A Homemade Hawaiian (Cigar Box) Ukulele – Popular Mechanics June, 1917

This article on how to build a cigar box ukulele comes from the June, 1917 edition of Popular Mechanics. In it S. H. Samuels walks the reader through the basics of constructing a uke, which in 1917 “was made at a cost of 30 cents, by careful selection of materials from the shop scrap stock.”

Click the image below to see as PDF of the article, or you can click here to see the article in the original context of the Popular Mechanics edition,

Popular Mechanics Cigar Box Ukulele Article - June 1917
Click the image above to view the original article.

 

A Step-by-Step Guide On How To Make a Straight Headstock

No fancy tools required to make this awesome headstock for your cigar box guitar

By Glenn Watt

Thanks to craftswoman Farley Andresen for the demonstrating the work Straight heastock featured image

 No fancy tools required to make this awesome headstock for your cigar box guitar

Cigar box is in the name, but the neck is what turns the box into a cigar box guitar.

And the headstock – the part of the neck that anchors your tuning pegs – is a critical component to getting, and keeping, your CBG fully functional. Continue reading “A Step-by-Step Guide On How To Make a Straight Headstock”

A. J. Gaither

Musical styles: Blues, Hillbilly, Honky-tonk, Originals
Handmade instruments played: Cigar Box Guitar, Washtub Bass, Foot Percussion

A. J. Gaither spent the bulk of his young adulthood getting his hands dirty, making a living working on cars. But the southern Arkansas native found a way to keep his hands busy, building and playing handmade musical instruments, while avoiding arrest and living further north in Kansas City.

After a spell in a two piece band playing washtub bass, A. J. took his low-tech, hillbilly blues on the road as a one man band. He builds all of his own cigar box guitars and foot percussion. He also writes his own songs, books his own gigs, drives the van, sets up, tears down each night. A. J. fully embraces what is to be an entirely do it yourself musical performer, often living out of his tour van while on the road.

A. J. has turned his DIY spirit into playing whiskey-soaked tales of heartache, performing on the road, and longing for home. Not one to wallow in melancholy, he is also known to tear up a barroom with his foot-stomping, red-lined hillbilly jams.

Having released three full length albums (his recent Live album is newly available from C. B. Gitty), A. J. continues to tour the southern and mid-western U.S. playing countless honky-tonks, barrooms, and dives; anywhere that he finds an audience who appreciates his Do-It-Yourself, one-man band style.

 

AJ Gaither can be found on Facebook.

Amazing Grace – 3-string Open G GDG – Cigar Box Guitar Tablature

If you had to choose just one song as the anthem of Western Christianity, it would probably be Amazing Grace. The words to the song, written by English poet and clergyman John Newton, were first published in 1779. The words were first put to a tune around 1835, when William Walker began using an old traditional tune New Britain along with the words… and that is largely the same tune we use today.

New_Britain_Southern_Harmony_Amazing_Grace
This image from a hymnal published in 1847 shows the words and music of Amazing Grace, still under the title of the traditional tune “New Britain”.

In the centuries since its first publication, Amazing Grace has been arranged, re-arranged, performed, recorded and re-imagined uncounted thousands of times. It is a song that is truly in the public domain, part of the collective consciousness of large swaths of the modern world that have taken part in the Christian Tradition.

Glenn Watt and Ben “C. B. Gitty” Baker are creating a series of 3-string cigar box guitar tablature PDFs for this timeless song, which have begun to be released here on CigarBoxGuitar.com. These tablatures are released entirely into the public domain without advertisements, and with no need for attribution, copyright or branding of any kind. We believe this to be a song that belongs to the world, which no one person can claim to own, and we give our personal interpretations of it freely. We hope you enjoy it!

Version 1 – Basic Melody

This version of the tablature gives you the song in its most basic melody form. Recommended for new players! Click the image below to view the printable PDF file.

AmazingGracePDF

Version 2 – Melody and Chords

Here both the melody line and some chord accompaniment is given, for a fuller and more soulful sound. Some filler notes to lead up to and down to the main melody notes are also added to flesh out the tune. Click the image below to view the printable PDF file.

Amazing Grace with Chords Tablature PDF

Amazing Grace – 4-string Open G GDGB – Cigar Box Guitar Tablature

This tablature will show you exactly how to play the melody and chords for the hymn Amazing Grace on 4-string cigar box guitars tuned to Open G GDGB.

If you are uncertain how to read this tablature, please watch this video by Glenn Watt in which he explains how to read and understand it.

Click this link or the image below to view the printable PDF: Amazing Grace Tablature for 4-string Cigar Box Guitars – Open G GDGB Tuning

Click the image above to view the printable tablature sheet.
Click the image above to view the printable tablature sheet.

