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Post new topic B11 tuning for sideman stuff
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Author Topic:  B11 tuning for sideman stuff
Mike Harris


From:
Texas, USA
Post  Posted 25 Jan 2019 12:40 pm    
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I've been reading up on various B11 tunings and the discussion seems to often be about playing solo arrangements. My playing tends to be more with a singer/strummer or a band, so it's intros, fills, solos and backup chording. Is there a particular tuning which lends itself more to this? Again, I'm not so much interested in playing arranged solos such as "Sand" at this juncture. Also, I'm looking at this tuning as something that might be better for jazz standards than C6 is. Thanks.
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Fred


From:
Amesbury, MA
Post  Posted 26 Jan 2019 6:29 am    
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In the heyday of non-pedal steel E13, A6 and C6 were used extensively for what you’re describing. I’ve been playing folk, rock and blues on the Leavitt tuning extended to eight strings. Low to high F# C# E G Bb C D F. The top five strings are Bb6 with and an added second. Or really a pentatonic scale. The bottom has a 1, 5, b7. There’s a ton of dominant sounds in there, 9, b9, #9, 13, 11. A lot of partial triads allow outlining chord progressions with minimal movement. For more modern sounding swing and jazz, diminished and half/whole scales lay out really well.

Fred
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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 26 Jan 2019 11:46 am    
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I'm not to a point where I personally am comfortable playing improvised backing / chording / comping / fills behind a vocalist on B11...but there's no reason it wouldn't be great for that, once you get comfortable with it. I hear a fair amount of B11 on a variety of old (mostly Hawaiian) recordings...Jules Ah See naturally, and also Danny Stewart using it for accompaniment behind Alfred Apaka, at times. The great thing about it is you have a nice 6th tuning on top (top 4 strings of A6) that you can use for double stop melodies and fills, and the usual maj/min chords you can do with a sixth tuning. Then on the bottom strings you have a big dom7 chord that can be extended to a 9th chord (or 11th if you really need to). One neck, two tunings basically (like the C6/A7 JB often used), and hitting those 9th chords adds a lot of color for accompaniment.

That said, when I'm doing similar stuff lately, I'm using C13. Basically C6 with the b7 on the bass side. But the main reason I'm doing that is it's the tuning I'm most comfortable with at this point. Go with what you know basically...with a bit of slanting there's not a whole lot you can't do even with a basic sixth tuning...
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Mike Harris


From:
Texas, USA
Post  Posted 26 Jan 2019 11:58 am    
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Nic, I love C6 but I'd like to get more than two strings at a time playing against diminished or augmented chords. I'm tired of hitting two strings and then shifting 3 or 4 frets and playing the same two strings again.
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Frank Welsh


From:
Upstate New York, USA
Post  Posted 26 Jan 2019 12:04 pm    
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Having both C13th and B11th on my D8, I use B11th to accompany my vocalist on jazz standards such as "Fly Me To The Moon", "Mr. Lucky", "Girl From Ipanima" and other more or less jazzy standards. "Route 66" is another tune I use it for vocal accompanyment. It is a very chord rich tuning that gets a variety of useful jazzy chords without slanting.

I also find it good for accompanying many Hawaiian tunes that for all purposes are musically similar to the non-Hawaiian standards in terms of the need for altered chords.

I suggest trying both tunings out for a given song and see which one gives the fullest sounding accompanyment if you have easy access to B11th and another tuning you are considering.
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Mike Harris


From:
Texas, USA
Post  Posted 26 Jan 2019 2:31 pm    
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Frank, what is your B11 tuning? I have seen several different variations. Thanks.
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Frank Welsh


From:
Upstate New York, USA
Post  Posted 26 Jan 2019 5:04 pm    
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I use the Jules Ah-See ("Hawaii Calls") version that Barney Isaacs also used. From high to low:
E
C#
A
F#
D#
B
F#
B

You may consider an A for that seventh string instead of the F#. I like the bottom four strings with that F# for the straight major chord as it gives me for some easy low-down single note melody playing to give a nice contrast to the sound of the upper strings which are more generally featured by me in melody and harmonizing. Of course you can accomplish this with the A as well.

I first heard the "Hawaii Calls" steel players using these low strings for single note melodies that added to the haunting flavors of some of their tunes like "The Hawaiian Wedding Song".

The sixth string (B) can be tuned to a C# as an additional variation if you like the sound of it. In any case you get a really smokey, jazzy sound from the B11th that drove me nuts when I listened to "Hawaii Calls" back in the day when I didn't know of any steel guitar tunings other than straight A major (Thanks a lot Nick Manoloff!!!)
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 27 Jan 2019 4:01 am    
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Here's a good thread on B11th .....

https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=1340116&sid=f3438b28784db08d841e75ed0c040a86
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Mike Harris


From:
Texas, USA
Post  Posted 28 Jan 2019 7:25 pm    
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Man, this is a lot to digest already. I will ponder the various bass string(s) possibilities for B11 and I am definitely curious about the Leavitt tuning. Hopefully I can get my toes in the water with both of them soon. Thanks to all who chimed in on this.
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 29 Jan 2019 2:16 am    
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FYI, I have a book of B11th arrangements here: http://www.volkmediabooks.com/products-books/18-arrangements-in-b11th-tuning

I have about 10 or 12 copies left and likely won't re-print when they're gone.

This is one of my favorite B11th tunes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8H-qQd5ezM
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post  Posted 29 Jan 2019 8:45 am    
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Andy,
I just ordered a copy. Very Happy
Erv
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Ed Baker


From:
Connecticut, USA
Post  Posted 29 Jan 2019 1:11 pm     B11th book
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Me too ... wicked excited.
B11th publications are sort of rare
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