Hi, my name is John McNair. This is a website about Homemade guitars, Cigar box & 3 string guitars, Cookie tin banjos, and all things made by people like yourself who have decided building and playing homemade instruments is so much more rewarding than buying "name" brand guitars.

I try to post newly uncovered history or stories here every so often, Give the photos time to load on your screen, some of the photos are huge, I wanted to display them nicely, so some will take time to load on your computer.

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How to build Homemade Cigar Box Guitars









Cigar box guitars are very easy to play, it's much easier to learn to play and get a true vintage sound on a cigar box guitar than it is on a regular guitar. But, just as easy as they are to play, they are also easy and fun to build.

 I have filmed and editing the most complete How to Build a cigar box guitar DVD available. I will show you how and what to do, everything is covered from start to finish. It doesn't matter if this is your first time building, or your 10th.
If you already make cigar box guitars, after you study my work, you can take yours to the next level. This is not a basic or introductory DVD, but complete A to Z Cigar Box Guitar building DVD. I am going to show you how to build great sounding cigar box guitars. 
If you would like to build guitars that get that old-time vintage 1880's to 1930's sound, I will show you how I make a guitar achieve the tone and how I build that part into the guitar.

   In this DVD you will learn exactly how to make your guitar sound like it stepped out of the past with a vintage an authentic sound of early Americana.  This DVD will save you many hours of trying to learn on your own. This video is recorded in my shop and you will be buildings guitars along with me. This DVD is from A to Z, the complete start to finish with advanced building of cigar box guitars. It is full of many secrets that can only be found on a Red Dog Guitar. I share what to do about the body, fret-boarding and homemade fretting like a pro with basic hand tools. I cover headstocks of all types and so much more than you could ever get from a book or watching random youtube videos....and yes, fretting a guitar neck is really easy, even if it's your first time, I will show you how I do it, and all by hand.

On this DVD I will show you more than one guitar, we will cover both the 3 and 4 string as well as homemade resonator guitars. Here is one of my typical 4 string guitars.


Build BOTH 3 and 4 string guitars 
 Here below is a vintage looking and worn out 3 string guitar with homemade metal parts. It has a "weathered" and antique look. The parts are different than the 1884 style guitar above, but it really is the same guitar as the one above.  I explain how I make (or find parts.) I will explain how to be artistic. It will help you understand what I do, so you can create what inspires you. 
I follow the same recipe no matter what I guitar I make, I only make them look different outside, but I always build them the same inside. If you would like to know what I do this DVD will show you how to build your own just like mine. 



Parts Needed

We will cover all of the parts needed and the many types of homemade ideas possible, Bridges, pickups of all types, hardware etc, everything is covered and explained.  You can use old guitar parts that you can buy for cheap from ebay and flea markets or get creative and make your own parts with stuff from around your house.

 I cover everything on this DVD. This is not a basic or introductory DVD, this is a complete class of Cigar Box Guitar building. The wood, the boxes, different styles of necks and so much more is covered for building a great playing one of a kind guitar with great tone.


Tools and parts Needed

These cigar box guitars are built with just a few basic hand tools that most people have or can borrow from a friend,

  •  a small hand saw 
  • small hand pliers
  • sandpaper and wood glue
  •  a small hand drill 
  •  pocket knife 
  • small hammer / or rubber mallet 
  • small screwdrivers / phillips type
  • a quality ruler (I prefer Metric) Buy a steel ruler, It's the most important tool you'll own and it will last a lifetime!
  • as you can see from the photo below you do not need much at all 

The great thing about these guitars is since you DON'T need power tools, it's kind of liberating if you think about it. If you were to try and build regular guitars, you would need a whole shop of specialized tools, jigs and planes and endless amounts of specialized gear.

This is my work bench, it's nothing fancy, just a small table and a few small hand tools, I don't like clutter and I don't own many tools, that is one reason I love these guitars, they are simple.... this is fun and easy!



