Interested in exploring the 4 string Cigar Box Guitar?
Check out my instructional video CD 5.
Combined with this banjo book, the fingerboard will really open up and reveal it's bounty.
Note: On CD 5 the guitar is tuned Dgbd. This is the exact tuning used on the 5 string banjo in this book (gDgbd)
Learn two instruments at the same time!

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William  Bay, Mel Bay, and eBay, all members of the Bay family!

Really? My first music book. Hang down your head Tom Dooley...LOL

Relativity Method
The other day (9/9/12) I taught a 3 hour private lesson (mini seminar) for a facebbook friend on 3 string Cigar Box Guitar.
I thought I would share some of it.
Using the tone numbers of the major scale, it is possible to easily see the relationships.
A CBG tuned GDg (Key of G - 1G 2A 3B 4C 5D 6E 7F# 8G) is 151.
A Blues shuffle rhythm can be created by adding the E note - Tone 6 (D string fret 2) to open strings G and D.
If we compare this to the two lowest strings on a 6 string in standard tuning (EADGBE),
E is tone 1 and A is tone 4 in the key of E (1E 2F# 3G# 4A 5B 6C# 7D# 8E).
So you must first hold the B note - Tone 5 (A string fret two) and then add the shuffle note C# - Tone 6 (A string fret 4)
At first this may be confusing, but by understanding Relative Theory, it is possible to transpose song from key to key, move between 6 string and CBG regardless of string number, figure out songs, and create your own renditions with ease.
If you are in the Clifton, New Jersey area and would like to book a class, please contact me at:

...Understanding Chords

A Chord is defined as three tones (notes) played/sang at the same time. The Major Scale from one of the 12 different keys of music is used to build chords.

Most people are familiar with the Major Scale. If you sing it:
Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do
8 tones (an octave) numbered 1 - 8
A Major Chord contains tones 1,3,5
If 3 people each sang a note, this would be called 3 part harmony.

A popular question I receive is, To play lead guitar/solo, how do I know what notes to play when someone is strumming chords?
Answer: Start to learn what notes make up the chord. Then additional notes can be found in the Major scale. Very often, alternate scales like the Minor Pentatonic Scale are used as target notes when playing Blues and Rock & Roll.

This scale contains tones: 1, flat 3, 4, 5, flat 7
For more information, please see my instructional video CDs:

...Maping the Guitar Fingerboard:
Each guitar string, starting from Open to Fret 12, is made up of 12 half steps (one fret movement). This is called the Chromatic Scale. Example: String 5 is note A. (Chromatic Scale Key of A) Open is A, fret 12 is also A, but the pitch is higher. Starting on any note, moving 12 half steps to the same note creates the 12 keys of music. After that, the same scale simply repeats at a higher pitch.
By applying this formula (WWHWWWH) to the Chromatic Scale the Major Scale is formed. W (Whole Step) = 2 frets / H (Half Step) = 1 fret / 8 notes - an Octave / Numbered 1 - 8
By alternating the 8 notes from the Major scale, scales like the Minor Pentatonic Scale can be created. Formula 1, flat 3, 4, 5, flat 7, 1 / To flatten a note, move one fret lower.
Now you have three Scales: Chromatic, Major, and Minor Pentatonic Scale. "You will use them all at the same time"
To create a melody line or lead line, certain notes are Target(ed) and the other notes are used to Pass(ing) from note to note. Use techniques like Hammer - On, Pull - Off, Bend, Slide, Vibrate to embellish your ideas.
For more instruction in this direction, please see my instructional video CDs:
...Mapping the Guitar Fingerboard 2
After you become familiar with notes and scales, the next step is to explore Doublestops. These are defined as playing two notes at the same time. They commonly appear on the fingerboard on strings that are right next to each others, but can be played with one, two, three, or four strings sparating them.
An Interval is a musical distance between two notes. Double stops are often thought of as small chord fragments. A chord is defined as three different notes played at the same time. A major chord uses notes 1,3,5 from the Major scale. These tones can be played in any order. This is known as an Inversion. These different note arrrangments along with the chord's location on the fingerboard (Pitch - higher or lower) creates it's voice. Although it is the same chord they will all sound different.
A chord contains three possible Doublestops.
Major Chord Example: 1 over 3, 1 over 5 , 3 over 5
Considering the inversions, 3 more are created:
3 over 1, 5 over 1, 5 over 3
Another way to understand Doublestops is by creating Harmonized Scales. Two scales are played slightly out of phase. To move in thirds, one Major scale starts on tone 1, the other Major starts on tone 3. 1 over 3, 2 over 4, 3 over 5
Ultimately, this mapping creates clear connections between notes, doublestops, and chords.
Possibilities are discovered as the fingerboard become clarified.
...Mapping the Guitar Fingerboard 3

Often I receive comments from viewers of my Youtube videos regarding their insistence that music theory is not important. Their basic argument is that the early Blues masters never learned theory. I would like to offer some observations.

1. The Cream of the Crop. I can certainly concede that the guitar can be learned totally by ear, but this is only a small minority of "gifted players". Consider, the early Blues recordings feature exceptional players and does not represent the larger community of musicians.