Amazing Grace – Traditional

This song was first published in 1779 and is known throughout the western world. If you only learn one Christian spiritual, this should probably be it. Thankfully, it is very easy to play on the canjo! View the full text of this entry by clicking the “Read More” link below for the formatted canjo tab…

American Canjo Company

Arrangement courtesy of C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply, intended for playing on American Canjo Company™ brand one-string canjos with dulcimer-style fretting, with fret numberings as shown below. The open unfretted string is notated as “0″.

Canjo Diagram

Amazing Grace (Version 1 – Low)

1 2 4 7 4  7      5   4     2   1      1    4     7 4 7    5    9
A-a-mazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.
7 9    7   4     1   2   4   1      1   4     7 4 7   5 4
I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.

Additional Verses

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fear relieved,
How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come;
'tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.

Through many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come;
'tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.

To learn more about this classic spiritual song, check out this Wikipedia article.

Arrangement by C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply
Copyright 2014 by C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply

America the Beautiful – 3 String Open GDG Cigar Box Guitar Tab

On the 4th of July, 1895 the words for what we now know as “America the Beautiful” were published as a poem in a church periodical by Katharine Lee Bates.

It wasn’t until 1904 that the song as we know it today came about, when combined with a piece of music named “Materna”, composed by Samuel A. Ward.

Since then it has been one of our country’s most beloved anthems, with various campaigns over the last century to have it replace “The Star Spangled Banner”.

Today we provide you with a basic tablature of the song, written for Open G – GDG Cigar Box Guitars. This tab will also work with any of the other 1-5-1 tunings.

We also include a more advanced version, presented below, that adds some chords into the mix to round out. As well as an alternate version, in the key of G.

America the Beautiful

America the Beautiful Key of G

With Chords

April Mae & the June Bugs

Musical styles: Jump blues, Swing, Boogie, Americana, Rockabilly, Originals

Handmade instruments played: Cigar Box Guitar

Southern New Jersey natives April Mae and Dave “Catfish” Fecca form two-thirds of the blues/Americana trio, April Mae & the June Bugs. Prior to the inception of their current band, April and Catfish toured from Memphis to Mexico in a blues-fusion group. Their time spent in the south strengthened their ties to the blues which led to them being awarded the honor of 2009 Emerging Artist finalists at the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas.

All that time traveling the south allowed them to dig deeper into the complexities of Americana adding rockabilly, boogie, swing, gospel, and bluegrass to their list of musical influences. After a performance in their old stomping grounds at a cigar box guitar festival in New Jersey, April and Catfish found the distinctive sound they were looking for. Adding an upright bass player to the mix, April Mae & the June Bugs were formed in 2010, delighting crowds with their eclectic, spunky, roots music performances. April’s amazing vocal talents combined with Dave’s killer guitar chops and on-stage antics make for one heck of a show.

Traveling in an unmistakable red and cream colored, biodiesel-powered vintage school bus, April and the crew continue to tour, rocking clubs and being featured at festivals and events throughout the south. They have made regular appearances at several prominent Cigar Box Guitar festivals, including the two largest in Huntsville, Alabama and York, Pennsylvania.

Website: http://www.aprilmaeandthejunebugs.com/

Ashokan Farewell – 3-string Open G GDG – Cigar Box Guitar Tablature

Open G GDG Listing ImageThe tablature in the PDF link below will show you exactly how to play the melody and chords for the popular tune Ashokan Farewell, written by Jay Ungar. This tune has pretty much become the “go-to” song any time someone wants to evoke plaintive, longing, wistful Americana… for example, it made quite a few appearances in Ken Burns’ immensely popular PBS documentary on the American Civil War. It is also always a favorite at campfire pickin’ sessions, so it’s a great one to have in your cigar box guitar tablature toolbelt!

All of the cigar box guitar tablature here on CigarBoxGuitar.com is presented by The Southbound String Company, the only strings specifically chosen and voiced for cigar box guitars. Be sure to check out our line of Open G GDG cigar box guitar string sets here!

Click this link or the image below to view the printable PDF: Ashokan Farewell Cigar Box Guitar Tablature PDF

Listen to an MP3 Demo of this Tab

Auld Lang Syne – 3-string Open G GDG – Cigar Box Guitar Tablature

This is the the popular Scottish New Year’s celebration song Auld Lang Syne, as arranged and tabbed by Glenn Watt. Glenn has created two versions of the tab – the first one is just the basic melody lines, and the second adds some chord accompaniment.

You can view the printable PDFs by clicking on the images below. You can also watch the video below where Glenn shows you how to play the song on his 3-string cigar box guitar tuned to Open G “GDG”.

Aule Lang Syne - Melody Only - Click Image to view PDF
Auld Lang Syne – Melody Only – Click Image to view PDF

 

Auld Lang Syne - Melody and Chords - Click image to view PDF
Auld Lang Syne – Melody and Chords – Click image to view PDF