Paul McCartney plays a Cigar Box Guitar with Nirvana

This clip comes from the 12.12.12 Hurricane Sandy benefit concert, and shows Paul McCartney playing a Matty Baratto Cigfiddle (cigar box guitar) with Dave Grohl and the other surviving members of Nirvana. A few days later, they did it again on Saturday Night Live. These two appearances of a cigar box guitar on stage, in the hands of one of the greatest living musicians, was the biggest public recognition ever received by our namesake instrument, and we include the clip here because of that historical significance.

McCartney also played this cigar box guitar (rumored to have been given to him by Johnny Depp) in Grohl’s “Sound City” film (the single of the song “Cut Me Some Slack” later won a Grammy), and it also made an appearance in one of Sir Paul’s music videos.

Piezo Wiring Diagrams

Putting electronic components into a cigar box guitar, and getting everything properly wired and connected, can be a daunting task for the first-timer – but it doesn’t have to be. In this article we will present several basic wiring diagrams created by Ted Crocker, and discuss each of them in some detail to help you understand what is going on.

Don’t forget that you can get most of the parts shown in this article, including piezos , jacks, volume potentiometers and potentiometer knobs , right in our C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply Web Store!
Continue reading “Piezo Wiring Diagrams”

Precious Memories – 3-string Open G GDG – Chords & Tablature for Cigar Box Guitars

Open G GDG Listing ImageThe tablature in the PDF link below will show you exactly how to play the melody and chords for the well-known Christian hymn Precious Memories.

This song has been recorded by a number of big-name artists, from Johnny Cash to Pete Seeger, Emmy Lou Harris to Bob Dylan, Alan Jackson and more. It has a nice easy melody line and chord progression. We include the melody line, chord accompaniment, additional verses and also the chord form diagrams on this printable sheet, so you should have everything you need to play this great old hymn.

All of the cigar box guitar tablature here on 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: Precious Memories Cigar Box Guitar Tablature

Click the image above to view the printable tablature sheet.
Click the image above to view the printable tablature sheet.

Purgatory Hill (Pat MacDonald)

Musical style: Goth blues, stomp-rock
Handmade instruments played: cigar box guitar, Lowebow

Pat MacDonald originally took the name Purgatory Hill as a solo artist, before using it for the hypnotic, hard-edged duo he formed with singer/songwriter melaniejane.

A long time performing artist, who as one half of the band Timbuk3 was nominated in 1987 for a Grammy as Best New Artist, Pat has deep roots in the recording industry. He is an acclaimed songwriter who has collaborated on songs with artists like Cher, Keith Urban, and Peter Frampton. Pat also has credits on songs performed by artists Aerosmith, Night Ranger, and Billy Ray Cyrus to name a few.

One night after Pat’s performance, a fan handed a cigar box guitar to him and told Pat to keep it. The cigar box guitar was a Lowebow, the brainchild of artists John Lowe and Richard Johnston. That guitar helped to shape the direction Pat moved in the music he created.

The Lowebow, which in its early inceptions was given the name Purgatory Hill Harp, has one bass string and three guitar strings which enable Pat to get the deep, growling sound he is fond of. His knack for playing dark, thumping grooves made possible by this CBG, were fitting music for his poetry.

Much like the deep drones of Mississippi Hill country music that seem to influence Pat’s style, the cigar box guitar gave Pat a medium through which to express his dark art. From the name of his newfound instrument, and with John Lowe’s blessing, Pat took the name Purgatory Hill.

Pat then teamed up with melaniejane who plays electric cello, accordion, percussion, and sings to complement Pat’s own talents. Along with melaniejane the Wisconsin musical duo tours and records, receiving national press coverage for their craft.

Check out pat and melaniejane at