How to Play the Cigar Box Guitar - Free Lessons!

How To Play the Cigar Box Guitar

Free Lessons from Shane Speal, Glenn Watt, C. B. Gitty, Keni Lee Burgess, LJ & Knotlenny

It is often said that there are no rules when it comes to cigar box guitar building - but having some help getting started playing is a good thing! We have collected some of the best free "How to Play" resources from around the internet to help.

Even if you have no musical experience whatsoever, YOU CAN PLAY THE CIGAR BOX GUITARS YOU BUILD! Being able to play even a little bit on the instruments you make helps show people around you what they can do, and helps spread the word about the CBG revolution!

Your First Song on the CBG: Learn the 12-bar Blues from C. B. Gitty

Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker has been creating a growing library of tablature, chord forms and how-to-play information for cigar box guitars over at the Nation's sister site, Here is a link to the page where you can get both the tablature (which shows you where to put your fingers) and watch of a video of Gitty walking you through what to do. This tab and video are for a 3-string fretted cigar box guitar tuned to Open G "GDG".

The Essential Lessons:

  • Shane Speal's 28-part (and growing!) collection of instructional CBG videos is the best place to start learning how to play your CBG!

More Great Lessons:

For more detailed lessons, we recommend Keni Lee Burgess' "How To Play 3-String cigar Box Guitar" DVD. It is available at his eBay store (link).




About the Authors...

Shane Speal is the founder of Cigar Box Nation and the King of the Cigar Box Guitar. His work to spread the word about CBGs has brought countless new builders and players into the fold, and his how-to-play lessons have taught many folks how to get started playing their homemade instruments.

Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker started C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply and operates both Cigar Box Nation and He is dedicated to (some would say obsessed with) creating a library of free, easy-to-understand how-to information for building and playing cigar box guitars and other homemade instruments.

Glenn Watt works for C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply and credits the cigar box guitar with helping turn around his life from the depths of addiction and substance abuse. He offers a refreshingly unique viewpoint in the cigar box guitar movement, and his how-to videos and posts (which focus on the basic questions and problems faced by new builders and players) are widely acclaimed.

Keni Lee Burgess is a New York City subway platform performer, and music teacher. His lessons cover a wide range of techniques and theories. Keni Lee also has a great DVD that is highly recommended for anyone wanting to master these instruments.Singer/Songwriter;

Knotlenny (aka Kevin Sprague) was bitten by the cigar box guitar bug in 2004. Since that time he has performed with a number of primitive instruments and lays claim to being the design originator of the license-plate resonator cbg. Knotlenny organized the first Cigar Box Guitar fest in upstate NY, 'Fingerlakes Fest', which was held in Canandaigua, NY in 2008.

Pat Curley has created a series of how-to-play videos for the cigar box guitar. You can learn more about his products on his page,

The Essential Pages

New to Cigar Box Nation?How to Play Cigar Box GuitarsFree Plans & How to Build Cigar Box GuitarsCigar Box Guitar Building BasicsCigar Box Guitar Parts Store

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Latest Activity

Oscar Myer commented on Shane ('s group Building a Cigar Box Guitar 101
"For me, it made the tone of the mistakes sound much sweeter. "
22 minutes ago
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Millefolglie D'Italia

Cookie tin ,Hockey stick neck.
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"Much Appreciated Slow Blues Dani &Ol' Grey Bear."
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"Glad I can help a bit. I like making tools and jigs to do jobs. As I was looking through the…"
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"Fomhorach,I'm intrigued,what problem has this solved?"
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"Purely for medicinal and woodworking use officer, I swear!"
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Fomhorach commented on Shane ('s group Building a Cigar Box Guitar 101
"Eery tone sounds good with 80%"
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Jim Morris replied to turtlehead's discussion Historical examples of 3 string CBGs?
"Well there are two amps. Can't really follow the cable but it looks like the Grown fellow…"
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