Anyone can build a cigar box guitar by hand with only a few common hand tools. That is what's so fun and interesting about them, they are simple by nature, and best part is they sound fantastic.
 Go to you-tube and search "cigar box guitar" and check out many of the other builders, then do a comparison and search and then listen to videos made by me at Red Dog Guitars.com  Listen to the tone and sound and let your ear decide if you would like me to show you how I make mine and show you why mine have that old time trademark vintage sound.
 However, this is not a contest, I am not in competition with anyone. In fact I want others to do well also. I give advice freely to all that ask, the more success people have in this hobby and do well, the better it is for everyone in involved in this hobby.
 I want everyone to build a great guitar. These guitars are easy and fun to build, even if this is your first time. I have many years of experience and I build mine in a way that is unique to me and mine have a sound all their own.


 

 Resonators are also covered on this DVD

Cigar Box Resonator guitars are by far the funnest guitars you will ever play with or without an amplifier.

I will show you how I make mine, it's very easy, it is still a Neck-thru guitar. YES the neck runs right thru the box!

Instead of me making 2 separate DVDs, I just went ahead and compiled both standard cigar box guitar and homemade resonators on the same disc.
Everyone has asked me how I make my resonators look so unique and sound so crisp and vintage, so yes, I explain how I build them.
Building a cigar box resonator guitar is much easier than you think, it's a stick that runs right through the box and is cleverly anchored at the end, it's just a neck thru homemade box guitar!
There are some things I will need to show you, but it's no harder, just a bit more time is needed to construct it. The only difference is a metallic surface is used under the bridge to give them a trademark vintage "twangy" sound and tone.
This type of guitar is covered in this DVD. Here is a sound sample of a homemade resonator guitar.

You can build this exact guitar below, these parts in the photo are made by "Old Lowe" in Rockwall Texas. They have other people who also make them and are for sale in many places online. They are also available in Europe and the United Kingdom. I prefer "Old Lowe" parts, but any of the makers of resonator parts sound great. I also share how to use paint can lids or pot lids etc.
It's just about all the same, homemade twangy fun!
 I share all my secrets, all the mysteries of my work is explained. There is so much more than I could type here about. I want you to succeed because your success will speak well for the whole hobby. 


With this DVD you will have all of the secrets to incorporate in your own guitar making. Once again, it doesn't matter if this is your first time, or if you want to start a guitar making business or club, this disc will give you the ability to make really awesome guitars. 

No matter if this is your first time or 10th, you will build a great sounding guitar.
This resonator guitar is made with no power tools. It's just a stick running right thru a cigar box!  


Make your guitar sound vintage or modern, clean or heavy, ring like a bell or bite like a dog!
It's all possible with the instructions I am going to share with you.

This DVD is made for standard Television players and is 96 minutes (1&1/2hours) of cigar box building. It is also made and recorded on a simple camcorder, BUT it is a TRUE DVD. This DVD was many weeks worth of work in recording and editing. You can watch it on TV, No need to huddle near a computer. It plays on any TELEVISION worldwide, it will also play on most computers and also in all Blu-ray players.
Ok, I guess that's enough talking, I hope I don't come off as full of "hot air" or "I am so this or that." I have no desire to boast or be anything other than who I am, and that is just a regular guy and the way God has made me. I belive everyone on earth has a unique gift and as odd as this sounds, mine is building homemade cigar box guitars.
  I have been working on and playing guitars for almost 30 years, so you can watch what I do and save a lot of time from making costly mistakes in your work. I only want to be factual and state what is offered on the DVD, I have many years of experience, if you want to see how I build cigar box guitars, this DVD lets you peer over my shoulder and see exactly what I do. Thanks again for your time, John

You can order this DVD here by clicking the buy it now button or visit the full website page
click here to view the complete list of cigar box guitar DVDs and CDs





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Questions??? email john@reddogguitars.com