Cigar Box Guitar Lessons & Blues Music

This is where the "Blues" all started at, the American Southern Delta, a cigar box a stick and homemade music.
This photo is dated 1868 "George D Flynn Jr.Fall River MA" painted by, L.Rupert

If you have found yourself here and wondering "Just what is this place?"

These are compact disc covering the subject of cigar box guitars. I have How to Play and How to Build Cigar Box Guitar DVDs and also Cigar Box Guitar Music CD's for sale.
 All of the music and information on this site is only recorded with cigar box guitars, both 3 and 4 string guitars. No regular guitars were use in recording or filming the videos.

If you have questions, email me, my name is John, my contact email is or you can visit my website at Red Dog

Cigar box guitars, cookie tin banjos and homemade mandolins, ukes and guitars of all types really became popular for poor people during the 1920's and 30's.
During the Great Depression of the 30's buying an instrument was not really an option for must people, but poverty did not stop people from enjoying music, they just made their own instruments!

This photo was taken sometime in the mid 1930's

3 String Delta Blues Cigar Box Guitar Music CD

This is an all Delta Blues and cigar box guitar album with only 3 sting guitar and Blues music.
  In this album I wanted to delve deeper into strictly authentic Delta Blues and BottleNeck music only played on three string cigar box guitar. The goal with this album was to take the listener back to the 1920's and 30's and relive those Dust Bowl BottleNeck Ballads and Delta Blues Guitar Spirituals only played with a 3 string cigar box guitar with NO SINGING or band, only vintage guitar playing.

If you love raw, primitive and Authentic Delta Blues, American Folk music or Bottle neck slide, you will listen to this CD 100's of times, covering all styles of Americana, from Son House's licks re-written "Red Dog" Style, to Woodie Guthrie's "Dust Bowl Ballads" that will leave your jaw on the floor and your ears weepin' for more. This disc is Old time Blues & Bottleneck slide guitar that will take you back in time.
Recorded with only 3 string cigar box guitars, this is a musical journey into Americas past, imagine walking through an old ghost town in the 1880's, the suspense, the mystery, the whispers that you can barley hear, there is many fantastic songs played in the Ry Cooder style that will take your breath away.
  NO regular guitars, NO singing, just homemade 3 string cigar box guitars. These are ALL NEW NEVER BEFORE HEARD SONGS.

Watch this video to hear some of the music on this CD.


 Whelp, enough chatter from me, the album is for sale anytime,.... if it's not your thing, thanks for your time in reading this and you can enjoy the short trailer of the album below... Thanks again, John

This item checks out for purchase thru Paypal with " Buy It Now." The shipping is a flat rate price and the same cost no mater how many items you buy or where you live. It's 2.15 world wide shipping.
After checkout, Paypal will bring you back to this page.

~Dust Bowl Blues~ CD$14.35 USD
shipping worldwide $2.15 USD
Yes, anywhere in the world same price, 2.15!

Shipping in the USA (8 to 12 days) First Class Mail
Overseas & Worldwide (14 to 21 days) Stamped "Air-Mail

Questions??? email

How To Build Cigar Box Guitars DVD

This is the Ultimate How to Build a Cigar Box Guitar DVD.
From beginner to advanced, everything is completely covered.

Hi my name is John, I have spent well over several hundred hours filming and editing the most complete How to Build a cigar box guitar DVD available. If you would like to take your guitar making not only to the next level but far beyond to get that old time and really unique sound you have always wanted in a cigar box guitar, I will show you how and what to do, everything is covered from start to finish. It doesn't matter if this is your first time building, or your 10th. I am going to show you how to build great sounding cigar box guitars.

 This DVD is from A to Z, the complete start to finish with advanced building of cigar box guitars. Full of many secrets that can only be found on a Red Dog Guitar. When you have time listen to some of the videos of my guitars on my website or Youtube. You will hear why they have a sound that is iconic and original ...BUT...the best part is you too can build a guitar just like the ones on my website with this DVD.

I cover from simple and clean,

To something more artistic. I will help you understand what I do, so you can create what inspires you. Here below is a 3 string guitar. The parts are different, but it really is the same guitar. I follow the same recipe no matter what I do. If you would like to know what I do this DVD will show you how to build your own just like mine.

