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Post new topic Continuing adventures of the Alkire Journey
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Author Topic:  Continuing adventures of the Alkire Journey
Bill McCloskey


Post  Posted 28 Mar 2018 4:37 am    
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As far as lessons go, Stefan, I would suggest starting with Step 5B. That is the starting point for adults wanting to learn the Alkire tuning. Each step contains multiple "lessons".
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Beard MA-6, Beard MA-8, Beard R model, Beard R Vintage Model, 2 Eharps, Clinesmith aluminum cast 8 string, Adams 8 string dobro, Duesenburg Fairytale, Sonny Jenkins custom 12 string lapsteel.
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Andy DePaule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post  Posted 1 Apr 2018 12:14 am     Alkire journey, New direction maybe?
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Alkire journey, New direction maybe?
Brought the legs back from the states on my last trip. I had it shipped without them a few months ago to save about $30.00 postage. More about the legs later.
Had fooled around with the full E13th and liked much of what was there.
Bass going up; B D E F# G# B C# E F# G#
Found I spent most of my time on the top 8 or 9 strings and hardly touched the 10th, but thats just me.
Now with my new T-8 decided to go with the 8 string version; D E F# G# B C# E G#
Missed the high F# a little, but not that much and it's easy to re-tune for E6th to do the Don Helms stuff.

All that to say this; What now to do with the Eharp? Somehow that Alkire tuning just seems so strange... Whoa! Maybe not for me???

Decided to try the standard 10 string C6th but without pedals because I really need to get up to snuff on that tuning.
Then I got to thinking (Possibly a mistake for me?) How can I get more chord choices and still maintain most of the basic C6th stuff?
Remembered seeing where some old timers tuned their 7th string C to C#. Got out my pencil and paper and came up with this tuning that is very cool indeed and just raised 3 of the standard C6th bass strings a little.
Bass going up; D F# A C# E G A C E G. Still leaves three inversions of C and 2 of A minor.

Now I do miss that middle C a bit, but the nice thing is the chords on the same fret as well as just two frets down and two or three fret up. Many inversions... Say at the 12th fret for C6th, A7th & Dmj9. Emj9 at the 14th fret and G7th at the 10 fret. That makes it so easy to do what the old timers called going round the horn. I think real musicians call it a cycle of 4th's or 5th depending on the direction your going. Rolling Eyes
Who am I calling old timers. Just hit 70 a few months back so guess I'd be one of them now too? Embarassed Laughing

Last, About those legs. That thing seems less than steady with all three tightened down. Then as I play they become more loose by the minute and the thing gets real wobbly. However, I will say I like the hand rest a lot.
_________________
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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Bill McCloskey


Post  Posted 1 Apr 2018 8:37 am    
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"Somehow that Alkire tuning just seems so strange"

Andy, once you get the hang of it, the Alkire tuning is pretty straightforward. It is best to think of it, not as a 10 string tuning, but as a 6 string tuning, with some extended notes. Grip 1, 2, 4 is a major triad. Grip 1, 3, 5 is a first inversion triad. And the 1,2,4 grip is the 4 chord of the 1,3,5 grip. Add the 6th string and you have a minor chord with grips 1,3, 6 and a dominant 7th with grips 1,2,4,6. Add a seventh string and you have the relative minor of the 1,2,4 grip. Add an 8 string and you have full straight bar diminished and augmented chords.

I currently have the tuning on my 8 string Clinesmith as well as my 10 strings. More reveals itself every day. Don't give up on it yet.
_________________
Beard MA-6, Beard MA-8, Beard R model, Beard R Vintage Model, 2 Eharps, Clinesmith aluminum cast 8 string, Adams 8 string dobro, Duesenburg Fairytale, Sonny Jenkins custom 12 string lapsteel.
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Andy DePaule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post  Posted 1 Apr 2018 2:17 pm     Hi Bill
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Hi Bill,
Have not tried it yet, just looked at it Shocked Whoa! Rolling Eyes That was enough to scare me away.
Maybe will stick it on one of my other steels later just to see Laughing Very Happy
You gotta admit it looks weird, right?
For now having some fun with the altered C6th.
Best wishes,
Andy
_________________
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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Bill McCloskey


Post  Posted 1 Apr 2018 2:22 pm    
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Andy, I've been playing with it for so long, doesn't seem any stranger than any other tuning and a lot more versatile.
_________________
Beard MA-6, Beard MA-8, Beard R model, Beard R Vintage Model, 2 Eharps, Clinesmith aluminum cast 8 string, Adams 8 string dobro, Duesenburg Fairytale, Sonny Jenkins custom 12 string lapsteel.
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Andy DePaule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post  Posted 1 Apr 2018 3:15 pm     I'll get there in time
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I'll get there in time, no doubt! Winking
_________________
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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Stefan Robertson


From:
London, UK
Post  Posted 2 Apr 2018 12:47 pm    
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Bill McCloskey wrote:
Andy, I've been playing with it for so long, doesn't seem any stranger than any other tuning and a lot more versatile.


I agree it all tunings require effort. More versatile???? I beg to differ.

Not much in the way of drop 2 inversions which, lets face it E13 have a few. No drop 2's mean alot of jazz voicings just out of reach/compromises a plenty.

Not sure what chords you may have hence why I'm up for a comparison. As ALL chords and their inversions can be boiled down to 3 note triads. All the rest is icing/mud.


