The Steel Guitar Forum Store 

Post new topic Prewar Hawaiian steel guitar learning materials?
Reply to topic
Author Topic:  Prewar Hawaiian steel guitar learning materials?
Ryan Matzen


From:
Wisconsin, USA
Post  Posted 13 Jan 2022 10:37 pm    
Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

Thanks to the likes of Chris Ruppenthal and Sebastian Müller (via their YouTube videos), I have fallen in love with prewar Hawaiian steel guitar. I have become a big fan of players like Sol Hoopii, Sam Ku West and King Bennie Nawahi. While on the lookout for an instrument, I have been picking up some learning materials. So far, I have Bob Brozman’s Hawaiian DVD and his Slide Guitar Blues for Lap Style DVD’s. I also have Fernando Perez‘s Lap Steel Guitar Video Tutorials and Stacy Phillips‘ The Art of Hawaiian Steel Guitar books. Are there any other instructional materials that I should be looking into?

Any input would be appreciated.

All the best,

Ryan
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Sebastian Müller

 

From:
Berlin / Germany
Post  Posted 13 Jan 2022 11:23 pm    
Reply with quote

Hy Ryan,

thanks for the kind words, the early Hawaiian style is really
something else and doesn't stop to fascinate me for years and years.

You are all set when it comes to the current teaching material, I own
all of the books and DVDs you've mentioned minus the Fernando Perez one.

On my website I offer tabs and backingtracks for all of my videos, the downloads contain both versions, A and G HiBass tuning.
A handful of songs are in C#minor, another tuning that was quite prominent in the early Hawaiian style.
I believe the backingtracks are a big plus, they are provided in two different tempos.

https://hawaiian-steel-guitar.com/tabs


I think Tabs are a great way to get you started and understand how the tuning works, etc. I do encourage you to try to transcribe songs of your favourite players yourself, that is the best way of learning in my opinion.

If you have any questions please write me a pm, happy to help.

Aloha

Sebastian
_________________
https://hawaiian-steel-guitar.com
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website

Ryan Matzen


From:
Wisconsin, USA
Post  Posted 14 Jan 2022 12:01 am    
Reply with quote

Hey Sebastian,

Thanks for your input!

I will definitely be getting your TABs and backing tracks.

I believe the materials that I currently have use G Low Bass. Would I be able to get into the tunings that you mentioned using a set of John Pearse Phosphor Bronze Wound G Tuning strings (gauges are .016, .018, .027W, 039W, .049W, .059W.)? Or, would I need a lighter gauge set?

Thanks for your help,

Ryan
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Sebastian Müller

 

From:
Berlin / Germany
Post  Posted 14 Jan 2022 5:52 am    
Reply with quote

Hi Ryan, some Dobro players use like a .059 for Highbass G, I find that quite heavy.
When I used Highbass G on my Tricone I used this set:

https://www.ghsstrings.com/products/11414-bright-bronze-resonator?category_id=1964774-resonator-guitar

A 0.054 sounds more reasonable for a G than a 0.059.

Which steelguitar do you want to use ?
_________________
https://hawaiian-steel-guitar.com
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website

Sebastian Müller

 

From:
Berlin / Germany
Post  Posted 14 Jan 2022 5:52 am    
Reply with quote

Hi Ryan, some Dobro players like a .059 for Highbass G, I find that quite heavy.
When I used Highbass G on my Tricone I used this set:

https://www.ghsstrings.com/products/11414-bright-bronze-resonator?category_id=1964774-resonator-guitar

A 0.054 sounds more reasonable for a G than a 0.059.

Which steelguitar do you want to use ?
_________________
https://hawaiian-steel-guitar.com
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website

John Burton


From:
Manassas, Va
Post  Posted 14 Jan 2022 7:15 am    
Reply with quote

I just want to second the recommendation for Sebastion's tab and backing tracks. Really good stuff. Just got a few the other day.
Stacy Phillips books are great. I kind of skipped over the first volume and just started working through some of volume 2.
I have an old square neck Oahu acoustic; but I keep it strung up open D. I need to string it up for A C# E A C# E. I've just been using a lap steel tuned open A.
I use software called "Replayer" that lets me bring the G stuff up in Stacy Phillips book to A.
I think most of the original material was in A, and that seems to work much better on shorter scaled lap steels (though acoustic seems the way to go for this stuff)
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Lloyd Graves

 

From:
New York, USA
Post  Posted 14 Jan 2022 12:07 pm    
Reply with quote

I'll third Sebastian's material. I've got the Stacy Phillips books (and also use a program to shift the pitch up to open A), and while it's good, I feel that Sebastian's arrangements/tab give a bit more variety for arranging each tune. His Hilo Hanakahi (excuse my spelling error) offers 4 separate ways of playing the melody.

