“Open A” AEA Tuning on your Cigar Box Guitar: 4 Methods, with String Sizes & Sound Clips

Cigar Box Guitar StringsNot as widely used as some of the other open “power chord” 1-5-1 tunings, the A E A tuning is still a good one to try out and have in your toolbag. A full step higher than the more widely-seen Open G tuning, the high A note can be a bit too trebly for some people, but the lower tuning with the unwound .016″ as the middle A puts out a really nice sound.

This article gives you the exact strings to use to achieve this tuning on a cigar box guitar (or other instrument) that has a scale length in the range of 24.5 to 25.5 inches.

First, a disclaimer: these recommendations are made based on our experimentation in the C. B. Gitty shops, and it is what we have found to work. Other people may have different opinions, and they are welcome to them. I’m not trying to set any standards or lay down any laws – I am just going to tell you what works for us. 

Check out the various string sets available over at www.CBGitty.com!

Continue reading ““Open A” AEA Tuning on your Cigar Box Guitar: 4 Methods, with String Sizes & Sound Clips”

“Open D” DAD Tuning on your Cigar Box Guitar: 4 Methods, with String Sizes & Sound Clips

Cigar Box Guitar StringsThis article follows the format used in our first article on cigar box guitar tunings, which covered the GDG Open G method. If you read that article, you may find some of this repetitive – feel free to skip down to the bottom where the specific string sizes are listed! – Gitty

After the GDG “Open G” tuning, the next most popular on 3-string cigar box guitars is probably DAD “Open D”. This tuning actually shows up, in part, on standard 6-string guitars, in the alternate “DADGAD” tuning. The lower-pitch versions of this tuning really have a low, bassy feel because of that big low D string, so it can be a very interesting option for cigar box guitar builders.

I have actually personally tested and confirmed (and revised!) the string gauges listed below during the writing of this article, so this isn’t just theory and guessing!

These Open D string sets and Many More available over at www.CBGitty.com!

Before we dive in, a disclaimer: these recommendations are made based on our experimentation in the C. B. Gitty shops, and it is what we have found to work. Other people may have different opinions, and they are welcome to them. I’m not trying to set any standards or lay down any laws – I am just going to tell you what works for us. 

Continue reading ““Open D” DAD Tuning on your Cigar Box Guitar: 4 Methods, with String Sizes & Sound Clips”

“Open E” EBE Tuning on your Cigar Box Guitar: 4 Methods, with String Sizes & Sound Clips

Cigar Box Guitar StringsThis article follows the format used in our previous articles on cigar box guitar tuning. If you have read those articles, you may find some of this repetitive – feel free to skip down to the bottom where the specific string sizes are listed! – Gitty

The Open E tuning is not seen as often as the more popular GDG and DAD tunings, but it is a great alternative for cigar box guitar players, especially if you are playing a lot of blues. Shane Speal used this tuning on his recent album Holler!, on the track Big Leg Woman/Swing the Hammer.

Because of the bluesy feel of this tuning, we purposefully used a little smaller gauge strings on this tuning. The means that the strings are a little looser on the instrument, which is good for playing slide blues. If you like things a little tighter, try bumping up to medium or even heavy-gauge strings.

I have actually personally tested and confirmed (and revised!) the string gauges listed below during the writing of this article, so this isn’t just theory and guessing!

Before we dive in, a disclaimer: these recommendations are made based on our experimentation in the C. B. Gitty shops, and it is what we have found to work. Other people may have different opinions, and they are welcome to them. I’m not trying to set any standards or lay down any laws – I am just going to tell you what works for us. 

Continue reading ““Open E” EBE Tuning on your Cigar Box Guitar: 4 Methods, with String Sizes & Sound Clips”

“Open G” GDG Tuning on your Cigar Box Guitar: 4 Methods, with String Sizes & Sound Clips

Cigar Box Guitar StringsOf all of the three-string cigar box guitar tunings, the most popular is probably the G D G open G tuning. Featured on many how-to-play videos on YouTube and CigarBoxNation.com, this tuning has become the de facto standard for 3-string slide blues.

A lot of new builders run into the question of how they achieve this tuning – which strings they should use, whether to go with larger strings or smaller, and so I wanted to try to demystify the topic.

First, a disclaimer: these recommendations are made based on our experimentation in the C. B. Gitty shops, and it is what we have found to work. Other people may have different opinions, and they are welcome to them. I’m not trying to set any standards or lay down any laws – I am just going to tell you what works for us. 

These Open G string sets and Many More available over at www.CBGitty.com!

Continue reading ““Open G” GDG Tuning on your Cigar Box Guitar: 4 Methods, with String Sizes & Sound Clips”

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”

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.

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

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

 

Ballad of the Green Berets – Tab for Open G GDG Cigar Box Guitars

Written in 1966 by Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler, with help from author Robin Moore (The Green Berets), “The Ballad of the Green Berets” is one of the more popular songs to come out of the years during the Vietnam War.

Below we have two versions of the tab written for Cigar Box Guitars tuned to Open G – GDG. It can also be used for any of the other 1-5-1 tunings.

The first version presents just the basic melody of the song. This is a great starting place, particular for beginning players.

The second is slightly more advanced version that presents chords that add a little depth to the song.