Baa Baa Black Sheep – Traditional

The earliest surviving edition of this beloved children’s song dates back to the early 18th century, and today it is known throughout the western world. 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

Baa Baa Black Sheep (Version 1 – Low)

Same tune as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

0   0   4     4      5    5   5 5 4     
Baa Baa black sheep, have you any wool?
3   3    2   2    1     1    0
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.
4   4   4   3  3    2   2   2   1
One for the master, one for the dame,
4   4   4   3  3   3   3   2     2    2   1
One for the little boy who lives down the lane.
0   0   4     4      5    5   5 5 4     
Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool?
3   3    2   2    1     1    0
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.

Baa Baa Black Sheep (Version 2 – High)

3   3   8     8      9    9   9 9 8     
Baa Baa black sheep, have you any wool?
6   6    5   5    4    4     3
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.
8   8   8   6  6    5   5   5   4
One for the master, one for the dame,
8   8   8   6  6   6   6   5     5    5   4
One for the little boy who lives down the lane.
3   3   8     8      9    9   9 9 8     
Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool?
6   6    5   5    4    4     3
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.

To learn more about this beloved children’s song, check out this Wikipedia article.

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

Belinda Gent (bemuzic)

Musical styles: Blues, Folk
Handmade instruments played: Cigar box guitar, diddley bow, cigar box bass, canjo…

She doesn’t have a distinct recollection of how she was introduced to music, just that is was always around her growing up. Belinda Gent can’t even cite a particular musical influence in her family, but the spark to create was deep inside her.

As a youth, Gent played the recorder in school and later taught herself a little piano. But her true desire was to play guitar. She wished hard for a guitar one Christmas. As a wanting youth will, Gent skillfully angled her parents towards a six string in a shop. Much to her dismay, the guitar as a gift was not meant to be.

Years later, shortly after hearing this story, Gent’s husband surprised her with the instrument she had wanted, and a guitar player was born. She learned to love the guitar but Gent always felt something was missing from the experience.

After the trials of life forced her to take a 20-year hiatus from playing a six string, in 2009 Gent discovered cigar box guitars. “…something about them totally clicked with me. I loved the sound straight away. Shane Speal’s lessons got me started, then I was off!” Gent loved the raw, simple nature of CBGs, and the music she could make with them.

Gent began writing songs of her own and, despite a healthy fear of singing in front of people, began busking. “I still can’t believe that I go out and sing on the streets, but I love it!” She credits the community on Cigar Box Nation for support in pursuing her desire to perform.

Playing one in front of strangers on the street isn’t the only passion she has for cigar box guitars. Again with help from the Cigar Box Nation community, Gent learned to build her own CBGs. And as soon as she’s done building a CBG, she’s quick to begin playing it. “Each new instrument I make has a different sound, and often that will spark off a song.

Across YouTube, Cigar Box Nation and a few other stops on the internet, one can find Gent performing in her eclectic style. She has a lovely voice, well suited to soft acoustic folk music but she plays much more than that. As Gent says, she’ll play “blues, folk, singer songwriter…sad songs, silly songs, whatever comes out! ”

Gent has not only built her own CBGs, and regularly performed in public; she’s also released several albums. Most recently she released a 20 track live album in the summer of 2015, recorded while doing what she loves: performing for people.

Gent “finds great satisfaction in playing her own songs, on instruments she made herself, getting feedback from people and selling a few CD’s.” You can find her on Cigar Box Nation and YouTube, and buy her original music at https://bemuzic.bandcamp.com/.

Ben Prestage

Musical styles: Florida Swamp Blues, Mississippi Blues, Old-Time Americana, Originals

Handmade instruments played: cigar box guitar, cigar box fiddle, Lowebow

Ben was raised near the Everglades in Florida with nothing but the blues playing in the house. His grandfather’s influence made certain that Mississippi blues specifically helped to shape the boy’s musical interests.

