Three string guitars


Three string guitars

Everything about anything that's a three stringer

Members: 639
Latest Activity: yesterday

If you enjoy three string guitars, this is the place!

Hi Folks, This is the group to share everything about the three string is only about 3 stringers, not that there is a problem with 6 string guitars, those are cool, and 4 stringers are nifty too...but this is a place to share ideas and post anything and everything 3 string.

There is another website on the net that is all 3 string info .... come visit it sometime, just Google "3 string guitar" or visit is so much info it would fill up this section...come on over when you are ready to read lots of great stories.

If you have anything to share, add it here and it might help get your sales or spread the word about your your ideas, photos and tips, don't let it get buried and lost in the random 4 and 6 string stuff....this is the place for your 3 string post, this is three string heaven.

Get out of the rutt, play a three string!


Lots more great stuff, come visit

Comment Wall


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Comment by BeetleJuice! on June 17, 2017 at 9:05am

3 string cigar box guitar from

Comment by Nigel McTrustry on May 2, 2017 at 1:51am

Hey 3 stringers :)

I've got a new Live album just out. All 3 string cbg with 2 string bass & drums. Please check it out!

Comment by BeetleJuice! on February 2, 2017 at 5:08pm

and they are only 75 dollars not the 99 as listed at first

Comment by BeetleJuice! on February 1, 2017 at 2:24pm
I just wanted to share these pickups , they are new and slim and they are now for sale on the Lace website!

Comment by Mark K on January 14, 2017 at 9:55pm

Thanks @TN Twang....I posted this over on the build group and someone there also suggested the nut.  I think I cut the slots too deep, and because the neck has no back bend the action is high and I think that contributes to lack of tension.  I will work on it, but for the record its a 25" scale.  I don't yet have the fret markers on the side - I did mount the Studebaker logo but unfortunately it had some deeper rust and it broke off....Have to fix that too!  I put in the magnetic pickup and man it rocks...

Comment by TN Twang on January 14, 2017 at 2:56pm

Welcome Mark.

Neat looking instrument in the finest CBG tradition. (Personally, I prefer primitive & no frets, but I do mark in the fret positions. Of course, I can't see if you have yours penciled in on the top of the neck.)

As to the buzz & tuning, what's the scale--the distance from nut to bridge? If it's less than 24 to 25 inches, your string tension may be too loose to seat the strings solidly in the nut and you need fatter strings pulled tighter. (I don't think grandpa's axe handle will mind a couple more pounds of tension.) Also, things may stabilize over time as the strings eat into that wooden nut.

Anyway, that's just a random guess. Welcome to CBG. It's an addictive habit.


Comment by Mark K on January 14, 2017 at 11:51am

Hi all - Mark K here.  Just joined a couple of weeks back and wanted to share my first and only build:  a 3 string hubcap primitive....

As my first build ever, and considering I only have a drill, some files and a cutoff wheel it turned out pretty good.  Tuned GDG, it sounds not bad acoustically (quiet though) and you can see I have an outline for a cutout for a magnetic pickup.  I tried a surface mount piezo and it worked fine so not sure I will cut the hubcap any further.....

So things I learned:  using flat wood might have been a better idea - the neck (through neck) is from my grandfather's pick-axe, and it was too thick at the head end so needed to be cut down and shaped.  Dang hickory is HARD!  And I wanted to leave the rounded neck front and back, so drilling the tuning pegs holes was an, um, adventure.  I bought the pegs and bridge from cbgitty, the string retainer is a hinge from the local hardware store, and the nut is a piece of the pick handle that I had removed from the end.

Clearly action is really really high - but I wanted a slide only for the fun of it.  The hubcap is from a 62 Studebaker and I have the original logo from the car to mount on the neck.

Only two problems so far:  its hard to get it in tune, and it doesn't stay in tune long;  and I get a buzz from the low G string that I can't figure out.  One I get the slide on the string it disappears, but open G buzzes (and has a really long sustain).  Suggestions would be more than welcome!

Anyway, now I need to learn how to play it.  The logo has to go one and I will put some fret markers on the neck (but really one is supposed to get there by feel right?)  I've been horsing around with Spoonful and it sounds neat!

Anyway, thanks for reading....


Comment by BeetleJuice! on December 29, 2016 at 6:02pm
Comment by Gordon Cooper on December 16, 2016 at 7:55pm

Dear Tex-you and I are in a similar boat. I can't chord due to arthritis on top of carpal tunnel. I use a slide, I use an oud pick/plectrum (like a plastic quill), and I use Galax county tuning-all three strings to the same note, same pitch, same gauge. Lots of complex harmonics.

You could also try a dutar tuning with a drone string. Bydand instruments has a downloadable file on two string diddley bow tunings. You CAN play. Just not the way others do. And don't let that stop you from experimenting, noodling, and having fun. If you have to hold it backwards and tune it upside down that's fine. The only rule is to do what will work for you, so far as I can tell.

Comment by TN Twang on September 10, 2016 at 6:47pm

Hello, Tex!

You're in the right place. The only problem I've ever had with Cigar Box Nation is that there's so much knowledge and help that I can't take it all in.

If you haven't already done so, go to and start clicking on links.

I'd recommend watching Knotlenny's video first and then working down the page (or any other order you might like.) Several of the guys who post free tutorials also sell or rent help or lessons on their web sites. They'll provide you with links and you can purchase help from anyone who seems to be doing the kind of thing you want to do.

There are also some excellent free online videos and for-sale DVDs available from Justin Johnson. (See his web site for some excellent freebies.)

Brent Robitaille has a couple of excellent books on the subject. I find his slide material to be excellent, but I've challenged him to give us more for slide and not as much for traditionally fretted instruments.

Best of luck. If the deluge of ideas and techniques overwhelms you, just ignore it all and sit and play. You don't have to play or tune or pick like anyone else; that's the beauty of the cigar-box guitar. Find your own music. May you be the next Robert Johnson.


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