Cigar box guitars with 3 strings are normally set to standard GDg open tuning. This makes it very easy to play basic chords that make up thousands of songs.
Do not press on any strings. Strum for a clean “G” chord.
Press down on all strings at the 5th fret and strum for a clean “C” chord.
Press down on all strings at the 5th fret and strum for a clean “D” Chord
Minor chords can also be played and chord sheets are available to show you how.
With these three simple chords, you can play many songs, as this is a standard combination used in many rock and blues songs. This G-C-D combination are a 1-4-5 progression in the key of G, which many musicians will recognize. Here is a small sample of songs that can be played with these three chords.
- “Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley
- “Bad to the Bone” by George Thorogood
- “Surfin’ USA” by The Beach Boys
- “Knocking’ on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan
- “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynrd
Add the “A” Chord (press down on all 3 strings at the 2nd fret) and there are many more songs you can easily play. Instructional videos are available on YouTube; I highly recommend Glen Watt if you are a beginner, and Shane Speal for Advanced Playing.