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Author Topic:  Revisiting lap steel.
Marty Forrer


From:
New Zealand
Post  Posted 15 Dec 2018 11:35 pm    
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I dabbled a few years back but other things got in the way. Now I have the time and inclination to learn, but I'm at a loss to know which tuning to pursue. I don't want to chop and change, just pick one and go for it. I've been a bass player (bass guitar and upright) for 40 years and can read and have a decent knowledge of theory. Genres will cover Americana, blues and country. I'm currently mucking around with open E, but not sure if this is the right choice. I can play Steel Guitar Rag and Sleepwalk in open E, but want to know if I should stay with it or whether you lap steel lunatics have any better ideas. Cheers.
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Marty Forrer


From:
New Zealand
Post  Posted 16 Dec 2018 12:10 am    
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Forgot to say, it's a 6 string.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post  Posted 16 Dec 2018 6:35 am    
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I would recommend C6th on an 8 string guitar.
Erv
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Bill McCloskey


Post  Posted 16 Dec 2018 9:38 am    
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It depends.

If you like the sounds of David Lindley, he plays mostly 6 string in a D tuning (the seme intervals as E tuning) so if you want to do a lot of power chords and lead work for rock and blues.

Folks like Jerry Douglas play in both D and G tuning when they play lap steel. G can be a very versatile tuning.

If the classic Western Swing or jazz swing sound is what you are looking for, A6 or G6 (basically the good old G tuning with two E strings added).

C6 is the classic tuning for hawaiian and country and can be adapted for a lot of different types of music. Mike Neer plays jazz on his C6 8 string tuning.

All of the above tunings have the advantage of a lot of instructional material available to you.

I'll give my minority opinion: After having played all the tunings above, I now exclusively play the eharp 10 string. I find it the most versatile tuning if you aren't playing genre based music. It is designed much more like a piano tuning, doesn't have any limitations from a chord perspective, and is designed so that you can pick up standard sheet music and play.
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Jesse Pearson


From:
San Diego , CA
Post  Posted 16 Dec 2018 2:33 pm    
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Hi Marty, like you I'm picking up steel again after a good break from it. C6 tuning on a 6 string steel will get you pretty far. I play Don Helms stuff (Hank Williams)on C6 no problem even though Don used E6 for the most part. For Hawaiian, Listen to what Jeff Au Hoy does with C6, he's someone to study and transcribe. John Ely has a great "chord finder" on his web site that will allow you to find chord voicing's for any tuning. I'm also studying Sol Hoopii's C#m7 tuning for 1930'-1940' recordings and really enjoy it. But C6 get's a lot of cord voicing possibilities and works great for pretty much everything.

Also, check out what an "offset tuning" is and how to tune your steel to one. Most experienced steel players prefer them. Peterson tuners has a great explanation about offset tuning's, also called "sweet tuning's" because you get more overtones out of your steel with them.
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Steve Lipsey


From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 17 Dec 2018 10:26 am    
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Or just stay in GBDGBD and learn the wealth of forward and reverse and split slants, and two-note chords, that will get you whatever chord you need.

Lots of ways to skin this cat...I like GBDGBD because I quickly learned every note on the fretboard, with only 3 strings to learn...(and the DGB being the same as guitar), so I can do fun stuff on the fly pretty easily...

But that is just me...you'll have to experiment a bit, we all did, till we found the tuning that felt most comfortable for the music we like to play and how our brains like to work...

And then there are the folks who play in a bunch of different tunings, either with multiple necks/instruments or changing them on the fly...but that's for later...
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Marty Forrer


From:
New Zealand
Post  Posted 17 Dec 2018 10:31 am    
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Thanks for the help folks. Decisions, decisions!
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post  Posted 17 Dec 2018 10:44 am    
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IMO a 6th tuning (C6, A6) is the most versatile. You get major and minor chords, 6th, and minor7, convenient bar slants and harmonized 3rds and 6ths. The E major tuning you're currently using does not have a full (3 note) minor chord, as far as I know. It's fine for blues, rock, and some simple country tunes. Every tuning has its strengths and its weaknesses. But I think a 6th tuning has the most to offer and will cover most styles of music. I have over 30 videos on YouTube, many of them on C6 tuning. Click on the link below to check them out. Cool
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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 17 Dec 2018 11:23 am    
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C6 was how I started. Quite versatile. Having thus far failed to recruit local band members interested in Hawaiian music, I'm in a band playing mostly jazz standards and it works great! Easily returnable to other tunings too...B11, A6, C6/A7. I'm on an 8 string so I typically am tuned C13 with a Bb.

That said, the most important thing is to learn whatever tuning you pick inside and out. You can do a lot with a triad tuning and bar slants...
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post  Posted 17 Dec 2018 11:36 am    
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I'm going to be putting this guitar up for sale in the next few days.
With this guitar you have the choice of three different tunings by just moving some levers.

