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What's This I Hear About Finger style Cigar Box Guitar Playing Techniques??

Well it's nothing new, in fact most of the early blues players used their fingers dating back to the early 20th century and before. The trick is to use your thumb for the down stroke and your first finger for the upstroke. Many people use all their fingers to play a stringed instrument and that's fine, but the early blues masters (who used cigar box guitars) used mainly the thumb and forefinger. Some people consider this style to be primitive guitar, and it is but that doesn't mean it's not also extremely useful.

Here's a short tutorial:

1. Strum up and down on one chord. Just keep the chord the same and strum in a steady rhtyhm wiht the thumb on the down stroke and the forefinger on the upstroke. Do this for several minutes. If you get bored with the same chord, you can change it when you get the hang of it. Remember that cigar_box_guitar_technique.html forefinger literally strums UP on cigar_box_guitar_technique.html upbeat and the thumb strums DOWN on cigar_box_guitar_technique.html downbeat. Sounds simple right? Well...

2. Now try just strumming up with forefigner. Not easy is it? It'll get easier the more you do it. Try and get a steady DA DA DA DA rhythm going and keep at it.

3. Now try strumming just on the down stroke with the thumb. Try this for several minutes until its smooth. You'll get calluses on the side of your thumb and on your tip of the forefinger. This is a GOOD thing for tone! I play every day to keep my calluses in shape, just like classical guitarists.

4. Now try picking the separate strings with your fingers: lets start with the 3rd string using the forefinger (up) and the 4th string using the thum (down). Alternate between these two strings for several minutes then try two other strings. If you get really fast, you can play sone really fast slide licks simply by alternating quickly between the thumb and forefinger playing two adjacent strings.

5. When playing walking bass lins, I use my thumb on the top two strings (the biggest ones) and the forefinger on the next string.