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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 12 Mar 2017 8:46 am     Reply with quote

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Last edited by Doug Beaumier on 14 Apr 2017 6:20 am; edited 2 times in total
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James Hartman


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 12 Mar 2017 9:00 am     Reply with quote

Nice. You've become an evangelist for the 11 tunings. Certainly has inspired me to take a closer look, beyond those two or three songs we all learn. Cheers!
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 12 Mar 2017 9:08 am     Reply with quote

Thanks, James. An evangelist! Cool
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Guy Cundell


From:
More idle ramblings from South Australia
Post Posted 13 Mar 2017 9:01 pm     Reply with quote

I am surprised this post hasn't got a bit more love, Doug. It is a nice composition that really shows off the tuning. Seeing the tuning in G makes the structure of it a little clearer to me. I think the tune deserves a title.
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post Posted 14 Mar 2017 2:24 am     Reply with quote

Smile Beautifully conceived and demonstrated, Doug.
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Sebastian Müller


From:
Berlin / Germany
Post Posted 14 Mar 2017 4:21 am     Reply with quote

Sounds great Doug !
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Mark Eaton


From:
Sonoma County in The Great State Of Northern California
Post Posted 14 Mar 2017 7:14 am     Reply with quote

Cool tuning Doug!

What's nice about it is say in the middle of a set one can conveniently tune down to it from GBDGBD for a couple numbers then back to standard dobro tuning. And since a G tuned dobro is already under tremendous tension, instead of having to tune upward on strings for an alternate tuning, you don't have to sweat it on the intervals where you're kind of holding your breath and wincing while twisting the tuners tighter, hoping no strings explode.
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post Posted 14 Mar 2017 7:35 am     Reply with quote

Guitarist and journalist David Hamburger did a nice piece for Guitar Player about this G11th tuning for Dobro about 20 years ago. If I can find it, I'll scan and post it.
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Mark Eaton


From:
Sonoma County in The Great State Of Northern California
Post Posted 14 Mar 2017 7:44 am     Reply with quote

That would be great Andy.
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David M Brown


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 14 Mar 2017 8:01 am     Reply with quote

Nice work - and I sometimes hold my resonator guitars that way too. It feels more like a lap steel.
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 14 Mar 2017 8:42 am     Reply with quote

Thanks all for listening. David Hamburger's G11 tuning is listed on Brad's page. He has an A on string 6 instead of G, so there is no root in his G11 tuning. It's the same intervals as B11 lap steel with low C# (no B) tuned down to G for reso guitar.

If you play standard G dobro tuning and you want to experiment with the G11 tuning I'm using, just tune strings 1, 2, and 3 down a whole step. They will be a little floppy, but good enough to get an idea of how the tuning sounds. I put slightly heavier strings on 1, 2, 3 for the video.
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Frank Welsh


From:
Upstate New York, USA
Post Posted 14 Mar 2017 9:26 am     Reply with quote

Doug, the potential of the G11th tuning seems to me to be exemplified by the "Manuela Boy" recording on the "Hawaii Calls" instrumental album(s), probably featuring Jules Ah See. For decades the correct tuning for this arrangement eluded me until some forum members advised trying G11th (the version with E as the first string: e-c-a-f-d-b). I don't hear much about this tuning but Jules(?) really nailed it with this tune. I think G11 deserves more exploration.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTABVtWf35E
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Mark Eaton


From:
Sonoma County in The Great State Of Northern California
Post Posted 14 Mar 2017 9:49 am     Reply with quote

I'm looking forward to Andy's scan of the article about Hamburger's tuning if he can come up with it.

Though I know of some people who do it, I'm leery of tuning my 6th string .056w G up to A in fear that it will "blow." The Clinesmith is about due for new strings so maybe I'll give it a shot (with safety glasses on). But I'm not sure how much I would enjoy it or be able to relate to it. Now you've changed the tuning on 4 of the 6 strings, and though "G" is still in the title, it no longer seems to have a whole lot to do with tunings of that ilk.

To borrow from the book of Andy Volk (literally) he lists a version of G11th (no root) in his excellent Slide Rules. A tuning used by Hawaiian virtuoso David Kelii. It adds a high 13th. Andy writes that "it has the added advantage of being easily obtainable with the same string gauges as the popular C6th tuning."

