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Author Topic:  Jim Sliff's GFI S-10 B6 Reverse Universal
Twayn Williams


From:
Portland, OR
Post Posted 9 Apr 2008 9:19 am     Reply with quote

Here's a .gif of Jim Sliff's GFI S-10 B6 Reverse Universal version of Sneaky Pete's B6. Posted with permission.




The last string guage above is 0.058



The last line above is: RK | n/a

Jim's explanation:

It's missing pretty much only the 9th pedal (which Pete never used) and the RK (which he rarely used after installing it in the 70's). The splits, if you can do them, are really cool...some guitars (like my
GFI) need extra rods, some can be balanced with string gages and bellcrank positions. Mine probably could have, but the rod method was much easier and more reliable.

It's sort of a reversed-universal with no chromatics,
and really intuitive. I never bonded with E9 at all - nothing I heard in my head fell into place. The minute I started playing B6 on an 8-string Fender I "got it". The 10 string version was really just a crazy experiment, but turned out so well I quit beating my head against the wall with E9 and it's permanent!
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Pete Burak


From:
Portland, OR USA
Post Posted 9 Apr 2008 9:53 am     Reply with quote

'love to see/hear a YouTube of this rig!
Twayn, do you have this setup on your steel?... maybe I could swing by and check it out later this week.
Cool,
Pete B.
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b0b


From:
Northern California
Post Posted 9 Apr 2008 10:04 am     Reply with quote

Question for Jim: How do you avoid getting a sympathetic ring from the 3rd and 8th string when pressing and releasing the 1st pedal?
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Twayn Williams


From:
Portland, OR
Post Posted 9 Apr 2008 11:32 am     Reply with quote

Pete Burak wrote:
'love to see/hear a YouTube of this rig!
Twayn, do you have this setup on your steel?... maybe I could swing by and check it out later this week.
Cool,
Pete B.


'Fraid you'll have to ask Jim for that YouTube! I just got the file this morning, so I haven't yet delved into what changes I want to incorporate into my own tuning yet.
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Lee Baucum


From:
McAllen, Texas (Extreme South) The Final Frontier
Post Posted 9 Apr 2008 3:46 pm     Reply with quote

Good question, b0b. I have that problem when lowering the G#'s down to F# and then back up.
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Jim Sliff


From:
Hermosa Beach California, USA
Post Posted 9 Apr 2008 4:06 pm     Reply with quote

b0b, I thought about the same thing when I first tried the 8-string version, which has the same thing. But Sneaky never seemed to have a problem with it, nor Tommy Spurlock or Ed Bierly. So I found on my 400's and 1000's it was zero issue at all. Why I can't say, unless one of the other string somehow provides a damping vibration.

On the GFI I was sure it WOULD be a problem...and I'll be darned, but it's not at all.

I can't give a valid technical explanation because there really shouldn't be one (I've been around enough oddball stringbenders on 6-strings in my time to be very familiar with the problem) but for some reason, with this tuning, it just works.

Plus it's great for Chuck Berry licks!

Laughing
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Al Marcus


From:
Cedar Springs,MI USA
Post Posted 9 Apr 2008 4:50 pm     Reply with quote

That is a good setup. I used one with the same intervals only on E6 so I could play E6 and E9 if I wanted to.

3-G#
1-E
6-C#........D
5-B....C#
3-G#......A
2-F#
1-E
6-C#
5-B
3-G#

Etc...I always wanted a E tonic on the bottom for 11 strings. of course for 10 strings you have to give up the two top chromatics, but not for 12 strings....sigh...al.Smile
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John Groover McDuffie


From:
LA California, USA
Post Posted 9 Apr 2008 4:56 pm     Reply with quote

Why do you call it a "reverse" universal?
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Jim Sliff


From:
Hermosa Beach California, USA
Post Posted 9 Apr 2008 7:27 pm     Reply with quote

Because it works out of "B" instead of "E" *plus* it's in a 6th, but with E9 style A&B pedals. So instead of basically an E9 with C6 stuff available, it's sort of a reverse-image that accomplishes the same thing.

It's my own nickname for Sneaky's copedent, although several have glommed onto it. However, if you look at it closely it really is a universal tuning, albeit an early version worked out on a limited instrument (single raise/single lower, although overcome with easy mods) with no chromatics.

