Another Cigar Box Guitar

Cigar Box Guitar with pickup installedA couple weeks ago I decided to make a second cigar box guitar. This time I followed the plans from It was more complicated than the MAKE magazine version I made previously. The neck runs through the box rather than just being glued to the top. I also decided to use real strings and tuners, and make it electric.

Hooking up the pickup was ridiculously easy. I took a Radio Shack piezo buzzer, hooked it to a 1/4″ input jack, taped it together, and that was it! Before installing it into the guitar I plugged it into my amp to make sure it the connections were good, and everything worked fine the first time.

The biggest problem I hit was that I had shaved down the headstock too much. In trying to make it a little more guitar-looking, I planed down the headstock area. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize until the very end (when I was stringing the finished guitar) that I had made the headstock too thin. The tuners stuck out high above the nut, and the action on the guitar would be unplayably high.

After I supressed the urge to smash the whole thing, I re-drilled the holes for the tuners where the nut was, and re-filed the groove for the nut further down the neck. That worked out fine, and the project was saved (whew).

The action is still high but it sounds good and is definitely playable. I’ll have to make a clip of Jack or Joe playing it and post it.

Completed Cigar Box Guitar

Microsoft Reneges On Free Repair for Defective 360s

Well, it finally happened: my launch-day Xbox 360 bit the dust last week. One second I was infiltrating Port Royal as the infamous Jack Sparrow, the next, frozen screen. I rebooted and there were the three flashing red lights. Damn.

I wasn’t too concerned because I remembered that back in September 2006, they admitted that there were problems with the first generation, and that they were going to repair any pre-January 1, 2006 360s free of charge. I called their support number, punched in my serial number, and then the friendly Microsoft rep delivered the groin kick. They told me it was going to be $140 to repair my box because it was “out of warranty”.

I asked her about the September announcement of free repairs for defective launch boxes, and she said she had never heard of that announcement. Pretty strange, since it was widely covered in the gaming press. Stranger still, I searched the Microsoft site while I was on the phone with her and I couldn’t find anything about it. Apparently Microsoft has removed the announcement from their site, and removed all traces of it. I tried going to the Wayback Machine, but the archive for stops the month before the announcement.

After holding for almost 1/2 hour through terrible hold music (they tried to shake me but I held on) I managed to talk to a supervisor. He admitted that there had been a “limited time offer” for launch owners to get free repairs, but it was now expired blah blah. I yelled and haggled and he agreed to do the repair for “half price”, $69 bucks.

I’m still waiting for the “special box” to send my 360 in. I have a feeling this story is not over…


I just realized I skipped Houses of the Holy in my Listen to Every Led Zeppelin Album In Order Project. Now I have to start over.

*Side note: Although this is not valid in Scrabble, AARGH, AARRGH, and AARRGHH are all OK.