Part V: Casa Blanca Cigar Box ‘Bass/Guitar’

Here’s the latest iteration of my long running cigar box bass/guitar build project, Old Handsome Joe.

I’m encouraged by the nice, twangy banjo-like tone of this thing, 4-string guitar /octave bass /oddly tuned tenor guitar, or whatever it is.

However, like the beta test version and the model One, the action is still too tall to play correctly so it’s back to disassembly and sanding to further depress the neck.

And there is not too much meat left on my homebuilt neck to grind away either in my attempt to tilt the neck down relative to the box body. But that’s what it needs.

To cover up the numerous screw holes from my failed 1st and 2nd bridges and the failed metal sound-hole cover grids, I cut up old foreign money to fit. Then I glued it to artfully cover the ugly holes.

I thought I should pierce the money’s surface with a pin to hopefully let more sound out. It will all eventually be coated with another coat of rubbed tung oil to blend the colors better -old cigar box mahogany and old money greenish.

The thing makes a nice sound and I’m happy my neck intonates and plays so well. And the soft toothpick frets work ok, at least for now.

Highly surprised at the twangy tone but it’s nice and plenty loud. Maybe because I braced my over-trimmed neck with a beam from an amputated aluminum carpenter’s Squangle tool.

Plus, to try to reduce neck bow further I’m using the d, g, b, e strings from a cheap Alice brand Chinese guitar string set. But still tuned e, a, d, g.

Not successful. My 2nd set of about worn out tuning machines are now also nearly shot. Tension so high it hurts my fingers. So, back to the correct e, a, d, g strings tuned e, a, d, g next time. And a 3rd set of worn out tuners needed.

So I’m still in the same spot, strings too high yet bridge and nut cut and placed about right. Therefore more tilting of the neck is called for by judicious sanding.

Thinking of also beefing up the back of the neck with a metal plate like I did on the bottom with that piece of a framing Squangle. I have good chunks of it left over to Dremel butcher and screw into the neck. Because I love to say the word Squangle.

Thanks for staying with me so long compadres. It already sounds and looks good and I’m going to make it playable or my name ain’t Tod Germanica.

Until that time, Eustis, until that time.

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