CIGAR BOX GUITAR VIDEO LESSON: “Smokestack Lightning” by Howlin Wolf

Video lesson for cigar box guitar. Shane Speal breaks down the iconic riff from Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightning” into an easy-to-play 3-string cigar box guitar riff. Speal is the author of Making Poor Man’s Guitars (Fox Chapel Publishing, 2018)

“Smokestack Lightning” is a one-chord drone blues song recorded by legendary singer, Howlin’ Wolf in 1956.  In this video lesson, Shane Speal breaks down the guitar lines, originally played by Hubert Sumlin and turns them into an accessible 3-string cigar box guitar riff. 

For reference, we present the original recording.  Scroll down for the lesson.

Tune your cigar box guitar to Open G to start the first lesson:

Official Shane Speal:

Strings & tuner from the video at


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