This one has a little more advanced chord progression, but it’s a great song to add to your toolbag.
A number of other big-name performers have also recorded the tune, including Emmy Lou Harris, Stevie Nicks, Don King, Flatt & Scruggs and even Jimmy Buffett.
Like many of Johnny Cash’s best-known songs, this one is a “three-chorder” – just C, F and G7 being needed to play it.
In this video lesson, Dan Russell shows you how to play the old folk/country song “If I Needed You” on the cigar box ukulele. This one was written by Townes Van Zandt and has been recorded by Emmy Lou Harris and other well-known performers.
This song requires only 3 basic uke chords to play, so with a little practice anyone should be able to play it!
This is a great old folk/bluegrass/mountain song, a plaintive tale of longing and regret. Believed to have originated in the 1870’s, it has been recorded many times over the years, by artists such as Lead Belly, Ralph Stanley, Bill Monroe, Dave Van Ronk, Joan Baez, The Oakridge Boys, Dolly Parton and even Nirvana did a version.
You can learn more about the song on its Wikipedia page.
In this video lesson, Dan Russell shows you how to play the old song “Stagger Lee” (also known as Stack-o-Lee, Stag-o-Lee and other titles) on the cigar box ukulele This classic number is part blues, part cajun and part history, and has been performed Mississippi John Hurt, Dr. John and many more musicians. Five basic uke chords are used in this lesson, and while the progression is not what would be considered “standard”, it is still a nice easy one to play.
This old American blues/folk song was recorded by Alan Lomax and first published in 1934. It has been recorded and released by a number of folk singers over the years, including The Byrds, Old Crow Medicine Show, Woodie Guthrie, Jerry Garcia and even the Flying Burrito Brothers!
In this video lesson, One-hand Dan Russell shows you how to play this great old song on the cigar box ukulele.
Here are the chords you’ll need to play it. Dan shows you the progression and sings the melody for you in the video. Note: In the video the chord form for D7 actually shows D flat 7 – be sure your first finger is barring on the second fret, not the first fret and you’ll be OK.
In this video lesson, Dan shows you how to play the old blues song “The Midnight Special”. This was a traditional folk song first popularized by Lead Belly, and has been recorded by many other artists such as Big Bill Broonzy, The Beatles, Burl Ives, Van Morrison, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney.
In this video lesson, Dan presents the song more in the style of Lead Belly than of some of the later adaptations. The chords and progression are nice and simple, so grab your uke and give it a try!
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,
This is the full how-to guide from C. B. Gitty’s Cigar Box Ukulele kit. While written with a focus on assembling the kit C. B. Gitty sells (which includes all of the parts and hardware you need in one easy package), this how-to guide is a good general introduction to building a cigar box ukulele, and could be useful if you want to try it on your own from scratch.
Click Here or on the image to the left to view the full guide document.