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Russell Adkins

 

From:
Louisiana, USA
Post  Posted 14 Jul 2020 8:11 pm    
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Im working on a console steels and trying to decide what tunings ill use , i like the c6 sound and the leavitt tuning looks promising with all the chords you can get without slants and the alkire of which i havent looked into as of yet .I can get scales in thirds and 6ths on the leavitt tuning without slants im not sure about the alkire. I like chord melody music and the double notes of a harmonized scale , that has me enterested in the leavitt tuning any idea anyone? or suggestions? this is an 8 stringer
Russ
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Allan Revich


From:
Victoria, Canada
Post  Posted 15 Jul 2020 9:57 pm     Re: That special tuning
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Russell Adkins wrote:
Im working on a console steels and trying to decide what tunings ill use , i like the c6 sound and the leavitt tuning looks promising with all the chords you can get without slants and the alkire of which i havent looked into as of yet .I can get scales in thirds and 6ths on the leavitt tuning without slants im not sure about the alkire. I like chord melody music and the double notes of a harmonized scale , that has me enterested in the leavitt tuning any idea anyone? or suggestions? this is an 8 stringer
Russ


How many strings?
What tuning(s) are you currently using?
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Fouke “Dan Walsh” 7 string 2020, Rickenbacker B7 1950, Gibson BR9 1951, 1950s Gibson Skylark, Fender Champ 1957, National MOTS (Valco) 1964, Fanner 4 string uke-steel 2019.
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Rob Fenton

 

From:
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Post  Posted 16 Jul 2020 11:16 am    
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Hi Russell,

You're going to have to experiment to discover what you'll really like to use. It's going to cost time and money in changing strings, but it's a worthwhile journey.

I wouldn't get hung up on the idea of making as many chord types as possible without using slants. The instrument is wonderfully expressive if you slide between notes, and the more notes you play out of a complex chord the less likely you'll be able to slide to connect to the next chord. It's often better to choose the 2 or 3 most important notes and find a good way to connect them to the most important ones of the next chord/melody. Slants will help you get there!

Leavitt tuning is an excellent way of achieving chord-melody arrangements but it requires a lot of jumping about on the neck, and is very difficult to try to improvise on. Introducing more notes from complex chords can also bring some frustrating intonation issues into play.

I'm assuming you have at least two 8-string necks on your console? My advice would be to string them with the exact same gauges of strings and experiment with the following tunings:

All Listed Low to High
C6 : F, A, C, E, G, A, C, E
A6 : F#, A, C#, E, F#, A, C#, E
B11: F#, B, C#, D#, F#, A, C#, E
Lvt: F, A, C#, E, G, Bb, C, D

You can start out with C6 on one, and A6 on the other to decide whether you prefer to have a Third on top, or the Fifth as your first string.

You can retune the top 6 strings of C6 to Leavitt.
You can retune A6 to B11 (in fact the only string you really need to change is lowering string 5 a semitone, but I've listed string 7 raised a tone to the B root as well).

You could have C6 on one neck, and Leavitt on the other to help you learn the relationship between them.
Or you could have A6 on one neck and B11 on the other to learn how some split slants will allow you to bring much of the B11 flavor to your A6 playing.
You can decide one day to the next how you'd like it set up.

Here's a link to John Ely's String Gauge chart, a great resource that many of us use:
https://www.hawaiiansteel.com/learning/gauges.php

I'd say if you have a long scale guitar (26") use the lightest recommended gauge, medium (24.5") use his "My Choice", gauge, and for short scale (22.5" or 23") use the heaviest recommended gauge. That has worked for me.

Oh, and if you have a third neck, my personal choice for the furthest neck would be the Leon McAuliffe E13:
Low to High
E, G#, D, F#, G#, B, C#, E
I just dig it...

There are of course many other great tunings out there but it's probably best to dive into the most popular ones for which there are the greatest amount of learning materials and decide from there what you feel they are lacking for your playing tastes. Oftentimes simply changing one string a semitone or tone will provide you what you're looking for.

So, there's one kind of answer for you; perhaps not THAT tuning, but maybe those gauges...
Best of luck!

For full disclosure: I like to have the fifth on top, but prefer strings 3 and 4 to both be plain strings for playing melodies up and down the next in thirds using forward slants, so play C6 with a high G as my main tuning. I use a .013 on medium scale for that high G and it still sometimes sounds too shrill, but it's a trade off. To each their own!
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Russell Adkins

 

From:
Louisiana, USA
Post  Posted 16 Jul 2020 10:07 pm    
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Not to be misunderstood what im doing is building a console steel and was thinking about what tuning i might use for it , 8 strings and a 24 inch scale , im sorry if i wasnt clear about it . I did ask if anyone had any suggestions about the c6 ,leavitt or the Alkire tunings. Very Happy
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Rob Fenton

 

From:
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Post  Posted 17 Jul 2020 8:16 am    
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Sounds like a fun project Russell! Sorry if I didn't address your needs accurately.

I think you'll find C6 will provide you most of what you want, and since it is easily retuned to Leavitt you have the best of both worlds.

Here is a great post by Mike Neer that covers some of the little changes you can make to C6 to achieve different flavors for different styles.
https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=322564&highlight=breadboarding

The Alkire tuning is designed for 10 strings which is why I left it out of my earlier post. I can't imagine it functioning the same way removing any 2 of those strings.

I do use Leavitt as well as C6, but more often than that I retune the lower A and C strings as described in Mike's thread to achieve many of the same chords that are available in the low end of the Leavitt tuning.

Have fun with your build!
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Paul McEvoy

 

From:
Baltimore, USA
Post  Posted 17 Jul 2020 9:13 am    
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Rob that's a particularly helpful post, I hadn't really thought of tunings in that way. Thanks.

Can you get a decent 9th tuning from retuning c6 (I'm using Jules Ah See 8 string now)?
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Rob Fenton

 

From:
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Post  Posted 19 Jul 2020 6:36 am    
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Sorry for the late response Paul.

Yes! If you lower the fifth of the tuning a semitone you can get a 9th voicing. In the case of C6, lowering the G to F# gives you a rootless D9 (F# A C E). It's also F#m7(b5)

This is the same 9th voicing as is used in the B11 tuning. It's actually the same retuning, just 3 semitones higher.

Check it out, but also remember that you needn't play all 4 of those notes. If you stay in regular C6, you can use a split slant, covering the C and E strings with the tip of the bar, and slant the tail of the bar down one fret on the G string to achieve the 3, 7, & 9 of the chord.

Like this:

D to D9
(A, D, F#) to (F#, C, E)

--14----12--
--14----12--
------------
--14----11--
------------
------------

Hope that helps!
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b0b


From:
Cloverdale, CA
Post  Posted 19 Jul 2020 7:36 am    
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If your requirements include the sweetness of just intonation, Jerry Byrd's C Diatonic is the way to go. It's a 7 string tuning. I'd add a low C# as the 8th string, making it:

C# E F G A B C E

The D note is omitted from the tuning because it can't be tuned harmonically to both G and A. Jerry Byrd was a genius to think of that. On C6th, he often retuned his low C to C# for some songs.

I prefer this for its logic and simplicity, compared to Levitt or Alkire. Plus it sounds better to my ears.
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