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Care and Tips For Your Bluesboy JAG Cigar Box Guitar
Thank you for purchasing your Bluesboy JAG Cigar Box Guitar. Each guitar is hand made with the 'old school' cbg's of 50-100 years ago in mind. Some parts are hand made and are meant to look that way including the bridge, nut, strap holder, necks and pickups. Each Bluesboy Jag CBG is unique and one of a kind. Some boxes have scratches dings, patina and minor imperfections. This is normal and intentional in keeping with the period - correct look and feel of a vintage cigar box guitar, and besides, these are REAL used cigar boxes :) Please take care of your guitar and it will continue to delight you and your audiences for years to come.
DO NOT UNSCREW THE SCREWS ON THE TOP OF YOUR CBG! THE PICKUP WILL FALL OUT!
These screws are not designed to be raised like a regular guitar, they were meticulously placed for best amplification. Each pickup is unique just like the guitars so each will have a slightly different volume and tone although I strive for the best of both worlds. The guitar body effects sustain and tone as well. These are not humbucker pickups, they are single coil similar to a Stratocaster pickup. Some cbgs sound best with a pre-amp to increase volume and distortion, experiment!
Simply wipe the guitar with a dry paper towel or cloth. Do not use any type of cleaner on the finish as it may damage it.
If you don't play your CBG for long periods, store it in a cool dry places. I have close to 30 hanging on my wall.
Over time the strings may become dirty or rusty, simply replace them with a new set. Elixir coated strings are recommended. These strings cost more but they last up to 5 times longer than regular uncoated strings. They also offer easier fretless finger sliding along the neck (without a traditional guitar slide). Of course you can use any brand or gauge strings that you prefer. To change the strings, simply remove them from the screws. When putting new strings on, be sure and S TR E T C H the strings several times to ensure they don't slip. When you stretch them, they'll 'pop' as the loop tightens. Be sure and stretch them until the loop doesn't pop anymore. If you prefer higher action, you can replace the bridge bolt with a larger (or conversely) smaller one.
On some models there is an L bracket under the neck. This is to allow optimum string height. Simply tighten the screw into the neck about ONE EIGHTH of a turn. NO MORE! Conversely, loosen 1/8th of a turn to raise the strings a biit. You can also replace the bolt that's used for the nut. Use a Dremel© tool to cut off the philips screw head. Experiment for the best action for your playing. Your bridge may be slanted for optimum intonation similar to a Gibson compensated tailpiece. This is normal.
Because each guitar has it own unique tonal properties, each guitar has a different EQ adjustment requirement. Most CBG's require rolling off some high end (treble) and/or increasing the low end (bass). Experiment until you find your preferred tone. You can play your CBG thru any guitar, keyboard or bass amp, however amps with at least three bands of EQ are preferred for better tone adjustment.
Each CBG can be tuned many different ways. However the most common (and simplest) tuning is an open chord such as G or A. You can also tune it like a regular 6 string guitar: tune the 5th string to A, the 4th to D, third to G, 2nd to B. this is handy because all the 'regular' chords are played the same way. I use this tuning in roughly half the songs my band Bluesboy Jag & the Juke Joint Zombies plays. I ship my CBG's tuned to A because I purchase my .09 strings in bulk and .10's harder to find in bulk. Use .10's for AeA tuning. Any brand will work - experiment.
Note that the note in parentheses is an octave above the previous note of the same name (the notes are tuned low to high or big string to small string.) See the mp3 files in the folder entitled "Tuning Your CBG" for audio tuning instructions.
Here are some examples:
A D G B
The necks have 20-30 coats of guitar lacquer applied. The frets will stick until you play the guitar and bend the strings to loosen the lacquer off the frets. This is quite common and happens on very expensive name brand guitars as well and is not a flaw.
The bridge is a floating bridge style. It is held in place by the tension of the strings and screws to keep proper intonation. Floating bridges go back several hundred years to European lutes all the way up contemporary multi-thousand dollar jazz guitars.
The eyebolt strap holds are period - correct strap holders and are used in keeping with the 'found object' tradition of cigar box guitars that goes back over 100 years.
Each Bluesboy Jag Cigar Box Guitar has been thoroughly tested before shipping. If you have any problems or questions, please let us know as soon as possible by emailing email@example.com
The Peizo Transducer Pickup CBG
Please be aware that peizo (pee-ay-zo) pickups aren't the best pickups in the land for some things:
1. They don't distort (break up) very well. You may need to adjust your amp or use a pre-amp or compressor. Experiment for the best tone. Some amps sound great with piezo's, some sound horrible, just try another amp and see what you get.
2. These pickups also tend to pickup any extraneous movement such as tapping the neck with a slide or bumping the body of the guitar. I actually like this and use it in my live performances as a percussion instrument.
The Humbucker Magnetic Pickup:
Your tone will be a bit more 'mid rangey' or 'bassy' depending on your amp setup just like a Gibson or Fender guitar would be. Some people swear by humbuckers, some swear by single coils - your mileage may vary. EXPERIMENT! One thing to keep in mind: humbuckers don't hum - hence the name. Single coils do hum a bit but your playing easily masks any hum you may hear when you're not playing. Fender guitars have had this hum for 60+ years, it IS normal. If you think your hum is too loud, try adjusting your amp or pedals. I test every cbg I make several times during the build process to make sure the neck is set properly, intonation is perfect and the pickups sound good and the hum is minimal. Some amps hum a bit more than others, some houses are not well grounded, some outlets hum more than others and some tv's and the new fluorescent light bulbs can also add to the hum.