Hey all!! Just found this area!!!
I have built a 20" scale CBG for my grandson - I want to tune it GDG, that same as what I play. What gauge strings should I be using? I tried 36, 26 and 17 but it sounds wonky. Can anybody point me in the right direction? Thanx

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Figure it this way:  On a full-scale guitar, say with a 24" to 25" scale length, 20" would be about the 5th fret.  So, in standard tuning, a full-scale guitar capoed at the 5th fret would be:  A-D-G-C-E-A.  To get the tuning you want on the 20" instrument, you could go either high or low.  For the low tuning, you'd use an E6 (it would be tuned a whole tone flat), and the normal A5 and D4 strings from a set.  For the high tuning, you'd use the normal D4, B2, and E1 strings with the B and high E strings tuned flat a whole tone. 

When you're down-tuning from normal tension, it's a good idea to go a little heavier on the gauge of the string, to get good volume and tone. 

So, for the low tuning, I'd go:  .056 (or even .059), .045, .035.  (Basically, the E6, A5, and D4 strings from a medium/heavy acoustic set).

For the high tuning, I'd use .045, .026, and .017.  The two high strings are what you've already used.  Did they sound "wonky", or was it just the low G?  If the higher strings sounded wonky, you could go a little heavier on them, maybe .028 and .019 - they are tuned a whole note flat. 

Thanx Michael - that's the info I needed - it always seems to be the thick (low) string that loses it's umphh - I've tried 46, 36 and 26 and it's better - but I may keep fiddling around with it .

Are you tuned to the "low" G-octave, or the "high" one?  (The low one starts at the G on the 6th string/3rd fret on a full-scale guitar in standard tuning; the high one starts at the pitch of the open 3rd string on the full-scale guitar in standard tuning.)

If it's the low tuning, then 46 is really thin for the low string - I'd use it for the middle string, and go to something more like a 56 or 59 for the low string (that would be the E6 string of a medium/heavy acoustic string set).  If it's the high tuning, then the 46 is about right for the low string, but the other two are kind of on the thick side - they must be really tight.  But if you can handle the tension, that's great - thicker and tighter is better for tone and volume, provided you don't break strings or kill your fingers (or warp your neck...).

I'm not sure - I want it to sound the same as my 25.5 scale - I'm guessing it's the "low"
"Thicker and Tighter"????? We're still talking about CBG's right!!!
Sorry, couldn't let that one go by!!!

It could sound like your 25.5" scale either high or low, depending on how you tuned the 25.5".  If you compare it to a regular 6-string, full-sized guitar, what strings/frets match the pitch of your 25.5"?  (That probably should have been the first question to ask...)

""Thicker and Tighter"????? We're still talking about CBG's right!!!"  Is THAT what we're talking about!!!

I fiddled around with various string sizes on a 19.1" scale CBG tuned to GDg and have found the most sustain and best tone with .037"w, .023"w, .013" as measured with a dial calliper.  It has an electric single coil pickup and the Cohibia cigar box top has one stressed 1/8"x1/4" brace perpendicular to the neck under the bridge.  It now has very nice tone.  It's amazing for such a short scale.

-- Fred

This is my 19.1" scale GDg tuning.

- Fred


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