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Post new topic Adventures in C Diatonic - New Interactive PDF/E-Book
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Author Topic:  Adventures in C Diatonic - New Interactive PDF/E-Book
Andy Volk

Boston, MA
Post  Posted 23 Apr 2017 11:23 am    
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ADVENTURES IN C DIATONIC - a new Interactive PDF/e-book (download-only) with (10) song arrangements to play and info on the tunings history, chord positions, tuning, etc. (Full contents listed below).


Jerry Byrd's C Diatonic steel guitar tuning is one of the most mysterious and least understood of the tunings in use today.  That’s a shame because, with some background info and minimal effort, it’s not hard to understand and play. I first tried it about ten years ago but never put in the time to understand it until recently. Once you realize that it contains (4) of the same notes from C6th tuning it starts to make a lot more sense.

Unlike most other tunings that are based on chord tones, the C Diatonic tuning is based on a scale - the major diatonic scale in the key of C (minus the D note).
This Interactive PDF/E-Book demystifies the tuning and contains 10 classic songs to play in the 6-string version of C-diatonic. While Byrd advocated for a 7-string version of the tuning, I’ve found that 6-strings work just fine and a wide variety of music and chords are accessible. The book includes note charts and chord charts for both the 6-string AND 7-string versions and tips for adapting it to 8-strings.

C Diatonic (6-strings low to high) F G A B C E
C Diatonic (7-strings low to high) E F G A B C E

Like all diatonic tunings (Leaveitt, Alkire E-Harp, etc.) The C Diatonic tuning requires you pay attention to picking the proper string groups as well as using proper blocking technique to smooth out jumps between chords and make sure that the notes you want to ring are ringing, and the notes you don’t want to ring are muted. That said, C Diatonic isn’t any harder or more technical than most other steel tunings if you pay attention to the basic techniques of good electric steel guitar playing. While strumming full chords happens much less in C Diatonic, other cool possibilities open up for chord positions, two and three-part harmony, substitute chords, liquid pedal steel-like gliss effects, and ringing chromatic single string melody runs.  

You can hear MIDI sound samples at www.volkmediabooks.com for each arrangement and also see sample pages. Also … permissions are set so that, after purchase, you can print the arrangements or the entire PDF.  

Once purchased, the file is available for download in the Order Confirmation page. You'll receive a confirmation email, followed by an email containing a link to the file. This link will expire 24 hours after it is first clicked but can be later resent if needed.

Origins of the C Diatonic Tuning
Notes on the C Diatonic Fretboard
Getting in Tune
String Gauges
Chord Forms: C Diatonic (6-strings)
Chord Forms: C Diatonic (7-strings)
Blocking and Muting
Pick Blocking
How to Read Tablature
Songs in C Diatonic

Blue Hawaii
Come A Little Closer
Fields of Gold
Funny How Time Slips Away
Night Train
One Note Samba
Surfer Girl
Tahitian Skies
The Shadow of Your Smile[img][/img]
Steel Guitar Books! Website: www.volkmediabooks.com

Last edited by Andy Volk on 3 Jul 2017 2:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Andy Volk

Boston, MA
Post  Posted 27 Apr 2017 3:18 am    
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Here are Jerry Byrd's recommend gauges for C Diatonic (for electric steel). Note that only the last two strings are wound!

Steel Guitar Books! Website: www.volkmediabooks.com
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Mark van Allen

Watkinsville, Ga. USA
Post  Posted 27 Apr 2017 9:06 am    
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What a truly wonderful cover illustration, Andy. Is that your work as well? Beautiful!
Stop by the Steel Store at: www.markvanallen.com
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Andy Volk

Boston, MA
Post  Posted 27 Apr 2017 9:14 am    
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Thanks. It is but it's my an adaptation of an early 1930s public domain tourism poster created for Montana's parks. I made a bunch of color changes, simplifications and other tweaks and added the guitar, text, etc. but the core illustration is by a talented, anonymous designer from about 85 years ago.
Steel Guitar Books! Website: www.volkmediabooks.com
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Andy DePaule

Saigon, Viet Nam & Harrisburg, Oregon
Post  Posted 29 Jun 2017 10:52 am     Andy, your tuning
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Your tuning starts on the F and I'm not sure why.

What I did on paper with 8 strings was to start at the G and add the missing D and the high octave G.
Do you have any negative thought on that?
Best wishes,
Custom inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th; http://luthiersupply.com/instrument-gallery.html
2017 Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 Polished Aluminum covering.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners.
Clinesmith Triple 8 Console, Birdseye Maple.
Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel.
Clinesmith Aluminum 8 String Frypan.
1950's? Blankenship D-8 PSG Restored.
1956 Dewey Kendrick D-8, Restoration Project.
Morrell 8 string lap steel.
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Andy Volk

Boston, MA
Post  Posted 3 Jul 2017 2:30 pm    
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Redundant info from another thread on this subject:

I left out the D, because Byrd did and I eliminated the low E to make it a 6-string tuning. I include the chart for the 7-string version for those who want it. So, as I wrote in the book ...

Jerry Byrd said that he tried adding a D string to the C Diatonic tuning but found it unworkable. This is likely because Byrd tuned by ear to Just Intonation and couldn‘t get the D in tune with both the G string and the A string. As you can see, the subject of tuning a steel guitar can get complex very quickly! According to scientist and steel guitarist Rick Aiello: "In the Key of C, with the root C tuned straight up (440 on a tuner), if the D is in tune with the G, the D (5th of G) would be +2 cents sharp of G. To be in tune with the A, the D (4th of A) would need to be -2 cents flat of A“.

Having the 2,5,6 notes of the scale all present in the tuning means that it is physically impossible to eliminate beats. So, rather than use an alternate tuning system, where neither note was in tune, Byrd chose to eliminate the D string from his set-up. Some players have experimented with extending the tuning on the bottom to eight strings. With a low D but the problem still persists. Legendary steel guitarist Bobby Black solution was to add a low C# string to his 8-string version of C Diatonic.
Steel Guitar Books! Website: www.volkmediabooks.com
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