This build was modeled after the instrument shown on the sleeve of Jeff Beck's CD, Jeff. Although only the back of the instrument is shown, I thought it would be fun to build a functional replica of it. The neck is a reworked C. B. Gitty Cigar Box Neck 37-029-01 with an additional 10 frets. The body is made of poplar and the instrument is equipped with a repurposed ukelele bridge with a piezo pickup. An allen wrench is used for the nut to make it suitable for slide guitar playing.

CD sleeve of Jeff
CD sleeve of "Jeff"

Harp Cigar Box

This cigar box build includes an attachment made from a broom stick handle that adds 4 bass strings to a cigar box guitar. It is similar to the Harp Rail for guitar. The cigar box guitar is the C. B. Gitty Cigar Box Kit 36-030-01.

Body Metal broom stick handle with plate tuners
Nut Wooden thread bobbin
Bridge Metal spatula blade with banjo style bridge
Scale Length 24 inches
String Count 4


This exploration is a resonator guitar equipped with a Harp Rail. The Harp Resonator Guitar or Harponator uses the Harp Rail with an add-on module having a piezo cable to pick up the string’s vibration. The Harp Rail is decorated to fit the song.

Grand Stoessel Lute

In a previous exploration I made a Cigar Box Build of a Stoessel Lute. This exploration converts an acoustic dreadnought guitar into a Stoessel lute. A Stoessel lute style fretboard retrofits over a shortened guitar neck. The guitar bridge is replaced by one that accomodates 7 strings. The tuners for the seven strings were borrowed from the Harp Guitar Kit and the Harp Rail provides the sub bass strings. The Stoessel lute strings are tuned G, Bb, D, F, A, C and E. The sub bass strings are tuned E, G, A, B, C and D. I call this conversion the "Grand Stoessel Lute".

Body Guitar, Mitchell MD100
Fretboard Material Ash
String Count 13
Scale Length Treble strings 14 inches (at 0 fret)
Scale Length Bass strings 29 inches (Harp Rail)

Cigar box build of a Bicycle Wheel Harp

This cigar box build was inspired by the Star Trek season 3, episode 20, “The Way to Eden”. In that episode Spock joins a jam session where he plays through a blues riff in E with a woman playing a harp-like instrument resembling a bicycle wheel. Although she is playing is a prop, I thought it would be fun to build a functional instrument. The bicycle wheel harp features a unique bridge in the form of a vertical post. The 3/8 inch diameter and 2.5 inch tall post supports 12 nylon strings and arranges them in a spiral fashion.

Star Trek Wheel Harp
Star Trek Wheel Harp
Cigar Box Wheel Harp
Cigar Box Wheel Harp
Spiral Bridge
Spiral Bridge

Material Pine
Dimensions Diameter 17.75 inches
Body Liga Privada T52 cigar box
String Count 12
Scale Length 7.25 inches
Pickups Piezo disk
Weight 3.0 lbs.

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.

Guitar and Harp Rail
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.

Visit http://www.minermusic.com/stoessellute.htm for more information.

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).

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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