Being in a rural area, seven miles in either direction to a paved road, the silence afforded Ben the chance to hear his neighbor pick bluegrass tunes on his banjo, half a mile away. This same neighbor would pay visits to the Prestage home from time to time, and it is then that Ben was taught to play a little finger-style banjo.

Later in life Ben could be found busking on historic Beale Street in Memphis, TN. With endless music and performing artists to distract a passerby, he found attracting an audience to be a challenge.

Taking cues from some of the other street performers, Ben learned how to play drums with his feet to accompany his guitar and vocals. Not only did people stop to listen and buy his CDs but they began to dance, hoot ‘n’ holler. People loved his new found style. Ben became a one man blues band.

From the bio on his website (see link below): “Ben returned to Memphis over the next few years for the International Blues Challenge (the world’s largest gathering of Blues musicians) and within three consecutive years took 4th, 3rd, and 2nd place. He is also the only two-time recipient of the Lyon/Pitchford Award for “Best Diddley-Bow Player.” Ben’s interesting approach to instrumentation, (finger-style guitar, harmonica, banjo, lap-steel, fiddle, resonator guitar, foot-drums, vocals), and his award-winning original songwriting (recipient of “The Most Unique Performer” at “The Song-writers’ Showcase of America”) has earned him invitations to perform across North America, Europe, and as far as North Africa.” 

Ben has headlined the Huntsville Cigar Box Guitar Festival in Huntsville, AL and many other prominent venues.

You can find Ben at www.benprestagemusic.com.

Blank 3-string Cigar Box Guitar Tablature

Blank 3-string Tab Sheet
Click to open the print-able PDF document.

Here is a blank tablature sheet for 3-string instruments, including our favorite the 3-string cigar box guitar! You can use this if you want to try your hand at creating some of your own tablature of your favorite songs.

Click on the link above or on the image to the left to download the full print-able PDF document. This sheet can be used freely, for any educational, personal or commercial purpose. We hope to see it being put to good use!

Blister in the Sun by the Violent Femmes – 3-string Open G GDG – Chords & Tablature for Cigar Box Guitars

Open G GDG Listing ImageBlister in the Sun is one of the classic alternative rock anthems. First released in 1983 on the self-titled album by the Violent Femmes, it remained popular through the 1990’s and still is heard today. The opening riff is one of this song is one of the most recognizable in rock and roll, right up there with Smoke on the Water.

 

Another great thing about this song is that on the 3-string cigar box guitar tuned to Open G GDG, it can all be played on one string! An alternative arrangement could take it lower to make use of the second and third strings, but we leave that up to you. It is a very simple melody line, so have some fun with it!

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: Blister in the Sun by the Violent Femmes

Click the image above to view the print-able PDF for this tablature.

Blowin’ in the Wind by Bob Dylan – 3-string Open G GDG – Cigar Box Guitar Tablature

Open G GDG Listing ImageThe 3-string cigar box guitar tablature in the PDF link below will show you exactly how to play the melody and chords for the song Blowin’ in the Wind, written and performed by Bob Dylan. This is one of the best known of Dylan’s songs, and is a bona-fide folk anthem. It also has a nice easy-to-play melody and chord structure.

The printable tablature sheet linked below contains both the simple melody-only version as well as a more advanced version that includes some chords.

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!

We also have a video by Glenn Watt that shows you how to read and play this style of 3-string CBG tablature: click here to view it!

Click this link or the image below to view the printable PDF: Blowin in the Wind by Bob Dylan – Cigar Box Guitar Tablature

Blowin in the Wind by Bob Dylan - Cigar Box Guitar Tablature

 

Blue Christmas as performed by Elvis Presley – 3-string Open G GDG – Cigar Box Guitar Tablature

Open G GDG Listing ImageThe tablature in the PDF link below shows you the notes and chords you need to play the bluesy Christmas song Blue Christmas on your 3-string cigar box guitar or other homemade instrument tuned to open G GDG. Perhaps the most famous artist to record this song was none other than the King himself, Mr. Elvis Presley, but a whole cast of other singers and bands have done so as well. They include Johnny Cash, Collective Soul, REO Speedwagon, Kelly Clarkson, Bruce Springsteen and Michael Buble, just to name a few.

