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Author Topic:  E9 0r C6 ?
Ed Altrichter


From:
Schroeder, Minnesota, USA
Post Posted 14 Oct 2010 2:53 pm     Reply with quote

Hi folks,

I'm used to playing a non-pedal
steel guitar in C6 tuning and now
I'm thinking about learning how to
play a pedal steel.

I'm wondering if there would be
an advantage in learning to play
in E9 tuning, instead of using C6
(Or vice-versa) ?

How would one describe in words the difference between the sound of one,
as compared to the other ?

Since I only play for my own
entertainment I play TUNES
(Webb Pierce, Lefty Frizzell, etc.)
and not back-up or fill-ins
for singers. Would that come into consideration ?

Thanks, Ed





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Earnest Bovine


From:
Los Angeles CA USA
Post Posted 14 Oct 2010 3:46 pm     Re: E9 0r C6 ? Reply with quote

Ed Altrichter wrote:

How would one describe in words the difference between the sound of one,
as compared to the other ?

The sound is the same, but the pedal functions (raises and lowers) are different.
If you get a pedal guitar, I would suggest using your familiar C6 tuning, with whatever number of strings you are familiar with. You can hook up a pedal or 2 to get started. For example, lower the (middle) G string to F#. Later you can use more strings and pedals.
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Ryan Barwin


From:
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Post Posted 14 Oct 2010 4:00 pm     Reply with quote

I think you'll find that a lot of your C6 stuff will transfer to E9, and you can get most of those C6 sounds on E9. If you're only going to learn one neck, E9 is probably better...there's also a lot more tabs and other learning resources available for E9 than C6, so that's a definite advantage. Also, it's much cheaper/easier to find a single neck E9 guitar than a C6 guitar.

Don't know how to describe the difference in sound, but here's some examples of typical E9 and C6 sounds...though you can play a lot of those sounds on either neck.
E9:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbjViunwfvQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hP8YbVus_TE
C6:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Htmf8MkuHhE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5Mx5lhreMY
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C Dixon


From:
Duluth, GA USA
Post Posted 14 Oct 2010 4:29 pm     Reply with quote

Since you did not say how many strings you have on your lapsteel and what style of music you like, it is difficult to say which tuning (E9th or C6th) would be best to start on pedals.

So I will take 2 scenarios:

1st; let me assume you play your lap C6 in a "Western Swing" style mostly. IE: using many more chords and less single or two string melody runs.

In this case, by all means concentrate on learning what beauty pedals would embelish to what you are already used to only on a C6 Pedal Steel.

2nd; let me assume you play your lap C6 in a "Jerry Byrd" style mostly. IE: using MORE single note 2 or 3 string melody runs, and less chording, then I would strongly suggest you go to pedals with E9th in mind. The following is why:

With a few minor hindrances, you have much of your C6 voicings using what we call the "E to Eb" knee lever while playing the standard E9th setup on Pedal Steel Guitar.

In fact, IF you are proficient using 3 fret slants and (2 fret slants), and paricularly if you use "split slants" as JB was so adept at, then you (in just a short while) will love E9th, because it will fit right in perfectly with what you are doing now, only with awesome resolve possibilities not possible with a lap steel. Plus it will embellish what JB did in a most beautiful way.

What's more, on the longer scaled PSG's it is somewhat difficult to administer accurately fast slants at the lower frets. On the PSG you achieve this with pedals and/or knee levers, without having to slant.

Hope this helps dear person. There is much more, but this is enough to get you started in the right direction, I believe. And may Jesus bless you in all of your noble quests.

c.

