Pickups for cigar box guitars

By Roadkill Handmade Music | 22nd February 2013

One of the decisions facing any maker of cigar box guitars is what pickup to use (assuming that you are going to have a pickup). Piezo pickups are popular. The cheapest are the disc ones, available from electronics shops. They have the advantage of being unobtrusive, and normally you don't see any evidence of them at all. They are also very cheap.

Another piezo option is the rod piezo, which fits between the bridge and saddle. Other than having a bearing on the design of the bridge, there is again very little visual impact in using these.

Things get a bit more complicated when using a magnetic pickup. Most are made for 6 string guitars. These tend to be quite a bit wider than is needed for a CBG. They look fine on many big boxes, but really don't look good on the smaller ones. To be honest, I think some of them are just ugly. There is one option that I haven't yet tested, but in terms of looks seems ideal. These are P-bass pickups intended for bass guitars. They look much more in proportion with smaller boxes and the narrower spread of strings in general. They can even be decorated with a wooden veneer to help them blend in with the box.

Here is an example of a pair of P-bass pickups, one with a walnut veneer applied.

 

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