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Post new topic B11 string gauges?
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Author Topic:  B11 string gauges?
Peter Krebs


From:
Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 15 Apr 2019 10:51 am    
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Hey Everybody!
Excited to work through Andy Volk's B11 book.
I have an old Rickenbacher B6 I'd like to set up for it.
It's currently in C6, 5th on top.
Should I plan on putting a new set of strings on it, or can I re-tune the C6 w/o it bottoming out?
Can anyone suggest the optimal set of string gauges for B11?
Apologies if this has been covered before...
Have a great day!
Pete
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 15 Apr 2019 11:24 am    
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Pete, on a 6-string you can absolutely use the same gauzes. On an 8-string, you might want to adjust depending on string tension and the notes you want on the bottom. Here are John Ely's gauges for B11th; he likes a low B. Do a search for B11th here and you'll find some informative threads.

B11th

E .014
C# .017
A .020
F# .024w
D# .030w
C# .036w
A .042w
B .060w
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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 15 Apr 2019 12:54 pm    
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You mention C6 with high G...I normally retune high E (third on top) C6 to B11. Might be a bit more of a jump in pitch/tension than you would want (ie your high G down to E with a light gauge string) going from high G C6 to B11...ymmv of course.
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60s Fender 400 (A7), '57 Stringmaster (C13/B11/E13), SX 8-string lap, Republic tricone
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Peter Krebs


From:
Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 15 Apr 2019 2:28 pm    
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Hey, alright...
I went ahead and tuned it, low to high: B - D# - F# - A - C# - E
Really, really cool tuning. Off to the woodshed! Thanks again.
Pete
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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 15 Apr 2019 4:17 pm    
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Here's my absolute favorite song in B11:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rv3B5dIdTuM

Another good version is on Hawaii Calls "Hawaiian Shores" album. It's at the midpoint of this video between the composer, and Jerry Byrd's version:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C-CZpK7lNU


Other great songs in B11 include Hana (Paradise Found), Mapuana, How'd Ya Do (also Andy Iona), and from the Tapa Room Tapes, I'm convinced "In a Little Hula Heaven" belongs in the B11th space. I like to think of it as A6 with an easily accessibly B9th on the lower strings.
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60s Fender 400 (A7), '57 Stringmaster (C13/B11/E13), SX 8-string lap, Republic tricone
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Peter Krebs


From:
Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 16 Apr 2019 6:56 am    
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I haven’t dug into this one yet, and I’m sure there’s lots of stuff on the forum about it, but I keep hearing about the Tapa Room Tapes. Can you guys clue me in on what these are and their significance? They seem kind of like the Tiffany Transcriptions in the Western Swing world or the Minton’s tapes if you’re into Charlie Christian... thanks again!
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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 16 Apr 2019 11:10 am    
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Happy to!  They are recordings from a radio broadcast in 1957, 1958 or thereabouts, from the Tapa Room at the Henry Kaiser Hawaiian Village resort (now the Hilton Hawaiian Village).  The band is the Hawaiian Village Serenaders, with Alfred Apaka singing on some of the songs (as well as others such as Iwalani Kahalewai and various of the Serenaders taking vocals).  The audio quality is as you might expect...not pristine...but still quite good given the age, it wasn't designed to be a released recording or anything I believe. 

There's a ton of great Hawaiian music on them with the band itself really swinging hard.  The band and singers are great but honestly the reason these get handed around is Jules Ah See, on steel.  If you've heard his studio recordings with Hawaii Calls, Alfred Apaka, or others, you've heard him at his more tastefully restrained, but he cuts loose on many of these tracks.  Lots of steel featured...virtually every song has him take the melody at the head, then one (or multiple) steel guitar solos.  I was lucky enough to stumble onto them very early on when I started playing steel, and they've been a pretty big influence on my development. His use of block chording, his vamps, the way he accompanies vocalists (was just listening to "Moon of Manakoora" on the drive in this morning, how he does the shimmering sound with the 13th chord arpeggios behind Alfred...I keep listening and keep picking out details of his playing), it's a great master course of Jules' playing and style.  At least his non-pedal style...for his (also quite unique and fascinating) pedal steel work it seems like we are more isolated to released albums...

Here's the thread that introduced me to 'em (thanks Basil!):
http://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=201885

I uploaded them for easy download here:
https://archive.org/details/TapaRoomTapes
 
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60s Fender 400 (A7), '57 Stringmaster (C13/B11/E13), SX 8-string lap, Republic tricone
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Peter Krebs


From:
Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 17 Apr 2019 8:39 am    
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Wow, Nic! Thanks so much. I hadn’t really listened to a lot of Jules Ah See before. Stunning. I’m pretty early into my steel studies, and I can see how this is a very timely resource. Thanks for your generosity, and have a great day. Pete
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