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Bob Hickish


From:
Port Ludlow, Washington, USA, R.I.P.
Post Posted 14 Oct 2010 5:13 pm     Reply with quote

Ed
I to come from the non/pedal side also -- Im not new to pedals but i can tell you E9th with a minimum of 3 & 2 works well with non/pedal C6th ( 8 string ) one knee lever will change the E to Eb -- this gives you a B6th open tuning -- you can play all your C6th non/pedals tunes with out relearning -- you only need to work around string 9 & 2

good luck
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 15 Oct 2010 6:51 am     Reply with quote

Since you are familiar with the C6th tuning, I certainly would give the C6th pedal tuning a try.
Those who are starting out and have a hard time figuring on which side of the guitar to sit on, the E9th is an easier neck to learn on. It is basically the A tuning and the E tuning all on one neck. The C6th is a different animal.
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Edward Meisse


From:
Santa Rosa, California, USA
Post Posted 22 Oct 2010 3:39 pm     Reply with quote

I went with a S10 C6. I haven't looked back. But I'm not a big country player. I play a really wide variety of music including alot of jazz age pop. Since you already play C6, I would stay with it unless you intend to work (The E9 neck presents alot more opportunities) or unless you really love the E9 sound. What else would be the point of changing?
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Stephen Cordingley


From:
Ontario, Canada
Post Posted 22 Oct 2010 3:55 pm     Reply with quote

Isn't the E9 a little less challenging for the foot pedal technique than the C6?
I'm just starting to mess around with my C6 neck, and I find it trickier to move my foot around between pedals 4-8 (C6 pedals)than between pedals 1-3 (E9 pedals) There are more pedals between which to navigate, although you may use them less(?). The foot pedal action on C6 seems to be a little like working the bass pedals on an organ.

There are (usually) more knee levers to deal with on E9, though...
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C Dixon


From:
Duluth, GA USA
Post Posted 22 Oct 2010 4:48 pm     Reply with quote

Stephen Cordingley wrote:
Isn't the E9 a little less challenging for the foot pedal technique than the C6?
I'm just starting to mess around with my C6 neck, and I find it trickier to move my foot around between pedals 4-8 (C6 pedals)than between pedals 1-3 (E9 pedals) There are more pedals between which to navigate, although you may use them less(?). The foot pedal action on C6 seems to be a little like working the bass pedals on an organ.

There are (usually) more knee levers to deal with on E9, though...


It is indeed, if one is just starting out and resting their feet on A and B. This is due to the I>IV or V>1 chords they inately produce. But that is an over simplification in this respect. For it assumes you pick the correct strings.

Now if you try any combination of the standard C6 setup and again, you are just starting out, it can be challenging indeed. For there is no straight major to major, etc, grips on C6 as it is on E9th without changing grips. But even here, it is different voicings. And does not sound like E9th with its rich and full major chords.

However, IF (like Buddy, Chalker, Remington, Day and countless others) who went to pedals; (as they and I did) from a Double or Triple or Quad neck; well experienced on the standard C6 lapsteel tunings and dozens of other popular tunings back then; then it was not challenging at all.

In fact it was an immediate blessing, for it allowed us to embellish on what was already well ingrained in us for years, by adding the C6 pedals.

In any cases, here is a suggestion. "Home" base on E9th is A and B. "Home" base on C6 is pedals 5 and 6.

So begin there. It will seem odd in all likelyhood if you are somewhat proficient on E9th. Here are some tips.

1. Begin picking strings 3, 5 and 6 open strings. That is a major C chord with the root note on top.

2. Slide up 5 frets and do the same for F major

3. Slide up 2 more frets and that is a G major. And so on.

Begin to memorize these fret locations for all keys. and practice just chording while a song is playing. Using JUST those three strings. When ya feel comfortable, then change grips to 5, 6 and 7 and do the same thing. Or strings 2, 3 and 5, or 1, 2 and 3 (assumes you have a G as your first string).

Now...

1. Say the key of a given song is F. Place your bar on the 5th fret and those strings gives an F major.

2. Engage the 6th pedal from home base by slanting your foot. You have the IV chord with the root on string 2 and adding strings 3 and 4.

3. 2 frets up gives you the V chord with the same strings.

But, if you add the 6th string you have V7, backing up two frets you have a IV7. IF you add the 5th string you have added the 9th chord into the V7 or IV7 respectively.

Now do this. Back to the 5th fret. No pedals..

1. Engage pedal 5, and pick strings 2, 3 and 5. You have gone from I to II9. Without moving the Bar!

2. If you did this two frets down, you would have a I9. Remember you can use a 9th chord in lieu of a 7th chord many times when it calls for a 7th.

