Howdy folks,

I am a complete newbie to 3-string CBG.

If I need to be posting these BASIC questions elsewhere....please direct me to there.


Why do I see some CBG with frets and some without?

What are the advantages to either?




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Possibly viewing this video will help you compare the two:

Fretted instruments have simply become more popular because it removes the challenge of placing your finger in the exact location to produce a true tone. The frets pretty much do that automatically. Single notes or two notes (doublestops) are not bad, but 3 finger chords get almost impossible. So it mainly comes down to what you want to do with the instrument and your playing style.

Form follows Function

Enjoy, Keni Lee

Howdy Keni - Thank you for your interest in helping this here 'newbie' to the 3-string CBG. I appreciate it.

I just ordered the 3 Cd's that I believe will help me the most in getting started on this journey.

Those CDs that I just ordered are #1, #4, and Good & Evil. 

Thank you for doing what you do, in having these CDs available to us to learn from. 

You indeed are a 'contributor' to society.

Kind regards,


Keni - Ya gotta be kidding me, amigo....I just ordered 3 of your CDs ( #1, #4, and Good & Evil) and they were delivered all the way out to AZ today!  Great service....thank you! 

I have a 3-string CBG on it's way to me in a couple of weeks from Eric at 'Tobacco Road Guitars'.

Like I posted earlier....I am a complete newbie and I am not even sure that I ever held ANY guitar. (Nor read music.)

It should be a very interesting journey.

Stay tuned....


Thank you Keith for your comments. Glad to be of help. Please feel free to write if any questions arise as you work through the lessons. Most of all enjoy your practice, Keni Lee

some  are  built  just built for slide  ..  no fingering  . no  frets needed .

some  are  fretless ,    but you  can finger   on the fretboard    with a slightly muted  sound .

frets  allow  you  to    finger   with a clear sound , or both   (slide  too) .   with  a higere  action .


some build  a  slide only because     they  deem it   an easier     build ,   or  are  going with tradition   of  the depression  era   where    access to  tools   / frets  ..   supplies  were   limited ,.. and  it  has a unique sound .


some    build    fretted     maybe with  a slight  higer action    to  have  choice   slide also   .


some  just build a fretted   "normal    use  "   guitar  .


personal  choice  is the  main factor here  .









For me, fretted guitars are easier to play and have a brighter fingered note sound. Fretless guitars, however, have a unique sound that's kinda muted by the flesh of your finger, and they are more difficult to play; I prefer fretless and can using both fingering and slide, I can do pretty much anything but blues shuffles that are not open, I can do barre chords with the slide and 3 string fingered chords if not blocked at the same position. Fretless is more challenging, but also more satisfying for me, and I constantly change my mind whether to fret my next git or not. My customers always want frets, though. Keni Lee covers both pretty well in his CD's, check with him about which to get.

From a building standpoint, some people are intimidated by the fretting process, so they opt to go fretless on their first couple of builds. Fretting is not difficult, and I put a beginner's fretting video on my page here to help new folks out.

For someone who does not know how to play guitar already, it is my opinion that learning to play slide first does not necessarily make things easier, though lots of other people disagree with me.

Get one of each and see where that leads you.

I would highly recommend building a fretless first. I did'nt enjoy fretless much until I built a short scale fretless and tuned the strings down a step. A little less tension makes it more fun to play with your fingers.You can even get some bends if you get the tension just right. Lower tension also gives a little more growl and deeper tones if you ask me.

I made a fretless for my first because fretting seemed outside my skill set. You dont want to end up with a guitar that can't be played in tune. I have enough problems playing the guitar. The fretless came out great and isnt as hard to play as I thought it might be. I have recently bought materials to make my next guitar fretted, i.e., a fret saw. And there are plenty of people on this site who show you the 411 on how to do a fretted neck. 

Thanks Brenden.  I have just ordered a Fretted 3-string CBG....vamos a ver (We will see.)

Well yer gonna want more than half a dozen guitars eventually, so.......

I am fretting about this thread!


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