“Hand Me Down…

My Walkin’ Cane” goes the old traditional blues number.

2 String Slide Guitar, cane and cigarbox
2 String Slide Guitar, cane and cigarbox

I have been wanting to build one of these for a couple years and just never found time or inspiration when I did have time.

My recent Ohio max. security prison tour reminded me of this song as well as such a guitar due to the needs of so many of the inmates. A number of them were older, some “lifers”, some walking with trouble (not meant but in one sense, double entendre). So that song with a few lyrical tweaks has been sitting in my head. I will likely record it, probably on this guitar.

Meanwhile, my chaplain friend uses a cane himself. So here came a package in the mail a week after I got home to Chicago with this cool cane in it. He mentioned one of his got stolen so he found a couple on sale and sent the one to me for a build. It has just the right slant to it so I didn’t even need a “nut”, just a “bridge”. “Strings-through-body” so sustain is great, and the box I had put aside for this provides great tone even without plugging into an amp.

Enough clearance after "tuners" to be solidly used as a cane :)
Enough clearance after “tuners” to be solidly used as a cane 🙂

Took me about an hour to assemble.

As I fly a fair bit- and you know about the cost of baggage these days, I had long wanted to build at least a 1’er if not 2 or 3 string take-down slide guitar with a pickup, which I could literally walk on the plane with.

In asking about this with TSA peeps, I was assured even with tuners, strings and a pickup, it would be no problem. Cool!

My idea was to be able to slip the cane in and out of the box, have the pickup in place -in- the box, and place the box either in carry-on or stowed in my suitcase. Then I could just tighten the strings on the cane and board.CaneGit top view

At a gig, just loosen the strings, slide the cane in place, shut the box, pull out the copper or other slide or bottle neck and it’s blues time 🙂

For you guitarists or cbg officiandos- she is not technically a canejo or canejoe cuz it is a cane with a box and doesn’t have the banjo sound either so I call her a CaneGit. 36 inches overall, 24 inch scale, a wound acoustic G string and plain high E string tuned (respectively) low E and high B.

I added small flat-headed copper finish nails for position markers. Will add a pickup to the box later.CaneGit Position Markers

I have another old cane and may try to go for a 3 stringer on that one as it’s a tad thicker, but this ‘lil 2 stringer is inspiring.

There are several versions and varied verses of this song, but I selected the following and did almost no editing at all. Surprising, but here it is:


Hand me down my walkin’ cane
Hand me down my walkin’ cane
I’m gonna catch the midnight train
Cuz all my sins are taken away

Broke the law, landed in jail
There wasn’t no one to go my bail
Come on, Mamma, won’t you go my bail
And get me out of this lousy jail

The meat is tough, the beans are bad
Oh my Lord, I can’t eat that
If I had listened to what you said
I’d be at home in my feather bed

If I should die in Tennessee
Just send my bones home C.O.D.
But if I die in New York State
Just ship my body back by freight

The devil chased me ’round a stump
I thought he’d catch me at every jump
Oh, hell is deep, and hell is wide
Ain’t got no bottom, ain’t got no side

Lord hand me down my walkin’ cane
Hand me down my walkin’ cane
I need to catch my angel’s hand
I’m going to catch my angel’s hand

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn


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