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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  • Depends.  Stripped down & basic - 3 string.  Want easy access to 3rds & minor 3rds - 4 string.

    Maybe this will help (bottom of page):

  • I'm converting my 4 string Cigar Box Guitar into a 6 string Cigar Box Guitar, more specifically a 6 string Cigar Box Guitar in B Flat.
  • 5 strings is so 2015 how about 7 strings & 14 strings in 7 pairs?

  • 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

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

  • 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. 

  •  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 ; -)

  • 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.

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