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Post new topic Don Helms
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Author Topic:  Don Helms
Mike Moffitt


From:
South Carolina
Post Posted 10 Jan 2018 3:45 pm     Reply with quote

Just wondering what kind of
non pedal steel Don played most,and which tuning.I have his Cheating Heart instructions book, it has the tuning as e13th.
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Igor Fiksman


From:
Georgia, USA
Post Posted 10 Jan 2018 6:22 pm     Reply with quote

Don Helms played a double 8 neck Gibson console grande non-pedal steel for most of his career. If you search the forum, you should find a photo of handwritten tuning chart he signed for someone, stating that most of his super iconic work was actually in his B tuning.
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post Posted 11 Jan 2018 1:38 am     Reply with quote

Igor Fiksman wrote:
If you search the forum, you should find a photo of handwritten tuning chart he signed for someone, stating that most of his super iconic work was actually in his B tuning.


No, he doesn't state that and he certainly didn't use the B tuning for most of his playing - in fact it was the opposite.

He called his main tuning E6, although it wasn't (because of the A note). But since he mostly used only the top 6 strings, those 6 were an E6. And anyway, he was Don Helms so he can call his tunings whatever he wants in my book.

I think he approached his E neck as two separate tunings - E6 on the top 6 strings and an A major chord on the bottom 3.


BTW - this should be in the non-pedal section, of course.

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Dustin Rhodes


From:
Owasso OK
Post Posted 11 Jan 2018 7:16 am     Reply with quote

Non pedal forum can answer better but I thought he used an E6 and E13.
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post Posted 11 Jan 2018 7:34 am     Reply with quote

Jeff Mead wrote:
...he was Don Helms so he can call his tunings whatever he wants in my book.

Amen to that.
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Igor Fiksman


From:
Georgia, USA
Post Posted 11 Jan 2018 5:37 pm     Reply with quote

Jeff Mead,
That's the photo, I was talking about. And I stand corrected about most used tuning. I always heard he used E13, so B13/E6 thing combined with my dyslexic tendencies got me all turned around.
You can't get any better info than from the man himself, in his own handwriting.
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Brad Davis


From:
Texas, USA
Post Posted 11 Jan 2018 9:34 pm     Reply with quote

Don Helms' Gibson Console Grande was I think either a 48 or 49 model, one of the early post-War models with just three legs and the pre-P90 oval alnico slug pickups. The guitars are easily recognizable for their distinctive shape and construction from large heavy blocks of highly figured maple and white/cream binding, usually with red/brown Gibson "Cremona brown" finish, like Don's personal guitar "Ol' Red", but occasionally come in a blonde finish. In the early 50s the guitar was modified slightly with 4 legs and 8-pole P90 pickups but otherwise looked identical to Don's guitar. The were available I think until the 56 model year.

I play a lot of tunes, including my attempts at Don's pieces, using his E13 tuning on my 54 Console Grande.
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Rich Sullivan


From:
Nelson, NH 03457
Post Posted 12 Jan 2018 3:41 am     Reply with quote

The A note on the bottom string of Helms' E6 tuning is exactly analogous to the F on the 9th string of the C6 tuning on virtually all modern D-10 pedal steels. I have never heard of anyone referring to a C6 tuning as something else, like an Fmaj9. Helm's tuning functions as an E6, but also provides the four chord on those low strings, so there really is no problem calling it an E6.
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C. E. Jackson


From:
Mississippi, USA
Post Posted 12 Jan 2018 6:33 am     Reply with quote

Here is a video which I made regarding my visits with Don which some may enjoy.

DON HELMS-MEMORIES OF MY VISITS WITH DON

C. E. Smile
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A6 tuning for steels
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Lee Holliday


From:
United Kingdom
Post Posted 12 Jan 2018 7:56 am     Reply with quote

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LD62WHm48U

From the horses mouth
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Mark Addeo


From:
New Jersey, USA
Post Posted 14 Jan 2018 7:26 am     Reply with quote

Spot on Rich Sullivan! E6 indeed with easy access IV chord.
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Mark Addeo


From:
New Jersey, USA
Post Posted 14 Jan 2018 7:45 am     Reply with quote

Spot on Rich Sullivan! E6 indeed with easy access IV chord.
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