Listen to Sneaky's stuff (especially the mid/late-70's Burritos recordings after the "rebirth", and he absolutely tears things to shreds on it. A great example of what can be done without chromatics, Pete played country that sounded country, but could also get everything from Tele licks to screaming rock steel to Moog synth sounds from a cable-pull 8-string.

Probably the most important things I learned from him in conversation: Play single notes and not so many harmony parts for a distinctive sound; Play what's in your head, even if it's not "pedal steel music"...that's who you are; Play from the heart, otherwise you're just taking up space.

Steel companies gave him guitars over the years but he never kept them long...basically set them up almost like his Fenders, with a lot of pedals and extra bass notes. But he stuck with that same 400 (although in MANY different electronics configurations) because it's who he was.

I have a feeling he's looking down, though and laughing at the GFI copedent, thinking "Now THAT might just have worked!". Just a 6th sense...(pun intended)

As far as the Youtube stuff - I'm admittedly my own worst critic, which is why I'm so darned underrecorded on 6-string or bass (or dobro..or mando...) except for uncredited sessions and live tapes I don't even have copies of. I have a recording setup now here at the house, a Digital VCR, an iMac, a son who was a certified prefessional recording engineer (through M.I.) and I STILL don't get around to any sound, much less video, recording. I really need the kid over here to get me dialed in - I'm WAY too analog to figure all this out!

Embarassed
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Jim Sliff


From:
Hermosa Beach California, USA
Post Posted 9 Apr 2008 7:50 pm     Reply with quote

Added note -

String gages are flexible...different guitars need different gages, especially on that 1st string lower, which is a bear on some guitars. I have (since that spreadsheet was created) gone to an .017 1st string, a. 034 5th and added a simple helper spring - it didn't affect the pedal action in any noticable way, surprisingly, but makes the RKR much easier. I have it set in the short/stiff bellcrank positions, but with the gage and helper "softened" it up a bit without having to row the darned thing down a step!

Here's the "guts" of the Ultra; actually fairly clean and simple. It's a wonderful guitar to work on:






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b0b


From:
Northern California
Post Posted 9 Apr 2008 7:52 pm     Reply with quote

The word "universal" was coined to describe a copedent that combined the features of the E9th and the C6th. I think that this copedent is sort of the opposite of a universal, as it really doesn't give you the defining features of either E9th or C6th. It's way lower than the E9th for country licks, and it doesn't have most of the trademark jazz chords and low end of the C6th.

I think maybe I'd call it the "anti-universal". Winking

BTW, Reece Anderson's Bb6th was the first copedent that I heard called "universal". Seems to me that the E9/B6 came along later.
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Jim Sliff


From:
Hermosa Beach California, USA
Post Posted 9 Apr 2008 8:32 pm     Reply with quote

Some others actually called Sneaky's a universal long before I went to "reverse universal". It's not precisely the same concept as a universal, but it is a way of combining E9-style playing changes and C6-style playing changes on a single neck. It's not ALL there. but there's certainly a lot to work with; the term seems to fit just fine because as b0b said:

Quote:
I think that this copedent is sort of the opposite of a universal, as it really doesn't give you the defining features of either E9th or C6th. It's way lower than the E9th for country licks, and it doesn't have most of the trademark jazz chords and low end of the C6th.


So "reverse universal", or "anti-universal" both kind of fit, but "anti" sounds rather negative and there's nothing negative about it - it's just a different approach.

One thing b0b noted is important to me and some others - it IS voiced lower than an E9 guitar. Sneaky's original concept when playing with the Burritos was playing guitar-like parts, since there was no lead guitar player. He'd play a "steel sounding" part, then a "guitar sounding" part.

No, you don't have the high whine of traditional steel - and that's precisely what this copedent is about; NOT playing that way. It works great for country-rock, where a punchier, more in-your-face sound is good to have; and for rock playing it has far more cojones than E9. Whoa! It's a big, round, full sound. Players who try it and really like it are usually a little off the mainstream; traditional steel players wouldn't have much use for it. That's the point -it's FOR players who aren't locked into E9.
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b0b


From:
Northern California
Post Posted 9 Apr 2008 9:37 pm     Reply with quote

Quote:
No, you don't have the high whine of traditional steel - and that's precisely what this copedent is about; NOT playing that way.

Does 'anti-E9th' sound any less negative than 'anti-universal'? Razz I'm just kidding around, Jim. Call it what you want - I didn't mean to cast a negative light on it. I'm not seriously recommending that your copedent be called anti- anything. It's quite versatile, as Sneaky Pete's recordings prove. All the notes are there.

