Handmade Music Clubhouse

Cigar Box Guitar Headquarters - CBG HQ

Hello all,

First time here, and I found the place while searching for wiring diagrams.

Found one by Ted Crocker, that lead me here.

I'm currently making my fifth stringed box and this is the first where I'll have a magnetic pick up.

There'll also be two piezos.  I have three way switch.

Now I found this diagram...

http://handmademusicclubhouse.com/m/photo/large?id=4519676:Photo:33...

..but I have one question.

Would there be any advantage to having the volume pot wried to just the mag pickup, and having the piezos go directly to the output ?

In my previous build with two piezos and a volume pot, it always is on full volume.

Thinking that maybe the magnetic one might overpower the piezos and so be the one needing some control.

Thanks for any info.

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The obvious and not-so-obvious:

If you wire the piezos directly to the jack then of course they will always produce sound.  In this case the only use for the 3-way switch would be to cut the mag in or out.

I have successfully wired dual piezos and a mag before with no discernible loss of function.  Yes, the power of the mag may "overpower" the piezos... but that will be the case regardless of whether you wire the piezo to the jack or not.  The suggestion there is to use as low-power a mag as you have available (a Telecaster or single rather than a high-power humbucker might be a good choice).  However I've used humbuckers and piezos before with no problem (see alternative following).  I have found bridge piezos to be excellent offsets to a neck mag.

How you use the piezos will make a difference.  Serial increases piezo power, parallel increases richness of sound.  If mixing with a mag you may want to go serial for added power.  This offers the added advantage of a greater tonal difference between the mag and piezos. If you try this and don't like how the piezos sound in serial, it's easy enough to change them back to parallel.  Try both and see which you prefer.

I don't know as there is need for a volume pot on the piezos when mixed with a mag.  I would lean toward two volume pots:  one for the mag alone (between the mag and the switch) and then a Master volume just before the jack that controls overall volume output.  With a pot on the mag you can balance it with the piezos and then use the Master pot to control overall volume to the jack.   In this instance the diagram you have would work fine;  just add a volume pot between the mag and the switch (and change the piezo wiring from parallel to serial).

Hi Laurence,

I made that wiring diagram for a member who requested it that way.  I actually like your way better.  I'd wire the volume pot between the mag pup and the 3 way switch.  I've done it with 2 volumes but, like you, always had the piezo volume turned to 11.  When combining a piezo & a mag I always like a 3 way switch so I have the option to completely remove one or the other from the circuit.  I always wire the piezos parallel which results in less impedance and more output.

Good luck!  Post some pics & vids of your builds. 

Ted

Thanks for all the advice.

Yes I had hoped the volume would be mainly to balance the mag with the piezos.

I fear I may have just ruined this built about an hour ago.

Cutting away a notch on the neck inside the box, for the mag pickup, may have compromised the rigidity a bit too much.It is reinforced with a solid bit of hardwood, but the neck itself is a sandwich ply of 6 yard sticks from a hardware store.

If worst comes to worst, I do have another oak neck that's half built and I could adapt the box to fit.

I'll post some photos of my other builds later.

You can reinforce most botches by gluing on another piece of wood.  If it's inside the box, no one will see it.   Oak works well for such as it adds considerable strength.  You can glue it to the bottom if there is room, or on the sides.  You can even build a "bridge" on the sides to leave room for the pickup.  Lots of ways to reinforce a too-thin neck.   I it's on the outside of the box... make the reinforcement decorative.  Who's gonna know? :D



Wayfinder said:

You can reinforce most glitches by gluing on another piece of wood.  If it's inside the box, no one will see it.   Oak works well for such as it adds considerable strength.  You can glue it to the bottom if there is room, or on the sides.  You can even build a "bridge" on the sides to leave room for the pickup.  Lots of ways to reinforce a too-thin neck.   I it's on the outside of the box... make the reinforcement decorative.  Who's gonna know? :D

