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1-Week Cigar Box Guitar Building Course

Updated: Jun 24

Build your own Cigar Box Guitar!

Thank you for your interest in our one-week Cigar Box Guitar Building Course. If you’ve ever dreamt about building your very own cigar box guitar from the ground-up, this one-week, on-site course will give you an amazing one-on-one, hands-on experience and have you completing the course with a cigar box guitar that you’ve completed by hand! *All materials and hardware are included.

This course is a perfect introduction to guitar building for either the hobbyist or aspiring luthier.

For course details and answers to common questions, continue reading...

Guitar Making School Canada, Michael Whitney - Luthier

Michael Whitney | Luthier, Instructor

Cigar Box Guitar Making Course

A Personal Connection

My own journey as a luthier actually began with a cigar box guitar that I built years ago. I’ll never forget the excitement I felt when I plugged that guitar in for the first time after spending several months researching and finally building my very first instrument.

What it taught me was the basics of instrument construction: scale length, fretting, wiring, carving of bone for the nut and saddle, and finally bringing an otherwise random collection of hardware and up-cycled materials into musical form! It was that very fire that inspired me to continue to evolve as a guitar maker and to create the instruments that I’m making today.

A Brief History

Cigar Box Guitars harken back to the depression era when necessity drove invention and musical instruments were often fashioned from the most basic and common materials.

Typically, cigar box guitars were made from pretty much anything that was available; old oil cans, shoeboxes, cigar boxes, fence wire for strings, old keys and bolts for bridges and saddles — people became very resourceful!

Inherent to these guitars was an unmistakable tone and ‘rawness’ that is now reminiscent of ‘Delta Blues’ or ‘Porch Blues’ as commonly referred.

The Typical Setup

Cigar Box Guitars are typically setup with the 3 or 4 middle strings from a standard guitar (one-stringed guitars are referred to as ‘Diddley Bows’), and are tuned to an open chord, such as ‘D’ or ‘G’, perfect for that old-time bluesy sound.

For beginners, cigar box guitars are easier to play and for seasoned players, they add a very unique complement to one’s musical instrument ‘arsenal’.

Course Snapshot

Our 1-week Cigar Box Guitar Building Workshop will have you creating a refined version of its depression-era counterpart, complete with modern tuners, scarf-joint headstock, complete fret-job, an electronics package, professional setup, and everything you need to let those blues out!

Don’t forget your slide!

The goal of the one-week cigar box guitar building course is to teach students how to build a cigar box guitar from scratch using our shop templates and tools. If you wish to take a deeper dive into guitar design theory, mold making, finishing and building more than one guitar, we encourage you to consider one of our other guitar building courses.


Past Project - 'Le Bijou' Guitar

Past Project - The 'Apehanger' Guitar

Student Spotlight


Mike is a great teacher and a highly skilled luthier. He has a very creative eye and is able to bring out the best in his students. I had minimal experience working in a wood shop but Mike walked me through everything I needed to know and I was very comfortable with all of the tools by the end of the week. I was expecting to come home with some very basic knowledge of how to build a Cigar Box Guitar but the course takes the experience much further. The design and concept of the guitar is totally up to the student with guidance from Mike. The process included: selecting the cigar box from a wide range provided by Mike, blueprinting / designing the guitar and selecting the woods to use, carving out the neck of the guitar, staining the woods used and selecting and installing the hardware. The guitar sounds great plugged into an amp and I would highly recommend the course to anyone interested in woodworking, music, guitar playing or just looking for a different experience. The only downside was the come down of returning to my day job after the course finished... ~Sam Pethers | Australia


1-Week Cigar Box Guitar Building Course Details

Certificate Program Yes

Course Type On-site; hands-on; one-on-one.

Style Cigar Box Guitar (3 or 4 string).

Body Wood Cigar Box (student's choice)

Nut Bone or Corian

Fretboard Walnut, Wenge or Maple

Finish Hand-rubbed

Course Duration 1-Week

Hours 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Deposit $600 (includes $100 registration fee)

We ask that you review our School Policies before registering.

Past Project - CLE 'Eve' Guitar

Past Project - 'Ashton' Guitar

Frequently Asked Questions

What course dates are available?

As we are a working shop, much of our calendar year is reserved for custom guitar commissions. With only a portion of the year being allocated to teaching, course dates vary from year-to-year. Be sure to view our specific courses for the next available dates.

Please not that we operate on a first-come-first-serve basis and recommend that those interested register as far in advance as possible. Requested course dates will be taken into consideration but are not guaranteed. Registrants may submit their course deposit to secure their spot in our calendar. All courses require a $600 deposit which includes a $100 non-refundable administration fee. Please see our ‘Registration and Payment Policies‘ before applying.

How do I submit my deposit?

Do you provide accomodations?

Can I go on a wait-list for your next course?

Do I need to bring anything with me for the course?

Do I get to apply finish to my guitar?

Do I require my own hardware? What is included?

I still have questions. Can you help?

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