Buying a Three String

You can’t walk into most music stores and start trying out three string guitars. but there are plenty of options if you take your search online. The first step is to know what you’re looking for and that’s going to come down to a few key design features.

Frets vs No Frets - Because three strings are typically used for slide playing, many are designed without frets. This is part of what makes them cheap and easy to build. Fretted three strings are available and have advantages but the barriers to making quality fretted instruments tend to be much higher and you should expect pricing more inline with a regular guitar.

Body Type - The classic three string is made with a cigar box this is not the only option.

Electric vs Acoustic
- They come both ways and for electrics you can also choose between piezo and regular pickups. Piezo pickups are typically fixed to the body of an acoustic interment and pick up actual vibrations. Regular (magnetic) pick ups are what you see on most solid body electric guitars.


The Electric Blues Box Slike Guitar (BBG) is a learner’s instrument that comes packaged with a set of three strings, a min-slide and instructional material.  Intended for slide playing only, its eighteen frets are painted on and only intended as guides. The body is cardboard and the wood grain is a sticker, something you will notice as soon as you see one in person. All this said, it plays as well as more traditional (wooden) instruments, sounds better than you’d expect and is generally available for under $40.

Available at Amazon


Mud Paddle is this website’s private label brand. We’re new, looking for early adopters and (for now) willing to price our instruments accordingly.
Our flagship instrument combines the playing style of a three string slide with the unique tone of a semi-rigid resonating surface. (Non-fretted) To get things going we’re giving a FREE Mud Paddle to the first person to contact us about this offer. You can shoot us a note here.

Also, if you’re interested in a cigar box guitar that’s actually made from a cigar box, we can do that too. (Non-fretted at this time)

Bluesboy Jag offers an eclectic selection of individually crafted instruments in the $200 to $300 range. Typical offerings are fretted and made with real cigar boxes. Custom jobs are available.


C. B. Gitty cigar box guitars are constructed using ”wooden craft boxes that have never held cigars and have no connection to the tobacco industry” In spite of this they are popular, well reviewed and available on Amazon in the $200 range. These instruments DO have frets!