"I don't know anything about music. In my line, you don't have to." - Elvis Presley
Don't worry about theory, just get some sweet low-down sounds out of that box of yours. Starting off playing guitar by learning theory is like learning to throw a baseball by studying anatomy and physics. Just play. Watch the videos here from Knotlenny and Shane Speal, and check out Snowden's videos, they're pretty good:
Assuming a "5th" tuning like GDG or DAD, count out the frets and use these positions for melodies and chords:
High string: 0-2-4-5-7-9-11-12
Middle string: 0-2-4
For blues or other more mournful songs, use these:
High string: 0-3-5-7-9-12
Middle string: 0-3
For Ghost Riders in the Sky, use the "mournful songs" frets and sound out the melody using the 2nd fret too. Most of the song can play open strings with just the melody on the high string. Play your chords (slide) all the way across the 3rd fret when it sounds right, and toward the end of the verse and for the "ghost riders in the.." part, play all across the 8th fret (a departure from the "norm"). You might play across the 9th for "yippi yay oh" part.
Listen and play until it sounds good. That's all that matters.
As already suggested, check out Tiny Bites Lessons. They are just the right scope for a new beginner that doesn't have much experience with music or guitar playing. Not too much to be overwhelming at the start and just enough you can get playing by the end of the lesson.
As you progress you will want more details from longer lessons and there are loads of resources here and elsewhere on the web. Google "CBG lesson" or "Cigar Box Guitar Lesson" and see what pops up. Some are great and some are OK, but everyone is teaching their own style and method.
Thanks for the Tiny Bites heads up... Good stuff!
I understand your frustration Fat Toe. Everyone starts there. There are a lot of good videos here and try youtube also. Here is one of my lessons, that I think you should find very straight forward:http://youtu.be/KMdRMFN_5Ck
If you enjoyed the lesson, consider the CD. It is all about that speed.
I teach theory too, but it is far from rocket science. LOL
Many times, students (including myself) start with this easy learn attitude. If then they desire to become better players, they get even more frustrated because they feel they are not getting any better.
There really is a method behind all this madness that progressively helps the student to learn. LOL
Regardless, feel free to write me and ask questions.
Good teachers make the lessons, fit the student. It never should be forced or only one way.
Enjoy your practice, Keni Lee
I'm following Keni Lee's videos, he also backs up his lessons with personal communication via email. I highly recommend him and his videos. Take your time, practice regularly and have fun!