This should give you something to mess around with.

If this thread remains active I will give you some more goodies later.

Hope this helps dear person.

c.

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John Polstra


From:
Lopez Island, WA, USA
Post Posted 23 Oct 2010 4:55 pm     Reply with quote

Carl, that is the most succinct and practical collection of tips for starting out on C6 that I have ever seen. Thank you!

John
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C Dixon


From:
Duluth, GA USA
Post Posted 23 Oct 2010 5:49 pm     Reply with quote

Very Happy
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Brian LeBlanc


From:
Falls Church, Virginia, USA
Post Posted 27 Oct 2010 1:31 pm     Man! Reply with quote

...what John said!

i made the mistake of getting a non-pedal to learn C6
...Now I can't stop play'n it...
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C Dixon


From:
Duluth, GA USA
Post Posted 27 Oct 2010 3:22 pm     Reply with quote

Quote:
If this thread remains active I will give you some more goodies later.

Hope this helps dear person.

c.


Well it does look like there is sufficient interest to continue with your "lesson" Very Happy

For those who have just "tuned" in, once you become proficient with the tips I gave earlier, you are ready to learn some more.

So here 'tis Whoa!

Okay?????

OH Kay!!! Winking

Remember pedals 5 and 6 ARE your home base when playing the standard C6 setup on PSG's. This is just as important as keeping your foot on A and B while playing E9th. It don' mean you won't evah leave 'em. Just means that is where ya sleep!

Oops I mean play! Embarassed

Oops I mean rest yo feet!

Now, engage BOTH of them! And what does that give you?

A 7 note (strings 3 thru 9) strummable "diminished" (7th chord), that repeats itself EVERY 3 frets in either direction. Yes you heard me. AND....it has a goodie also that I will discuss later. Promise Laughing

And proficient "greats" use it ALL the time. It is a mainstay for music, since our western form of music was discovered. Praise Jesus!

Try it.

1. Start at ANY fret, strum strings say 6 thru 3; or 7 thru 4; or 8 thru 5; or 9 thru 6. They ALL say the same thing!


2. Slide up 3 frets and you have the SAME chord, 3 frets more and you have the SAME chord, and so on. Don't give it a thought what notes, just listen at it. HeeHee!

3. Practice it up and down until you can do it in your sleep.

4. Try strumming it ONLY once, and then just slidun evah 3 for as long as your guitar sustains.

It is awesome.

Now the goodie. I doubt seriously if it was planned. Jesus often blesses with more, if we do good things. I believe this happened when Buddy added 5 and 6.

And what pray tell, is that "goodie"? Well pahdhahs, it is a very useful chord that is difficult to name. Really! But when ya need it; NUTHUN else will do! Well almost! Rolling Eyes

And what is that chord?

1. Start ONE fret down from your ending chord in ANY song just about.

2. Pick strings 2, 3 and 5. Ya hear that awesome disonance screamin at you. Well that is it.

Because it is beggin ya to end the song one fret up!

Try it.

But, I am going to show you another little goodie with it, that will embellish tha 'far' out of it. Follow along:

Get in the key of E (4th fret).


1. Pick sring 5 and let it sustain.

2. Engage pedal 5

3. As it sustains, pick string 4, then 3. Then...

4. Pick strings 2, 3 and 5 and let it sustain a little while within the beat of the music.

5. Pick string 5 again AND as it sustains, engage the 6th pedal ALSO, and slide down to the 3rd fret. AND do the same picking ya did at the 4th fret

6. Now mute the strings and end your song by moving your bar back to the 4th fret and give me a big thumb sweep hitting strings 6 thru 3!

Voila!

Practice it in every key. Remember ONLY the key! And when you get it right, you might say,

"I have heard BE and CC and many others do that for years. And I NEVER could figger out what in the pluperfect hallelujah theyzah do-wun!!

Maude come here, ya 'jes GOT to hear this!

'jes thank Maude, when tha swellin goes down in mah fangers, ole Buddie Edmunds gunna make me a star!"
whoopee! Whoa! Smile Whoa! Rolling Eyes Razz Very Happy

Yeppers, Gar--own--Teed!