HOWEVER

Since Eddie loved jazz and designed this tuning for his jazz needs I am interested what voicings he used instead of Drop 2 voicings that are so present in the modern age. Has me interested Bill in knowing what he played in a II-V-I Major and minor as common substitutes then. I think that approach is pretty darn interesting.

ALSO

Does anyone have his recordings in a digital format as I'm keen to hearing his approach when faced with 2-5-1 progressions.
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https://thesteelguitarist.wordpress.com

Stefan aka Bilal Khalif
Bill Hatcher custom 12 string Lap Steel Guitar
E13#9/F Bebop Tuning

Head & Hands to Steel your Heart.


Last edited by Stefan Robertson on 2 Apr 2018 1:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Stefan Robertson


From:
London, UK
Post  Posted 2 Apr 2018 12:56 pm    
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interesting to note that strings

1,2,3,4, 6, 9, 10 Are the same intervals in my E13 (ie 7 out of the 10 strings of the Alkire in a straight bar are the same as my E13. So I spotted those inversions easily.)

For E13 players this tuning starts at the 5th fret for Us E13 players to compare.

ALSO

How do you play a 2 octave C Major Scale --- Looks tricky/messy
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https://thesteelguitarist.wordpress.com

Stefan aka Bilal Khalif
Bill Hatcher custom 12 string Lap Steel Guitar
E13#9/F Bebop Tuning

Head & Hands to Steel your Heart.
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Bill McCloskey


Post  Posted 31 Dec 2018 1:17 pm    
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Bit of an update on my Eharp journey.

My last update was last April. A month later I had foot surgery and two operations later, I'm still confined to a wheelchair. That killed a big part of the next few months.

But the good news is that I've made significant progress since then. Not ready to share anything yet, but I've learned a lot about the eharp. Here are my current impressions of the instrument, tuning, my practice, and my aspirations on this last day of 2018.

First observation: the eharp tuning is the best tuning I've ever played, certainly for the kind of music I want to play. At this point, I can't see myself ever playing any other steel guitar tuning. While I know it isn't easy, the rewards are so worth it.

That said: I feel more and more isolated from the steel guitar world. I can now understand why Eddie Alkire called it an eharp rather than a lap steel. Everything about the instrument is approached differently. And I find myself facing challenges that other tunings and approaches don't have.

One of the big challenges is a complete reverse emphasis from left hand to right hand. I always think of the standard non pedal tunings as very much left handed: runs, slants, hammer ons, pull offs, chord changes...all require significant left hand technique and movement while the right hand has it fairly easy with rolls and licks across a limited set of grips.

The direct opposite occurs on the eharp. The left hand remains fairly motionless: no slants needed (although you can certainly use them if you want, I don't): you can literally play 53 different chords on each fret.

that means that the right hand grips become much more significant and important. Most of my practice revolves around grips.

The other challenges include the plethora of harmonic choices. This means that intimate knowledge of the fretboard is essential. I've started a new practice routine of creating flashcards for every chord in every grip which challenge my knowledge of the fretboard, and help me visualize the notes on the stanza. All in all it is about 900 flash cards.

And speaking of harmonic choices. While practicing I put a new flashcard up at random, put the chord in band in a box, and practice the chord in all its grips. The eharp gives you 4 note chords on literally every chord and often 5 or 6 strings per fret that make up any chord up and down the neck. As a result, I just jam over a single chord, sometimes playing the melody, 2 note chords, 3 note chords, 4 note chords, or five or 6 note chords if you do a roll. Different inversions, different grips, different places on the neck. It is amazing how much music you can create over a single chord.

Wearing 4 picks has become pretty natural. Weakness of the ring finger is helped with proper grips that Eddie Alkire recommends in his course material (of which I'm blessed to have nearly 300 pieces of). And even the most difficult grip becomes easier over time.

The other main challenge is learning to sight read. Eharp, more than any other teaching system for steel, introduces note reading from the staff from the first lesson.

My ultimate aim is to just be able to pick up any jazz standard and play it from the sheet music.

Equipment wise, I've finally found a combination of equipment that gives me exactly the sound I've been looking for but always found elusive. I have a 4th generation eharp, the console model, and the best of the 3 Valco made eharps. I've still not played the epiphone model, the original.

I have that going into a kemper profiler and their recommended volume pedal and going out an Atomic CLR Neo. I don't imagine I'll buy a piece of equipment again.

And finally the sound: the sound is fantastic. My wife, who never says anything, came down to tell me how good it sounded (she never gives compliments) and I was just playing a single chord.

Improvising is more like playing a piano. I'm just starting to realize what's possible. It is an absolute joy to play, and the sound is completely unique. It doesn't sound country, hawaiian, rock, or bluesy. In the same way a piano doesn't sound country, hawaiian, rock, or bluesy: it sounds like whatever you want to play on it.

I hope more people pick try this tuning out. eventually, when I'm ready, i'll get some recordings up. In the meantime, I'm having a blast.

As for the foot: next week I find out if it healed, or whether we might have to amputate. Thank god I never took to pedals
_________________
Beard MA-6, Beard MA-8, Beard R model, Beard R Vintage Model, 2 Eharps, Clinesmith aluminum cast 8 string, Adams 8 string dobro, Duesenburg Fairytale, Sonny Jenkins custom 12 string lapsteel.
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