I will show you how and what to do Exactly, all the steps completely broken down, from start to finish.

In this DVD you will learn how to construct a Red Dog Cigar Box Guitar...ALL OF THE SECRETS to making the neck and guitar a true tonal machine, what to do about the body, fret-boarding and fretting like a pro, headstocks of all types... BOTH 3 and 4 strings.

And YES, I do have a Chapter on the DVD that explains how I build my Cigar Box Resonator guitars. Instead of me making 2 separate DVDs, I just went ahead and compiled both standard cigar box guitar and homemade resonators on the same disc.
Everyone has been asking for resonator how to info, so yes, I explain how I build them, it is much easier than you think!'s still a neck thru guitar, yes this reso is neck thru body. The neck is just a stick running right thru a cigar box!

  Go to you-tube and search "cigar box guitar" and check out many of the great and talented makers and have a listen, then do a comparison and search and then listen to videos made by me at Red Dog Guitars....however, this is not a contest, with this DVD you too will have all of the secrets to incorporate in your own guitar making. It doesn't matter if its your first time, or you want to start a guitar making business or club, this will give you the ability to make really awesome guitars and take them to the next level.

This is not a basic or introductory DVD, but full on ultimate Cigar Box Guitar building... the wood, boxes, deferent styles of necks and so much more is covered for building a great playing full of tone one of a kind guitar.

This DVD is made for standard Television players and is 96 minutes (1&1/2hours) of cigar box building. Everything is explained, the tools, the parts, the woods, neck heels, finishing, fretting, the pickups and so much more is explained, all the mysteries explained in one fun to watch DVD...within it there is a world of unknown tips, tricks and secrets used on Red Dog Guitars that you can use on your guitar to make the ultimate cigar box guitar.

This item checks out for purchase thru Paypal with " Buy It Now." The shipping is a flat rate price and the same cost no mater how many items you buy or where you live. It's 2.15 world wide shipping.
After checkout, Paypal will bring you back to this page.

$28.50 USD

shipping worldwide $2.15 USD
yes! anywhere in the world same price, 2.15!
Questions??? email
Shipping in the USA (8 to 12 days) First Class Mail
Overseas & Worldwide (14 to 21 days) Stamped "Air-Mail

Cigar Box Americana Music CD



If you enjoy authentic Delta Blues and cigar box guitar music from the late 1800's and early 1900's, this CD album is full of long lost sounds from Americas past. This is old time Delta Blues and Southern Bottleneck cigar box guitar that has been recorded on 3 and 4 string homemade guitars. If you liked the movie Crossroads or the guitar playing from Ry Cooder, you will enjoy the vintage cigar box guitar playing that has been recorded on this album.

   To record this album, I've played 3 string Resonators, Acoustic cigar box guitars, Electric 4 string cigar box guitars and old and vintage tube amps from the 1950's and 60's that were naturally overdriven.....and of course, I've used the legendary "Pignose" amp to record several songs to get that old time Southern BottleNeck gritty sound.
 I also recorded several songs with some old Retro "Radio Guitar Amps." They were antique radios from the 30's, 40's and 50's that have been converted and turned into guitar amplifiers that record with a really unique and vintage tone. The music and songs are all sounds that are southern in flavor, perfect for study if your trying to learn early Americana Bottleneck slide guitar, or just enjoy it as a relaxing way to step back in time.

Trying to 'explain' what something sounds like is like trying to describe a, instead of me trying to explain music, you can hear some of the music right here right now.

  This item checks out for purchase thru Paypal with " Buy It Now." The shipping is a flat rate price and the same cost no mater how many items you buy or where you live. It's 2.15 world wide shipping.
After checkout, Paypal will bring you back to this page.

~Cigar Box Americana CD~

$14.35 USD

shipping worldwide $2.15 USD
yes! anywhere in the world same price, 2.15!
Shipping in the USA (8 to 12 days) First Class Mail
Overseas & Worldwide (14 to 21 days) Stamped "Air-Mail
Questions??? email


 Do you want to play really great 3 string Delta Blues guitar?


Anyone can master 3 string guitar....yes, I said it, I said the "M" word!

