I found I moved to four strings from three quite quickly, I use three strings for one or two songs but found four strings suited my playing style better, though the four string leans more towards traditional 6 string guitar territory more than a three string, which is a whole different animal!
I usually tune the guitar to GDGb (bGDG for lefty) and for purely selfish reasons I turn the strings up a further half tone, the strings are all strummed and the high b string comes in handy as a sort of melody string, something which many other players do and found lots of riffs for songs just noodling around. I have some more four string build planned including a double neck (tuned differently) and a fretless,
I have a lot to learn so will spend time in the future studying chords and tunings with a little help from Keni Lee's excellent DVD on four strings, any more ideas most welcome! (-:
Added 21-10-2012 - Notes for beginners...
I have posted up some basic chord tabs for GDGb on the topics panel, though we are all exploring uncharted territory here, i mostly use barre chords on my 4 string with a few little variations on the high "G" and high "b" with middle and pinky finger, i came up with all my stuff from listening and experimenting, many members come up with some amazing ideas - keep watching the vids (esp. my ones!), then don your pith helmet, grab your guit.and boldly head into the undergrowth! much can be gained from doing your own noodling, try everything you can and the only rule is ; "if it sounds good, it is good" ...happy hunting! (-:
One big advantage to using a 4-string is that mandolin and uke books and tabs can be used 'as is' once you do some retuning.
i've played ukulele for a long time thats why i play 4 strings but its all up to your own preference
Ok, ok, complete novice chiming in here. Two questions. GDGb, why the little "b"? Don't get that - never seen that before and I've seen quite a few pages on CBN.
Secondly. What does it mean to tune up half a tone? Wouldn't a G tuned up half a tone be an F#? So wouldn't you be tuning G# D# G# C# (or is it Gb Db Gb Cb)?
I know you guys understand what you are communicating to one another, but you stand in the presence of total ignorance and unmitigated lack of understnding. Shed some light on the totally oblivious.
the bass string is "G", the little "b" is the thin string, i thought half a tone ( + or sharp) easier to describe than the next note up, G+D+G+b+ is just my notation for GDGb tuned up slightly to sound a little brighter (-:
Makes perfect sense. Just over the tuning not actually up a whole half step. I have only recently made a four stringer, and haven't learned three string yet, and am a total guitar novice. However, what I am learning I think I am going to like the four string better. I love the CBN people, and this whole site, the lay out is phenominal! Stay with me cause I am sure I'll have a lot of other questions and ask for a lot more advise and instructions. Thanks for questions answered and not yet answered.
OK, the novice here who knows nothing of guitar playing - but is trying to learn.
I made a fretless 4-string thinking I could easily find material on how to do some slide songs on it. How nieve can one be - right?
Tuning at the moment is GDGb again thinking I'd find tabs etc on the Net, how foolish of me.
Am I just using the wrong searches trying to find tabs for fretless slide 4-string tuned GDGb or should I be searching something else entirely? I also have 3-string I can tune any which way I cannot find tabs for using slide, Very frustrating.
Seems my logic and search engine logic does not work on the same deminsion or rational. Can you sucessful people tell me how to use the logic search engines use?
Hi Frank - i have posted up some basic chord tabs for GDGb on the topics panel, though we are all exploring uncharted territory here, i mostly use barre chords on my 4 string with a few little variations on the high "G" and high "b" with middle and pinky finger, i came up with all my stuff from listening and experimenting, many members come up with some amazing ideas - keep watching the vids (esp. my ones!), then don your pith helmet, grab your guit.and boldly head into the undergrowth! much can be gained from doing your own noodling, try everything you can and the only rule is ; "if it sounds good, it is good", ...happy hunting!
Thanks Steve. know one day I will be trying something and the cosmos will shift and suddenly I will "get it". It is the not having a firm starting point and on site mentor that is perhaps making me struggle with this. I have yet to find that "toe hold" so to speak to start my climb. Nothing is clicking - except I am really good at building. But then I have tons of carpentry and woodworking experience. Its just my music has been trumpet - a totally different music theorum and practive. No chords or tabs involved - just easy to follow notes.