I am a total beginner not just with a 3 string CBG or even beginner with guitar, I am a total beginner for music in general other than listening to it. I was looking at both Justin Johnson's DVD for 3 string guitar and the starter pack on learncigarboxguitar.com and need some guidance. I understand that both of them are most likely members here so I know it could be a touchy question to ask. I am not trying to put anybody in an uncomfortable situation answering, so if you are not comfortable answering that is ok. You could even send me a private message if you felt more comfortable. I just would like to know from people who have tried both hopefully what their thoughts were for a 100% beginner which would give me the best push in starting myself off here without getting discouraged. Any advice is greatly appreciated. If it helps I have made both fretted and unfretted CBGs so really want to learn both slide and fretting.

Thank you,

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Also sorry I should have also said if another set of lessons is recommended I would like to hear about them too. Thanks again!


I have been meaning to get the Justin Johnson DVDs, but haven't yet.  I am still a beginner when it comes to playing guitar (I played sax in middle and high school, so I still remember a bit of music theory). I have been using Keni Lee Burgess' lessons, and they have helped quite a bit.  If you look his name up on eBay, you will find his DVDs for sale. Hope that helps!

Bar on the top of this page says. Click on "How to Play" and it will get you started. Shane Speal has a collection of how to videos on U Tube that are good too.

Hi there Mike

I've sent you a Friend request if you've got any questions on LearnCigarBoxGuitar.com.


Howdy Mike - Here is a link for you.  This fellow, Mordacai, has a really neat FREE video on 'playing the CBG' and his method for learning is entirely different from all the other 'how to' videos.

He geared his video for the TRUE NEWBIE!


Let me know what you think....


Hi Mike,

I'm not a total new player, I have played 6 string a bit, but I bought the learncigarboxguitar.com starter pack and have found it pretty good. He mixes in a little theory with the plain old "how to play something" type material, but not so much that your head will spin. I recommend it.


I started out with Keni Lee and Knotlenny and Shane Speal available free online. Most can be found using the How to Play links on this site. Also search on Youtube. I recently realized that Justin has put more good stuff online for free on his website--which is also linked on the home page here. Patrick gave you his link below where he will let you see samples for free.

You ought to be able to get a good feel for all of these without having to put up any money. Ultimately, I think any of them are worth much more than they're asking for the paid instruction vids, so you really can't go wrong. It's just a matter of whose style of playing and talking makes you most comfortable.

That said, I DID write up an "unsolicited testimonial" when Justin's videos first came out. I think mostly I just liked watching him play and then sitting and trying to duplicate what he had done. A lot of his sounds just happen to be what I wish I could get out of an instrument.

By the way: DO NOT FAIL to watch Knotlenny's intro to the CBG--referenced in the How to Play section. It should be required for anyone who uses this site.

Thanks everybody. I was away until today so was not able to reply. I appreciate all the info. I have looked at some of the free stuff online but being a total beginner i might need a little more. I don't always catch the strumming patterns which are not always explained. Do any of the pay ones go into more detail on that?


The Starter Pack has over 20 songs all chosen to practice the technique for that lesson, all with detailed video and tab. Some are for slide, others for fretted guitars.

Patrick, thank you. I am going to check out your free samples to help me decide what to do. I watched a video you posted of your Easter workshop and liked it so thinking of going this route. I just want to learn and kick myself for waiting so long in life.

Good on you Mike, always good to do your research. And it's never too late to do anything. Cheers.


When you Want to learn to swim ,you have to  throwing the water , at the beginning we swim like a dog ,after we realize, that how much the horizon is far

good hope


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