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Author Topic:  Lap steel tuning
John Bumbarger


From:
Houtzdale, Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 8 Jan 2014 6:59 am     Reply with quote

Using a C6th tuning with C being the lowest string and going up (EGACE)what octave should the strings be tuned to? My Petersen tuner lists C as C1 C2.
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Ray Montee


From:
Portland, Oregon
Post Posted 8 Jan 2014 8:57 am     In days of olde............ Reply with quote

it used to common practice to tune DOWN from the top string: E C A G E C# C

The top "E" being the first above middle C on the piano.

Did I say that right? Oh Well
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 8 Jan 2014 9:07 am     Reply with quote

C6 tuning is E C A G E C (high to low). "High to low" is how tunings were listed in the old days by players and by string manufacturers when listing the stings in the sets. Nowadays more players list low to high. I can't think that way... old dog, new tricks. Winking

On my Peterson tuner string 6 is C3 and string 1 is C4, for C6 lap steel.
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John Bumbarger


From:
Houtzdale, Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 8 Jan 2014 10:26 am     Reply with quote

Thanks Doug. That is a big help
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Jack Aldrich


From:
Washington, USA
Post Posted 8 Jan 2014 11:42 am     Reply with quote

My tuning, from top to bottom:
G E C A G E (Bb, C, or C#) (G, A). It's really versatile, and it works for the sound I like (Gabby, Bobby Ingano, Jules Ah See, etc.). I learned it from Henry Allen, who was my first Hawaiian steel teacher, and Alan Akaka is helping me along using this tuning.
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 8 Jan 2014 2:27 pm     Reply with quote

John, your C6 tuning with high G is the same intervals as A6 lap steel:

5th
3rd
root
6th
5th
3rd
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Wayne Carver


From:
Martinez, Georgia, USA
Post Posted 8 Jan 2014 5:13 pm     Reply with quote

Why do most six string lap steels have a high "e" string in c6 tuning but eight string lap steels have a high "g" to include the root, 3rd, 5th?
It seems like it would be confusing going back and forth if one had a 6 and 8 string or a Dobro with the 5th interval on top.
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Jack Aldrich


From:
Washington, USA
Post Posted 8 Jan 2014 7:45 pm     Reply with quote

I have a high E on my 6 string steels. IMHO, the basic 6 string C6 tuning is (from top) E C A G E (Bb, C, A or C#).
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Jack Aldrich
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Rickenbacher B6
3 Resonator guitars
Shot Jackson Jerry Byrd Frypan
Canopus D8
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Stephen Cowell


From:
Round Rock, Texas, USA
Post Posted 8 Jan 2014 8:24 pm     Reply with quote

Wayne Carver wrote:
Why do most six string lap steels have a high "e" string in c6 tuning but eight string lap steels have a high "g" to include the root, 3rd, 5th?
It seems like it would be confusing going back and forth if one had a 6 and 8 string or a Dobro with the 5th interval on top.


High-G 8-string is just 6-string C6 with one extra high and low string... seems like a natural extension to me. C6 is a symmetrical tuning that way... and I like having those diads up top. The low C is much more useful than the top 5, for a six-string tuning, if that's your point.
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Ray Montee


From:
Portland, Oregon
Post Posted 8 Jan 2014 9:37 pm     For some of us..................... Reply with quote

Most of us who started playing steel back in the olden days, prior to 1980.........

learned with nearly all tunings having "E" on top.
They were E7th, A6th, C#min., and C6th.

With a C# on the 6th string, you can have a whole bunch of playing options open up for you.

As a single example: The 5th fret being "F" and playing strings 3, 4 & 5
then drop down to the 4th fret while playing 4, 5 & 6 and move down to the third fret, also picking strings 4,5 & 6. What you've been able to do is make a nice chord move into a C7th chord..........

An excellent example is Jerry Byrd's intro' to Coconut Grove. There's lots of other examples but this should be enough to give you the general idea.
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b0b


From:
Northern California
Post Posted 8 Jan 2014 11:41 pm     Reply with quote

The second string is "middle C", or C4 in standard scientific pitch notation. The 6th string is an octave lower, C3.

Guitar music is usually written an octave higher than it's played. In guitar music, the middle C on the staff is C3, not C4.

The C6th tuning (low to high) is C3 E3 G3 A3 C4 E4
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