Even if you have tried learning to play guitar in the past, You CAN master the 3 string guitar in playing BOTH styles of Delta Blues with and without a slide. It is not difficult, It just takes correct explanation of the techniques, patience and practice. Three string guitar is something you can learn, and at any age, even if you are in your 50's, 60's, or 70's and have tried to learn to play guitar before.
This DVD explains American music the way it was played from the 1880's to the 1930's. It teaches you how to "capture" that old time Blues era and sound in your playing.
Watch this short clip to see the easily understood playing techniques to becoming a great 3 string guitar player. 

Most primitive Delta Blues and early American Folk music was created by people who could not read or write music, Nor did they know any music theory or even what an A chord was.
The truth is you DO NOT need to learn what an 'A chord' or what any chords are to play great sounding cigar box guitar.
If the people who created old time Folk and Blues music did not know chords, than neither do you.
This DVD shows you how to get that raw Delta Blues sound without headaches or over-thinking it...all without having to know any, math, chords, theory, or unnecessary garble. All of which what was never meant to be so difficult.

This DVD covers all the sounds from Vintage finger plucking and Delta Bottleneck slide and even Raw Electric Blues.
 Also covered and often overlooked is one of the absolute most important aspects, HOW TO CORRECTLY TUNE a 3 string guitar BY EAR.
 I will show you how to tune without ever using a tuner, or even knowing the names of the notes. I will explain how to tune the guitar with itself to play any style.
We will also cover how to  correctly set up your guitar so you get those early 1920's vintage sounds.
 We will also cover something very important to the overall sound, and that is the different pickups available for electric guitars and most importantly of all, we will cover how the amp itself gives you part of that "Old Timey" sound.

 I also will cover and explain  the strings and various sizes with explanation about their tone and tension, Different slides with in depth explanation about their contrast in your playing and more.

   You will enjoy learning and watching this DVD comfortably on TV. This is a real DVD, you will not need to sit in front of a computer or hunched over a laptop. You will be able to learn more relaxed while watching it on Television. Sitting and learning in a comfortable position is important.This DVD plays in all DVD and Blu-ray players worldwide, both NTSC and PAL encoded TV's will play this DVD on your Television.

 Alright, your still here?

Watch this video below and watch the slide, you will see it is VERY simple.
...Slide guitar is basically ONE FINGER GUITAR!
I am not going to teach you anything you cannot do, so DON'T think you can't learn this or play this type of music, you can, It's easier than you realize.

On this DVD we are going to go over and study the simple things you need to do in order to master this Old Time Delta Blues sound. You can do this. Three string guitar the easiest form of guitar that there is to learn.

 Watch this video and you will see, there is NOTHING complex going on, this is something you to can do after you have been taught the correct building blocks.

Watch this video and meet me below when your done.

Now, in order to be fair, the DVD starts off with fingering the notes, you might or might not want to play the fingered notes and you might prefer to play slide guitar..... but studying where to PUT your fingers is mandatory for us to cover. This is how you will learn slide very fast. There is NOT any complicated chords or structure. There is only three strings, so if you have had a bad experience learning regular guitar in the past, this will not be the same, this is NOT difficult, 3 string guitar is something you can learn, and at any age, even if you are 70. You can do this.

 Once we combine together your knowledge of the fret board and the finger positions and the slide styles, you will see how really simple it is. You can then combine it with the slide, you will then understand the 3 string guitar.
 It really is that simple once the steps are broken down and properly explained. Once again there isn't much to learn this guitar, It is just a three string guitar. Old Blues and Folk music is simple by nature, that is part of the definition of "Folk Music" itself, it's simplicity.
That's what this DVD is about, That is in fact the name of this DVD. It's called "Understanding 3 string guitar."
American Folk music is super easy. That's what defines "Americana," the more you try to learn and the harder you try, the less it sounds like Delta Blues and the more it sounds like contemporary and European music.

Watch this video, we are going to teach you how to play fingering on a 3 string guitar, you can then apply it to "your style" and taste in music.

Put that style together with the slide, and a whole world opens up! You will have fun when you play guitar.
Watch this modern "Electric Slide guitar"'s down right Elec-tric!

I will show you ALL of those techniques to play those EXACT styles AND MORE,
 not just those songs...but different styles that make up American music,
you can freestyle and improvise forever on and make up a 1000 songs.

What's better? Learn and copy one song? Or learn how to make your own songs?
You WILL be able to build your own musicnot just play other peoples songs.