Also, I did a few Zoom lessons with Sebastian and found then very useful, in that he was able to correct some of my techniques. A book just doesn't do that. Sebastian also helped me figure out better ways to arrange the one or two songs I had tried out on my own.

It was also very therapeutic to talk to him face to face (via Zoom) in these pandemic-times.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Ryan Matzen


From:
Wisconsin, USA
Post  Posted 14 Jan 2022 4:21 pm    
Reply with quote

Sebastian Müller wrote:
Hi Ryan, some Dobro players use like a .059 for Highbass G, I find that quite heavy.
When I used Highbass G on my Tricone I used this set:

https://www.ghsstrings.com/products/11414-bright-bronze-resonator?category_id=1964774-resonator-guitar

A 0.054 sounds more reasonable for a G than a 0.059.

Which steelguitar do you want to use ?


I just got a National single cone steel guitar. It sounds better than I thought it would. But, it is very loud!

Ideally, I would really like a Tricone. And, would really like an electric to be able to practice quietly. I wasn’t on the look out for a single cone square neck. But, this one kind of fell in my lap! And, I don’t have any income at the moment. So, I figure it will do for a while.

I had asked about the strings because I already have purchased a few more sets of the John Pearse Phosphor Bronze Wound G Tuning strings. And, since all the learning materials (DVD’s and books) that I have seem to be in Lowbass G, I wanted to make sure that I would be able to tune to Highbass G without having to switch string gauges in order to not damage my guitar. According to your last post. It sounds like the strings that I have, though most likely not ideal, will work in either G tuning for the time being. Is it safe to leave a square neck guitar with heavy gauge strings in an Highbass A tuning? Would the gauges that I already have also work for tuning to the C#minor tuning (I am guessing not. But, I though I’d ask)?

Thanks for your help. I will be in contact shortly about some of your TAB’s and backing tracks.

All the best,

Ryan


Last edited by Ryan Matzen on 14 Jan 2022 9:49 pm; edited 3 times in total
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Ryan Matzen


From:
Wisconsin, USA
Post  Posted 14 Jan 2022 4:24 pm    
Reply with quote

John Burton wrote:
I just want to second the recommendation for Sebastion's tab and backing tracks. Really good stuff. Just got a few the other day.
Stacy Phillips books are great. I kind of skipped over the first volume and just started working through some of volume 2.
I have an old square neck Oahu acoustic; but I keep it strung up open D. I need to string it up for A C# E A C# E. I've just been using a lap steel tuned open A.
I use software called "Replayer" that lets me bring the G stuff up in Stacy Phillips book to A.
I think most of the original material was in A, and that seems to work much better on shorter scaled lap steels (though acoustic seems the way to go for this stuff)


Hi John,

Thanks for the info and tip about the Replayer software. I’ll look into that.

All the best,

Ryan
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Ryan Matzen


From:
Wisconsin, USA
Post  Posted 14 Jan 2022 4:30 pm    
Reply with quote

Lloyd Graves wrote:
I'll third Sebastian's material. I've got the Stacy Phillips books (and also use a program to shift the pitch up to open A), and while it's good, I feel that Sebastian's arrangements/tab give a bit more variety for arranging each tune. His Hilo Hanakahi (excuse my spelling error) offers 4 separate ways of playing the melody.

Also, I did a few Zoom lessons with Sebastian and found then very useful, in that he was able to correct some of my techniques. A book just doesn't do that. Sebastian also helped me figure out better ways to arrange the one or two songs I had tried out on my own.

It was also very therapeutic to talk to him face to face (via Zoom) in these pandemic-times.


