What gauge strings are best for a 20" scale if I want to tune to GDG?

Views: 395

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

what i intend to do is to take the ADGCEA, drop the high A leaving me with ADGCE... now add in a thicker string(56) will now be EADGCE. if i detune the C to B... i now have EADGBE or standard tuning with thicker strings at a 500mm scale length....  because i have a 6 string neck prebuilt that is this scale length...

it should work. i hope.. 

I think the more I ask, the more I realize I know nothing about music.....which I know I know nothing. I guess I should say I don't play or never learned how to play any musical instrument in my life. I've built about 30 or so cigar box guitars. I've learned plenty about how to build them to make them play in tune with standard strings, but I'm sure I have a ton to learn before I start picking out strings to obtain the right sound. I need a music for dummies book. Thanks for all the help guys!!!

Sometimes a simple answer is all you need, buy any brand of strings, size, acoustic, electric, colored strings from China for a buck, don't use the thickest one(E string) use the next 3 meant for A-D-G, guess what, 2 of them are all ready waiting to be tuned to what you want, the A, just stop at G before going all the way to A.   Most standard strings will work from 19" scale through to 26" only consideration is, the shorter the scale, heavier strings are better suited, for proper tension, and sustain.

p.s. you're not the only one still learning to play these things, myself included! Enjoy


You can get a set of strings for a kids guitar that'll work.

I recently had to get a set of strings for my grandsons little guitar at Kids R Us, First Act brand and they come in colors.

reading the replies so far I think the points have been presented 1 by 1, but if you put them together -

Note of a given open string is related to its length, its gauge, and its tension
A shorter length would require a thicker string or less tension to achieve the same note as a longer scale.

If you take the exact strings you would use on a longer scale you can maybe use them OK but there will be more slack - the strings will be looser, will wobble more when plucked, etc.. This might even be a sound you are wanting.

if you use heavier thicker strings you need more tension, this can get back to the sound / feel of the longer scale instrument with the normal lighter strings...

On the opposite end of your shorter scale 20" - A banjo and a bass are about the same scale lengths, but a banjo has slightly lighter strings than a guitar might and a bass has strings about twice as thick as a guitar..

Also - I own a first act guitar I got from a DI ( second hand store ). I broke a string tuning it up and just went with lighter strings than average to avoid having so much tension.,..

I still can't play the durn thing, feels like it has 3 strings too many.

2 too many at least.  :D

The set of 6 First Act strings were for a 19" scale acoustic and were long enough for 19" to 23" scale. They have worked well for that little acoustic, but they haven't been played hard so I can't vouch for the durability of said strings.

Did someone say First Act, my brother gave me a First Act turd blossom that was cobbled together with a Harmony neck beat to he-- and messed up electronics, I turned it into this...I know, off topic

The problem with most cheap guitars is a bad setup and bad electronics. The First Act pickups and necks can be very good.

It didn't have the original neck or electronics, it was discarded for the trash, until....

You need to join The Dumpster Divers Union group, I did. Haha


The Essential Pages

New to Cigar Box Nation?How to Play Cigar Box GuitarsFree Plans & How to Build Cigar Box GuitarsCigar Box Guitar Building BasicsCigar Box Guitar Parts Store

Site Sponsor

Recommended Links & Resources



Started by Joe Williams in Performances, How to Play, Lessons, Concerts. Last reply by Paul Craig 4 hours ago. 2 Replies

VIDEOS: How to Make Copper Wire Frets on a Cigar Box Guitar

Started by Shane Speal shanespeal.com in Feature Articles. Last reply by BlueBird J 15 hours ago. 6 Replies

VIDEO: Cigar Box Harp by Don Peddle

Started by Shane Speal shanespeal.com in Feature Articles. Last reply by JL on Tuesday. 6 Replies

Blog Posts

it's gettin done

Posted by BlueBird J on April 26, 2018 at 7:01am 1 Comment

Number Two

Posted by Les Keith on April 23, 2018 at 12:54pm 5 Comments

Jasper the friendly 4-string

Posted by RJ Richard on April 16, 2018 at 1:58pm 3 Comments

Latest Activity

Darryl Tuttle commented on Randy S. Bretz's video

Bad to the Bone

"I get this plug in is not supported thing on about a third of the videos I try to see...anything I…"
1 hour ago
StorminSteve liked Dave Lynas's photo
2 hours ago
StorminSteve liked Dave Lynas's photo
2 hours ago
StorminSteve commented on Dave Lynas's photo

Nice day in Guitardom

"What Bones said. And that looks like a humble place you got that gitty posing in. "
2 hours ago
StorminSteve liked Dave Lynas's photo
2 hours ago
StorminSteve commented on Eero Tapani Lehtinen's video
2 hours ago
StorminSteve liked Eero Tapani Lehtinen's video
2 hours ago
StorminSteve commented on Dave Lynas's photo

couple of Rocket slide bars

"Now all ya need is some dark clouds and lighting.   I’m glad I helped inspire you !…"
2 hours ago
Paul Craig replied to Joe Williams's discussion tunings
"E-1, B-5, b-5, e-1  1/5/5/1 Open E Shan did a write up on the Dirty E tuning awhile back."
4 hours ago
Erasmo Coco commented on Erasmo Coco's video

Poor Man's Cookie Tin Resonator Blues

"Faded and old is the color , Brown stain gone gray , the sun brings it out. Thanks Richard !"
4 hours ago
Richard Dean replied to Joe Williams's discussion tunings
"That's actually an open B tuning with the 3rd string(B)now as your root(typically BEbe),…"
4 hours ago
Jeff 'Bones' Reilly commented on Dave Lynas's photo

Bare Bones slides

"I’ll have that song in my head all day now cheers Dave ....  "
4 hours ago




© 2018   Created by Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service