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How Do You Tune A Cigar Box Guitar?

 

However you want :)

Seriously, you can tune it like a traditional guitar but with three or four strings or you can tune it to an open chord similar to a banjo (but without the banjo 5th string).

There are as many ways to tune a CBG as there are to tune are regular guitar which is many hundreds. You can also tune some strings in unison such as A a D G g (the small letters represent a higher octave).

 

Here are some common tunings for a 4 string cigar box guitar. The top string (first) is the third of the chord.

 

 

Here are the same tunings for a 3 string cigar box guitar. There is no major third so technically these aren't major chords.

 

 

 

D-A-d (using the 6, 5 and 4 strings)

G-d-g (using the 5, 4 and 3)

f-c-f (using the 3, 2 and 1)

A-d-f# (using the 5, 4 and 3 strings)

d-f#-a (using the 4, 3 and 2)

f#-a-d (using the 3, 2 and 1)

B-d-g (using the 5, 4 and 3 strings)

d-g-b (using the 4, 3 and 2)

g-b-d (using the 3, 2 and 1)

 

String 5 (A) tune down to G or

String 3 (G)

 

String 5 (A) tune down to G / String 4 (D) or

String 3 (G) / String 2 (B)

Know as G5 Tuning, only two tones, but three strings

String 5 (A) tune down to G / String 4 (D) / String 3 (G) or

String 3 (G) / String 2 (B) / String 1 (E) tune down to D

 

String 5 (A) tune down (G) / String 4 (D) / String 3 (G) / String 2 (B) or

 

String 5 (A) tune down to (G) / String 4 (D) / String 3 (G) / String 1 (E) tune down to (D)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the various string sizes

Medium gauge acoustic strings (thickest - thinnest = low to high)

E - .056 / A - .045 / D - .035 / G - .026 / B - .017 / E - .013

The numbers are approximate.

Use EAD

Tune: EAC# / EBE / DAD ...

Use ADG Tune: ADF# / AEA / GDG ...

Use GBE

Tune: AC#E / GBD ...

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Three String Tuning Options


Tipcally 3 string guitars use the 5th, 4th, and 3rd strings from an acustic guitar set. Weight is a personal option.

Open G



String 3: G
String 2: D
String 1: G
Notes: Classic Blues Tuning. I default to this tuning unless the box is small. I then consider an Open F to get a rounder sound.

Open F



String 3: F
String 2: C
String 1: F
Notes: Use this when an open G has too thin of a sound or cause you want too.

Open E



String 3: E
String 2: B
String 1: E
Notes: This is a fun tune but you may find the strings are too loose. I like the loose twangy sound, sometimes.

Open A



String 3: A
String 2: E
String 1: A
Notes: At this point strings get tights, but don't snap too often. Going to an open B or C may require rethinking what strings are used from the guitar set.

F Ionian



String 3: F
String 2: C
String 1: C
Notes:

F Dorian



String 3: F
String 2: C
String 1: B
Notes:

F Aeolian



String 3: F
String 2: C
String 1: E
Notes:

Four String Tuning Options
Tipcally 4 string guitars use the 5th, 4th, 3rd, and 2ed strings from an acustic guitar set unless you are setting up as a Bass. When tuning as a Bass Guitar use the 6th, 5th, 4th, and 3rd strings. Weight is a personal option.


Bass



String 4: E
String 3: A
String 2: D
String 1: G
Notes: I love the Bass guitar tune on my 4 string cigar box guitar. It provide's me with an accustic bass in a small size. Have you see the size of an acustic bass? They are HUGE!

Ukulele



String 4: G
String 3: C
String 2: E
String 1: A
Notes: Ukulele's are growing in popularity. However for many of us the fret board is too small as well as the sound. Setting up a cigar box guitar with a Ukulele tune allows big handed people the change to play this fun instrument. Too entice a Ukulele player use light weight strings. Most Ukulele players can't take the weight of bronze strings. Give them something gentle.

Open G (a.k.a. Banjo)



String 4: G
String 3: D
String 2: G
String 1: B
Notes: Like the Open 3 string tunes you can slide notes up or down steps to move to other open keys. This tuning provides Banjo players another instrument and guitar like sound.