Hello all...

My first attempt at building a CBG has had its problems, none that I wasn't able to overcome. It is fretless and I can't wait to strum and slide. I'm still waiting.

My question is; how does one get enough tight on the big string, ideally according to the CBG's suggested GDG tuning, without breaking the string? 

I used a .046 gauge wound string, a 0.34 and .026, all acoustic guitar strings, an A, D & G. All good, yes? No. The G string, the .026, went on, tighten to a nice G level... the .034 stretched and got comfortable with a D note. The big string on top, or bottom depending how one looks at it, tightened up to a very tight A... a few more turns and a heavy D ... another turn, getting close to the G... and it broke.

Darn. Another string... this time 0.36, because that's all I had at that time. Same story; tightened up to a very tight A... a few more turns and a heavy D ... another turn and it broke. Each time the string broke at the tuning end not at the bridge.

Other than over tightening in the attempt to reach that first G level, what do I do? What am I doing wrong?

Help. And in advance, thank you.


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Keep in mind pitches repeat as you go up in octave. So let's say you have an open A (A4) string. At the 12th fret you have another A (A5) and at the 24th fret (if you have that many), you have another A (A6). If you tuned the open string to an A5 instead of A4, it would still be in tune but that may be too much tension for that gauge of string and it could break. So just because its tuned to an A doesn't mean it's the correct A. The average guitar tuner doesn't know the difference between A4 and A5. To it... its just an A.

I hope that made sense and didn't make things more confusing. The link below is written by someone smarter than me. It may explain it better.


what scale length did you use? this will aslo have an effect on the tension in the string.

25.5 inches.... boy, the number of responses, and helpful (I hope) comments is amazing.

Thank you

Yep I think it's an octave thing. The .046 string needs to be 8 notes lower than the high G string. Think of your 158 tuning as having a low note, middle note and a high note. 

Yep I think it's an octave thing. The .046 string needs to be 8 notes lower than the high G string. Think of your 158 tuning as having a low note, middle note and a high note. 

Unless I misread...

Tune your .46 (which is a standard A string from a six string pack of acoustic mediums) DOWN a step from A to G.

Your .36 is a standard D, and your .26 is a standard G.

Well, that sounds good... RRR, but... as I'm not a musician, have very little knowledge, am merely dipping my toes in the music-making world, I fear I don't understand. "tune down a step"

And if the .36 is a standard D, and your .26 is a standard G, what would be a standard low G?



You appear to be using the correct strings.  But instead of tuning the "fat" one to A...stop when you get to G.  

If you get to G#, you've gone a half step too far.  If you go all the way to A, you've gone a whole step too far.

Conversely, go ahead and tune it to A.  Then loosen it till you see G#, then loosen it some more till you get to G.

I think you're getting to A, then tightening to go WAY up to G again.  No Bueno.  LOOSEN the A string to get down to G.  

(The musical alphabet is A through G, then starts over again.  G is just below A in pitch.)

Hang in there.

Ah, you could have the answer... my little electronic tuning indicator didn't show going past, or even reaching, G... maybe I simply over powered the knob. Silly me.

I'm off to the local music store later this morning to pick up a couple 'fat' strings and will give it another go. Slowly, slowly.


to help a bit if you press the big string at the 12th fret it should have the same pitch as the small string..  12th fret is half way between the nut and the bridge. cant remember if this CBG is fretted or not.  re read the first post its fretless so the 12th fret mark is 12 3/4 "from the nut end.

While you’re at the music store, ask for help, they may be able to diagnose your problem?

Ha! ask the guy at the music store? nope. I asked for three acoustic guitar strings, an A, D & G... he frowned and mumbled something about did I actually break all three? I told him no, it was for a CBG. Again a frown, Oh, a homemade instrument, very dismissively. No, I said again, a custom built instrument. I ended up with the strings and a feeling someone should learn custom relations. I won't be going back in there again. So what to do? I ordered from the online catalog. Be here early in the week.

And again, thanks everyone for taking the time to respond and help. While waiting I've put in a couple hours on CBG #2... the third, because I have another box, will have a shorter neck. Have to research that. Gawd, but this is fun! 


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