3-String Cigar Box Guitar Tunings

Shane Speal shows various ways to retune a 3-string cigar box guitar.

The guitar is strung with A,D,G strings and tuned to GDG to start.

Tunings discussed:

  • G7, the Jazz Tuning – G,D,F (low to high)
  • G6, Hawaiian Tuning – G,D,E (low to high)
  • G add Gb, the New Agey tuning – G,D,Gb (low to high)
  • Dirty D – D,D,A (low to high)

Screening the Sound Holes Gives Your Cigar Box Guitar a Clean Look


There are many different designs and ideas for sound holes in cigar box guitars, but the simple process of adding window screen mesh can greatly clean up the look and give the instrument a Dobro attitude.  Shane Speal shows you the simple process in the video below.

Tools needed:

  • Scroll Saw or coping saw
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Optional: Linseed oil and Q-Tips (see extra tip below video)

EXTRA TIP: Using Q-tips, apply linseed oil to the cut edges of the hole. It darkens and seals the wood. It gets rid of the “cut out” look.


Using Four (!) Piezos in a Cigar Box Guitar for Percussion Effect

four piezos

Cigar box guitar builders go to great lengths to reduce tapping noises in their acoustic pickups.  However, an ingenius builder/performer from Australia, known as “Chick Who Tinkers” has taken the opposite approach.  She has wired her cigar box guitar with four individual piezos to enhance tapping, rhythm and thumps as she plays.

Her design uses four small piezo pickups that are connected straight to a guitar jack.  No volume or tone pots are used.  This allows 100% signal to go to the jack.

Here’s how she wires it up: Continue reading “Using Four (!) Piezos in a Cigar Box Guitar for Percussion Effect”