After months of “gotta get around to doing this,” I finally have a neck for the first cigar box guitar – thanks to some help from my friend Kevin. It’s far fancier than I had anticipated, and far, far fancier than any “production models” will ever be. We started with a fairly hefty hunk of well-seasoned maple, which took trips through the table saw and surface planer until we had a nice, straight piece about 1”x1 3/4”x36”. And from there, after marking the nut position and roughly marking the location for the bridge and the cigar-box-body, we just removed anything that didn’t look like a guitar neck using copious applications of the router and table saw.
A few pics of the build process so far:
This neck is more complicated than most, because the sides of the box are curved, and we wanted to orient the box so that it appears "right side up" when viewed from the "audience" side. The top and bottom of the box are flat, and it would have been much easier to run the neck through that way, but we thought that this would really set the box off and look cool. Also, unlike a lot of CBG's, I decided that I really wanted to contour the back of the neck so the instrument plays a little more like a "regular" guitar. We used a table-mounted router to cut the contour between the headstock and the body -- a feature that will be included on all of my future guitars. We also spent a chunk of time shaping the tailpiece, but I doubt we'll do that in the future.
The next step is marking the fretboard, and I'll be using a fairly simple technique to do it, as explained in this video: