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Author Topic:  don helms tunings?
Michael Phillips


From:
Ohio, USA
Post Posted 24 Apr 2011 3:25 pm     Reply with quote

Would anyone know what tuning don helms used when
he played with Hank?
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Jerome Hawkes


From:
Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA
Post Posted 24 Apr 2011 4:55 pm     Reply with quote

E6
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Gene Warner


From:
Texas, USA
Post Posted 24 Apr 2011 5:59 pm     Reply with quote

Most of those guys used different tunings at different times in their careers. This is probably a perfect example.

I was fortunate to get to talk with Don Helms many years ago, when I was playing a little non-pedal steel myself. At one of their concerts, I got an old 45rpm EP record autographed by all of Hank's band members. I asked Don about his tunings. He grabbed the record, and wrote the following tunings down for me, in the margins of that album.

inside neck B13th (high to low strings)
A E C# A F# Eflat B A(bass)
I think he meant that he used a larger string for that low one, as this would be three octaves worth of A strings.

outside neck E6th (high to low strings)
G# E C# B G# E C# B

I find on the North West Steel Guitar Association web site, the following tunings attributed to Don Helms.

inside neck B13th (high to low)
E C# A F# D# B A F#

outside neck E6th (high to low)
G# E C# B G# E C# A

A little more research on your own, might turn up date periods for these tunings, and probably even other tunings that he used as well.
Gene Warner
repairman
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Garry Vanderlinde


From:
Surf City
Post Posted 24 Apr 2011 6:02 pm     Fron THE Man himself! Reply with quote

It doesn't get any better than this Cool

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Jerome Hawkes


From:
Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA
Post Posted 24 Apr 2011 6:34 pm     Reply with quote

Interesting- don notes his g# as a .026 unwound

also - shouldn't there be a g# in that B13 tuning? There is no 13 in there- looks like a B11
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Morgan Scoggins


From:
Georgia, USA
Post Posted 25 Apr 2011 11:44 am     Reply with quote

Michael,
All you really need for Hank Williams songs played in the Don Helm's style is a 6 string E6, (G# E C# B G# E) hi to low. There is book of Don's arrangements of ten HW songs. It is called "Your Cheatin' Heart and is sold here on the forum or you can get it from Mel Bay or Scotty's Music in St. Louis.
the arrangements are pretty simple with no bar slants and really have the authentic "honky tonk" sound.
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Michael Phillips


From:
Ohio, USA
Post Posted 25 Apr 2011 4:42 pm     don helms tunings? Reply with quote

Thanks for your help! If the tunings would be 440 or would they be tuned high or low of 440? Also what would be a good tuner? Any advise on this?
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Brian LeBlanc


From:
Falls Church, Virginia, USA
Post Posted 26 Apr 2011 5:17 am     String sets? Reply with quote

any packaged sets come CLOSE to the E6 line up?

& also Cashdollars C6..

0.052 to 0.11
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Matt Berg


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 27 Apr 2011 10:45 am     Reply with quote

Jerome Hawkes wrote:

also - shouldn't there be a g# in that B13 tuning? There is no 13 in there- looks like a B11


Yeah, and it hurts my brain less to think of that as a D# rather than Eb.
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