My very first cbg was a 3 string fretless. It really enjoy playing it, and it turned out to be the gateway for this new hobby (obsession). Since that build,  I've made a couple electric, acoustic, and ukuleles. All of which have been fretted four stringers. I'm really not great at playing slide (mostly I need to practice) and I find I have a better time rocking out on the four strings. 

Saying that, I do want to improve my abilities with the slide and my next cbg I plan to build will be a resonator. I've noticed that a substantial number of guitars here are 3 strings and played with a slide. Is there an advantage to have 3 instead of 4? 

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I am not the best person to answer this...........but I think that each type of guitar brings its own advantages and / or disadvantages depending on your playing skill and the type of music you enjoy. The 3 string fretless slide is a great setup to start learning with and the easiest to play next to a 1 string diddley bow. Best advice I can give is keep building several types and playing every will sort out for yourself which type and style best suites your skill and music. That half the fun with this great hobby ;)

For me, it depends what I'm playing. 3 strings tends to be great for blues/rock riffs, and having the extra string on there makes it a lot easier to play chords. 4 string chords sound nicer too. Best way is to make several of each and make your own mind up! 

The great advantage of 3 strings is the tuning. If you use G D G (or a variation thereof) you have a"power chord", which is neither major nor minor, which it is so instantly rootsy or folky in feel. As soon as you add a 4th string, you sort of have to decide whether to go major or minor, unless you use the 4th string to duplicate one of the other root or 5th notes.

You don't have to play slide, that's just one of the possibilities of the 3 string.

Interesting. Your title includes the words " trying to MAKE a decision." You've already confessed to the obsession, and having built several instruments.

The answer seems rather obvious, don't you think?

All right. Twist my rubber arm. I'm just going tohave to make two. There's obviously no choice.
I have read a couple posts of guys that have multiple cbgs simply for different tunings/string combinations. I guess I can look at it like the tools in my shop; a different tool for each task. It only follows that one should have a different guitar for each style.

And it's simply a good idea to build two or three at once anyway. I already have the glue out. Right?

I think Richey and Chickenbone sorted out why I jam on the 4 string more. I basically like playing chords and I find that 3 strings just came up short of producing a complete sound (playing a minor, adding the 7th, etc.) But the more I've listened to cbg songs, there's no question that you can achieve these sounds.

Thanks for the replies. Members here are a junkies best friend. I love the enabling on this site.

 Is there an advantage to have 3 instead of 4? 

No.  You'll need to build AT LEAST 4:

A three string FRETLESS in GDG (or DAD, or any other 1-5-1 tuning) to start slaying some slide blues dragons.

A three string FRETTED in GDG  that can also be tuned to ADF# (for open D  and moveable chord shapes), and can also be tuned to ADF (for them minor sounds you been denyin' your badself).

A four string FRETTED in DGBd that can also be tuned to DF#Ad to utilize banjo chords and whatnot.

A four string FRETTED in GDGB so you can use the thicker, more woundy strings.  Or get thickier and woundier on this one and string it up with the Low-E-through-G's. Or whatever...

But that's just the starter pack.  

...wait, what?

Yes, and I should have one of each in acoustic, resonator and electric...both single and humbucker versions. If we use nCr = n!/(n-r)! × r!, how many guitars do I need? My math skills are a little rusty.

I'm not good at Maths...just keep building until your house is full up ; -)

If your already have a four string then why make a four string slide? Just a question. I get a kick out of people who think the strings have to be 3 inches off the frets to play slide. I've played Joe Walsh, Almond Brothers, George Thorogood and even the leads to Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Free Bird' on a guitar with string so low a passing breeze could play a tun. 

the only way to get better at playing slide is to play slide. The number of strings doesn't matter. 

OK so you have a fretless three string. A good hand full of fretted four strings. So why not build a fretted three string? Best of both worlds. 

Four strings is so 2014.  Go Five.  I'm starting a club.

Modifying a 4 string into a 5 (or more) string like a 14 string w/ 7 pairs of strings (etc.) would require making a new neck

5 strings is so 2015 how about 7 strings & 14 strings in 7 pairs?


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