Gear Review #2 – You Can Play Blues Box Guitar / BBG

Cigar Box Guitar

As promised in my previous post (Coffee Time #8 – Christmas Haul) here is a review of the cigar box guitar by Blues Box Guitar I received for Christmas. I’ve never actually played a three string slide instrument so it was exciting to experiment with something new. It is designed to be an introduction to instrument so bare that in mind.

There is minor assembly required as the bridge and nut are made from bolts and the tension of the strings hold these in place. You’ll also need to put the string ferrules in the tail of the instrument (the strings hold these in).  The nut slot is pre-cut and there is a cross were the bridge should be so you just need to string it up to a low tension and slot the nut and bridge into place.

It comes with a tutorial book and CD by Nick Bryant. I took a flick through and it seems perfect for beginners but for anyone that has played slide guitar before won’t find anything new. The book suggests tuning the instrument to GDG (which seems to be fairly standard) but with the thin stock strings I tuned it up to AEA. This made the heavy glass slide it came with easier to use. The glass slide is quite wide so anyone struggling to keep on there finger may want a smaller slide or apply some sticky back felt inside to adjust it.

It boasts on the outside of the box that it and be played acoustic or electric thanks to the piezo pick-up mounted inside the body. Acoustically it sounds pretty good especially considering the body seems to be made of some sort of MDF. The electrics are very quiet and microphonic so fans of dirty slide playing will be greeted with plenty of deafening feedback. On a clean amp it sounds very bright and thin so apply bass and reverb to taste. I think thicker strings might help that problem.

Here is a video to give you a sense of the instruments tone.

Conclusion

It’s a lot of fun there is no denying. It makes a perfect gift for the guitarist in your life and is relatively affordable. It isn’t a professional level instrument obviously but for someone who is curious about cigar box guitars it is a great starting point. I would also recommend this to anyone looking for a good place to start playing slide guitar as it simplifies the technique.

Points to my parents for thinking of this gift. I’m going to attempt to build a cigar box guitar from scratch as well as modify this instrument over the next few months so keep your eyes peeled for that. Any questions leave me a comment below? Thanks for all your continued support.

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9 thoughts on “Gear Review #2 – You Can Play Blues Box Guitar / BBG

  1. Good review and some nice playing. I bought one just after Christmas with the intention of learning to play slide. I’ve already got a couple of CBGs lined up to make (although I haven’t got around to making any of them yet). I was very surprised by how good it sounded both acoustically and also through an Orange Micro Crush amp via a Bad Monkey overdrive pedal – yes it feeds back if you point it directly at the amp but with careful use.

    • Thanks for the comment. They are a lot of fun and I can’t wait to put it on a lot of recordings. I think the pickup in mine might be a little sensitive. I haven’t played a bad monkey in years they are so much fun

  2. Great review! I just bought one today from a garage sale, sadly it has missing part specifically the bridge, would you know a replacement, is it also a type of bolt? size? Tia!

    • Hi, the set screw size is 7-7.5mm in diameter (it’s a bolt without the head). That said you could use a metal rod as well as the tension of the strings hold the bridge in place. Remember unlike a conventional guitar there is no standard size or material to parts so experiment! I’ve been meaning to try and wooden bridge on it to hear the difference. Let me know how you get on. Antony

  3. Hi love the review thanks got one coming for xmas I would be interested if you make any changes such as a smaller neck bolt to lower the action thanks again Rob

    • Hi Rob this must have slipped past my comment net. I can’t see anything stopping you swapping the parts out for a thinner bridge. The nut is cut to fit that bolt so swapping it for a smaller nut might cause some intonation issues (the frets may not line up quite right). Perhaps try a piece of wooden dowel to fill the space and add a thin strip metal to the surface. Might be a little too much work for a relatively in expensive instrument. Let me know if you experiment with it.

  4. Hey Antony, thanks for the review, I’m going to get my dad one of these for Christmas!
    I’d like to get him a cheap little amp to go along with it… any suggestions?

    • Hi, they are great gifts. As for fun, cheap little amps check out the Marshall MS-2 or the Danelectro Honeytone. For something in keeping with the vibe of the present check out Smokey Amps who build amps in old cigarette packets. All of these can be had for under £30 in the UK and aren’t going to annoy the neighbors. Hope this helps!

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