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Author Topic:  Help with Multi Necks
Tony Oresteen


From:
Georgia, USA
Post Posted 10 May 2017 3:42 pm     Reply with quote

I've manged to avoid electric steel lap guitars for a long time but now the bug has hit me again. I'm in the market for some new toys Smile !

Top on my list is a 6 string electric lap steel. I'm considering a Fender Champ/Champion. What's a reasonable price to pay for one in good PLAYING condition?

Next on my list is a multi-neck 8 string lap steel like a Stringmaster D8. The first question I have is what are the most common 8 string tunings for 8 strings? A6, E7, E9? C#m? If you had to pick two, which two would you pick? Why are the prices for D8s so high these days?

Quad necks: I've been doing a lot of research lately and a have come across a number of the quad neck Stringmasters. They look huge! How practical is it to play a quad neck? How much do they weigh? They are also very pricey.

Lastly John Farina plays a triple neck Stringmaster. How common were the triple neck Stringmasters? How much do they weigh? Are they hard to find?

Thanks for all your help!
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Brad Davis


From:
Texas, USA
Post Posted 10 May 2017 7:49 pm     Reply with quote

What (music) do you want to play?

I'm not much good on Fender prices, but vintage prices overall seem to be rising a little bit. At least asking prices are. Still very affordable compared to some other types of vintage instruments.

As far as tunings on a multi-neck, C6 is very common and versatile. One neck can double as C6/A6 with either a mixed tuning or by re-tuning a few strings slightly.

On the other neck E13 is common, although there are a few variations of it. B11 is another option, among others you've listed. I do Low C6, A6 and Helms E13/E6.

Two necks is probably the perfect compromise in versatility and portability, if you learn to re-tune quickly. Three and four necks gets heavy to lug around, but if that doesn't matter to you then more necks are ideal for serious players. I guess before they started adding 5 and 6 and 7 necks they invented pedals, it was getting ridiculous.
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post Posted 10 May 2017 8:42 pm     Re: Help with Multi Necks Reply with quote

Tony Oresteen wrote:
Top on my list is a 6 string electric lap steel. I'm considering a Fender Champ/Champion. What's a reasonable price to pay for one in good PLAYING condition?

No idea if this is still available, but Mr. Miller posted a May Bell to keep yours company that may be less $$$ than you would typically pay for a decent Fender Champ or Champion:

http://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=316238
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Larry Lenhart


From:
Ponca City, Oklahoma
Post Posted 10 May 2017 10:06 pm     Reply with quote

Tony, welcome to the steel forum and to the world of "real steel guitars" as Carco Clave says it, as opposed to those others that are pedal steel guitars.
All of my non pedal steels are 8 stringers...it just seems I like the string spacing on them and more options they allow, but most players will get more out of 6 than I could get with 12...haha,,,I am also old school going with G on top on C6th.
I think you are asking good questions and ones that I wonder about also, even tho I have playing both kinds of steels since the 60s. I have a triple neck Fender Stringmaster, and those seem to come up pretty often and are "reasonably priced". I dont intend to ever part with mine...love it. But I have also recently acquired a double neck Rickenbacker that I also love and am considering putting A6 and and E variation on it. As was pointed out you can go from C6th to A6th and B11th on the one neck fairly easily...I am not totally convinced about the E13th tuning and have considered going with some "from" of E tuning tho...maybe someone on here will shed more light on the benefits of various E tunings, but as it was pointed out, it does depend on what kind of music you like to play...I keep E13th on my triple cause I like the Don Helms kind of sound, you can get with it. But I dont think I am the sharpest knife in the drawer as I have both C6th and A6th on the other two necks, and most would say that is redundant...my logic is I like the lower, more mellow sound of the A6th, but to cut thru in dances, etc. C6th seems to work better.
Thanks for asking your question and I dont mean to hijack the thread, as I am interested in the responses you get also.
There is a lot of really good players with lots of experience on this forum that can help out...so again, welcome and have fun !!
_________________
Zum Stage One, 1956 Rickenbacker D8 console, Melbert S8, 1976 Ibanez L5, Gretsch 6122-1959, Telonics pedal, Taylor 214 CE, Squire Tele, Recording King Banjo, 3 Roland cubes 30s and 80, Carvin combo bass amp
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David Mason


From:
Cambridge, MD, USA
Post Posted 11 May 2017 7:49 am     Reply with quote

I don't know how your brain is equipped theory-wise, how important open strings are to you and such, but for ME - I will string an 8-string A6th identical to a C6th, just three frets lower, and fatter strings. I consider them to be the SAME tuning, though. What I consider to be the "heart" of the E13th has to do with the intervals used in the classic, common variant often used on the other neck of a doubleneck also strung with C6th. Those first numbers are the scale degree of those notes in an E major tuning.

1___E
6___C#
5___B
3___G#
2___F#
b7__D
3___G#
1___E

And the heart of it is those intervals, low to high, that are the
6
5
3
2 (9th)
b7
there's no root "E" right there in the middle, what there is are a doorway into that whole slippery "If 6 were 9" chordal stuff - any "underarm" guitarist knows what I mean by that. But it's kinda hard to just stuff that idea through these little wires here, without knowing who/what/whom it's going to be spitting out upon. Well I know what I mean... Rolling Eyes
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Michael James


From:
La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA
Post Posted 11 May 2017 8:11 am     Reply with quote

I have owned several Fender Champs. The Champ are the perfect starter steel guitar in my opinion and here's why.

