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My grandkids want me to build them a three string. I am also new to this so I would like to know being they are small can I make the neck shorter then I would for myself? I have read that I should start with a 36" neck and go through the box. What ideas would you do for the kids they are 5, 7 and 10 and then what open chord should I tune it to so they don't get disgusted. Thanks
I make mine with a 24" scale. Shorter scales will have less tension on the strings which will be good for the small kids. You can go down shorter and I'm sure other will have good advise. The 151 open tuning is great for easy playing ie GDG, AEA, DAD to name a few.
I have made two cbg's for grandkids . I built them to a 20 inch scale ( nut to bridge distance) and went with 1 1/4 inch wide for the neck width . Tune them all to the same chord so they can play together . Good Luck !!
I can't wait to see what you come up with I have some young bucks here who want to play
If they are that young, I'd build even smaller -- maybe 15" or 17" between bridge and nut. You can always build them a bigger one later when they take to it. I'm a full grown adult, and I prefer 17" and I think even that would be a lot for a 7yo to manage.
Also, consider dulcimer fretting so there are no wrong notes and they can easily pick out tunes and simple chords. You can see all about that over on the Dulcimer group. Probably more information there than you want!
Any 1 5 8 tuning would be good, and you can choose your strings to get that no matter how long your build is. Use this: http://www.strothers.com/string_choice.htm and select each string one at a time for your chosen open note. I'd make the instruments all three the same key so they can play together, regardless of size.
I made some for my grandkids, and they were both under 5 at the time. I made a single string, so they could try to learn finger position and how to move up and down the neck without having to worry about getting lost on multiple strings.
I made them both 19 inch scale and used a little heavier string so it would not cut into their little fingers quite as badly.
I like that idea. I am making a 2nd one for me 3 yr old grandson. 1st one was 22" - too long. This one is 18" 2 string & I thought I would tune it to 5th fret, but maybe just an "E" string down a couple steps woould be "G" ?