2. In reality most players did not learn in a vacuum. They had the superior opportunity to study as an "apprentice" face to face directly from an established player. Although Johnny Shines was already a player, it is apparent he gleaned valuable lessons from his time spent with Robert Johnson. Robert Johnson studied with Ike Zimmerman. RJ discography reveals he took full advantage of what he learned but was also lmited in approach compared to more melodic players like Lonnie Johnson.
3. Even though, they may have not used "standard academic music terminology", I assume they used other means to convey the essential information. Most are using conventational chord shapes and obligatory arrangement methods. Even certain areas like Betonia Miss. developed unique styles. Listen to Jack Owens and Skip James.
The theory I utilize and teach is rudimentary. It can be used as a base to dig deeper into more technical styles like jazz. In no way does theory limit your approach. For example, Usually in the beginning, teachers will use a Rote curriculum (memorize and repetition) Like learning the Box patterns of the Pentatonic Blues scales. This is a great way to begin. Once this is established, students might ask where do I go from here? By exporing what notes are actually being played in regards to chords is a good first step. This will lead to understanding other possibilites.
"Theory is simply collateral knowledge that links single notes (scales) double stops (2 note harmonize scales) and chords (3 notes from of a scale)" together into one cohesive view". Theory is on the fingerboard. Practical. The object is to understand it in your mind and actualize it on the fingerboard.
CD 7 is a study of theory that glues together instruments of various string number (Cigar Box guitar, banjo, ukulele, 6 string guitar, etc) using Open Tunings.
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njmikeb | eBay

Great stuff Keni, hope you don't mind if i place the link for the 4 string vid on my 4 string group page? (-:


Of course not. Please do. Thank you Steve for your interest and support. Enjoy, Keni Lee

...Mapping the Fingerboard 4
On the CDs regardless of if you choose 3, 4, or 6 string guitar, I teach single notes (scales), doublestops (intervals, chord fragments), and chords (3 note triads and extentions). Once you absorb this information by rote (memorization and repetition) the real learning begins.
Usually students begin by learning songs. Then by using the knowledge of the scales, doublestops, and chords it is possible to analyze how a song is constructed. What notes are being added to the chords? What scale are these notes from? How does the chord progression relate to the scale.
"With this approach, it is possible to use this information to figure out songs or create arrangements."
Ear Training: An Essential Exercise.
These exercises are designed to help students hear tones better. Two notes are compared. Is the second tone higher(sharp) or lower (flat)? How many steps are between the notes? Half, Whole, more?

Exercise 1: Using the Major Scale compare tones: 1 to 3, 1 to 5, 3 to 5. Considering these notes maps out a Major chord, try comparing these tones to other Major scale tones that might be used when soloing over the chord. Try altering the notes (Ex: Major Scale to Minor Pentatonic Blues Scale) How do these tones sound compared to the chord tones?
Exercise 2: Using the Major Scale on string 1, figure out the song Happy Birthday using single notes. Notice how the arrangement works out on the fingerboard.
"Music is not created by running scale, but scales are used to create melody or lead lines."
If you find this interesting, check out my instructional video CDs.
Please feel free to post any questions you have, here on this post. I will try to answer them to the best of my abilities. Enjoy your Practice, Keni Lee

If you are on Facbook, please check out these project pictures. Another variation on the 151 / GDg tuning. I love this stuff. LOL!/media/set/?set=a.502469176447444.127490....

...Mapping the Fingerboard 5 Theory and Practice
There are two aspects to learning guitar. First, the "Mental Memorization and Physical Repetitious Exercsies" to get the information into your mind and body. Second, the use of this "Knowledge and it's Application" for figuring out songs and creating your own unique arrangements. I wasted a lot of time learning how to play guitar by teaching myself and making the mistake of thinking some musical information was not important. "Learning song after song is not enough". After hitting a dead end, I made the backward step and started from the beginning to learn "The Missing Steps". Although, on the second time around, I grounded my study by learning "How Music Really Works".
Just like writing, you need to memorize the alphbet, write letters, spell words, form sentences and write a paragraph before you can sit down and write a great novel like War and Peace. You need a lot of "Collateral Knowledge" about a subject before you can pull all those various elements together into "One Powerful Idea".
The theory I teach on CD 7 is basic. Not Classical or Jazz. "Easy to Learn and Fully Applicable". It doesn't matter if you play a 3 or 4 string Cigar Box Guitar, a 5 string Banjo, a 6 string guitar. It is all about understanding their relativity to each other. What applies to one, applies to the other. "You Just Need to Know How".
These lessons are intended to complement any CD of "The Bottleneck Blues Guitar Series" (CD 1 - 6). Watch the CD from beginning to end, at your leisure. This way you will have the opportunity to get a panoramic view of music theory before you even start to apply the lessons to your chosen instrument. This CD is intended to "Make You Think", and "Move Yourself Up to the Next Level!

You would be extremely lucky, if you could simply "Sell your Soul" to play as well as a Master Bluesman, but it really doesn't work that way. In reality, many years of effort and discipline, is the only way to suceed and attain your dreams.

"But it is all worth it..."

My CD...Only $13.99/$15.49 (International)...Your Soul...Priceless!

"Enjoy Your Practice", Keni Lee


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