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The Quickest & Easiest Way to Play Hank Williams

The cigar box guitar doesn't have to play the blues, but I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry by Hank Williams Sr. may qualify as being sad enough.

Good ol' traditional country, with all due respect to the pop-star country sellouts of today, has some truly heart-wrenching lyrics and melodies.

Hank Williams Sr. knew how to get his point across without writing and singing about pickup trucks, girls in short shorts, and [insert name brand booze here].

Although two out of three of those aren't bad in my book...

What you'll find here is a video on how to play Hank's crooning classic I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry on your 3 string cigar box guitar and clearly my appreciation for this country music icon (and I don't really listen to country).

Learning to play slide cigar box guitar is still a work in progress for me. But what I am finding is that a little patience goes a long way.

In the video below I break down the song to learn how to play it in increments, starting with an easy strumming pattern. As you become more comfortable with the tune, you can get a little fancier in your strumming pattern later in the video.

Some things to consider:

  • You don' t have to bear down really hard on the strings with your slide. Take your time and find the right touch.  
  • Consider laying your fingers behind the slide (the fingers furthest away from your strumming hand) on the strings. This may help to reduce any ringing you may hear while playing.
  • When barring all 3 strings, make certain your slide is perpendicular to the strings. Your slide is like a mobile fret so if its a little out of whack, the notes will be too (although that imperfect effect has its merits).
Have some fun with this! And if you have any questions or suggestions, leave 'em in the comments. 

psst! tab for this tune can be found on my Tabs page 


  1. Fantastic as always, Glenn. I gotta keep the next fretless that I make. I keep giving these things away!!

    The next song oughta be The Thrill Is Gone... but replace Thrill with Beard :-)

    George in Idaho

  2. Thanks George! I appreciate that you'd give this a look and stop in to say hello.

    It's difficult to not give away our work. Isn't it rewarding to see how happy we can make someone with something we've made with our own hands?

    And yes, the beard is gone, much to Stephanie's pleasure. She never pushed for me to shave it off, but as a woman can, she made her displeasure over it pretty clear ;)


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