CBGs – Easy to Play Old

What is the allure of the Cigar Box Guitar (CBG)?

The CBG is easy to play. The guitar has 3 strings set to open tuning, for example GDG. Strumming the strings without pressing any strings produces a G Major chord. It’s that simple. Pressing all three strings on any fret also produces a chord. Minor chords can be played as well. Chord sheets are available to show you how.

Check out the photos below. With three simple chords – G C D – you can play many, many songs, as this is a standard combination of chords used in many rock and blues songs. (Musicians will recognize G C D as the 1-4-5 progression in the key of G). Here is a very small sample of songs playable in three chords:

  • Elvis Presley – “Hound Dog”
  • George Thorogood – “Bad to the Bone”
  • Beach Boys – “Surfin’ USA”
  • Bob Dylan – “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”
  • Lynrd Skynrd – “Sweet Home Alabama”

Here’s How

Easy to play a “G” Chord – press on no strings and strum.


Easy to play a “C’ chord – press all three strings on the 5th fret and strum.

Easy to play a “D” Chord – press all 3 strings at the 7th fret and strum.


Add the “A Chord” (press all 3 strings at the 2nd fret) and there are many, many more songs you can easily play. There are also many instructional YouTube videos – I highly recommend Glen Watt if you are a beginner, and Shane Speal for Advanced Playing.