Since most all of you are building three string CBGs can you give me your opinion on what gauge strings you use since mine will not have a truss rod. Just a basic oak neck and fret board.  Just want to double check to make sure I do not put anything too heavy that would cause the neck to bow. Thanks for any advice.  My thoughts would be something like .016,.024,.032 or a .017. .026, .036 nickel wound for electric guitar since I have a single wound pick up.  I was thinking any heavier might cause a problem.

Views: 127

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I would try the .017 .026 .036 first. That's the middle 3 from a set of 10's and should work fine. Good luck!

What gauge you choose depends on what tuning you go can still put a lot of load on a neck with light gauge strings if they are tuned high.  I use 046, 030, 022 for GDG tuning . With a .016 on the top you'd be looking at something like CGC as your tuning.

Hello John,  I would be tuning GDG (basic open G tuning). I would think the heavier gauge set you recommend would put more stress on the neck than a set with 32,24,16. Am I correct or am I confused?  I would think the 46,30,22 would sound better  I was just concerned the string tension would be too much for the neck.

That’s about right Frank, I play same gauges as Chickenbone for GDG. Cheers

I go 22, 32, 42 for low G tuning. But i have a St Blues that came with 46, 26, 17, and I just use those on that one (I'm too lazy to mess with the nut). Experiment!

Thanks Don and Brian for your comments. That is good to hear the larger gauges work fine with no bowing issues.

Really? I thought that large low G might cause too much tension on the neck? With no truss rod if the larger gauges do not cause any bowing issues that is great. I know for sure the sound will be optimum. Thanks....

Depends on your scale length, which tuning and which octave you are going for.

A 25.5" scale with nickel roundwounds, .036 .026 .017, tuned G2 D3 G3  is about 48lbs of tension total.

Same scale with .070 .048 .036 tuned G1 D2 G2 would be about 45lbs.

Check out these awesome tools:

Guitar String Diameter Calculator
Guitar String Tension Calculator

Thanks a million Korrigan for the input and the links. This is just great.

I’ve been playing the same 3 stringer since 2003 with no bowing. Oak neck thru with no fretboard tuned GDG & AEA. I started out with .052, .042, .030 (EBE/DAD) before switching it over to GDG .046, .030, .022 & my neck is still straight as an arrow.

Wow that is super.  I am sure even with a disc type piezo pickup the unit would sound great. I appreciate all your input. Good information for sure.

I just pick a set I like for six string and use the gauges for the third (G), fourth (D), and fifth (A) strings. You tune the 'fifth' string down a whole step and you get GDG. Should be safe tension for most any CBG neck.

I order several of each size in single strings and make up my own sets:

Here is the D'Addario chart the calculators use if you want to go deeper:

Similar GHS chart:


The Essential Pages

New to Cigar Box Nation?How to Play Cigar Box GuitarsFree Plans & How to Build Cigar Box GuitarsCigar Box Guitar Building BasicsCigar Box Guitar Parts Store

Site Sponsor

Recommended Links & Resources


MYSTERY INSTRUMENT: What are these antique dulcimer things?

Started by Shane Speal in Feature Articles. Last reply by Andries D. EKER 1 hour ago. 53 Replies

What in a headstock

Started by Jeff 'Bones' Reilly in Performances, How to Play, Lessons, Concerts. Last reply by BrianQ. 20 hours ago. 18 Replies

What's on your workbench?

Started by Paul Craig in Other stuff - off topic, fun stuff, whatever. Last reply by Cause the Blue rat 22 hours ago. 786 Replies

Slider Lids

Started by Brent Kasl in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Taffy Evans on Thursday. 9 Replies

My first real work bench.

Started by Cause the Blue rat in Other stuff - off topic, fun stuff, whatever. Last reply by Cause the Blue rat Nov 11. 15 Replies

Blog Posts

My New Alexandria CBG Adventure

Posted by Poorness Studios on November 12, 2018 at 7:30pm 3 Comments

String Talk !

Posted by Andries D. EKER on November 4, 2018 at 4:40pm 24 Comments

Gutter Guard Sound Hole Covers

Posted by Steebos Kalist on November 4, 2018 at 12:45pm 5 Comments


Posted by Danny Gordon on October 31, 2018 at 5:01pm 3 Comments

Latest Activity

Dave Lynas posted photos
6 minutes ago
Nancy kat liked BUGGY (C)'s video
7 minutes ago
Nancy kat liked BUGGY (C)'s video
7 minutes ago
Nancy kat commented on BUGGY (C)'s video

Dig Myself a Hole

"Cool video and cool Buggy! MeowMeow^..^"
7 minutes ago
Nancy kat liked Downtown Vinnie's video
12 minutes ago
Nancy kat commented on Downtown Vinnie's video

Grey Days

"The old gray days of winter are upon us indeed....fitting and well done Vinnie! Meowwwww^..^"
12 minutes ago
Nancy kat liked the anonymous pick's video
20 minutes ago
Nancy kat commented on the anonymous pick's video
20 minutes ago
Nancy kat commented on the anonymous pick's video

Swamp witch guitar Helltainium for GD

"Spellbinding indeedie Pick!!!!!! Meowwwwwwwwww^..^"
21 minutes ago
Nancy kat liked BUGGY (C)'s video
30 minutes ago
Nancy kat commented on BUGGY (C)'s video


"Super cool vocals Buggy.....your so darn good you silly Bug! Meeowww^..^"
30 minutes ago
Dave Lynas posted a photo

Look inside

New build spatter burst paint job. Old spray Rustoleum cans in cold wood shop.
32 minutes ago



© 2018   Created by Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service