Hey there folks,

I'm a total newbie when it comes to building and playing (if you can even call it that) CBG's.  I have just completed a 3-string guitar.  I have it strung up and tuned to open G (GDG).  But, the strings I have on there are all too high pitched for my liking.


What gauge strings should I use to get a good bluesy sound out of my guitar?


I have just bought a couple packs of Ernie Ball strings and I'm not sure which ones to use.  I plan on experimenting with some different combinations, but I thought some of you on here might have some pointers on where I should start.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.





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  • i get my strings at the guitar junkyard and can get em in singles. i use a w36, w26 and a plain 18. the A, D, and G strings if you buy in a pack of six. if you drop the A string down one step you have an open G tuning, but i leave it alone and tune the D and G string up one step so im in open A E A

  • Some people poopoo online string calculators but I've had some good success with them.

    Standard guitar tuning, low to high is E2 A2 D3 G3 B3 E4 (middle C on a piano is C4).

    on http://wahiduddin.net/calc/calc_guitar_string.htm

    You can input your scale length, the note you want in the octave you want and even desired string tension (I like 16lbs per string).

    So a G2 with 16lbs of tension would be 0.03483 or around a 35, rounding up. 

    Rounding up (or down depending) a G2 D3 G3 set for a 25.5" scale at 16lbs tension would be:

    .35 .23 .17 or thereabouts (which is around what a few have suggested)

    Your mileage may vary.

    If you want a lower sound, maybe go to DAD?
    D2 A2 D3 : .46 .31 .23 (or thereabouts) 

  • Don't buy packs of strings, buy singles to get the exact gauges you need. 042, 032, 024 - that will get you a deep growly sound with G- D - G if you are on a regular-ish guitar scale.

  • you can buy strings singly on ebay, use Ernieball slinkys 32-24-16 (-:

  • I love your bridge/saddle with the hinge over top.  You could see that on my next build!  Thanks

  • It all depends on the scale length, no one can recommend a particular string for a given pitch without that info..
    I'd use the lowest (fattest) three. You can use the remaining three on a second three string and tune to the same key an octave higher so they're pleasing to hear together.
    You may or may not get to g depending on the scale length, but you just adjust the middle note to fit and it'll all work. For example if the outer strings will only reach to E and you fear going higher for breaking one or cracking your top / overstressing you're neck (both will probably handle a bit more than you'd expect) then the target middle note (was D for a G tuning) will be adjusted down to B (3 frets worth) you'll find it is the lightest string which limits things first.

    You can pretty much do this with any consecutive three from a regular set of strings but using the lowest makes for a nice pleasing register and of course leaves a second consecutive three which is good, in time you have a small box of loose unused strings which is sucky to have to dig thru to save a dollar
    • It's 25.5" from bridge to nut.  Thanks for the help.


  • The strings you have on there might sound better tuned GBD by the way...

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