“Open A” AEA Tuning on your Cigar Box Guitar: 4 Methods, with String Sizes & Sound Clips

Everything you need to know about using the “Open A” A-E-A tuning on your 3-string cigar box guitar.

This article gives you the exact strings to use to achieve this tuning on a cigar box guitar (or other instrument) that has a scale length in the range of 24.5 to 25.5 inches.

Continue reading ““Open A” AEA Tuning on your Cigar Box Guitar: 4 Methods, with String Sizes & Sound Clips”

“Open D” DAD Tuning on your Cigar Box Guitar: 4 Methods, with String Sizes & Sound Clips

Everything you need to know about using the “Open D” D-A-D tuning on your 3-string cigar box guitar.

After the GDG “Open G” tuning, the next most popular on 3-string cigar box guitars is probably DAD “Open D”. This tuning actually shows up, in part, on standard 6-string guitars, in the alternate “DADGAD” tuning. The lower-pitch versions of this tuning really have a low, bassy feel because of that big low D string, so it can be a very interesting option for cigar box guitar builders. Continue reading ““Open D” DAD Tuning on your Cigar Box Guitar: 4 Methods, with String Sizes & Sound Clips”

“Open E” EBE Tuning on your Cigar Box Guitar: 4 Methods, with String Sizes & Sound Clips

The Open E tuning is not seen as often as the more popular GDG and DAD tunings, but it is a great alternative for cigar box guitar players, especially if you are playing a lot of blues. Shane Speal used this tuning on his recent album Holler!, on the track Big Leg Woman/Swing the Hammer.

Continue reading ““Open E” EBE Tuning on your Cigar Box Guitar: 4 Methods, with String Sizes & Sound Clips”

“Open G” GDG Tuning on your Cigar Box Guitar: 4 Methods, with String Sizes & Sound Clips

Cigar Box Guitar StringsOf all of the three-string cigar box guitar tunings, the most popular is probably the G D G open G tuning. Featured on many how-to-play videos on YouTube and CigarBoxNation.com, this tuning has become the de facto standard for 3-string slide blues.

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How to Pick the Right Strings for your Cigar Box Guitar

One of the most frequent questions we hear from new cigar box guitar builders is what strings they should use on their cigar box guitar, and how they should tune it. This can be a very mysterious for a builder, especially folks without much of a musical background. While it is often said that there are no rules when it comes to building CBGS (and that is often true, which is one of the great things about this hobby), it can be very frustrating to hear when you just want a simple answer to a question. In this article, we’ll try to demystify some of the theory behind strings and tunings, and also give some straightforward clear answers for those who just want to know what to do.

Southbound Strings Open G 3-string SetFirst, we’ll give a clear answer for those of you who just want to know what to do: at C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply we consider a “standard” cigar box guitar to be a 3-stringer with medium-gauge acoustic strings tuned to either Open G (for slide playing), or G-B-E for fretted playing. The strings used are equivalent to the three highest-pitched strings on a standard six-string guitar, and the scale length of the instrument (the distance from the nut to the bridge) is around 25 inches.

This happens to be the most popular set of CBG strings we sell in our shop – our C. B. Gitty 3-String Acoustic Medium Open G/Standard Set. If you are building your first cigar box guitar and have no idea what to do or what you need, start with these strings. These strings are based on a “medium” weight set sold for a standard 6-string, but includes only the 3 highest-pitch strings (the smallest/lightest ones) from the pack, so you don’t have any leftovers. It can be tuned either in “Open G” tuning for slide playing (G-B-D), or if you have a fretted neck it can be tuned like the 3 highest-pitch strings of a standard guitar (G-B-E).

This “standard” tuning will allow you to utilize partial chords that you might know from a standard guitar. Continue reading “How to Pick the Right Strings for your Cigar Box Guitar”

How to Tune a 3-string Cigar Box Guitar to Open G GDG

In this video, Ben “C. B. Gitty” Baker and Glenn Watt show you the basics of getting your cigar box guitar in tune. Both tuning “by ear” and using a digital tuner is covered, so even if you have no experience with musical instruments or tuning, this video will help you get started. At the end of the video, Ben and Glenn even do a little bit of jamming with their newly-tuned cigar box guitars. Continue reading “How to Tune a 3-string Cigar Box Guitar to Open G GDG”

Master String Size & Tuning List for 25-inch Scale

bulk-strings-500pxThis article is presented by the Southbound String Company – the first brand focused solely on providing strings specifically chosen and voiced for Cigar Box Guitars and other handmade/homemade instruments!

 

This chart shows you the string size to use for every pitch from double-low B (one Octave below the low B on a guitar), all the way up to High A.

Using this chart you can figure out the strings to use for pretty much any tuning you want. These strings should work for instruments with a scale length of 24.5 to 25.5 inches, with 25 inches being the middle point.

The string gauges shown below are for a “light” string set. For a “medium” set, add .002″ to the wound string sizes and .001″ to the unwound string sizes. For example, for a medium set, for low C you would want .036″ instead of .034″. For high E you’d want .011″ instead of .010″. Increase string gauges from there to move towards “heavy” sets.

Continue reading “Master String Size & Tuning List for 25-inch Scale”

Video: Two Tenor Tunings for 4-string Cigar Box Guitars

In this excerpt from a Cigar Box Nation TV episode, A. J. Gaither and Ben “Gitty” Baker discuss two great tenor guitar tunings for 4-string cigar box guitars: “Arkansas Tenor” (low E, A, D, G) and “Chicago Tenor” (D, G, B, E). Both allow you to use partial 6-string guitar chords – Ben even shows you how to use 6-string chord forms with both of these tunings.

In this excerpt from a Cigar Box Nation TV episode, A. J. Gaither and Ben “Gitty” Baker discuss two great tenor guitar tunings for 4-string cigar box guitars: “Arkansas Tenor” (low E, A, D, G) and “Chicago Tenor” (D, G, B, E). Both allow you to use partial 6-string guitar chords – Ben even shows you how to use 6-string chord forms with both of these tunings.

Cigar Box Nation TV is a presentation of CigarBoxNation.com, the online home and rallying point of the cigar box guitar revolution. It is sponsored by C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply, the general store for all things cigar box guitar and homemade/handmade music – instruments, kits, parts and gear.