Red River Valley is one of the top cowboy songs of all time, and also one of the first songs learned by any aspiring guitar player who went through the classic Mel Bay Guitar Method Volume 1 instruction book. More info about the song can be found in the Wiki article here.
This version of it has been arranged and tabbed by Glenn Watt. Glenn gives us three versions of the song – the basic melody line, and then the tabbed version with the chords, and finally a “double stop” version that provides an interesting take on a two-part harmony.
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”.
Musical style: Hill country blues Handmade instruments played: Cigar box guitar, Lowebow
As a ten year old boy Richard Johnston was given his first six string guitar. The gift, being strung with only four strings, presented Richard with his first taste of playing droning notes, something that later in life re-emerged in his style of hill country blues.
Richard was introduced to the open G tuning and playing style of Robert Johnson while in university in southern California. He was smitten and incorporated what he heard into his own guitar playing. Richard continued his education in Japan for a spell, playing his Robert Johnson influenced blues guitar at a local watering hole.
His passion for playing slide guitar stuck with him and he stayed in Japan, eventually finding a regular paying gig. That gig got him noticed by a writer from Memphis, TN who encouraged Richard to come back to the States to play his first blues festival in Memphis.
There Richard found and fell in love with Beale Street. With that Richard moved to the Music City where he found a living busking. Busking in Memphis put Richard in close proximity to the north Mississippi hill country blues with its driving drones that would ultimately shape his playing style.
Memphis also put him close to John Lowe. John was making unique handmade instruments and selling them in his Memphis store. After playing a couple of his instruments, Richard asked John make a custom cigar box guitar. This eventually turned into a creative collaboration that produced the storied Lowebow.
By this time, Richard had become accustomed to playing percussion with his feet while busking. He took the double stick-necked cigar box guitar that Lowe had made and won first place in the 2001 International Blues Challenge along with the Albert King Guitar Award.
Richard has gone on to play his foot-stomping brand of hill country blues in 13 different countries at some of the biggest music festivals in the world. Along with establishing himself as a soulful singing one man band Richard has also been the impetus for an instrument that helped to change the way music on the cigar box guitar is played.
When looking at the use of piezo elements as pickups in acoustic instruments, and specifically in cigar box guitars, there are two main types that get used – disk-style piezos, and rod-style piezos
While disk piezos are perhaps more prevalent, because they tend to be cheaper and easier to find, many builders feel that the rod-style piezos offer superior sound and tonal quality. This article delves into the differences between disk and rod-style piezos, and takes a close look at how rod piezos are put together.
The tablature in the PDF link below shows you how to play the melody and chords for the popular song Royals, written and performed by Lorde. This is the biggest hit the young performer has had, and it comes out surprisingly good on a 3-string cigar box guitar.
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: