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Post new topic Input needed from Old Pros and beginners alike...
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Author Topic:  Input needed from Old Pros and beginners alike...
Mark van Allen

Watkinsville, Ga. USA
Post  Posted 21 Feb 2000 11:07 am    
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I'm putting together a Lap steel instruction course- I run into so many people who want to get started or branch out from guitar or Pedal Steel. There's a lot of great instructional stuff out there, but mostly geared to Western Swing, Hawaiian or Bluegrass styles. What I'm looking at is a course that tackles the basic theory and mindset behind any style- including theory for steel, basic improvisation (rarely covered in other methods) similarities between tunings,advantages/disadvantages to various tunings, adapting to various musical styles (rock, blues, jazz, as well as swing and country, etc.), moving from 6 to 8 string guitars, how to adapt tablature/lessons from any tuning to your tuning (i.e. using the many C6 methods and tabs for 6 and 8 string lap, converting pedal moves to bar slants, etc.) and other related subjects. I have lots of ideas and material, but I'd really like to hear from all of you out there- beginners, let me know what you'd like to know about, what format you'd like the information in, etc. and you long term pros- tell me what you wish someone had written about when you were learning, what tips and knowledge you'd like to pass along. Answers here are great, but I'd really appreciate your in-depth reply to my email at: flyingmonkey@mindspring.com
Thanks a lot for any help you can give me in passing the steel torch on a little bit!

Mark van Allen-"Blueground Undergrass" Mullen D-10, Fender Triple 8, Dobro

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Gerald Ross

Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 21 Feb 2000 12:23 pm    
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Good Luck Mark! We need more instructional material.

CD and or VHS tape included. If audio only, CD!, no cassette tape.

You need to see and hear the instructor when attempting to learn an instrument.
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Tony Harris


Post  Posted 29 Feb 2000 2:14 am    
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I've been playing lap steel for about a year now (regular guitar for over 30 years). I decided C6 was the best all-purpose tuning for country, Western Swing, jazz and hawaiian. I found I could play along with western swing tunes quite easily because of the instant 'sixthy' sound. But I could have done with a chord 'dictionary' - if I was on say a G chord, where was the nearest D7, Bmin7, E7 etc.? - I had to work all these out for myself, using charts drawn up on long train journeys. And then 9ths, augs, dims, etc.
Then I had to discover licks and bar-slants that gave a 'pedalled' sound. And not being able to watch anybody else do it, I still can't get the hang of pulling up a string behind the bar, or bouncing the bar off and on the string to get a trill.
There's a few thoughts to be going on with. Let us all know when it's ready...
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Tony Harris


Post  Posted 29 Feb 2000 2:22 am    
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Another thought! I found the strings on my (Selmer) 6-string very far apart, but found this made bar slants easier.
Then I tried an 8-string. The strings were very close together - slants very difficult. I put an A underneath to give a root to minor and seventh chords, and a D on top. This seems to give you the 'missing' note when playing tunes or licks on the top strings. And when the top strings ring together, this gives a sound similar to a pedal tuning - I was basically trying to get a modern bright sound like a pedal steel (rather than the more mellow 40s/50s swing tone), without the pedals. PSG's are just too difficult, too expensive, too heavy etc!
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Jim Mathis

Overland Park, Kansas, USA
Post  Posted 1 Mar 2000 3:57 pm    
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I would like to know some easy ways to relate between tunings. For example, I play dobro (open G), if I switch to 8-string C13,where do I find the dobro licks and what can I now do with C13 and not G. That kind of stuff in a book would be great for me and I am sure a lot of others.

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Andy Volk

Boston, MA
Post  Posted 2 Mar 2000 5:44 am    
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One conceptual approach that may be helpful is to look at different tunings in terms of their intervals, rather than their chord names. An article by British bottleneck guitarist, Martin Simpson, in Guitar Player
magazine about 2 years ago covers this in detail. For example:

G major(DBGDBG) = 531531 = 5th,3rd,root, etc.

C13th(ECAGECBbC) = 31653171

So you can see that strings 4,5,6 of C13th are the same intervals as srings 1,2,3 and 4,5,6 in G major tuning. Another good resource is the Jerry Byrd Instruction book available from Scotty's Music. It details the relationships between A major, Emajor, C#minor, etc.

A six tuning like C6th, A6th, C13th, E13th, etc. will allow you to play more close voiced, complex chords. Single note runs lay very logically also in these tunings. They are NOT very good for bluegrass type playing because of the above factors. It's hard to mute out that 6th note which just sounds out of place in most folk and bluegrass music. You can get a nice swing sound out of G major tuning, however, by just lowering the 3rd string to F#. Sol Hoppii did some very hot playing in this tuning,

[This message was edited by Andy Volk on 02 March 2000 at 05:49 AM.]

[This message was edited by Andy Volk on 02 March 2000 at 05:50 AM.]

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Jim Landers


Spokane, Wash.
Post  Posted 2 Mar 2000 8:49 pm    
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Mark, I feel that a few of the most neglected things in most courses that are available, are:

1. Harmonized scales in several different positions.
2. The 36251 progressions and their main variations and substitutions all over the fret board.
3. An assortment of intros, outros, and some stock turn-arounds.

These in my opinion are the most important, and yet the most neglected things for a body to learn. Whether you are a beginer or someone that has been playing music all their life, until you know where and how to use these things on your steel, your really not ready to play with other people. When you have a pretty good grasp of these three things, you can pretty much hold your own in any situation.

This of course is just my opinion, and some of the things that I have found to be the most useful for me. Hope it helps......Jim
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