"Boogie Box" CBGs ... Tuning, learning and playing... Questions, Questions!!

I just bought an Arturo Fuente "Boogie Box" CBG (built by Tio Ezra in CA).  Being new to the CBG scene, I jumped in without looking.  According to Tio, his CBGs are built to be tuned one way - any other way and they will not work (or break).  see his video describing how they are to be tuned -> https://www.youtube.com/user/boogieboxman#p/u/1/-ghTvpwLut0  Best I can tell, the tuning that he is recommending is CGCE, and that is how I have tuned it.  If I were to try a more common tuning, such as DGBD or DGBE, is it really likely that I will do harm to this guitar? 


Tio has a few instructional videos, but he goes so fast it's hard to pick up (errr, no pun intended) what he is doing.  I know there are many other lesson videos out there, but because of the tuning, I'm guessing that the lessons won't translate very well.  (correct assumption?) 


The action is very high on this guitar, so apparently using the slide is the only way to play it.  With a lot of guitar experience, I was hoping that I could play it more like a guitar, so in that respect I've kicked the pooch, I guess. 


Not only am I new to CBGs, but I am also new to using a slide.  I've discovered that, contrary to my initial thoughts, I do not have to press the slide all the way down onto the fretboard, rather I just apply a little pressure.  Surprise!  I didn't expect that.  Any hints on how to get used to playing like this?  Currently, per Tio's videos, I am using a shot glass as a slide, but that's cumbersome and will be changing to a more manageable, gruitar-like slide.  That should help, I assume. 


Are there any other "Boogie Box" players out there?  (players / owners of the Tio Ezra-built guitars)

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I'd just enjoy this cbg for what it is... it does look to be a good instrument for slide work, with which you can get quite sophisticated. Get one with lower action, as well... not to replace it, but to complement it.

Have you looked into the video lessons on the site? That's straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak (no 'fense, Mr. Speal, sir.). http://www.cigarboxnation.com/page/how2play-1

With slide, you only need to lightly touch the strings. As someone said, you can dampen the strings with your fingers on the opposite side of the slide from the bridge to eliminate rattle. I do this sometimes, but don't worry much about it if I get to playing energetically. It takes some practice to learn to touch the strings without rattling against them. I would invest in a new slide, as it's much easier to use something that fits your finger. CB gitty sells stubby slides for fairly cheap, otherwise you can make your own from sawing off some copper pipe or breaking off a glass bottle neck (there's a trick to it).


I wouldn't mind seeing the guitar. I don't understand why you couldn't put different strings or tune them up a little differently. Then again, I didn't make it...

I would assume as Tony said, that the tuning advise is based on the string tension that guitar will tolerate.

Some pictures might help.

Slide technique advise? Practice. Still feels odd to me, and everyone makes it look so easy! Damnit.......

That is the recommended tuning with those strings.  If you want to try a different tuning down the road, use different gauge strings.  You can use this string gauge calculator to help you choose the correct gauge for each note you want in the tuning of your choice.  Measure from the nut to the bridge for your "length", select the note you want and it will tell you what gauge that particular string should be.  The head down to your music store and purchase just the strings you need.  Or check the gauges in the packaged sets and choose a set that at least gets you close to the ones you need.  There is a good bit of wiggle room.




Trying to get a very different tuning with the strings as they are will either make for some very floppy strings or some strings that are so tight they are A: hard to play, and B: stressing the instrument.

Great!  I REALLY appreciate everyone's input!  I'm feelin' a little better about my purchase.  The Gitter DOES have a pretty good sound, though I haven't had a chance to plug it into an amp yet.  The slide is a huge departure from what I am used to, and definitely has me out of my comfort zone, but I'm working on that!


DOH!  I actually "accidentally" ended up with another of Tio's Boogie Boxes... I'd placed an eBay bid on it (never thinking I'd win) when I was debating between the one I bought earlier and this unit... well, as MY "luck" goes, that bid won last night, so now I have two Boogie Box CBGs - one with a single pickup, one with dual pickups (both with African White Limba necks).  I guess that's not entirely a bad thing, but I guess I will be getting to know the "classied ad" section on Cigar Box Nation in the near future!


Thanks again everyone...  happy pickin'! 

Hi, I made this Beginning Slide video for another CBN member and several people have found it helpful: http://www.cigarboxnation.com/video/beginning-slide-by-skeesix
Limba is a good solid neck wood, whether black or white. Gibson used it on the '58 Flying V. These gits should be able to take slightly heavier strings, or lighter for that matter...

Nice - and helpful - vid, Skeesix! 


I'd never heard of the African Limba wood until I saw the limited series of CBGs that Tio Ezra built.  It does look sweet, and is great to hear that the necks should be able to withstand heavier strings (thanks for the tidbit, clockwork)



I have a few slide tutorials on youtube, as well. search jayp5150. It may help.


Not trying to step on toes, I can't watch anyone else's vids here at work, so I'll check them out later.

Yes... I checked out your tutorials and they definitely helped!  Thanks!
Not a problem. Thanks! Glad they were relevant. I've been meaning to do more, I just can't find the time.


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