Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash – 3-string Open G GDG – Cigar Box Guitar Tablature

This tablature will show you exactly how to play the melody and chords for the song Folsom Prison Blues, written and performed by the “Man in Black” himself, Johnny Cash.

Open G GDG Listing ImageThe tablature in the PDF link below will show you exactly how to play the melody and chords for the song Folsom Prison Blues, written and performed by the “Man in Black” himself, Johnny Cash. Cash first recorded this song way back in 1955 and it quickly became one of his signature pieces. It is a rocking fusion of blues and country elements, with murder, prison, trains and longing woven all through it. It is a favorite at jam sessions and definitely worth having in your toolbag.

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: Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash – Cigar Box Guitar Tablature

Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash - Cigar Box Guitar Tablature PDF

 

Free Balalaika Plans

Free Balalaika PlansExperienced cigar box guitar builders know that studying traditional & conventional folk instruments is a great place to pick up new tricks and methods for building CBGs.

These free plans are for a 3-string, triangle-body Russian instrument known as the Balalaika. They were written by James H. Flynn, Jr. in the early 80’s and some time ago he made them freely available. This version of them are listed on www.Luth.org, the site of the Guild of American Luthiers.

Click the image to the left, or click here, to view the full how-to guide in PDF format.

Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty

This song is perhaps the best one ever recorded by Tom Petty. It has a very simple melody that is easy to play on the canjo. Click the Read More link to see the full tab. The rest of the verses can be found on any of the popular song lyrics sites.

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

Free Fallin’

3     4 5    3     3     3   4 5   5     5 3    0   0 3 3 3 4    
She's a good girl, loves her mama. Loves Jesus, and America too.
3    3     4 5    3     3  3   3    4 5    5     5  3    0   0   3  3      4
Yeah she's a good girl, crazy 'bout Elvis. Loves horses, and her boyfriend too.
3    4 5    3   3  3   3  3 4 5   5       5 5   3   3  3    3       3   4    
It's a long day living in Reseda. There's a freeway runnin' through the yard.
3   3   4 5   3    3   0 3     3 3  4    5    5    5   5 5   3   0   3   3    4   5
And I'm a bad boy, cuz I don't even miss her. Yeah I'm a bad boy for breakin' her heart.

Chorus
3   3   5     5    4  3     3    3   5     5    4  3
Now I'm free, free fallin'. Yeah I'm free, free fallin'.

Written by Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne.

Arrangement by C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply

Fretted vs. Fretless Cigar Box Guitars by Shane Speal

Shane Speal Slide GuitarA fan recently asked me:

Hey Shane, is it better to learn on a fretted or slide cigar box guitar?

Turns out, that’s a great question!  When I built my first cigar box guitar over 20 years ago, it had no frets, no fret markers and was played 100% with a slide.  For me, that was the perfect instrument because I wanted to play the deepest Delta blues possible.  I wanted the music to be primitive, creaky and have that slight out-of-tune sound of old Smithsonian recordings.

If you’re looking to capture the really old timey sound of a traditional cigar box guitar, then I suggest you shove a slide on your finger and grind away without frets.  There’s nothing like the whining moan of metal against metal going up the neck.

But wait!!!  There’s also magic happening with the modern Cigar Box Guitar Revolution where people are bucking tradition and utilizing these homemade instruments for something new.  They’re taking the concept of a homemade instrument and mixing it with new sounds they have in their heads.

If you’re not looking for the old time creaky stuff, then a fretted cigar box guitar may be the right tool for you.  Even a simple 3-string fretted cigar box guitar will allow you to play rock power chords, dulcimer-style passages and whatever your fertile brain can imagine.

The lesson here is to simply think about what you want to accomplish and then choose the right tool for the job.  The cigar box guitar is an instrument borne from American poverty back in the days even before The Great The Depression.  The builders and players simply were searching for a sound they couldn’t afford to purchase, so they made their own.  Be like them.  Follow the sound.

I have been working with C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply in creating a library of free cigar box guitar lessons.  Although we are still in the early stages of this project, you can still get a wealth of lessons at their sister site, CigarBoxGuitar.com.  In addition, I have posted my easy-to-follow video series at ShaneSpeal.com.

BTW, when I perform, half of my instruments are fretless and half are fretted.  Since my music encompasses a wide range of mutant styles, I need many guitars to perform a 3 hour bar gig.

Speaking of mutant styles, here’s a freakish video I filmed last night as I was practicing sitar sounds with a 3-string cigar box guitar.


If you just can’t decide between fretted or fretless, then heck with it – build (or buy) one of each! There is no rule that says you can only learn one, and having both styles in your trick bag will only help you become a better player.

– Shane

P. S. For a nice primer on what it takes to fret your own build, check out this article here on CigarBoxGuitar.com: Deciding Whether to Fret Your Cigar Box Guitar

 

 

 

 

Fur Elise by Ludwig von Beethoven – 3-string Open G GDG – Cigar Box Guitar Tablature

Open G GDG Listing Image

Here is one of the most famous and easily recognized classical music masterpieces of all time – Beethoven’s “Fur Elize” piano sonata. We have taken this fairly simple melody and arranged it for 3-string cigar box guitar. It does require a little moving around the neck, and one or two finger stretches that take a little practicing, but it is definitely worth the effort!

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: Fur Elise by Ludwig von Beethoven 3-string Cigar Box Guitar Tablature PDF

Fur Elise by Ludwig von Beethoven 3-string Cigar Box Guitar Tablature PDF