Back To Lutherie

Cigarbox Instruments

High end instruments made from cigar boxes

Cigar box instrument

Whenever I come across a cigar box, I pick it up and pop it in a cupboard. Then, when I’ve got a few hours spare, I put together a little cigar box instrument.

They’re really perfect for amplifying and modulating:

(Recorded using an iPad 2 and run through a couple of my Ampkit presets: Touch of Distortion, Staccato Echoes and Distorted Lead)


I build my cigar box instruments using many of the same techniques as my ‘proper’ instruments – the joints are solid, the electrics are reliable, and they’re set up to play wonderfully. Sometimes I wind my own pickups, sometimes I use bass pickups, or piezo transducers.


These are primarily electric instruments. I usually fit a single single-coil pickup and a volume knob, although depending on what I have lying around I might vary this set-up to suit my/your tastes.


I usually have one or two of these lying around in the workshop waiting to be sold. Either drop in or contact me to see what I've got at the mo.

You want one built to spec?!

You must be a cigar box connoisseur! I’d love to make you a pro diddely bo. I can vary… pretty much everything to your taste:

If you’re interested in having a custom pro diddley bo made, please do get in contact in whatever way you prefer, and we can discuss your requirements.

iOS Connection Add-On

If you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, you’re no doubt familiar with products like the iRig, which enable you to plug a guitar into your device, and record/amplify/process the sound.

Well, I’m happy to announce that I offer a custom connection kit, discreetly built right into the instrument!

The built in iOS connection kit removes the need for loads of extra, expensive cables. A cable goes from the instrument to and from your device, and then you can listen either plugging an amp into your instrument as normal, or plug headphones into your instrument and listen through them.

How it works

Simply flick a switch on your instrument and plug it into your device, then either connect it to an amp as usual or plug headphones into the provided socket for recording/silent practise.

Then, process your sounds to your liking on your device!

This add-on costs only £30 and can be applied to any electric instrument I offer. It works particularly beautifully on these cigarbox instruments though, making them into wonderful travel instruments.

For other phone users

This circuitry and hardware was designed to work across Apple’s range of devices, and as such there’s no guarantee that this will work with phones/tablets made by other companies. If you’re really desperate, get in contact and we might be able to sort out a workaround.