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!

If you need some help with this style of tablature, here’s a video where Glenn Watt shows you how to read it

Click this link or the image below to view the printable PDF: Blue Christmas (Elvis Presley) Cigar Box Guitar Tablature PDF

Blues legend, Furry Lewis describes his first cigar box guitar

Memphis blues legend, Furry Lewis got his start playing on a cigar box guitar he built with his own hands.  He was known to tell the story of it to visitors of his Memphis home, always embellishing a few details.  Several versions of the tale have been chronicled.  Here are two:

From the book, Goin’ Back to Sweet Memphis by Fred J. Hay

“The first guitar that I had, I made it myself.  Because, quite naturally, it couldn’t be no guitar if I made it, but I could make some tunes with it.  I taken a cigar box and tacked it down, where you couldn’t open it, and I cut a little hole in there, in the middle of it, just like a guitar.  Then I taken another guitar and got me a strip off of it like that and tacked it on there like the guitar neck.  And I got screen wire, just like you get off your screen door or screen window… And I had some nails and I nailed them in there, in the neck part like you was tuning it, and the nails bent in there and bent them.  And then when you bent them like that, it tuned it.  Don’t you think it won’t.  Yeah, that’s where I learnt.

Another version of his story was captured in the book, For Black and Blue: Life and Music on Black America’s Main Street by Margaret McKee and Fred Chisenhall:

Well, I guess I was ’bout twelve, thirteen years old, something like that, when I first started playing guitar.  I didn’t have none so I got a cigar box, I cut a hole in the top, but a board and nail it on there.  And I taken four nails, put wire on ’em from a screen door for strings.  I couldn’t play it, but I rapped the sides, hootin’ and hollerin’.  I thought I was doin’ somethin’, you know.

The book continues:

He strolled the streets with his guitar for nickels and dimes, played parties for his neighbors and jived with jug bands for bigger to-dos.  Most prized, and most repeated, were the memories of playing with W.C. Handy…

 

Archived April 26, 2017 by Ben Baker and Shane Speal for CigarBoxGuitar.com

Boogie in G – 3-string Open G GDG – Cigar Box Guitar Tablature

Open G GDG Listing Image

This melody and rhythm combination is one of the basic building blocks of the blues, and an awful lot of songs have been recorded using it or variations of it. Feel free to make up your own words, and have fun with it!

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: Boogie Woogie in G Cigar Box Guitar Tablature

View the video below to see and hear C. B. Gitty playing this exact tablature.

Boogie Woogie in G Cigar Box Guitar Tablature

Build Me Up Buttercup – 3-string Open G GDG – Tablature for Cigar Box Guitars

This song is a feel-good rock and roll classic, first recorded by The Foundations in 1980 and covered a number of times since. This version of it has been arranged and tabbed by Glenn Watt. Glenn gives us two versions of the song – the basic melody line, and then the tabbed version with the chords.

You can view the printable tablature sheets by clicking on the link or images below. You can also watch the video below where Glenn shows you how he plays (and sings!) the song on his 3-string cigar box guitar tuned to Open G “GDG”.

Build Me Up Buttercup (Melody Only) – Tablature for 3-string Cigar Box Guitars

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

 

Build Me Up Buttercup (Chords) – Tablature for 3-string Cigar Box Guitars

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

 

Building Cigar Box Mountain Dulcimers

A Trio of Cigar Box Mountain DulcimersIf you are looking to expand your cigar box instrument-building repertoire beyond the basic 3 and 4-string cigar box guitars, then consider taking a look at a classic instrument of American folk and roots music: the mountain dulcimer. A unique strummed/plucked instrument that is distinct from the hammered dulcimer, the mountain dulcimer is well suited to building with cigar boxes. In this article, experienced cigar box mountain dulcimer (CBMD) builder Diane from Chicago shares photos and discusses some of her methods for creating these beautiful instruments.
Continue reading “Building Cigar Box Mountain Dulcimers”