Instrument #7, a 3-String Guitar

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Project by GnarlyErik posted 03-14-2017 02:34 AM 1468 views 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my 3-string guitar, #7 in a line of stringed in instruments which include two Diddley Bows and one Appalachian Dulcimer, all previously posted.

I’ve decided to keep this guitar for myself – ‘to learn how to play.’ This one has a small defect, noticeable to me, which makes it a good candidate to keep, plus it sounds great! Another good reason to keep this one is I can experiment with little changes and improvements with this as I think of them. This guitar has cherry sides, New Zealand pine top with walnut + cherry inlays. The fret board is cherry and the scale is 25”. It is tuned to “G-B-D” at the moment and has a great sound. The back is spruce with a blonde walnut inlay. I’ve fitted this one with geared machine tuners, which while maybe not quite as traditional ‘old-school’ looking as turned ebony tuning pegs, certainly are easier to tune.

I’ve been strumming away on this a little guy, both with and without an amplifier, and am picking up a little bit of rhythm and practicing a few chords, learning a little as I go along. I will never be a virtuoso, but it is fun to quietly strum a little as I relax in the evenings. Perhaps one day I can pick out something that can be recognized.

I’d been thinking about building a couple of ‘Cigar Box Guitars’, but didn’t think it was worth the effort to try to find the boxes. Then, because an out-of-town friend came to visit and asked, we went to a swap meet I had not planned to go to. And lo and behold, serendipitously, there was a guy there with a bunch of brand-new wooden cigar boxes which had ‘never seen cigars’, and I got the entire lot dirt cheap – about twenty in all. As my dad used to say, ‘I got them all for a song, and sang it myself!’ I have three built now and in the final finishing stages and will post those when completed.

I’m having lots of fun building these instruments, taking my time and enjoying the process.

-- "Never let your dogma be run over by your karma!"

10 comments so far

View tyvekboy's profile


2033 posts in 3820 days

#1 posted 03-14-2017 03:20 AM

Absolutely beautiful instrument and craftsmanship. Thanks for sharing.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View Woodknack's profile


13441 posts in 3187 days

#2 posted 03-14-2017 05:35 AM

View hunter71's profile


3528 posts in 3994 days

#3 posted 03-14-2017 10:54 AM

Wow, thats beautiful.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View johnstoneb's profile


3147 posts in 2980 days

#4 posted 03-14-2017 01:44 PM

That is beautiful.

I had to look at you dulcimer project also as I just finished a mountain dulcimer yesterday that i will post.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View bushmaster's profile


3940 posts in 3090 days

#5 posted 03-14-2017 02:21 PM

You certainly are a master instruments builder. Its so nice, I can see why you would want to keep it. Looking forward to what you can do with a cigar box.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View jonmakesthings's profile


73 posts in 1625 days

#6 posted 03-14-2017 02:41 PM

That’s cool. The lead singer for Morphine made himself a 3 stringer, called it a tritar. He used it in a number of their songs.
This takes a lot of skill and knowledge, awesome work!

-- How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

View Porchfish's profile


862 posts in 3340 days

#7 posted 03-14-2017 02:46 PM

Now that looks like fun ! Good looking instrument ! Now can we have a look at your cigar-box instruments too ? Thanks for sharing !

-- The pig caught under the fence is always the one doing all the squealing !

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3674 days

#8 posted 03-14-2017 04:12 PM

This is a wonderful instrument and you’ve done a fine job on it.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View 3woodworkers4life's profile


61 posts in 2267 days

#9 posted 03-14-2017 04:35 PM

This is beautiful!

View Lemongrasspicker's profile


123 posts in 1303 days

#10 posted 03-15-2017 12:19 AM

That’s really cool! nice work, it sort of reminds me of an oud in some ways (that’s a good thing)


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