Hello folks, my name is Tony and I'm brand new to CBG's  I have been playing 6 string for about 6 months and I'm doing fine with the basic chords.  D, G, C, A7, Em enough to make some decent sounding music.  I recently purchased a beautiful 4 string CBG with frets.  It also has an electic pickup.  My guitar is tuned D G B E.  When I try to play chorded songs that sound good on the 6 string, they don't sound anything like that on the 4 string.  I have tried to find 4 string chord charts and haven't had any luck.  Most of the FREE lessons for CBG's are for 3 string guitars and slides.  I tried using a bottle neck slide on my 4 string and it doesn't seem to work very well.  Do I need to buy a 3 string CBG to learn how to play?  I would like to play country songs or church songs with my CBG.  Can someone lead me in the right direction on finding chords or lessons for the 4 string beginner.  Did I make a mistake starting off with a 4 string CBG?

Thanks,
Tony

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Here's a secret. Baritone Ukes are DGBE .... the same as the bottom 4 strings on a 6 string. The same as some people ( me included) tune their 4 stringers.


4 string (baritone uke) chord chart

btw- all you're doing is the 4 bottom strings of the same 6 string chord.


Matt
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqLc5zjp-po

Please stop by and say Hello.
Enjoy, Keni Lee
my first thought reading this was "this guy needs to talk to keni"... lol...

Keni Lee Burgess said:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqLc5zjp-po

Please stop by and say Hello.
Enjoy, Keni Lee
NO! You did NOT make a mistake. The interesting thing about CBGs is that each one has its own voice, each one is unique. Follow the Zen of it: be true to the box, and the box will be true to you. Also, play from the heart! Oh yeah, and contact Keni! GOOD LUCK! :-) (Oh, yes...WELCOME to the MADNESSSSSSSsssssssssssssssssssssssss...!)
The reason 4 string chords don't sound as good on the "cut down" number of strings on your CBG is that many of them will actually be missing vital parts of the chord, such as the root in the bass or the fifth. The suggestion to use uke chords is helpful, and here are another couple of ideas.

You can tune it 'tenor guitar' style - you may need to alter the string gauges, the two commonest ones are (low to high) C-G-D-A or G-D-A-E (Irish tenor or octave mandolin tuning)...these tunings have wider intervals than the standard guitar, and chords have nice chiming ring to them.

The other alternative is put it in an open tuning for slide, equivalent to the top 4 of open G (D-G-B-D) or open D (D-Fsharp-A-D) of regular open guitar tunings, so you'll have a chord straight away that will work without having to fret.
Hi, I make and play 4 strings and I like to use the 4 small strings off a 6 string guitar. I get the most fun by tuning DGBD, which is open G or BANJO tuning. Lots of free banjo chords on the net... If I chord, this mostly limits me to playing in the key of G, which works well for my voice. And, I can play some slide from the same tuning. Suggestion: Do not buy instruction until you have checked out free stuff at the nation and youtube.
a good 4 string CBG is a very good thing.... enough for full chord sounds, but raw/open enough to not be mistaken for a "regular" guitar.... other than that, what's the fascination with "chords"? just throw an open tuning on it, barre across the neck and away you go... you can always set up open minor or 7th tunings for alternative sounds....

enjoy your CBG... let it tell you what it wants to play... if you listen to it, it will....

the best,

Wichita Sam
@wichita sam

amen brother!

i spent lots of time trying to re-build the acoustic, 6 string guitar with cookie tins..

eventually i realized it really was an entirely different instrument, and so i explored different strings and tunings until i found what really worked for the instrument and my playing style

i have to say, i'm a true, full-blooded three string fretless convert. i LOVE the sound my CBG gets from that 3 string open A tuning, and i can strum my way through ANY song that comes to mind...

making your own instruments is a journey. it may take you away from the string/tuning/play style that you've grown accustomed to....

and that can be the best part of all!

(by the way, i spent some serious time playing the "first four strings of a six string guitar" arrangement, and after you get used to the different sound, it really has a charm all of it's own!!)

