I have a 4-string CBG that is currently tuned to open D (DADF#).  I see the barre chords are easily done but am having trouble finding a C chord that isn't so high (barre is on 10th fret - correct?).  The C chords I have found don't sound quite right (1 string 1st fret, 2nd string second fret, third string third fret).  Minors are also a challenge.  All of the chord charts for open D seem to use the bottom strings a lot (A and D) so the 4-string thing is befuddling me.

Does open G have the same challenges?

Thanks,

BB

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I'm a fan of using the top 4 strings of a standard set. These can easily be tuned to open D - DF#Ad, or open G - DGBd. This open G tuning is great for playing a variety of chords because it is like a banjo tuning without the 5th string (you can use a banjo fingering chart). It also works well for blues as well. Switching between the two tunings is really quick and easy also.
i`m using GDGB i havent tried DGBd


Ben said:
I'm a fan of using the top 4 strings of a standard set. These can easily be tuned to open D - DF#Ad, or open G - DGBd. This open G tuning is great for playing a variety of chords because it is like a banjo tuning without the 5th string (you can use a banjo fingering chart). It also works well for blues as well. Switching between the two tunings is really quick and easy also.
I would highly recommend Open G tuning (Dgbd).
Have you seen my instructional video CD 5 (How to play 4 string CBG)?
http://shop.ebay.com/njmikeb/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&a...
Please feel free to write if you have any questions. Enjoy.
Keni Lee,
I knew you'd come through to back me up on this! Granted, I played banjo before your CDs but still found plenty of stuff for the picking (and pickin') in them. As you know, I recommend them to anyone, regardless of prior skill level.


Keni Lee Burgess said:
I would highly recommend Open G tuning (Dgbd).
Have you seen my instructional video CD 5 (How to play 4 string CBG)?
http://shop.ebay.com/njmikeb/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&a...
Please feel free to write if you have any questions. Enjoy.
Seasick Steve plays on a 4 stringer CBG
So does anyone know what he`s tuning is....?????
..............Hope you dont mind me asking this here BB...
I usually prefer open E, EG#BE, then it follows the same fretting as barre chords on standard tuned 6 string, just easier for an old garage rocker like myself to transpose stuff to 4string CBG i guess. The songs on my page and the video of me on Jason Lambert's page are all done in open E.
Yes, you can also tune down using medium strings, Df#ad (Open D) and use the same fingerings. A lot less tension on that CBG neck too. Enjoy.


joe cerroni said:
I usually prefer open E, EG#BE, then it follows the same fretting as barre chords on standard tuned 6 string, just easier for an old garage rocker like myself to transpose stuff to 4string CBG i guess. The songs on my page and the video of me on Jason Lambert's page are all done in open E.
With my 4-string tuned to DADF#, I am finding most of the chords I want using barre chords, but haven't found a C chord that sounds good in your typical GCD song. The barre chord sounds way to high to me and the C chords I find on charts don't seem quite right. Is that just a drawback of open tuning on a 4-string, particularly one using the lower four strings instead of the upper ones?
I find the lower tuned (DAD)F# CBG is good for walking the basses, shuffle rhythm, and old Delta Blues Bottleneck songs like You Got to Move. (See CD 1 or CD 4) A complimentary instrument would be tuned DF#AD (Open D) using the higher strings. This works better for strumming chords. (See CD 5 for key of G 4 string CBG) In the tuning you are now, the major chord triads work out on these strings: D(ADF#). Have you seen my Devil tuning video? This will explain how to find the chords you want. There are 3 inversion of the same chord on the fingerboard. Chords charts may be helpful as a quick reference, but they do not help you understand how the chords work out on the fingerboard or provide a method of locating and altering them into other chords like 7th, minors, etc. Enjoy.


Barry Lampke said:
With my 4-string tuned to DADF#, I am finding most of the chords I want using barre chords, but haven't found a C chord that sounds good in your typical GCD song. The barre chord sounds way to high to me and the C chords I find on charts don't seem quite right. Is that just a drawback of open tuning on a 4-string, particularly one using the lower four strings instead of the upper ones?
Hey Barry,
I've worked out some variations on the C chord that you may want to try (I'm not sure what you've tried already other than just barring the 10th fret). I think the main thing is either training your fingers to make certain shapes or modifying the chord somehow. The simplest C chord I came up with is played by NOT playing the low D string, 3rd finger - 3rd fret on A, 2nd finger - 2nd fret on d, and 1st finger - 1st fret on f#. These will give you the CEG notes of the C chord triad. If you want a more full sounding chord, adding the 2nd fret on the low D string will give you a C chord in its first inversion (with an E in the bass). This could be easily played with the thumb while keeping your other fingers in the position described above. I'm not a huge fan of playing with my thumb so you could do 2nd finger - 2nd fret on low D, 4th finger - 3rd fret on A, 3rd finger - 2nd fret on d, and 1st finger - 1st fret on f#. This would just take a bit more practice to get your hand to take that position.

Another option is if you want the C chord in its 2nd inversion (with G in the bass). Barre all of the strings at the 5th fret. Then 3rd finger - 7th fret on the A string, and 2nd finger - 6th fret on the f# string. This will give you a chord voiced as GEgc. This version might be easier if you're already playing your G chord as barred on the 5th fret. Keep in mind that with all of these versions, all you have to do is move everything up the neck 2 frets to get a D chord (add some variation from the open D).

I know there's a lot of stuff here so I apologize if I mistyped anything. Learning all of these versions will give you a bigger arsenal for some more variety to your sound....and watch Keni Lee's stuff for good measure.
I always use the the 4 middle strings from a standard 6 string set. IE - just leave off the 2 "E" strings. Then I tune it like a standard tuning (A-D-G-B). This allows for "normal" chord fingering - a C is still a C, a D is still a D, etc (just minus the 2 outer strings).

Plus, if you drop the low A down to a G, you have an instant open G chord with only one string being retuned. This is great for slide work. I play a lot of open G tuning on my 6 string guitars so it's an easy transition for me.

Hope this helps!
Hmmm, i think you can tune DGBE like a reg guitar and just change the high E to a D and have an open G as well - correct? It does seem that a small instrument like a CBG gives a nice mellow tone from using the lower strings - I have noticed that I like the DADF# - perhaps because I'm used to playing the mandolin...

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