cool! But, from that I also learned really fast that mine had different strings on it than almost every other I’ve seen, and I have no idea why.  It seems the most popular tuning is GDG, which appears, as best I can tell, to be pretty much all treble. (Understand that I am oversimplifying). But, there are a bazillion other tunings – enough tuning options to make your brain turn to mush.  Mine had (I say had, because one of the dead strings on it has already said goodbye to this cruel world. lol) all low end strings. I was able to get it tuned to EAD, which basically makes it a travel bass (and learned that if you go with a four string, you could TOTALLY tune it to EADG and use it as an acoustic travel-sized bass, which is pretty darn cool.), but I couldn’t get it to tune into even the lowest tuning I could find in my googling (EBE).  While I don’t rule out the possibility of making this a low end instrument in the long run – because darn it, there’s something neat about that), for now I’ve just ordered a set of GDG strings, because they were easy to find, and inexpensive. The strings on it are deader than dead. I bought it at a flea market, so really, whatever.  I figure I should fiddle around with it in what’s considered ‘standard’ (a very loose term, since cigar box guitars are apparently a very much a DIY thing – which of course just makes them cooler) because until I can produce something interesting on what’s known to work, I won’t know what I want to do with it in the long run.

In my googling, I discovered this guy(Justin Johnson), who, I dunno, is pretty darn cool, really.

and here’s Jack White playing one (again, just another thing that makes my new toy cooler. lol):

I ordered a slide, too -no fancy ones yet, but I also learned from the internet to avoid the thin ones, so I picked a heavy glass one to start with. There are some really cool looking ones around etsy, but a) they’re more expensive, b) I think I’m going to have a problem with slides, because my fingers are fairly small.  According to Dunlop’s size chart, their size small fits a 6.5 ring size. My ring finger is just shy of a 6, so I think finding one to fit my pinky might be an adventure, and as such I can see I may very well end up using my ring finger to slide with, just as a matter of working with what’s available. I’ll see how the dunlop small fits and work from there. It’s not like I know how to use them at all yet, so I can get fancy later.

Until next time, I need to look up cigar box guitar cases, to think through my next design. 🙂