Cigar box build of a fanned fret, 8 string Stoessel Lute

This is another cigar box build inspired by George Stoessel. It is a Stoessel Lute having fanned frets and eight strings. The fanned frets provide a fretboard with a slight angle making it easier to position the left hand. Also the bass strings sound better with a longer vibrating length. It is tuned like a guitar at the 10th fret with an addition 7th and 8th string. From low to high F, A, D, G, C, F, A and D.

Fanned fret, 8 string Stoessel Lute
Fanned fret, 8 string Stoessel Lute
Material Red Oak
Dimensions 25 inches x 8 inches
Body Tabak Especial cigar box
String Count 8
Scale Length 1st string 14 inches (at 0 fret)
Scale Length 8th string 17 inches (at 0 fret)
Pickups 2 Piezo disks
Weight 3.1 lbs.

Exploring theorbo music with the Harp Rail

The theorbo is a lute developed during the 17th century. The main features of the theorbo are the extended bass strings and re-entrant tuning which gives the instrument it’s unique quality. For a full description visit, Theorbo. The Harp Rail makes it possible to explore theorbo music by extending the range of the classical guitar.

Stoessel Lute

Cigar Box Stoessel Lute Front
Guitar and Harp Rail

Theorbo and guitar tuning

The below chart shows the tuning of a 14-string theorbo and the equivalent guitar tuning using a Harp Rail.

String # 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Theorbo G1 A1 B1 C1 D2 E2 F2 G2 A2 D3 G3 B3 E3 A3
Guitar Harp Rail E2 A2 E3 G3 A3 B3

  • Theorbo strings 14 through 10 are covered by the Harp Rail.
  • Theorbo strings 9 through 7 are covered by the guitar’s 6th string E2.
  • Theorbo strings 6 and 5 are covered by the guitar’s 5th string A2.
  • Theorbo strings 4 through 1 is the re-entrant tuning. That is, strings 1 and 2 are tuned lower than 3 and 4. Rather than restringing the guitar to match the therobo’s re-entrant tuning, the musical qualities can be preserved by tuning the guitar strings 4 through 1 to ascending pitches, E3, G3, A3 and B3.

Depending on the composition it may become necessary to alter the pitch of the 6th and 5th strings.

The combination of this alternate tuning and the Harp Rail transforms the guitar into a theorbo like instrument.

Cigar box build of the Stoessel Lute

This cigar box build was inspired by George Stoessel. In 1914 Stoessel invented a hybrid zither-like instrument called the Stoessel Lute. It is fingered by putting one's hand over the end of the neck rather than around it.

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The cigar box version of the Stoessel Lute has the bass strings positioned above the fretted strings in the style of the Harp guitar. The fretted strings are tuned like a Stoessel Lute G, Bb, D, F, A, C and E. The five bass strings are tuned as needed. A piezo pickup is installed for amplification.

Stoessel Lute
Stoessel Lute
Cigar Box Stoessel Lute Front
Cigar Box Stoessel Lute Back
Material Red Oak
Dimensions 31 inches x 8 inches
Body Tabak Especial cigar box
String Count 12
Scale Length Treble strings 14 inches (at 0 fret)
Scale Length Bass strings 19 inches
Pickups Piezo disk
Weight 4.1 lbs.

Harp Kit

The Harp Guitar Kit is a set of attachments that retrofit on an acoustic guitar. The attachments do not require any modifications to the guitar. They consist of a headstock bracket secured by the tuning machines, an array of tuning machines attached to the body with the strap button screw and a floating bridge(s).

Email if you are interested in the Harp Kit.

Head stock bracket

Head stock bracket

Tuning machine array

Tuning machine array

5 Sub & 7 Harp Strings
5 Sub & 4 Bridged Harp Strings
12 Harp Strings


The Solene's tubular body with slanted, meandering frets positioned on the outer surface provides a new playing area for the two-handed tapping technique. Since it can be tuned like a seven stringed guitar, guitarists can visualize intervals in a familiar way.

Email if you are interested in the Solene.

Download the Solene manual.


Material Aluminum tube
Dimensions 3 feet long, 3 inch diameter and 0.060 wall
Finish Anodized Black, Blue, Red or Green
String Count 7
Scale Length 25.5 inches (at 0 fret)
Fret Wire 18 guage stainless steel
Fret Angle 45 degrees
String Spacing 9/32 inch
Pickups 2 rail pickups (bridge, parallel in phase and neck)
Weight 3.6 lbs.

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