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Author Topic:  New 7 string build tuning
John D. Carter

 

From:
Canton, Ohio, USA
Post  Posted 22 May 2020 5:48 pm    
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After beginning a 7 string fry-pan build a couple of years ago, I set it aside to concentrate on auto restoration. Now I am getting my steel guitar interest rekindled and I am concentrating on the tuning that I will use when the guitar is finished. There are only two tunings that I ever used on 6 string. I started on E7, but quickly changed to C6 because of the abundance of material available for that tuning. I really like C6 but I miss the readily accessible 7th chord of the E7 tuning I began with. Therefore I am contemplating using from low to high CEGABbCE. (This is not a C13 as I have heard some call it, as a C13 should have a D note..) My question is, has anyone ever used this tuning and does anyone think it would present problems with playability or sound quality? I realize that few here probably have 7 string experience but maybe some who play 8 strings have used it with an additional high G on top?? Thanks for any advice.
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post  Posted 22 May 2020 6:11 pm    
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If you're a C6 player, try A6. I came from a 6-string C6 background. Over time I acquired two old 7-string Gibsons and eventually set both up for A6 with the root on the bottom, and an E on top. Same intervals as C6 with a high G, only three half-steps lower in pitch. I prefer the sound of the slightly thicker strings. I find it's actually rather simple to get that 7th chord by either pulling the third string up a half-step with my ring finger, or a simple forward slant on strings 3 & 5. 7-string lap steels are a gas!
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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 23 May 2020 4:03 am     Re: New 7 string build tuning
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John D. Carter wrote:
This is not a C13 as I have heard some call it, as a C13 should have a D note.


I'm not a harmony expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm not sure a 13th is required to have the 9th in it...nor the 11th, for that matter. But just speaking more generally, there are a lot of lap steel tunings denoted as 13th tunings done that way...a 6th tuning with an added flatted 7.

On your tuning, if you are used to high E C6, an easy adaptation would be the conventional C13, or if you prefer, C7add6 Smile Just add a low Bb...a fair amount of tunings are like that, including my primary...let's you easily include, or exclude, the flatted seventh, because its on the outside, and the string intervals in your existing tuning stay the same. Also, with the 7th in the middle of the strings, it becomes less "strummable" if you want to not sound like a dominant seventh all the time, but depending on your playing style, that may be fine...
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Bill Groner


From:
QUAKERTOWN, PA
Post  Posted 23 May 2020 4:37 am    
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John, can you post a picture of your steel? I love to see what other guys build.

Thanks in advance.

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Jerry Wagner


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 23 May 2020 8:57 am    
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Hi John,
I play my own 7-string too; and I call my tuning GM6/ C7; low to high: Bb(re-entrant),C,E,G,B,D,G. I've found this tuning provides some very advantageous playing slots located right where I like them; and 6ths & 7ths are easy for me to go to as well as being easy to avoid. I use a SIT brand C6 string set + a .013 Hi G string. You'll find some photos of my guitar here on the Forum: https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=356387&highlight=ohia+lehua+special
Jerry
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John D. Carter

 

From:
Canton, Ohio, USA
Post  Posted 23 May 2020 8:30 pm    
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Yes, Nic I concede that this tuning is close enough to a C13 to call it such, although it technically is not a true C13. And you are correct that the 9th and 11th do not have to be there to call it a C13. No problem. I have considered the tuning you mention but I prefer the higher Bb and I would prefer not to put it outside of the box. Your strum warning is noted, and that indeed was a concern of mine. I am hoping to hear from an eight string player that plays the tuning that I referred to, but maybe no such animal exists??? If not, I will experiment with the tuning when I get the guitar finished. Could this tuning be a never before used tuning? NAH!!! lol

Bill, I will gladly show the guitar, but only when it is finished. I have a George L's for the pickup, so it should be an interesting build. It will have some unique features so stay tuned!! I can guarantee you that it will be one of a kind as was my 6 string build which still plays and sounds excellent.
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Tom Young


From:
Sacramento-California, USA
Post  Posted 25 May 2020 8:15 am    
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John,

I put a similar tuning (5-6-b7-1-3) on a Johnie King 10-string I bought myself for x-mas but call it an A13/E13. I had this crazy thought that I'd put a tuning that made Perfect Sense to my brain...unfortunately, my fingers are simple minded creatures and don't always do what their supposed to. I liked it because it ran E to E over 2 octaves and I could "theoretically" get any extension I needed....and theoretically it is awesome. Wish I had the chops to do it justice.

Your tuning is Lo-Hi:
.......1-3-5-6-b7-1-3
.......C-E-G-A-Bb-C-E

Mine is Lo-Hi
E-G#-B-D-E-F#-G-A-C#-E
5-7M-2-4-5-6-b7-1-3-5 (A13)
1-3-5-b7-1-2-b3-4-6-1 (E13)


I created a master chord list of all string combinations and am sure I missed some of the exotic ones. Typo Note: The G# in A is Major 7 (not minor)

Cheers!


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Tom Dillon


From:
La Mesa, California, USA
Post  Posted 25 May 2020 1:05 pm    
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I agree with Jack Hanson on A6. It's very easy to tune into a few other useful tunings.

A6
A C# E F# A C# E
The classic western swing "High G" C6, but tuned down a step and a half.

A7
A C# E G A C# E
From A6, tune the F# up to G, and you get a "dobro" tuning, a step higher with a handy b7 on the middle string. Good for blues and bluegrassy sounds.

C6
A C E G A C E
From A6, tune the F# to G and both C#'s to C, and you get 7 strings of the standard pedal steel C6 tuning.

C6/A7
A C# E G A C E
From A6, tune the F# to G and the higher C# to C, and you get the tuning Jerry Byrd used on many recordings. Has an easy to grab dominant 7 chord.
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b0b


From:
Cloverdale, CA
Post  Posted 25 May 2020 9:19 pm    
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I tune my 7-string to G B D F# A B D.
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Allan Revich


From:
Victoria, Canada
Post  Posted 25 May 2020 10:41 pm    
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Lots of excellent ideas here! I tune my 6 strings to G9, GBDFAD, which also gives me G/Dm strums. So for my 7 strings I decided I wanted to get back the missing G from open G tuning, and ended up with gGBDFAD

I play mostly blues, and this tuning works well for me. It’s not for everyone, but if you like experimenting, you may want to try it.
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John D. Carter

 

From:
Canton, Ohio, USA
Post  Posted 26 May 2020 4:41 pm    
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Thanks for all replies. Much food for thought. When I get my frypan finished I will experiment first with the tuning I suggested and if I don't like what I have I will try the tunings you all suggested.
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Allan Revich


From:
Victoria, Canada
Post  Posted 23 Jun 2020 11:54 am    
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If you’d prefer a simpler 7 string tuning, I also use fGBDGBD

Basic 6 string high G/dobro tuning with a reentrant f on string 7. Great for blues. No minor triads under a straight bar, but you have the B minor 1-3 dyad on two octaves.
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