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Cigar Box Guitar Headquarters - CBG HQ

Keni Lee Burgess
  • Male
  • Rutherford, NJ
  • United States
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Keni Lee Burgess's Discussions

Buying A Cigar Box Guitar? A "What To Consider" Discussion

Started this discussion. Last reply by Pascal Jan 2, 2014. 9 Replies

Today with the increased popularity of building CBGs, there has been a boom in online sales. Especially on Ebay. Here are a few suggestions that I hope will lead to a group discussion about how to…Continue


Started Mar 1, 2012 0 Replies

I will be there too (NJ on March 24). So, if you are in the area, come on down and build an amp for your CBG and say, Hi. Enjoy.   For full information click on the link:…Continue

A Cigar Box Builder's Guide to Tuning

Started this discussion. Last reply by Keni Lee Burgess Mar 20, 2012. 15 Replies

Due to the fact, there is no standard for CBG construction regarding the number of strings or the tuning, I am writing this information to help builders who are new to music, and offer suggestions…Continue

Welcome to my page. My name is Keni Lee Burgess, and I'm a New York City subway platform performer, and music teacher. I play a style of guitar, Bottleneck Slide, that became popular in the 1920s and 30s. It developed in the Mississippi Delta by early players like Charlie Patton, Son House, Robert Johnson, Bukka White, Blind Willie Johnson, Mississippi Fred McDowell... Usually the guitar is tuned differently than standard, EADgbe, to an Open Tuning that produces a chord. The two most popular tunings are Vestapol Tuning 151351 or commonly known as Open D DADf#ad and Spanish Tuning 515135 or Open G DGDgbd. A glass bottleneck or metal pipe is worn on the finger, and slid up and down the strings to imitate the human voice. To take full advantage of the tonal qualities of open tuning, many performers of this style choose to play Resonator guitars. The Resonator guitar was invented just before the 1930s by John Doperya and manufactured under the names National and Dobro. These wood and metal bodied guitars contain an internal mechanical amplification system that consists of single or multiple vibrating aluminum cones that increase the tone and volume. To help students who are interested in learning this style, I have produced a series of instructional video CDs recreating the method I used to learn. This approach involves first learning how music works, and then applying it to the guitar. Although, this is a study of music theory, it is not boring and dry, but fun and fully practical. It is my belief that "back in the day", most songs had a strong melody line that made them easier to sing and feel. Many people gained their first musical education by singing on Sunday morning in the Church. Through this method it is possible to learn how to "build" a musical arrangement. Starting with a simple single line melody line, a second note is added to create "harmony". This leads naturally to finding the "three basic chords" that form the foundation of many folk tunes. Finally, by adding strumming and Bottleneck technique, a complete arrangement can be written. Most of the songs on my page, are my arrangements, that I developed using this knowledge. It is my hope that these lessons not only help students technically play better, but supply them with the necessary information, so they can figure out songs or arrange their own ideas. In 2007 I released my first CD, Good & Evil. I worked on the CD for three years with the help of twenty talented musicians, utilizing fifteen different instruments. The CD contains fourteen classic songs and highlights my investigations into the fascinating world of Open tuning. Thank you for visiting my page. Please feel free to write, to share your interest, or ask questions. Enjoy.

PLEASE VISIT www.ebay.com


How To Play Cigar Box Guitar

Profile Information

Welcome to the Clubhouse! How did you hear about us?
from Ted
What instruments are you building or playing?
Player, not a builder.
Fretted and unfretted, 3 and 4 string Cigar Box guitars, 6 string resonator guitars

Keni Lee Burgess's Videos

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Keni Lee Burgess's Blog

Real Value?

Posted on December 21, 2009 at 3:23pm 0 Comments

I love the intention behind this site.

Certainly, it is Green, with the reuse of dicarded items to make something useful.

It is also Frugal. Why buy an instrument from a large corporation. Build it yourself or support a small local builder.

Educational. Wood working, learning to use tools, math skills, the study of sound and music.

Fun and relaxing

Social, by meeting people and making new friends from all over the world.

Not to… Continue

Comment Wall (8 comments)

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At 11:54am on April 21, 2015, Jim W. said…

Goodness all the way, video, playing, voice just fantastic a knock out 5 stars! - Jim W.-

At 3:18am on January 24, 2013, Ted Crocker said…

Hi Keni, thanks for everything you do for the CBG community.  I saw this and felt it deserved more attention.


At 12:07pm on March 20, 2012, The Phrygian Kid said…

Hi thanks KLB.  what i was getting at with Sam there is I used to be a fan of that tuning, and i still build for it occasionally with my split fret dulci dealios, but i prefer to play minor keys with the regular open G like GDGB etc..  the way ill do this is considering the open 1st string off limits, and defaulting to fretting most of the strings at fret 3, giving me a Gm7.  i really like this voicing and think the scales and voicings line up better than the open minor tuning, especially if youre sliding.  By sneaking up three frets for the minor7 voicings you can effectively pull off both major and minor chords with the slide and without slants, even if the minor chords have no root eg b3, b7, b3, 5.. your brain will happily fill the blanks and make it a i chord.  im sure this will make sense to you immediately.  cheers

At 6:13pm on February 16, 2012, Scott aka Farmer Ted said…

Thank you for the info regarding utilizing "unused" strings and the link to juststrings.com


At 3:03pm on September 21, 2011, Dan Watts said…

Hey Keni, haven't seen any video posts or info from you in a while. Hope everything is ok with you and yours...Dan

At 1:18pm on June 29, 2011, Dan Watts said…

Hey Keni, ever heard of slack key tuning? Kinda looks like how you tune 3 and 4 strings. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slack-key_guitar

They had an article about this guy in our local paper today.


Very soothing sounds.

At 1:48pm on June 4, 2011, c# merle said…

i sure aint no keni lee but i can have a go! thanks for the inspiration keni


At 5:19pm on March 16, 2011, darren brown said…
thanks keni

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