The disadvantage I see as far as using it on a resonator guitar is that it is not easily obtainable with a set of standard dobro strings, for that matter it doesn't look very doable at all.

13th E
11th C
9th A
b7 F
5th D
3rd B

In fact, there isn't one string in common with GBDGBD so for me it would require copious spending of brain cells to try to get a handle on it. This is what I like about Doug's tuning: the bottom 3 strings remain the same and the top three are now tuned to F major.

Quote:
Nice work - and I sometimes hold my resonator guitars that way too. It feels more like a lap steel.


As far as I know, there is no law on how one places a dobro across their lap, so each to his own.

But not having my left leg supporting the neck and being under the guitar body feels inherently unstable to me. When I play lap steel it's not like my left leg is under the wider portion of the guitar toward the pickups and the neck is out there on its own. One thing I have noticed in giving tips to newbies (present company is of course excepted) is the first thing they want to do is place both legs under the guitar as Doug does in the video. I immediately have them change to having the neck supported by their left leg. And I tell them, "whatever way you decide to hold the guitar across your lap is fine - do what feels most comfortable - but I want to point out this position and you can try both at home and decide for yourself."
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Last edited by Mark Eaton on 14 Mar 2017 9:53 am; edited 1 time in total
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Mark Eaton


From:
Sonoma County in The Great State Of Northern California
Post Posted 14 Mar 2017 9:52 am     Reply with quote

I see Frank posted while I was typing the long one above and we both commented on the same "no root" tuning.
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David M Brown


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 14 Mar 2017 4:50 pm     Reply with quote

Mark Eaton wrote:

....not easily obtainable with a set of standard dobro strings, for that matter it doesn't look very doable at all.

13th E
11th C
9th A
b7 F
5th D
3rd B

In fact, there isn't one string in common with GBDGBD

....

One thing I have noticed in giving tips to newbies (present company is of course excepted) is the first thing they want to do is place both legs under the guitar as Doug does in the video. I immediately have them change to having the neck supported by their left leg. And I tell them, "whatever way you decide to hold the guitar across your lap is fine - do what feels most comfortable - but I want to point out this position and you can try both at home and decide for yourself."


Last part first - I do use the "neck supported by the left leg" method too, but sometimes I don't...but like you say, it's a choice.

As for the tuning and string gauge issue, well, that's a perpetual one for me, and the subject of a possible new thread.

However, The tuning you mention, the Jules Ah See G11th, "the version with E as the first string: e-c-a-f-d-b".

So if it is:

13th E
11th C
9th A
b7 F
5th D
3rd B

as you say, a standard set of G high bass strings, a.k.a. Dobro tuning, would not work well on the lower strings.

But a set of lap steel strings for either C6, E7, or A6 could do so, depending on your scale length of course. Obviously a set for a 22.5" scale length won't work on a 24-25 inch scale but you can get an idea of where to start for gauges.

But the point is that with an E as the top string on six string tunings, you can think of this tuning as being another variation on the C6 family.

high to low

E C A G E C becomes E C A F D B simply by lowering the G to F, the E to D, and the C to B. Same strings on the top 3 courses.

But the same result can be gotten from E7:

E B G# E D B needs the B, G# and E to go up to the C, A, and F. again, 3 strings need to change.

From A6:

E C# A F# E C# needs 4 strings to be re-tuned, but it can be done, as with the B11 variations.

It seems to come easily from C6, though.

Just not from a set of G high bass strings!
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Bosse Engzell


From:
�ppelbo, SWEDEN
Post Posted 16 Mar 2017 2:49 am     Reply with quote

For me it dosent do any wrong that you hold the Dobro "wrong" it sound so good, you did it again!

Bosse in Sweden
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 16 Mar 2017 6:00 am     Reply with quote

Thanks Bosse!
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post Posted 16 Mar 2017 8:13 am     Reply with quote

I moved a few months back and nothing is where it used to be so still looking for that GP article. The hardest aspect about 11th tunings to wrap one's head around are that you have two keys in one tuning. For B11th, it's A on top and B on the bottom. Can't help you with string gauges as I only use the standard Dobro set.
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 16 Mar 2017 9:00 am     Reply with quote

Here's what I use for G11 on dobro:

C .017 or .018 plain
A .021 or .022 plain
F .030 wound
D .035 wound
B .045 wound
G .056 wound

The bottom three strings are from a standard G dobro set.The top three strings are slightly heavier than standard G because they are tuned down a whole step from standard G. If you're currently tuned to G and you just want to experiment with the tuning, don't bother changing the top three strings. Just tune them down a whole step. They'll be a little loose, but fine for experimenting.

