Arranged for 4 string Cigar Box Guitar (Altered Dgbd tuning)

Tune down Dga#c / Capo 2: Eacd

String / fret
Am 1/2
C 1/2 - 3/3
D 4/2 - 2/2
F Move D chord up 4/5 - 2/5
E Bar (3/2 2/2 1/2) 4/4 
E7 2/4 3/2 4/4

Using this altered tuning, the Am only requires 1 finger. C, D, and F requires 2 fingers. The E and E 7 are a little more challenging, but I can play them E: 1/2 2/4 and E7: 2/4 3/2 (both only require 2 fingers) too. Using open tunings can greatly ease the difficulty of playing and at the same time, add complex / appealing sounds by bringing in other sympathetic string tones. It is my understanding, that circa turn of the century music professors often did this to teach their Victorian students parlor guitar. Spanish Fandango is a great example of this.

This page should help pull it all together. Keep me posted to how it works out. This tuning might be good for a rendition of St James Infirmary too.

Now that you know the is St. James Infirmary to strum along too...

I was inspired by Joni Mitchell in creating this arrangement. She was known for here extensive use of tunings to create new approaches. Tuning to c on the second string creates the Am chord but keeping the first string to d (after applying the capo of course) comes in handy for the other chords. The tuning offers those extra open strings for a sympathetic effect. Many CBG players like altering tunings, so this might be a fun option for Open G.

You can play this arrangement on your 6 string too. Notice that the 4 string CBG is the four highest strings of the full 6 string tuning (DG)Dgbd When re-arranging a song, you may need to be crafty to address the additional strings.

See CD 5 if you are interested in exploring 4 string CBG using Open G tuning. CD 2 covers 6 string Open G tuning. Regardless of what you choose (4 string CBG or 6 string), I am sure you will find the material on both CDs equally applicable. Here is tip. Notice this (Dg)bd / (DG)Dgbd and Dg(bd) / DGDg(bd) The top 2 treble strings and bottom 2 bass strings are the same. Use this as an easy reference when comparing 4 string and 6 string. Although this is not offered as a 2 CD Set to save $, just purchase the 2 CD Set for CD 1 & 2 and ask my authorized Ebay dealer, njmikeb to substitute CD 1 for CD 5 Enjoy.

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  • If you want this song arranged for 3 string CBG, check out CD 6. The "movable chord method" offers all the versatility of the approach used on a standard 6 string, but a lot easier because there are only 3 strings. Enjoy. 

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