I had a problem with 1 piezo and my hand wound humbucker... first try was 1 vol, 1 tone shared (didn't want a switch). And the vol all the way up was still not loud. It seems the piezo somehow basically turns the vol into a tone from what I read. Responses I got from questions to "those who know that stuff"all agreed about that effect, although worded differently. And told me to get a switch. Well, I had an idea, was told it wouldn't work, tried it anyway. What I did was put 2 on/offs, and 2 vols, so it was pickup to on/off, on/off to vol, vol to jack, no shared circuit between pickups until the jack, unless both were on. The common response was "nobody does that". Now, I've only done this once, so I can't say it will work again (building next one now). It'll work again hopefully. What happened is since piezo with mag sharing vol made piezo "possess" the vol, I gave piezo own vol, piezo turned first vol it ran through (its own) into a tone, like before, and when it arrived at shared circuit at jack it just kept going. So I ended up with Working Volume And Tone Controls For Mag And PIEZO when both on/offs are on. With either off, the one on works like single pickup, volume, jack.  Rough "bench test" on second try worked. Oh, the two vols are 500K Linear Taper.  -David,a.k.a. the ConnMan



Ted Crocker said:

Hi Laurence,

I made that wiring diagram for a member who requested it that way.  I actually like your way better.  I'd wire the volume pot between the mag pup and the 3 way switch.  I've done it with 2 volumes but, like you, always had the piezo volume turned to 11.  When combining a piezo & a mag I always like a 3 way switch so I have the option to completely remove one or the other from the circuit.  I always wire the piezos parallel which results in less impedance and more output.

Good luck!  Post some pics & vids of your builds. 

Ted

I agree with you and Ted.  "There are no rules."  I have wired up some crazy stuff and it worked.   Other side of the scale, sometimes I'll wire up something that is standard and should work fine and for some unknown reason it just doesn't.  (Usually it's an odd pickup or even a guitar jack.)  

My rule of thumb:  try it and see.   I temp-rig it first (no gluing or screws), often using alligator clips.  Looks like a rats nest.  Sounds great though, so now time to make it permanent.

I'm a great fan of individual pickup switches.  As an example, a Fender 3-pickup system has the ability to produce 7 distinct combos... but the Fender 5-way switch only accesses 5 of those 7.   Instead I have often removed the 5-way and put individual pickup switches in its place to provide the full 7-mode system.

I have successfully mixed mags and piezos with a wonderful variety of tone and effect range.  I built one guitar with a mag and 4 piezos at different positions in the box... and the customer who bought it was thrilled with the effects he could get. 

"See if it works" is my primary rule of CBG building.  One day I wanted to see just how small a body I could use to create a guitar.  The result was my "Mintar"...  with a body made from an Altoids mint tin.   When people hear it play their jaws hit the floor.  It's the only guitar style I have duplicated and sold (all the others are one-off).  So just goes to show what can be done by taking "that really shouldn't work" tangents.  Which I believe, is why we have shovel guitars. :D

So yeah, throw in all the switches and pots and odd-things you want.  At the very worst you'll have to pull it apart and try something different.  But when it works... hubba hubba!  :D

Appreciate the reply. I'm sure your knowledge base in what I call "guitar science" is encyclopedic compared to mine, page one beginning "See Dick burn his finger with Daddy's soldering iron. See Jane run to tell Daddy." in the "That's Hot, Don't Touch For Dummies" Manual. I can almost solder. You mentioned your Altoids tin small guitar. If you have a "Dollar" type store it may have some interesting items. We have a "Dollar Tree" store, where I found some 12" long toy guitars. I bought a thumbnail sized Artec "QD2?" boost and distortion board online and, after cutting up three electric-look toy guitars to form the housing, made my version of C.B.Gitty's "Psycho Knob" effects box.There's an acoustic-looking toy also at the Dollar Tree. I had one toy left over, having bought five ($5 total) to start. So I opened it enough to glue a 27mm piezo disc in with some alligator clips hanging out to clip onto a guitar cable. Plugged in and strummed it's four fishing line strings to amaze and mystify one and all. Anyway, I thought I'd pass on Dollar-type store deals, which may or may not be of any use to you. The 27mm piezos come in these magnetic door/window alarms. A buck each. Also, there's these little speaker gadgets you can plug a two male end 3.5mm into, other end to (phone?) and listen to speaker instead of using headphones. It's tiny board is maybe a pre-amp type thing? So, I bought a dozen. Using 3, in device #1 I removed speaker, it's wires are input for  device #2, same with it going to device #3, left speaker in #3. Then made a piezo-bottle cap pickup with 4 foot wires and 3.5mm jack (also dollar...) and plugged that into device #1. No vol control, but for $6 made a stand-alone pickup and amplifier setup that a neighbor uses for his acoustic guitars. He's hard of hearing, but now he can hear his high notes on that tinny sounding little speaker.My thought was that piggy backing them might increase volume, and it did, so now I'm going to make another , and add one at a time 'til she blows...Are we having fun yet? I reckon so. -David, a.k.a. the ConnMan.