1.The string spacing is wide on both the nut and the bridge. This make slant and picking very easy for beginners.
2. Steel nut and bridge, great tone and sustain.
3. The scale length is 22 1/2". Which Perfect for playing slants.
4. The stock pickups and electronics are great in the Champs and easy to repair if needed.

For a newer late 60s early 70s model don't pay more than $500.00 for an instrument in great shape. With case you might pay a bit more.
For a 50s model don't pay more that $750.00, again only if it is in really good shape and has the original case.
Make sure the instrument your looking at has the bridge cover. Unless you get a really good deal on the instrument.
It will take you a while to get one in this price range. If you want one right away just find the best deal you can and go for it. I often pay more for items I don't want to wait for.
Happy steel shopping!
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Tony Oresteen


From:
Georgia, USA
Post Posted 11 May 2017 6:37 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks all! I need to soak it all in.
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post Posted 11 May 2017 10:39 pm     Reply with quote

Hi Tony,

Although C6 is very common as a single neck tuning (and on pedal steel, along with E9) I'd say that possibly the most common combination for a doubleneck is A6/E13.

If you play regular guitar you may find A6 easier to get your head round than C6 (without even thinking I know I'll find a D chord at the 5th fret and G at the 10th - starting from C, I'm counting on my fingers!). Also the relationship between A and E is more logical (to me at least) than C and E.

But if you think you might be interested in taking up pedal steel in the future, it might be worth getting used to C6 and E13 (I don't really like E9 as a non-pedal tuning).

A double 8 is probably the "industry standard". I think, compared to other vintage guitars, D* steels are a bargain! The prices are all over the place but you can pick up "players" - maybe a refinish or a bit beaten up - for around $600 per neck so around $1200 for a double and $2500 for a quad.

How heavy is a quad? It's actually slighty lighter than two double necks (the necks weigh the same but only 1 set of legs to carry). I'd say it's probably no heaver than a double neck pedal steel (definitely way lighter than a Fender double neck cable steel).

As far as playing it is concerned - I don't have super long arms and have no trouble reaching the furthest neck. The main problem is the amount of space it takes up onstage - especially if you are doubling on another instrument. On all but the earliest model, the legs splay out a bit making the footprint even bigger than the guitar!
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David M Brown


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 12 May 2017 2:10 am     Reply with quote

Jeff Mead wrote:
Hi Tony,

Although C6 is very common as a single neck tuning (and on pedal steel, along with E9) I'd say that possibly the most common combination for a doubleneck is A6/E13.

If you play regular guitar you may find A6 easier to get your head round than C6
!


Well...my doubleneck is usually tuned A6 and E7 often with the C#...so that fits...and as for a guitar player getting around on A6 better than C6, I'm a perfectly good example!

So you are spot on.
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Andy Henriksen


From:
Michigan, USA
Post Posted 12 May 2017 7:13 am     Reply with quote

I play mostly classic country, and I'm quite content with my D8 in C6 and E13. But truthfully, 90% of what I play is on the C6. Through repetition, I've gotten pretty comfortable with the fretboard, and can improvise (poorly) over most songs on that neck.

On the E13, I mostly need to count up from the open E to figure out where to play. But, I recognize that's largely because I just haven't put nearly as much time in on that tuning. But, there are only so many hours in the day...

I can't imagine ever being proficient enough to handle 3 or 4 necks/tunings with any confidence.
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James Kerr


From:
Scotland, UK
Post Posted 12 May 2017 11:34 am     Reply with quote

Tony,
Just to mix things up a bit, here is my 7 String tuned to C6th.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KyLWRZVZV8

And my D-8 which has also a C6th rear neck, here I'm using the front E7th neck.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWVll5SxZ7M

I use these two tunings because I only play Melody, if you are in a Band backing Singers you might want to choose the Tunings used by the men who backed the 2 Hanks
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Tony Oresteen


From:
Georgia, USA
Post Posted 12 May 2017 6:10 pm     Reply with quote

James Kerr wrote:
Tony,
Just to mix things up a bit, here is my 7 String tuned to C6th.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KyLWRZVZV8........



Yikes! 7 Strings? I thought that lap steel guitars were 6, 8, & 10 sting. I play regular 7-string electric guitars (low B) but never knew that 7 strings were an option for lap steel. More stuff to consider.

Nice video BTW.

Thanks!
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Brad Davis


From:
Texas, USA
Post Posted 12 May 2017 7:14 pm     Reply with quote

I think 7 strings were an option from the mid-late 30s through the late 40s, and multi-necks would come in various combinations of 6, 7 and 8 strings. By the 50s single 6 strings and double 8s became more-or-less standard and 7 strings became less common.
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Tony Oresteen


From:
Georgia, USA
Post Posted 13 May 2017 4:03 am     Reply with quote

I have been looking for a few days now and I can not seem to find the dimensions of the Stringmater multi necks. I'm most interested in the dimensions of the Stringmaster triple neck.

1. How wide is it?

2. How deep overall is it?

3. How deep is each neck?

4. How high is each neck?

Many thanks in advance for this info.
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post Posted 13 May 2017 5:03 am     Reply with quote

See this thread. A triple is the 3 thinnest necks.

http://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=1355836
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Tony Oresteen


From:
Georgia, USA
Post Posted 13 May 2017 10:51 am     Reply with quote

Jeff Mead wrote:
See this thread. A triple is the 3 thinnest necks.

http://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=1355836


Thanks! John Tipka posted all the info I need.

Not sure how I missed that post in my searches. I will have to work on my Google skills.
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