Andy, I too think of B11 (or G11) as a combination tuning. Similar to C6/A7 tuning in that way. I think Jerry Byrd came up with the C6/A7 designation. If we use that nomenclature, B11 might be called A6/B9. And this G11 could be called F6/G9. That might make more sense to steel guitarists, but would probably be confusing to musicians outside of our tiny world of steel guitar!
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David M Brown


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 16 Mar 2017 1:37 pm     Reply with quote

Doug Beaumier wrote:

If we use that nomenclature, B11 might be called A6/B9. And this G11 could be called F6/G9. That might make more sense to steel guitarists, but would probably be confusing to musicians outside of our tiny world of steel guitar!


Thank for the string gauges.

As for the nomenclature used in "steel guitar world", well, that could be a whole study in itself! Rolling Eyes Very Happy

As a jazz player, those polychord names for tunings make sense, like A6/B9 et al.

But even in our own steel player tuning zone, it's hard to agree.

Is a 6 string lap steel E7

E B G# E D B or E B G# D B E or E B G# E D E or E D G# E B E..etc.?

Is C6 always E C A G E C - or can it be sometimes G E C A G E?

the list goes on.
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 16 Mar 2017 2:03 pm     Reply with quote

Quote:
...the list goes on.


True. And why is C#m7 not called E6? When I look at that tuning I see E6. Maybe the early players chose to call it C#m7 because it was an offshoot of some other tuning, like A Major?
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Mark Eaton


From:
Sonoma County in The Great State Of Northern California
Post Posted 16 Mar 2017 3:52 pm     Reply with quote

Doug Beaumier wrote:
Here's what I use for G11 on dobro:

C .017 or .018 plain
A .021 or .022 plain
F .030 wound
D .035 wound
B .045 wound
G .056 wound

The bottom three strings are from a standard G dobro set.The top three strings are slightly heavier than standard G because they are tuned down a whole step from standard G. If you're currently tuned to G and you just want to experiment with the tuning, don't bother changing the top three strings. Just tune them down a whole step. They'll be a little loose, but fine for experimenting.

Andy, I too think of B11 (or G11) as a combination tuning. Similar to C6/A7 tuning in that way. I think Jerry Byrd came up with the C6/A7 designation. If we use that nomenclature, B11 might be called A6/B9. And this G11 could be called F6/G9. That might make more sense to steel guitarists, but would probably be confusing to musicians outside of our tiny world of steel guitar!


I had a little time this afternoon so I fooled around with it for a bit. It's a cool tuning! But I'm the typical Open G dobro guy - bluegrass/country, singer-songwriter/acoustic rock/roots - and a little bit of blues for good measure. So I don't see it ever being my "go-to" default tuning. But I do see it for a change of pace at a gig or a jam situation. Kind of a "palate cleanser."

And unless it were to develop into my favorite tuning, no need to change the top three strings - still plenty of tension there in the typical 17-56 dobro set that I use. You're only dropping the top three strings one whole step, so they haven't even hit city limits yet as far as going to the "floppy" part of town.
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 16 Mar 2017 4:09 pm     Reply with quote

That's great, Mark. IMO the 11th tunings are not good all-round tunings. They do have a nice, full 9th chord, and 7th, but are somewhat limited in the other chord positions and slants. Like you said, it's a nice change once in a while, but not a "go to" tuning for me.
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David M Brown


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 16 Mar 2017 9:52 pm     Reply with quote

Doug Beaumier wrote:
Quote:
...the list goes on.


True. And why is C#m7 not called E6? When I look at that tuning I see E6. Maybe the early players chose to call it C#m7 because it was an offshoot of some other tuning, like A Major?


It sure seems like the C#m version low-high E B E G# C# E is from the E tuning, just raise the 2nd string B to C#, and the top 3 strings make a C#m chord...but it could also be from the original A high bass tuning.

E A E A C# E, raise the low A to B, drop the 3rd string down to G#.

Back to your point - I too mentally see this tuning as a simple E6. All the bass notes put it in the E family, with the E and B solidly anchoring the tonality.

At least anything I learn on the top 3 strings also works in the other C#m tuning, the one B D E G# C# E.
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