3 String & Cigar Box Guitars

Throughout the early years of American Folk Music, Delta Blues, Hill County and Appalachia music, many of the musicans of the past played simple crude and homemade guitars that were instruments of poverty. Many of them were simple 3 and 4 string instruments usually made from cigar boxes, cookie tins or old pieces of lumber. The history of these often over looked instruments is long forgotten, but below is a selection of information and music to listen to or study that can help you resurrect that long forgotten Old Time Blues and Country Americana sound.

There is a long forgotten fact in America, that is that in the 1880's this type of music was NEVER played on Fenders or Gibson or any of those store bought guitars, not only did they not exist, but at that time if you lived in poverty, there was no way to buy a nice guitar, so most people made there own. In the video above, a simple home made 3 string guitar is recorded with a small amp and nothing more, this is Primal Americana, this is the Blues!


Folk music is not suppose to be complicated, over refined, lickity split complicated jazz chords and scales, Folk music is a form of primitive music, it's self taught and simple in form ....plus, for the guitarist, what more could be easier than playing simple slide guitar with a pluck here and there???

Slide guitar is basically just one finger guitar!
Just connect the dots up and down the strings as you play, add slide and you've got that sound you've been after all those years but just couldn't ever find it no matter what 6 string guitar you've played.
That is the key and link to the Delta Blues that has long been forgotten in the mass market guitar world.

Many of the legends of early Blues got there start on simple homemade guitars.
This is the oldest know photograph of one "in action"

This photo is dated 1891,
there is similar paintings of them that pre-date this photo
but this is the original photo and is the oldest known. 

I southern small towns deep in the South, Juke Joints are still open and doing well. Many Bluesmen still tour the circuit and preform with 3 string and cigar box guitars. They just hop up on a stool and play away the night.
 Check out "Sonny Boy" playing his cigar box guitar 3-stringer.

Now that is good Old' fashioned Americana


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 john@reddogguitars.com

No matter how fancy cigar box guitars look, It's just a stick running right thru a cigar box, that's what's so fun and neat about it ...and don't get me started on how much fun they are to play, so easy to sound like you just stepped out of the past.
 I build and sell these Old Timer cigar box guitars , email me at john@reddogguitars.com or Goggle Red Dog Guitars.


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" ...it'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,...open 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?

he 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 john@reddogguitars.com 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 john@reddogguitars.com

 Thanks again for your time in reading this, John
I build and sell guitars also, email me anytime.

Bright smiles and sunny in the land of OZ!
Kate Ceberano on Blind Gee's 3 string
Made n' Played in Australia

  Over 70 years ago, it's been documented that BB King got his start on guitar when his father made him a cigar box guitar. He was always a fan of them.

The next Blues masters are starting young, but hey you could always build your own 3 stringer and try to catch up, nothing like learning something new.

Fender advertisement from 1961. "The most imitated guitar in the world"

It's a young boy with a 3 string cigar box guitar and someone playing a Fender next to him. I only wonder who's copying who?

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 color....so, instead of me trying to explain music, you can hear some of the music that is covered on this Disc.

  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  john@reddogguitars.com

Ragtime Omar 1909

Here is a photo of  "Ragtime Omar" as the people of Charleston called him, he was so famous for playing his home made 3 string banjo in front of the court house for "pennies and nickels" that the town's paper decided to do a front page story in the local newspaper on his "jubilant and festive music."
 His family said "it was the best thing to happen to Omar"...what a wonderful story.


Homemade 3 string Resonator Guitar

Check out this super creative cigar box resonator guitar. This is all found stuff from around the house, this is what the hobby is all about.

This guitar was made by my friend Brain Romero.
Look how cool this is, It's a three string reso something or another, but coolest part is it's all stuff you have lying around in your kitchen or garage. Study this photo and head out to your garage or kitchen spare drawer. I'll bet you already have everything. Try to build one, there is lots of easy to do cigar box guitar plans out there, you'll have a blast.
 How cool is that center cover cut out from the actual cigar box lid itself. That is homemade Americana!

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!...it'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!

Shipping in the USA (8 to 12 days) First Class Mail
Overseas & Worldwide (14 to 21 days) Stamped "Air-Mail
Questions??? email john@reddogguitars.com


Check out this video, Pignose amps make the best cigar box guitar and 3 string guitar amplifiers.
The have the "old time" blues sound, have a listen and see if this is the style of guitar you would like to play?

I can't express in words how great these amps sound!....and on top of that, they are super cheap.
A brand new one is only about 75 dollars in just about any music store.

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 Not 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 john@reddogguitars.com or visit reddogguitars.com
Well, since your still here, are you looking for a great sounding Amp For your Cigar Box Guitar?

Did you know with just a simple 5 minute hackwire you can turn just about any old vintage Radio into a guitar amp? Yes thats what radios are, they are amplifiers, only they amplify AM or FM singnals, you splice in your guitar at the volume override and they'll amplifiy your guitar...It really is just that simple.

Turned an old radio into a guitar amplifier is a lot of fun and sounds amazing,  It's easy, anyone can do it, best of all they are portable and super cool.
Watch this video below, it will open up a new way for anyone ineterested in homemade 3 string or cigar box guitars. Plus its much cheaper than buying an amp.
To learn more and find out what radios to look for, visit radio-guitar-amps.com