hi everyone

I'm new to building (on my 3rd right now) and I want to build a cigar box guitar in every tuning. I have my first 2 tuned to G5 and was wondering wether scale length had anything to do with tuning to all keys?? is it better to change strings or to change scale length instead??

my cbg's so far have:
3 strings ( the 5th, 4th and 3rd acoustic strings)
25 inch scale length
solid bridge/saddle (it's a cut down drawer handle)

is this all that matters with tuning or am i missing something else?? any help would be greatly appreciated!!


Views: 587

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

The string choice and the scale length and the tuning are three pieces of the same puzzle. Certainly you can change the strings on one of your existing ones to target a different register. Equally you could pop a capo on (changing the scale length..) so yes, yes and yes :)

Scale length is designed to conveniently allow the player to find an instrument they can physically play more comfortably, if you sing you will tune your guitar to a key in which you can sing comfortably, though different tunings offer different voices and a different feel to the music, low keys thicker strings, high keys thinner strings - decide on one scale length (very commonly 25.5", same as a Strat). (-:

consider restringing one of your current CBGs with a different string set. See if you can achive your desired tuning. If not then consider your next build with a different scale length.


Scale lenght and string selection both matter. And as the Kid says the two fit together best when combined with an optimum tuning. I have built several with different scale lenghts and string sets. Sometime you have to play around with strings and tunings until you find the combination that "works" with a particular CBG.

I prefer a 22" scale. I find that it makes the stretches between frets easier, especially using open tunings. Here is a suggestion. String using ADg strings and tune Open D: ADf#

I use a "movable chord method", so it possible to play in all 12 keys on 1 CBG.

See CD 6

Feel free to email me directly at kenileeburgess@aol.com

 http://www.ebay.com/sch/njmikeb/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from...   Enjoy. 

So once you pick the scale length that you like to play (me, I like 17")  you then decide on the tuning you want to have.   Let's say Gdg.  Then you go here:  http://www.strothers.com/string_choice.htm

You plug in your string length (in my case, 17) and then enter G.  It tells me I need a .017.  Then I put in d, and it tells me to use a .016, and so on for the little g string.

That gizmo lets you choose the best string for the scale and tuning you want, instead of guessing, or hoping or trial-and-erroring.  And it is just a starting place, you can loosen them up for a lower tuning if you like to play all floppy and buzzy.  But at least you are starting from the optimal.

thanks heaps!! man you guys really know your stuff on this site!!! haha I'll check into everything and make my decisions from there. thanks for pointing me in the right direction!! muchly appreciated!


The Essential Pages

New to Cigar Box Nation? How to Play Cigar Box GuitarsFree Plans & How to Build Cigar Box GuitarsCigar Box Guitar Building Basics

Site Sponsor

Recommended Links & Resources


Handy adhesive

Started by John B Treutlein in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Taffy Evans on Friday. 11 Replies

String noise

Started by Michael Myers in Performances, How to Play, Lessons, Concerts. Last reply by Michael Myers Mar 17. 6 Replies

Build this Wooden Kick Drum Pedal

Started by Rose Ericson in Feature Articles. Last reply by Slow Mick Mar 16. 35 Replies

Neck though corner

Started by Engblom in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Michael Fred Johnson Feb 28. 6 Replies

Playing a bit!

Started by John B Treutlein in Performances, How to Play, Lessons, Concerts. Last reply by John B Treutlein Feb 12. 3 Replies

Latest Activity

Miku posted a photo

Cigar box guitar for Guinness World Guitar Record!

Hey ho, let's go! I'm building a unique cigar box guitar for the Guinness World Guitar Record!The…
46 minutes ago
Miku posted a video
1 hour ago
Uncle John commented on Randy S. Bretz's photo

More parts then I`ll ever use !

"Good for that builder in passing on these things."
2 hours ago
A.D.EKER commented on A.D.EKER's photo

Div Telefoon Piezo's

"Thanks Bernie ! Much obliged !! it seems everybody has got them ,but forgot about it !! hope it…"
2 hours ago
Randy S. Bretz posted a photo

More parts then I`ll ever use !

I was contacted by a builder who was getting out of the hobby. He asked me if I wanted any of his…
4 hours ago
Bernie Edwards liked A.D.EKER's photo
6 hours ago
James O Lunsford commented on James O Lunsford's photo

IMG_20230321_221805681 (2)

"Thank you all. for your likes and comments will post a video with it soon"
9 hours ago
James O Lunsford commented on James O Lunsford's photo

IMG_20230321_221805681 (2)

"Thanks, AGP # video coming soon!"
9 hours ago
James O Lunsford commented on James O Lunsford's photo

IMG_20230321_221805681 (2)

"Thanks Uncle John I like this one a lot will post a video with it soon just ordered. a special…"
9 hours ago
Doug Thorsvik commented on Doug Thorsvik's video

The Trees of the Field: 2-String Surf Chugger Cigar Box Guitar

"Thanks for Watching James O! Our Zoom meetings are a lot of fun. I enjoy the variety as everyone…"
11 hours ago
Taffy Evans replied to Tim Dvorak's discussion 3-String Bass Project - Dual pickups with switch.
"Use HTML, or go back and repost before closing down. Save typing it all again, very frustrating.…"
13 hours ago
A.D.EKER commented on A.D.EKER's video

Hot Dusty Roads S. Stills - A. D. Eker 2023

"Thank You ! AGP# most well reseaved ! appreciated !"
16 hours ago


© 2023   Created by Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

\uastyle>\ud/** Scrollup **/\ud.scrollup {\ud background: url("https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/963882636?profile=original") no-repeat scroll 0 0 transparent;\ud bottom: 25px;\ud display: inline !important;\ud height: 40px;\ud opacity: 0.3 !important;\ud position: fixed;\ud right: 30px;\ud text-indent: -9999px;\ud width: 40px;\ud z-index: 999;\ud}\ud.scrollup:hover {\ud opacity:0.99!important;\ud}\ud \uascript type="text/javascript">\ud x$(document).ready(function(){\ud x$(window).scroll(function(){\ud if (x$(this).scrollTop() > 100) {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeIn();\ud } else {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeOut();\ud }\ud });\ud x$('.scrollup').click(function(){\ud x$("html, body").animate({ scrollTop: 0 }, 600);\ud return false;\ud });\ud });\ud \ua!-- End Scroll Up -->