Wichita Sam said:
a good 4 string CBG is a very good thing.... enough for full chord sounds, but raw/open enough to not be mistaken for a "regular" guitar.... other than that, what's the fascination with "chords"? just throw an open tuning on it, barre across the neck and away you go... you can always set up open minor or 7th tunings for alternative sounds....
enjoy your CBG... let it tell you what it wants to play... if you listen to it, it will....
the best,

Wichita Sam
Wichita Sam says it right and well, but I guess the truth is that I do have a fascination with chords. And I use my CBG much like I use a 6 string 'store bought.' But I get a fun and more raw sound and the satisfaction of playing something I made. Better yet, I have a couple 'home made' songs I wrote to play and sing with my CBG.
Many if not most CBG players do the slide and barre thing, which is cool. I like to use the banjo chord shapes in open G and create a shuffle sound on the I (G) chord by alternating an open G and fretting D2. I use the IV (C) chord shape the same way adding and lifting off at G2 for the shuffle beat. The shuffle sound works great for some good songs like: Sweet Home Chicago, Rock Me Momma and others. Not all songs sound good on my CBG, but I have experimented and found about 10 that work well enough for me to use at jams.
Build, play, sing and enjoy.

Crow said:
@wichita sam

amen brother!

i spent lots of time trying to re-build the acoustic, 6 string guitar with cookie tins..

eventually i realized it really was an entirely different instrument, and so i explored different strings and tunings until i found what really worked for the instrument and my playing style

i have to say, i'm a true, full-blooded three string fretless convert. i LOVE the sound my CBG gets from that 3 string open A tuning, and i can strum my way through ANY song that comes to mind...

making your own instruments is a journey. it may take you away from the string/tuning/play style that you've grown accustomed to....

and that can be the best part of all!

(by the way, i spent some serious time playing the "first four strings of a six string guitar" arrangement, and after you get used to the different sound, it really has a charm all of it's own!!)

Wichita Sam said:
a good 4 string CBG is a very good thing.... enough for full chord sounds, but raw/open enough to not be mistaken for a "regular" guitar.... other than that, what's the fascination with "chords"? just throw an open tuning on it, barre across the neck and away you go... you can always set up open minor or 7th tunings for alternative sounds....
enjoy your CBG... let it tell you what it wants to play... if you listen to it, it will....
the best,

Wichita Sam
.
@john bolton
i understand man! from the time i was 15 and started to play, my whole world revolved around chord shapes. melodies, bass lines, everything else developed from my memorized shapes of chords, and i developed a skill set completely wrapped around them.

my fascination with chords began to feel like a noose once i reached about 20 0r so.. it just felt like there was something missing.. my knowledge and skill was contained within chord shapes and i knew nothing else about the notes higher on the neck, about music theory...

going to one string actually taught me more than i ever expected..! suddenly scales made sense to me, minor and major scales suddenly were very easy to understand and produce... in any key.

... but then i've been playing guitar for 15 years now.

let me digress a moment. i spent MANY good years as a well respected singer and performer, using ONLY basic chord shapes, and a capo. it worked well for a LONG time! played lots of open mics and a bunch of my own one-man shows using the basic chords, with a little arpeggio mixed in. (i eventually moved to BARRE chords and my skills grew a WEE bit more...)

i'm still -JUST- a rhythm guitarist, and i find it easier to strum 3 strings, barred with a slide, than to finger all six strings. i still play all the same stuff, just in a different manner. i just strum and sing.. i leave the fancy playing to the lead guitarist... LOL

your journey is just beginning. take a few pictures and make a few videos, let us see how you're doing!

have a great day and keep strumming!
Ive been strumming my boys baritone uke a lil lately. It is a bit different sounding because your missing a couple strings, but when you get used to it it simplifies. Instead of playing a G try using the F chord formation at the 3rd fret. A would be the F at the 5th fret and so on. This wont be a complete fix all but will help you in some situations when you half chords arent hitting your ear right.
I guess one big thing people miss about this ( CBG madness) is it looks at music from a whole different perspective.
Simplicity and enjoyment. Forget trying to get the same sound as anything else ...... go for what you like.
Don't worry about music theory ... remember these things originally came from people who ususally couldn't even read or write, much less discuss intervals, 5ths, 7ths, octaves, etc.

Make YOUR music ... if you like it and enjoy it, so will someone else!


Matt - my zen for the day

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