Yes, learning songs from other people is fun, but that is no crowning achievement. Open up your own world of music, it is truly is fun and rewarding at heart.

Here is something to think about, if some guy did it in a barn a 100 years ago, you can do it too. Try this,

Clear your mind....
Think of a peaceful time well over a 100 years ago. Think about an old barn or Farm house at the edge of a southern plantation. Imagine an old farmer or field hand who works the crops or in the field, just a person from the past who could not read or write holding his homemade guitar he made with old wood and simple tools.  He's just sitting on the porch or relaxing in front of that barn,
He's just strummin' away a breezy afternoon..... He's having fun and just entertaining himself with music he likes and making sounds that he enjoys.

Now,..... do you think he knew what a D chord was transposed over the major scale???? Do you even think he knew what in the heck a major scale was????

NO way!!!!

OK, so why would you need to know complex chords, scales and keys?

I have seen many how to play Lessons such as "Mel Bay" Resonator Guitar and Blues videos that were completely false and some were so incorrect that it would be impossible to get a truly vintage American sound by studying them.

I am going to be Frank, if someone tries explaining Blues music in this way, "it's a G, E.... or D tuning ....or this flat and that sharp," you are heading IN THE WRONG DIRECTION.....THAT is NOT Blues music. 

If many of the great Bluesmen of last century didn't know a G chord from a Flying Saucer or space-ship part... then why on earth do you need to know how to make a 'G chord' on a homemade guitar?

The honest truth is you don't.
That is what is so easy about the 3 string guitar, with proper instruction in learning how to play one, you will understand how to make the guitar make the "sounds" you want it to, you will make your own music. It really is that simple, you do not need to learn math or music theory. 3 string guitar is fun and simple.

Well, thanks for your time, If you want this DVD, it's always available here.

I can mail This DVD anywhere in the world, click below to order a copy

or email me at if you have any questions.

This item checks out for purchase thru Paypal with "Buy It Now." The shipping is a flat rate price and the same cost no mater how many items you buy or where you live. It's 2.15 world wide shipping.
After checkout, Paypal will bring you back to this page.

Understanding 3 string guitar How To Play DVD
$26.50 USD
shipping worldwide $2.15 USD
yes! anywhere in the world same price, 2.15!
Shipping in the USA (8 to 12 days) First Class Mail
Overseas & Worldwide (14 to 21 days) Stamped "Air-Mail
Questions??? email

 Thanks again for your time in reading this, John


SHIPPING WORLDWIDE is the same low price of $2.15 Anywhere in the world. Yes, Anywhere on planet Earth, the same 2.15!

Shipping in the USA takes usually 8 to 12 days. They are mailed First Class Mail. Overseas and Worldwide (12 to 20 days) They are Stamped "Air-Mail."

In case you are wondering?

Why No Downloads???

Well, I am so confident that you will love the music so much, that the anticipation of ordering and waiting for your gritty and neat homemade package to show up, that when it does show up, the fulfilment of receiving an actual item, you will both enjoy it that much more but also have a greater appreciation for all the time and effort I put into it.

I have recorded and put together CDs and DVD packages that I myself would love to receive. I take allot of pride in the simple fact of making sometime handmade with honor and pride. It will brighten your day so much more than simply hitting a "download" button and having it as a folder on your computer desktop.

*** About the "Buy it Now" Button and Shipping ***

To make the shipping cost fair for everyone, and not create a giant email hassle trying to figure out everyone's exact shipping cost. I have set a BELOW cost price of 2.15 per disc that 'checks out' one at a time with a pre set Flat rate, no matter if you order one disc, or 5, they all cost 2.15 per disc to mail.

I have set up this simple check out system this way, otherwise I would have to try to nickel and dime everyone and answer a gazillion emails all to save buyers 10 to 20 cents as shipping is about the same everywhere. It's about 1.95 more or less throughout the United States and about 2.98 in Europe, and 2.38 in Canada, and 2.65 in Australia, on and on.

So, I have averaged shipping out to an even 2.15 anywhere worldwide, from down the street to deep in the Arctic, if you have an address, two-dollars and fifteen cents will get it there. If it cost more, I will pay. If you order more than one disc. The size and the weight goes up and so does the cost. The price at the post office nearly doubles, or triples, etc. So I then add the extra postage to the package to cover the cost and get it there, if possible, faster with an upgraded service from standard First Class to Priority mail if there is enough to cover the cost jump.

