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Post new topic Nuages - Lap Steel Guitar
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Author Topic:  Nuages - Lap Steel Guitar
Mike A Holland


From:
United Kingdom
Post  Posted 10 Oct 2019 9:20 am    
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4t1mLGMpzQ
Nuages played on a reissue Epiphone Electar Century Lap Steel guitar fitted with a CC type pickup. Modified C6 tuning CEF#ACE from bottom to top. Backing created with Double Bass and Kanile'a Tenor Ukulele. I originally thought this would be perfect for B11 tuning (Thanks Andy Volk) and it is! But when I started to work it through I had the same problems I was having with C6 tuning when I first started....ie I hadn't a clue where I was. So I decided to play it in C6 tuning. Having worked up the tune I wanted to keep the 9th chord strum as strong as possible so I re-tuned the G string to F#!
If anything working on this piece made me understand how far I had come with understanding how C6 tuning is a great tuning for lap steel guitar...... and for that alone I am grateful!
Mike
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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 10 Oct 2019 1:21 pm    
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Alan Akaka teaches that tuning as D9...it's pretty versatile and he's taught me a number of arrangements in it. Got one in my lap right now that I'm about to go work through actually! (Nani Waimea)

I've been working out bits of Nuages in B11 (but not there yet!). Nice job!
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post  Posted 10 Oct 2019 3:52 pm    
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Very nice, Mike. Yes, that tuning could be considered D9, no root.
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Last edited by Doug Beaumier on 10 Oct 2019 6:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Allan Revich


From:
Toronto, Canada
Post  Posted 10 Oct 2019 6:10 pm    
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Kind of a cool tuning! Not really a C6 anymore, but a close relative Smile
Am6


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Joe Burke


From:
Toronto, Canada
Post  Posted 10 Oct 2019 6:13 pm    
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Love that song. Very nicely played!
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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 11 Oct 2019 5:42 am    
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The tuning can also be thought of as a "split" tuning. A common example of a split tuning would be C6/A7 (C6 with a low C#). From the bottom up you have an A7 chord (3-5-b7-1 going up), and from the top down you have the usual C6 (3-1-6-5-3 going down). That pattern is actually pretty common. B11 itself is I think better thought of as a split tuning because let's face it, most of the time, we're not using it to play 11th chords. The advantage and pattern of a lot of these split tunings is a nice melodic 6th tuning up top, with a more complex dominant type chord on the bottom. So...B11 is a bit like a A6/B9 tuning (in my view). A6 up top for melodies (5-3-1-6 descending) and B9 on the bottom for rich chordal accompaniment (1-3-5-b7-9, and yes, an 11th on top but used only on occasion).

So looking at D9, it's a little split, similarly, with the top 3 strings still giving you the C major sound...and for C6 players, the intervals will be really familiar for playing melodies. Then the lower strings (technically all of them) give you a no-root D9 (b7-9-3-5-b7-9). So it's not as clearcut a "split" tuning as B11 and C6/A7 but in the arrangements I've been given, usually it is used in similar ways (interspersing those 7th and 9th sounds with the melody mostly living in C6 land).

One more nifty "split tuning" my teacher taught me is called FMaj7/G9th. It's a close relative of B11, actually. High to low it is E-C-A-F-D-B. That gives you a no root G9 from bottom up (3-5-b7-9...could go to an 11th like B11), and from top down you have a FMaj7 (7-5-3-1-6 descending). Really nice jazzy tuning with both the 9th chords and M7 chords available! If you strung up B11 with an extra higher string on top (tuned to G#) you would have an equivalent tuning (AMaj7/B9).

Sorry to get off track, I just find the analysis of tunings a bit fun (odd sort I suppose). And I love the idea of jazz manouche with steel guitar. As steel guitarists I think we often fill more of the Stefane Grappelli role than the Django one due to the nature of the instruments, more singing sustain on the steel, and sustain isn't really the hallmark of Django's playing. But the styles really meld nicely. I wish Andy Iona or Sol had managed to jam with the Hot Club at some point, that would have been a really fun record!

(also, good job not instinctively going into "Sand"...I don't even play Jerry Byrd's arrangement of Sand, I'm a Jules partisan on that divide, but when I was working Nuages out in B11, I think a few times my brain misfired and I started playing the Sand intro instead!)
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Jeremy DeHart


From:
North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 11 Oct 2019 6:07 am    
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Very fascinating take on those split tunings Nic. Very cool!
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 11 Oct 2019 7:23 am    
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Very well explained, Nic!

FYI, Sand lays out in a very cool way in D9th. I usually use B11th for Nuages because of that rich dominant sound on the bottom but your version was very nice, Mike.
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Last edited by Andy Volk on 11 Oct 2019 2:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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David Matzenik


From:
Cairns, on the Coral Sea
Post  Posted 11 Oct 2019 1:25 pm    
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Nice work, Mike! And a very interesting thread right through.
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post  Posted 11 Oct 2019 1:41 pm    
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Nice job, Mike.

I recorded Nuages years ago on C6/A7 after sitting in my car waiting for my daughter to finish her college boards. It just kept running through my head and I heard the arrangement in a specific way. Once I got home and started working it out, I had to lower the key of the tune to Gb in order to be able to play it the way I was hearing it. I was always pretty pleased with how it came out but I would do it differently today. The one thing I have learned in the ensuing years is that if I sound at all like I am trying too hard, then I am doing it wrong.
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Mike A Holland


From:
United Kingdom
Post  Posted 12 Oct 2019 1:34 am    
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Thank you all for your kind comments....they are very much appreciated.
Andy, Doug, Nick and Allen, Thank you for your interesting information with regard to tunings. I originally retuned the G to F# to get that nice ninth chord flow that is so much part of this piece of music! I played it originally with a split slant but it sounded so much better re-tuned using the chord strum. I realised the tuning may be a D9 tuning but without the root it seem an ambiguous title to call a tuning.......I then thought of F#m7b5.........bit of a mouthful really so I gave up and just called it an altered C6 tuning Very Happy !
I think Andy's B11 version is a cool version and Nick is also heading in the B11 territory.
I am still trying to get as comfortable as possible with one tuning on the 6 string lap steel and have decided on the C6 route. I am getting a much better understanding of this tuning by working out my own arrangements. I think I do sometimes tweak the tuning to give a better performance mainly to C6/A7. You just sometimes got to have that good old dominant 7 chord!
Mike.....I did try the C6/A7 tuning when I was figuring out the best way to play Nuages but gave up in favour of the one I used.
Thank you all for your listening and valued information!
Mike
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