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How To Play A CBG' Video

Custom builds, weird questions?

I make a TON of custom models, dual pickups, selector switch cbg's, short scale basses, dulcimer guitars etc...

There are many ways to tune a cigar box guitar. It all depends on the sound you're looking for as well as the string gauge you are using on your CBG. For example: .09 (extra light) strings are best for open A tuning: AEa (the lower case 'a' indicates and octave above the capital 'A').

Low – Middle – Middle (Low G, Middle D, Middle G)

Low-Middle-High (Low G, Middle D, High G)

Low-High-High (Low G, High D, High G)

Middle-High-High (Middle G, High D, High G)

Basically, there are 5 potential strings that are needed to achieve these 4 tunings. They are:

Low G

Middle D

Middle G

High D

High G

If you think of a standard 6-string guitar, or if you want to use a standard guitar string pack to do these tunings, you can think of it like this:

Low G – take the low A string (second biggest wound string) and tune it down a full step to G.

Middle D – this is the same as the D string on a standard guitar – third biggest wound string.

Middle G – this is the same as the middle G string on a standard guitar – the smallest of the wound strings

High D – the easiest way to get this is to tune the High E string (the smallest, unwound string) down a full step to D. You could also crank the unwound B string up two full steps (which would put it in the break zone).

High G – For this one you’d need to take a lighter-gauge high E string and crank it up two full steps to G.

3 String

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

Tones 1/5/1:

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

A full G chord

Tones 1/3/5: String 3 (G) / String 2 (B) / String 1 (E) tune down to D

4 String

Tones 5/1/3/5:

String 4 (D) / String 3 (G) / String 2 (B) / String 1 (E) tune down to D or

Tones 1/5/1/3

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

Tones 1/5/1/5

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

5 String

Standard bluegrass banjo tuning (use banjo strings)

Tones 1/5/1/3/5: gDGbd

6 string

Tones 5/1/5/1/3/5 Open G Tuning DGDGBD