Either way I will make sure you get your disc, ANYWHERE on planet Earth, If you have a mail box...I will get these disc to you. Thanks again for your time, John. If you have any questions, email me anytime at or visit

Still here? .....Would you like to learn some of the history of the cigar box guitar?
Well, what is a Cigar Box Guitar?
The truth is, in the South it's common to hear stories that B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Lightnin' Hopkins and many of those other old-time blues guys started out playing guitar on a cigar box guitar. Not many people who follow Blues and Country music know this, but many famous Bluesmen and Country singers started their career on a simple homemade cigar box guitar.
One reason most Blues and Country music has such a distinctive sound is because it was derived off of music made on these simple instruments.
The precursor to the cigar box guitar as an instrument was an instrument called the diddly-bow. It was a one stringed instrument where the player would take a glass bottle neck and run it up and down a string while plucking the opposite end of the string to achieve the tone that they
where after. These basic "guitars" didn't have frets and this crude form of guitar playing is what melded into the form of slide guitar we are familiar with today. That is what is thought to be the creation of slide guitar in the "Southern Delta."

From Son House to Muddy Waters, they were all influenced in some way by these early homemade instruments following along in their career as slide guitar players. That's where the Blues and slide guitar truly started at. On those plantations and cotton fields, homemade guitars and 'field hollerin' went hand in hand.
Many of the biggest names in early Blues history played a cigar box guitar. They didn't play Gibsons or Martins, they couldn't afford them.

It's well known Lightnin' Hopkins got his start on the cigar box guitar. If you would like to hear Lightnin' himself talk about his homemade guitar, watch this short video...what's better than the man himself telling you some of the history of this wonderful type of guitar.

   This tradition of making and playing a homemade guitar continued from the 1880's for many decades up until the 1950's.....but it never stopped there, many small magazine articles from the 60's, 70's and 80's keep this art form alive.  Even though this form of guitar has faded into obscurity, some Blues and Rock musicians still enjoy playing them today.
Here is a wonderful example of one being played still today, it really does take you back in time,
Watch this video of Billy Gibbons of ZZ-Top playing a homemade cigar box guitar.

This sound recording of Ry Cooders' song "Billy The Kid" is performed by Billy Gibbons of ZZ-Top and is an excerpt from a Mark Maron interview. I have presented it here for educational and commentary purposes only in relation to the brief discussion about of the history of the cigar box guitar as a long forgotten instrument in American history.
All Copyrights for this material are the property of their respective owners.
This story about what would make a poor person use a cigar box for a guitar in the first place began in the mid 1800's. The Cigar boxes that we are familiar with today didn't exist prior to the 1840's. Prior to then, cigars were shipped in larger crates containing 100 or more per case. But after 1842, due to exploration of the West, cigar manufacturers started using smaller,
more portable boxes with only 20-50 cigars per box.
In the Old West and through out the 1800's cigars were extremely popular. Card games, Saloons and of coarse those great Mississippi Paddle boats helped spread tobacco throughout early America. Because of the widespread popularity of smoking in those days, many empty boxes would be just laying around. Unlike times are today, the 1800's were a simpler time for Americans, when necessity was truly the mother of invention. Being that most American
music was based off of stringed instruments, using a cigar box to create a guitar, fiddle, or a banjo was an obvious choice for a few crafty souls. The earliest proof of a instrument made from a cigar box that has been found is an etching of a Civil War solider at the "Siege of Charleston." Even during the War, there was a passion for music in America and it was overflowing.
After The Civil War, America was in ruins. Little money was had to buy instruments. One thing for sure about American resilience is that ingenuity was abound. After the War both Union and Confederate Soldiers along with now freed Slaves carried this creative homemade guitar back with them to almost every corner of America. People used left over wood, cigar boxes, biscuit tin cans, string, broom handles, baling and screen wire and whatever else was
lying around the house, shed or barn to create these crude homemade instruments. Making a "home-made" guitar was the only choice for the impoverished. Those humble beginnings of the cigar box guitar are what eventually gave this little known guitar a home in music history.