Wayfinder said:

I agree with you and Ted.  "There are no rules."  I have wired up some crazy stuff and it worked.   Other side of the scale, sometimes I'll wire up something that is standard and should work fine and for some unknown reason it just doesn't.  (Usually it's an odd pickup or even a guitar jack.)  

My rule of thumb:  try it and see.   I temp-rig it first (no gluing or screws), often using alligator clips.  Looks like a rats nest.  Sounds great though, so now time to make it permanent.

I'm a great fan of individual pickup switches.  As an example, a Fender 3-pickup system has the ability to produce 7 distinct combos... but the Fender 5-way switch only accesses 5 of those 7.   Instead I have often removed the 5-way and put individual pickup switches in its place to provide the full 7-mode system.

I have successfully mixed mags and piezos with a wonderful variety of tone and effect range.  I built one guitar with a mag and 4 piezos at different positions in the box... and the customer who bought it was thrilled with the effects he could get. 

"See if it works" is my primary rule of CBG building.  One day I wanted to see just how small a body I could use to create a guitar.  The result was my "Mintar"...  with a body made from an Altoids mint tin.   When people hear it play their jaws hit the floor.  It's the only guitar style I have duplicated and sold (all the others are one-off).  So just goes to show what can be done by taking "that really shouldn't work" tangents.  Which I believe, is why we have shovel guitars. :D

So yeah, throw in all the switches and pots and odd-things you want.  At the very worst you'll have to pull it apart and try something different.  But when it works... hubba hubba!  :D

My "guitar science" is by no means encyclopedic.  I get my cues out of the "Try it and See If it Works" manual. :D

Of course as we build guitars we learn little tricks.  Found your account of Dollar Tree fun-- I've gotten so many do-dads from Dollar Tree to add as decorations.   They're also a decent source of highly-professional "paracord guitar straps".  And Dollar General sells a very neat little rubber-covered U-shaped tool holder that screws into a joist in the wall, and is perfect for holding a CBG.  Buck apiece.  I have 'em all over my living room.

Here's one to try just for sheer giggles:  use a speaker as an internal microphone.   I got that tip from (I forget)... but a speaker can either broadcast sound-- or receive sound-- depending on what it's hooked up to.  I took a 4" bass speaker, placed it face down on a piece of carpet, hooked a guitar jack to it and use it for a stomp box.  Great effect.

--Also, there's these little speaker gadgets you can plug a two male end 3.5mm into, other end to (phone?) and listen to speaker instead of using headphones. It's tiny board is maybe a pre-amp type thing?--

Very interested in this and:

--Then made a piezo-bottle cap pickup with 4 foot wires and 3.5mm jack (also dollar...) and plugged that into device #1. No vol control, but for $6 made a stand-alone pickup and amplifier setup that a neighbor uses for his acoustic guitars. He's hard of hearing, but now he can hear his high notes on that tinny sounding little speaker.--

Could you post some photos of these?  I'd enjoy finding one and seeing what can be done with it.  Sounds interesting.

OOOH! Now I have a real challenge. Got to convince my dinosaur 3g tracfone. I can do this. Tracfone's already grumbling. Gotta coax it. "C'mon Trakky, I'll buy you a new minutes card."......


Wayfinder said:

--Also, there's these little speaker gadgets you can plug a two male end 3.5mm into, other end to (phone?) and listen to speaker instead of using headphones. It's tiny board is maybe a pre-amp type thing?--

Very interested in this and:

--Then made a piezo-bottle cap pickup with 4 foot wires and 3.5mm jack (also dollar...) and plugged that into device #1. No vol control, but for $6 made a stand-alone pickup and amplifier setup that a neighbor uses for his acoustic guitars. He's hard of hearing, but now he can hear his high notes on that tinny sounding little speaker.--

Could you post some photos of these?  I'd enjoy finding one and seeing what can be done with it.  Sounds interesting.

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