Hi Lloyd,

Thanks for the info. I may have to see about taking some Skype lessons. I have had an issue with getting a Dunlop bullet steel. I had two lost in transit. The third one is supposed to arrive tomorrow. So, hopefully it will actually show up and I can start working through some of this stuff!

All the best,

Ryan
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Sebastian Müller

 

From:
Berlin / Germany
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2022 1:59 am    
Reply with quote

Thank you so much for the kind words Lloyd, glad to hear that you've found the lessons useful.
I think I already told you, it was your email asking for Tabs and lessons that made me doing it in the end, thanks again for that. The therapeutic aspects of the lessons go both ways, feels really good to interact with players all over the world who share the enthusiasm for this kind of music, especially in the difficult times we are having in the moment.

Ryan, in theory you should be able to tune to G Lowbass and HiBass with the same John Pearse set, just watch the cone, it normally shows quite clearly if there is too much pressure on the cone, the sound get's quite muted.



I would not tune up to C#minor with that stringset, you can tune to B minor instead. That is what Stacy Phillips is suggesting in his books, I don't like the sound of B minor so much, it is too slack for my taste, but definitely a good way to try out that tuning.
_________________
https://hawaiian-steel-guitar.com
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website

Ryan Matzen


From:
Wisconsin, USA
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2022 7:42 pm    
Reply with quote

If the “original” Hawaiian steel guitar tuning is just a higher pitched Dobro tuning. Is there a reason why Bob Brozman and Fernando Perez would teach Hawaiian steel guitar in a Lowbass tuning? I had assumed that Stacy Phillips did this as well. But, after looking through one of his books, it looks like he did use the standard Dobro tuning. This makes sense to me since there are already many people setup to use this tuning. I don’t understand why people would choose to teach in the Lowbass tuning though. Am I missing something?

All the best,

Ryan
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Chris Templeton


From:
The Green Mountain State
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2022 8:41 pm    
Reply with quote

I like Bob Brzman's teaching courses.
Scotty hired me to record both of Jerry Byrd's Hoolaulea's in '85 & '86. I believe it was the first year that Bob Brozman played.
He absolutely tore it up and got two standing ovations. Biggest response of the shows.
While I'm on the subject, here's my picture of the great Hawaiian steeler, Billy Hew Len at one of Jerry's shows:

Billy worked as a mechanic and also played guitar. He was working on an engine and it fell and that was it for his hand.
He was going crazy because he couldn't play guitar.
His doctor or friend went to a saddlery and had them make a leather attachment with a steel bar, and he became one of Hawaii's revered steelers.
_________________
Excel 3/4 Pedal With An 8 String Hawaiian Neck, Tapper (10 string with a raised fretboard to fret with fingers), Single neck Fessenden 3/5
View user's profile Send private message

Ryan Matzen


From:
Wisconsin, USA
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2022 8:53 pm    
Reply with quote

Chris Templeton wrote:
I like Bob Brzman's teaching courses.
Scotty hired me to record both of Jerry Byrd's Hoolaulea's in '85 & '86. I believe it was the first year that Bob Brozman played.
He absolutely tore it up and got two standing ovations. Biggest response of the shows.
While I'm on the subject, here's my picture of the great Hawaiian steeler, Billy Hew Len at one of Jerry's shows:

Billy worked as a mechanic and also played guitar. He was working on an engine and it fell and that was it for his hand.
He was going crazy because he couldn't play guitar.
His doctor or friend went to a saddlery and had them make a leather attachment with a steel bar, and he became one of Hawaii's revered steelers.


I agree that Bob’s lessons are good. I just don’t understand why he used the Lowbass tuning that he did on his Hawaiian DVD.

I came across Billy Hew Len form the “Billy Hew Len - Hal Smith Archive” via the Internet Archive: https://archive.org/details/LenThree03
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Sebastian Müller

 

From:
Berlin / Germany
Post  Posted 16 Jan 2022 1:53 am    
Reply with quote

Ryan, I think Bob Brozman used the Lowbass tuning because he plays a lot of self accompaniment style , be it Hawaiian or Blues. This is the main advantage that I see in Lowbass vs HiBass. Hibass layout is super logical, therefor learning the fretboard is easier, and you have some very nice slant positions that you don't have in Lowbass.