And besides, who am I to criticize anyone's tuning? My own is so messed up that I can hardly play the standard copedent at all anymore! Oh Well
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Ben Jones


From:
Seattle, Washington, USA
Post Posted 10 Apr 2008 7:25 am     Reply with quote

Personally, I would LOVE to try some other tunings as E9th is a bit "wacky" to me. HOwever it seems like you need to get ANOTHER really expensive and rare guitar even just to try em out. Sad
I can barely tune this one.
Hats off to those that can/do.
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Jerry Hayes


From:
Virginia Beach, Va.
Post Posted 10 Apr 2008 7:41 am     Reply with quote

Some E9 and Uni players have the same thing going when in B6th (with E's lowered) if you have the floor pedal that raises the 7th string F# to G# as b0b, Tom Brumley, myself and others do. When you have that change it becomes your "A" pedal while in B6th and when you let off your lever that lowers your E's that becomes your "B" pedal. Also in B6th, your normal E9 "A" pedal can be used as your "C" pedal and so forth.

Just an opinion but even though I've been a fan of Sneaky's for a long time, I alway thought his copedant was very limiting and didn't have the high end like a steel should be able to get. His first string was a half tone lower than the 1st string on a standard guitar which seems like a waste. I think I'd like it better if one of the low strings was dropped and the Eb's tuned to E and a high G# added. it'd make more sense and more things could be played on it!

I just completed work on on old National D-8 lapsteel that I got and I tuned it to E13th & B6th because of past experience with the Universal tuning. I took it to a couple of jams and about half way through the 1st I tuned it up a half to C6th as the B6th was pretty much useless for open string things having the F#s, G#s, B's & D#s, there really wasn't that much to use in the open tuning.......Just my opinion FWIW, JH in Va.
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Earnest Bovine


From:
Los Angeles CA USA
Post Posted 10 Apr 2008 8:03 am     Reply with quote

Ben Jones wrote:
I would LOVE to try some other tunings as E9th is a bit "wacky" to me.

Then don't play E9 !
I believe strongly that whoever you are, the best tuning for you is the tuning that makes sense to you. That way you can express your musical ideas instead of letting the guitar play you and limit you.

An old Fender, even an 8 string with no knee levers, would be easiest to change pedal setups.
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Al Marcus


From:
Cedar Springs,MI USA
Post Posted 10 Apr 2008 8:07 am     tunings Reply with quote

Jim-your GFI looks good underneath. And I agree with you , they are easy to work on and change pulls. I had one and liked it. You must have nocticed that the rods are offset to the bellcranks and if one is over the crank, and you want to move it, you dont need to take out any rods to get at the screw to loosen the belcrank. Gene Fields is a genious. After all he made the Fender PS 210, way ahead of it's time.

Ben-I dont think you need a real expensive guitar to try new tunings. You could try a B6 open quite likd Jim's on this post and instead of dropping you E's to D#, on your RKR you raise the D#'s to E .
on your ten string E9 guitar. here is how top down.

1-F#
2-D#
3-G#
4-D#
5-B
6-G#
7-F#
8_D#
9-B...or...if you wish D
10-G#..or if you wish B
You will only NEED 3 pedals for the B6 and 2 or 3 for the E9. This is what Jim said about "Reverse" universal.
If you are HEAVY into E9, you go into B6 with the knee lever lowering the standard way. But if you are HEAVY into B6, you go into E9 with the Knee lever raising instead of lowering it, like Reece did on his Bb6 in the 70's..That makes a nice Universal without need to change to a 12 string too.and if you use the G# on the 10th string, you get a low A and more other options...al.SmileSmile
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Ben Jones


From:
Seattle, Washington, USA
Post Posted 10 Apr 2008 8:58 am     Reply with quote

Earnest Bovine wrote:
Ben Jones wrote:
I would LOVE to try some other tunings as E9th is a bit "wacky" to me.

Then don't play E9 !
I believe strongly that whoever you are, the best tuning for you is the tuning that makes sense to you. That way you can express your musical ideas instead of letting the guitar play you and limit you.

An old Fender, even an 8 string with no knee levers, would be easiest to change pedal setups.


