I am knocking up a 3 string fretless for a mate of mine.

He said he would like it in open E tuning -- EBE I presume.

I have done a search on the site, as to what strings I should use.

And I am still confused.

Without getting too technical, could someone explain what are the

best strings to use.

I think he likes it a bit "Bassie".

Thanks for your help "Confused.com !!!"



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Make it easy on yourself: 6-5-4 strings from a standard six string set ( that's E-A-D, tuning the A up to B, and the D up to E). Should work fine.

What Oily said....

Oh, and use Medium gauge.

That too...

Thanks Guys.

I did not want to appear a bit thick, but now a least I will sleep tonight !!



Hey Dave,

Just be careful with those higher tunings. Hopefully the neck is thick or better yet contains a truss rod.

EBE puts a lot of stress on a neck. 

Tuning DAD and using a capo on fret 2 is a lot better. Same standard strings EAD (tune down).

I prefer using strings AGD and tuning down to GDG. Although of course, this puts me in the key of G.

Enjoy, Keni Lee  

See? Keni kicks in with a better way! Thanks, man!
No one asking about ur scale length..
Impossible tO answer without knowing the length of your strings.

Ps using lighter strings is a double edged thing, heavier sounds better.
Ps2 I never seen a three string that needed a truss rod ever
I do a 600mm scale length and have no trouble cranking a low e string up to g

In repy to Keni's comment.

It will be a through neck made fron 2"x1" Beech.

Hopfully that will be strong enough.

I have used 4-5-6 strings tuned to open G on another guitar,

that had an Oak neck with no problems.

So hopefully this will be OK.


just finished two three stringers, one with a maple neck with an oak fretboard, and one mahogany neck with poplar fretboard.  both are tuned ebe with the three thickest strings from a light gauge set.  the both hold great and sound good. oh and one scale is 24, and one is 24.25.  i will post pics and vids soon

Cheers Jason,

I think light gauge is the way to go


Yes, scale length is definitely a consideration. Even on a standard 6 string with a truss rod, I would not advise leaving a guitar tuned up above standard. Due to the fact there is no standard in regards to any of the CBG's dimensions, approaching a tuning in a relative way might be a good consideration. If you are not overly concerned with the key, experimenting could easily lead to the guitar playing at it's best. For example: If you use strings EAD start by tuning CGC...C#G#C#...DAD...D#A#D#...EBE...Simply moving up in pitch using tones 151 from the major scale.

If the strings are too tight or too loose the sound board will not vibrate correctly.

You may discover in this way, what string tension functions best.

Enjoy, Keni Lee   


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