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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post  Posted 17 Dec 2018 11:41 am    
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Quote:
...the most important thing is to learn whatever tuning you pick inside and out.


I agree, Nic. It's fine to dabble in different tunings to get a feel for them, but once you decide on a tuning, stick with it and learn the chord positions, scales, harmonized scales, slants, etc.
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Bill Groner


From:
QUAKERTOWN, PA
Post  Posted 17 Dec 2018 1:55 pm    
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Or just stay in GBDGBD and learn the wealth of forward and reverse and split slants, and two-note chords, that will get you whatever chord you need.

Any suggestions on string gages for this tuning?
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Bill Groner


From:
QUAKERTOWN, PA
Post  Posted 17 Dec 2018 1:57 pm    
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Erv Niehaus wrote:
I'm going to be putting this guitar up for sale in the next few days.
With this guitar you have the choice of three different tunings by just moving some levers.



What is that guitar called and who made it?
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post  Posted 17 Dec 2018 2:20 pm    
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That guitar is called the "Lap Master" and was made by Loni Specter in California. I refinished it and installed a Hipshot Trilogy, a roller nut and flanges for three legs
I am going to be putting another creation of Loni's up for sale also, called the "Redneck".
It is a square neck to be used on a Telecaster or a Stratocaster.
It looks like this:

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Dom Franco


From:
Beaverton, OR, 97007
Post  Posted 18 Dec 2018 7:30 pm    
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Are you going to be playing solo? or with other musicians, bluegrass, country, Hawaiian, rock? or just messing around at home or hoping to do pro-recording sessions?

To me the tuning(s) you choose depend a lot on the answers to the above questions. My suggestion is some sort of 6th tuning if you are going to play a lot of chords (Majors and Minors) But If you will be playing with other instruments that will play the full chords, then you could learn solos, fills and licks with any reasonable tuning.
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Jon Sawyer


From:
Richmond, California
Post  Posted 7 Jan 2019 4:18 pm    
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Chris Combs, best known from 'Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey,' plays a 6 string lap steel in standard tuning. Check out his solo 2017 release, 'Combsy' - His sound is, dare I say it, a bit Frisellian.
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George Rout


From:
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
Post  Posted 7 Jan 2019 7:35 pm    
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Play it or not, that Lap Master is a fugley!!!!!!
Geo
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"I play in the A Major tuning. It's fun to learn and so easy to play. It's as old as the hills....like me"
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post  Posted 8 Jan 2019 8:35 am    
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George,
Is a Fugley related to a Henway? Whoa!
Erv
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post  Posted 8 Jan 2019 9:14 am    
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According to the Urban Dictionary, Fugley is slang for F**kin' Ugly. Laughing ...Touche' George!
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 8 Jan 2019 10:16 am    
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Erv Niehaus wrote:
I'm going to be putting this guitar up for sale in the next few days.
With this guitar you have the choice of three different tunings by just moving some levers.



That is a pretty cool looking guitar. In olden times, it might have been “rad”. In ancient times, “groovy”. What tuning changes do you have the HipShot set up for?

I concur with all the props for 6th tuning - C, A, or E. Easy to understand and visualize, and very versatile.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post  Posted 8 Jan 2019 11:12 am    
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I have it set up for A6th, C6th and C#m7th.
Erv
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George Rout


From:
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
Post  Posted 8 Jan 2019 1:59 pm    
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My apologies for the modified "ugly". I guess I'm too clean minded to be reading the Urban Dictionary!!! My apologies to anybody who was offended. I looked to see if I could edit the post, to delete the "F" but I cannot do it. If anybody is offended, just ask "bOb" to delete the post. I still think it's ugly, really ugly, really, really ugly!!!!!
Geo
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"I play in the A Major tuning. It's fun to learn and so easy to play. It's as old as the hills....like me"
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post  Posted 8 Jan 2019 2:13 pm    
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George,
And I think you're kind of Fugly. Very Happy
Erv
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Dom Franco


From:
Beaverton, OR, 97007
Post  Posted 8 Jan 2019 2:14 pm    
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now play nice children...
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 8 Jan 2019 2:42 pm    
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George Rout wrote:
My apologies for the modified "ugly". I guess I'm too clean minded to be reading the Urban Dictionary!!! My apologies to anybody who was offended. I looked to see if I could edit the post, to delete the "F" but I cannot do it. If anybody is offended, just ask "bOb" to delete the post. I still think it's ugly, really ugly, really, really ugly!!!!!
Geo

Why should anyone be offended? Bad taste is in the high of the beer holder. And I still think it looks cool. Really really cool!

You should be able to click “edit” on your post, go to the text box, and delete anything you want. You just can’t delete the entire post.
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