Next time, I will give ya annudurn. Goodie that is! If'n ye wan' me to!

So help me Jesus!

c.

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John Groover McDuffie


From:
LA California, USA
Post Posted 27 Oct 2010 4:19 pm     Reply with quote

There is one difference which I haven't seen discussed in this thread, forgive me if it's here and I missed it.

The E9 tuning, especially in it's most common 10 string variant, is generally voiced in a higher register than the C6th tuning. If you were to play a melody that covers a fairly wide range you would probably have to play it an octave higher on E9 than on C6.

I play 12 string extended E9 tuning which lets me play a lot of melodies in a lower range than I could on a 10 string. I find that if I play them an octave up, which I would have to do on 10 string if I wanted to stay in the same key, they sound thin and whiny to me.

So just throw that in the mix with everything else that has been said.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 28 Oct 2010 7:39 am     Reply with quote

I don't see the E9th voiced in a higher register than the C6th.
I play with a G on the 1st string on the C6th.
A G# is the high string on the E9th.
We're only talking 1/2 tone here.
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John Groover McDuffie


From:
LA California, USA
Post Posted 28 Oct 2010 10:56 am     Reply with quote

It is true that if one uses a high G on the C6 both tunings have almost the same limit to the upper range. I guess I should have said that C6 has a wider range, than E9, all on the low side.

However I stand by my comment about being able to play melodies in lower registers, which is my main point.

I will use Charlie Parker's "Donna Lee" as an example, only because I have been working on it lately. It has a range of almost two octaves, from Ab above the treble staff to A natural below the staff. On 10 string E9th you have to play it "starting at" the Ab which is at the 12th fret on string 3. I realize that this is where it is written, concert pitch, but to my ears it sounds too thin. On XE9 or C6 you can play it an octave lower, and it sounds much fatter and IMHO better.

That's what I meant when I said 10 string E9th was voiced in a higher register. I guess I should have said C6th was voiced in a lower register.
My apologies. 8~)
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Earnest Bovine


From:
Los Angeles CA USA
Post Posted 28 Oct 2010 11:59 am     Reply with quote

John Groover McDuffie wrote:
.. Charlie Parker's "Donna Lee"
.. range of almost two octaves, from Ab above the treble staff to A natural below the staff.

So play it in C where it will sound better (more country.)
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John Groover McDuffie


From:
LA California, USA
Post Posted 28 Oct 2010 12:13 pm     Reply with quote

...or in F so I can call it Back Home Again in Indiana.
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John Clark


From:
Arkansas, USA
Post Posted 29 Oct 2010 11:04 am     Reply with quote

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g B D
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b0b


From:
Cloverdale, Northern California
Post Posted 29 Oct 2010 12:42 pm     Reply with quote

My 8-string D6/G copedent has the low range of a standard guitar (down to E), most of the C6th pedals for western swing and enough of the E9th pedals to sound country when I want to. Check out these sounds:

Cowboy Country Revisited with Scott and Gordy

Wine Country Swing with Hugh Harris

I know that there are "modern" things that are beyond my grasp, but I don't really need to do everything. That's why I say, "Eight is enough!".
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John Clark


From:
Arkansas, USA
Post Posted 29 Oct 2010 3:22 pm     Reply with quote

NICE PLAYING, bOb. THE ONLY REASON I EXPERIMENT WITH STUFF LIKE THIS IS TO KEEP THINGS INTERESTING. I'M JUST FINISHING MY 29TH YEAR WITH COUNTRY SINGER MOE BANDY, AND WE HAVE TO PLAY PRETTY MUCH LIKE THE RECORDS. I HAVE THREE DIFFERENT STEELS WITH DIFFERENT SET-UPS, TO MAKE MYSELF THINK WHEN I PLAY, INSTEAD OF GOING ON AUTO-PILOT. JOHN
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John Swindle


From:
Oregon, USA
Post Posted 29 Oct 2010 4:42 pm     Reply with quote

Ed, your question about the advantages of learning to play E9 or C6 might be missing an important point - is there any reason you can't do both? It may seem that learning both is just too much. All I can say is that it has not been that way for me. The two tunings don't get all tangled together in my brain, as I sometimes feared.

