CIGAR BOX GUITAR VIDEO LESSON: R. L. Burnside “Nine Days in Jail”

Shane Speal tackles an obscure R. L. Burnside blues song, “Nine Days In Jail” by inventing a brand new cigar box guitar tuning. This in-depth lesson explores RL’s riffs and the Missississippi fife-and-drum style rhythm involved. Essential blues lesson for 3-string cigar box guitar! Shane Speal is the author of Making Poor Man’s Guitars (Fox Chapel Publishing, 2018)

TUNING: C MINOR (IMPLIED) – A variation of the Open G tuning (GDG). To get this tuning, simply take an Open G cigar box guitar and raise the middle string to Eb.

The song, “Nine Days in Jail” is from R. L. Burnside’s album, My Black Name A-Ringin’.

For reference, we present the original song.

R. L. played the original version in the key of C#minor…or somewhere near that. (He probably didn’t use a tuner.) Shane Speal arranges the song for Cminor using a new tuning that is very similar to Open G: G Eb G.

Here’s the lesson. Enjoy!

Shane Speal

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