I disagree with Bob's statement in the course that G was the most prominent tuning in the early Hawaiian style, the biggest chunk of available recordings is in A, most probably because the steel guitar was cutting better through the mix with that higher pitched tuning, listening to the latest Bennie Nawahi Interview that appeared last year he even tuned up to C Hibass.
_________________
https://hawaiian-steel-guitar.com
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website

Ryan Matzen


From:
Wisconsin, USA
Post  Posted 16 Jan 2022 2:47 am    
Reply with quote

Sebastian Müller wrote:
Ryan, I think Bob Brozman used the Lowbass tuning because he plays a lot of self accompaniment style , be it Hawaiian or Blues. This is the main advantage that I see in Lowbass vs HiBass. Hibass layout is super logical, therefor learning the fretboard is easier, and you have some very nice slant positions that you don't have in Lowbass.

I disagree with Bob's statement in the course that G was the most prominent tuning in the early Hawaiian style, the biggest chunk of available recordings is in A, most probably because the steel guitar was cutting better through the mix with that higher pitched tuning, listening to the latest Bennie Nawahi Interview that appeared last year he even tuned up to C Hibass.


That makes sense.

Where can I find this Bennie Nawahi interview you spoke of?
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Ryan Matzen


From:
Wisconsin, USA
Post  Posted 16 Jan 2022 3:00 am    
Reply with quote

Ryan Matzen wrote:
Sebastian Müller wrote:
Ryan, I think Bob Brozman used the Lowbass tuning because he plays a lot of self accompaniment style , be it Hawaiian or Blues. This is the main advantage that I see in Lowbass vs HiBass. Hibass layout is super logical, therefor learning the fretboard is easier, and you have some very nice slant positions that you don't have in Lowbass.

I disagree with Bob's statement in the course that G was the most prominent tuning in the early Hawaiian style, the biggest chunk of available recordings is in A, most probably because the steel guitar was cutting better through the mix with that higher pitched tuning, listening to the latest Bennie Nawahi Interview that appeared last year he even tuned up to C Hibass.


That makes sense.

Where can I find this Bennie Nawahi interview you spoke of?


I think that I just found it?: https://eastriverstringband.com/radioshow/index.php/2021/01/24/otrs-114-the-lost-bennie-nawahi-interview-by-robert-armstrong-pt-1/ and https://eastriverstringband.com/radioshow/index.php/2021/02/01/otrs-115-the-lost-bennie-nawahi-interview-by-robert-armstrong-pt-2/

Thanks for bringing this up! I was unaware that it existed. And, I am very excited to listen to it!
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Sebastian Müller

 

From:
Berlin / Germany
Post  Posted 16 Jan 2022 3:57 am    
Reply with quote

[quote="Ryan Matzen"]
Ryan Matzen wrote:
Sebastian Müller wrote:


Where can I find this Bennie Nawahi interview you spoke of?





I think that I just found it?: https://eastriverstringband.com/radioshow/index.php/2021/01/24/otrs-114-the-lost-bennie-nawahi-interview-by-robert-armstrong-pt-1/ and https://eastriverstringband.com/radioshow/index.php/2021/02/01/otrs-115-the-lost-bennie-nawahi-interview-by-robert-armstrong-pt-2/

Thanks for bringing this up! I was unaware that it existed. And, I am very excited to listen to it!


Yes, these are the ones, pretty interesting stuff, and Bennie was quite a character : ) !
_________________
https://hawaiian-steel-guitar.com
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website

Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 16 Jan 2022 4:13 am    
Reply with quote

What an astounding find!
_________________
Steel Guitar Books! Website: www.volkmediabooks.com
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website


All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Jump to:  
Please review our Forum Rules and Policies
Our Online Catalog
Strings, CDs, instruction, and accessories
www.SteelGuitarShopper.com
BIAB Styles
Ray Price Shuffles for Band-in-a-Box
by Jim Baron
The Steel Guitar Forum
148 S. Cloverdale Blvd.
Cloverdale, CA 95425 USA

Click Here to Send a Donation

Email SteelGuitarForum@gmail.com for technical support.