All of the guys who have responded to your question so far have a lot more experience with pedal steel than I do. But here's a point I haven't seen any of them make yet: each of the necks on my D-10 is an enormous amount of fun. If I had bought a single neck guitar, I'd be missing out on half of that - probably the C6 half.

There's an advantage in buying a used guitar. Later on, when you have a better idea of what works for you, you probably will be able to resell it for just about what you paid.

Good luck, Ed - and have fun!
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C Dixon


From:
Duluth, GA USA
Post Posted 29 Oct 2010 6:55 pm     Lesson 2 Reply with quote

Ok for the newbees that want to learn C6. Are you ready to tackle lesson 3?

Ok let's get started. For those just tuning in, you may wish to check out Lesson 1 and 2 above.

Once again, remember that on C6, pedals 5 and 6 are your "A" and "B" pedals, but don't expect them to do the same thing; or sound the same in any way, shape or form Mad . They are simply where your foot is; as a base point.

We learned the location of all the non pedaled "keys"; and if you practiced them using the major chords' grip I showed you, while listening to songs, you also learned how to find other related chords with out having to move your bar, all the way up the neck.

In Lesson 2, we learned about the all important diminished 7th chord, which is integral to music itself and how it repeates itself, using 5 and 6.

We finished up lesson 2 by learning a "goodie" and then how to embelish this goodie as the "greats" do.

We also learned 4 string strums with a sweep of the thumb.

Now to lesson 3:

1. Foot on 5 and 6.

2. Listening to a song, pay attention when they are playing the V7 (dominant) chord. ONLY listen for V7 chords. If they are not playing the V7, move the bar to match the I-II-IV and V chords. But every time they go to V7, then concentrate on what follows for now.

3. Move up two frets from the Key fret, and pick strings 3, 4 and 6. Engage the 6th pedal.

You will hear this sound as the SAME sound you hear at the V fret when you are playing on E9th, picking strings 5, 6 and 9. Keep this relative in your mind.

5. Now notice your grip. You are picking two strings together but your 3rd string has a NON picked string in the middle. Cast this grip in your head, for it will be a foundation grip that will be used ALL over the C neck.

6. While the V7 chord is playing in the music, change the strings, But don't change the grip configuration. Simply walk up and down the strings. Yes ALL of them; whether you use a D or G on top. 2 strings together, skip one and then the next one.

7. Like 1, 2 and 4; 2, 3 and 5; 4, 5 and 7 and so on. Continue to walk up and down at the same fret. They will all work. Here is why:

The chord that pedal 6 makes is an F9th chord on open strings (with G on top) or F13th (with a D on top). But they all fit nicely with a V7 chord two frets up from a Key fret.

Do this in every key. LEARN these position for a V7 chord in every key. This is so important.

Practice! practice! practice!

Good luck.

More next time, if'n ya want it. Smile

may Jesus bless you in all good things you do,

c.

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Stephen Cordingley


From:
Ontario, Canada
Post Posted 30 Oct 2010 4:35 am     Reply with quote

thanks for the c6 stuff to try

I have been approaching the c6 pedals from a different mindset, perhaps not the "right one":

having played c6 non-pedal, and having some c6 non- pedal tab to work with, I have been trying to use the pedals to eliminate the bar slants required for c6 non-pedal playing.

for example:
using P4 on the 3 and 4th strings to play a

4 slant as
3

3 with P4 engaged
3

(my non pedal tab would show this on the 2nd and 3rd strings as it is tabbed for 6 strings, leaving off the top string on the pedalled neck)

so, my question is :
which pedals are used to eliminate which slants?
(how about reverse slants?!)

(if this question makes sense, I would appreciate any feedback; if I'm way out in left field, kindly ignore me and carry on...)
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Ken Metcalf


From:
Converse Texas USA
Post Posted 30 Oct 2010 5:58 am     Reply with quote

Don't forget E9th/B6th Universal
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