I just figured E9th WAS the instrument. Kinda like you cant really tune a flute differently...but we arent talking about flutes here and i know you CAN tune guitars differently....so yeah , thats a cop out. Its just a bit daunting as a beginner to go out on a limb and experiment with tunings. All the instructional material is E9th. My guitar came with an E9th setup. My teacher , when i had one, had an E9th setup. etc. I dunno....do you start someone out on piano and say "choose the tuning you think might work for you!"? An old fender might not be terribly difficult to change tunings on (i wouldnt know)...but its not like I have access to any old fenders to try it out. Maybe as i progress in my playing I will become brave enough to venture out and experiment with alt tunings. I respect your opinion greatly Earnest...do you think it would be adviseable for a beginner to not start on E9th?

Im not tryin cry or complain....its just that to me , it doesnt seem easy to experiment with new tunings in this instrument. Like I said I can barely tune the one I got and cannot afford to buy any more instruments to experiment on.

I'd like very much to at least try a Universal. Maybe some kind person will let me try theirs some day.

Al-very interesting...food for thought.
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Joel Meredith


From:
Portland,Oregon, USA
Post Posted 10 Apr 2008 11:21 am     Reply with quote

I just got a Fender 400 with 4 floor pedals last week. I've been an E9 player for a couple years, and switching over to the B6 is easier than I expected (though not a complete breeze).

The tone of that old fender is amazing and it's nice to be able to move cables around so easily to try new changes.
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Ernie Pollock


From:
Mt Savage, Md USA
Post Posted 11 Apr 2008 4:19 am     I agree, with B0B that is! Reply with quote

I have to agree with B0b on this, this is a far cry from a universal, there is no universal here?? Just 6th tuning. No chromatics sure makes that a lonesome tuning for universal. I too have tried many ways to make a 10 string universal, all have fallen short, you just have to have 12 strings to really do a good universal tuning. Just my opinion here, not wanting to start any wars or anything like that. If its Universal ya want, I suggest you get a 12 string!!

Ernie Whoa!
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Jim Sliff


From:
Hermosa Beach California, USA
Post Posted 11 Apr 2008 5:29 am     Reply with quote

Ernie, the "universal" term was coined by someone because it's a cross between a 6th tuning and E9 changes, with the E9-type A&B pedals. It's not *exactly* the same as a "universal" as we know it, but was an early attempt at something with the same idea.


Quote:
I alway thought his copedant was very limiting and didn't have the high end like a steel should be able to get.


Jerry, It's not limiting at all, it's just voiced lower. No, it doesn't have chromatics, but it has things centered around pedal 7 and the left knee that don't carry over to E9 very well. And the tuning is *supposed* to be lower in pitch - it's voiced closer to 6-string range than the higher E9; Pete was playing "lead guitar" parts with the Burritos initially as they had no lead player, and the entire point *IS* that it's different than an E9 copedent. It's supposed to be. It's punchier, has more mids, and is better suited for guitar-like phrases.

If it was supposed to sound like E9 steel it'd BE an E9 steel. If you approach it as a traditional steel you'll hate it - it's for players who either want to try something different on a guitar or don't like E9, aren't hearing the same things E9 players are hearing, and find it works for them.
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Russ Tkac


Post Posted 11 Apr 2008 6:38 am     Reply with quote

I never heard a song Sneaky played on where I thought that he needed higher or lower strings. He also could go between swing and Nashville sounds with ease. Just goes to show that the musician makes the tuning. Smile
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Al Marcus


From:
Cedar Springs,MI USA
Post Posted 11 Apr 2008 8:34 am     Reply with quote

Russ Tkac wrote:
I never heard a song Sneaky played on where I thought that he needed higher or lower strings. He also could go between swing and Nashville sounds with ease. Just goes to show that the musician makes the tuning. Smile


Russ-How very true that is. A musician can take any tuning and make something out of it. How about Pete Drake playing C6 and sounding like E9 at times?..al.SmileSmile
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Joel Meredith


From:
Portland,Oregon, USA
Post Posted 11 Apr 2008 11:07 am     Reply with quote

Do any of the 8 string B6 players have any tab or Sneaky licks or tips for someone who's just started using this tuning?
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Jim Sliff


From:
Hermosa Beach California, USA
Post Posted 11 Apr 2008 8:16 pm     Reply with quote

Joel - Russ has tabbed out a few things and so has Ed Bierly. Honestly, I'm terrible at writing down tab - everything is in my head!
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