Dear All,

Hello from the Isle of Wight in the UK. First a quick introduction: I have always loved music, particularly blues and country, but have never played a musical instrument in my life. Since I retired, I decided to change that and, intrigued by the CBG, last year I went on a 'make & play' 3 string CBG workshop run by Chickenbone John here in the UK. What a superb and inspirational teacher he is! I came away with a fretless 3 string and set about learning how to play it. 

To cut a long story short, I ended up buying a quality fretted 3 string made by Chickenbone John which is a marvelous instrument. Inspired by some wonderful teachers on the internet like Shane Speal, Del Puckett, Uncle Marc etc, I feel I am beginning to make some progress and what an adventure it has been. 

The CBG I made has been sitting in a corner largely unused as the sound from Chickenbone John's guitar is, understandably, so much better. However, one of our sons is married to a wonderful American woman and they live in San Luis Obispo, California. After not being able to see them for a couple of years (pandemic) my wife and I are going to spend 2 months with them from May. I do not want to travel with my CB John instrument as it might get damaged and would cost a lot in extra baggage fees etc. But, I can't not play for 2 months! 

So, I began to think, could I make the fretless CBG I originally made into a travel guitar by cutting down it's neck length? Essentially, it's so I can keep practising (I'm not planning on performing at the Gran Ol Oprey yet!). How much could I cut off? What effect would it have on the sound (presumably it would be like putting a capo on)? I think it's worth trying as it's only sitting there doing nothing. What do you all think? Is it a foolish idea? Forgive my ignorance but I am so excited by this wonderful instrument that you are all experts at, I would really appreciate any help you could give. Many thanks, Tim.

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Anything is possible, the sound will be higher pitched & have more tension? There are lots of short scale cbgs out there. Have you not seen the hobo fiddle? 17” scale- 24” total length?

My 2 cents ,  you have until May to make a short scale guitar . more toys = win win.

Hi, here are a few snippets of information I lifted from my Tailoring Sound reference chart. I keep it in the workshop. I have the whole thing ready for posting but for now.........
The longer the scale the more string tension
Increase string length pitch goes down
Increase the mass of the string [heavier gauge string pitch goes down.
So the reverse action gives the opposite result.

No matter what the length of the neck, I would think one would tune to concert pitch, so the feel of the strings would be different and fret spacing closer together.
Cheers Taff

Have you considered buying a git from an American builder and having it shipped to your son's house so that it's waiting for you when you get there? Have him store it there for you and you'll have an excuse to visit again. :D

Actually a good idea, CBGitty’s pure & simple kit is pre marked & pre drilled & takes about 30 minutes to an hour to assemble & starts at $59 unfretted, $79 fully fretted? They say all you’ll need is a hammer & screwdriver to assemble, pretty reasonably priced too?

I was thinking the same thing. My wife gave me that kit for Christmas a few years back and that's what got me into building these things from scratch. Not only would OP have the fun of building and playing another git, but it would probably be more cost-effective in the long run compared to packing and shipping a small-scale guitar.

Tim do this:

build a full length neck.. fretted or not, up to you.  ship to son.  when you arrive, glue/screw to top and voila', your own CBG.

another option is to build a fender style bolt on neck CBG.  broken down, overall length should not exceed 24".  when you arrive, bolt it together and you're ready to play/

Hello Tim, I agree with all of the suggestions given.

I have a couple ukelele sized 1 string and 2 string fretless CBG's, with pickups installed, I travel with. They are small enough to fit both in a standard backpack.

The pitch is higher than longer scale length, but that is the price for convenience.

Lot's of great suggestions given. Good luck.


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