Open G lap steel tuning - which tuning?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by davo8411, Jul 31, 2021.

  1. davo8411

    davo8411 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    399
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2011
    Location:
    Pensacola, Florida
    I just purchased my second lap steel. My first is in C6 tuning and I’ve decided to tune my new one in open G. So I jumped on the internet to find a “standard” G tuning and immediately found three suggested tunings. I stopped looking since I realized I would likely just find every suggested G tuning known to man and ape.

    So, is there a standard, commonly used open G tuning for lap steel?
     
  2. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,459
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Location:
    Troy, MO
    Dobro G (low to high: G B D G B D) has the advantage of lots of instructional material for dobros, and it sounds good electrified too, and big resonant major chords that are hard to screw up.

    The disadvantage is, if you want to do something other than major triads you need to play partial chords or do some bar tricks (slant bars, or pull strings behind the bar, or both) and that can be a steep learning curve. Or you can just do root-fifth double stops and let some other instrument(s) sound the minor third...or you can do melody and let other instruments do the chords.

    The other one I’m aware of is (low to high, D G D G B D), which is more common for slide guitar blues, and has the advantage of the fifth in the bass, which facilitates root and fifth alternating bass notes for fingerstyle stuff.

    You could raise one of the Ds in dobro tuning to E to make a G6 tuning, but that would put the 6 one string lower than you’re used to in C6, or else on the high string...might be fun to try both ways and see if one or the other felt intuitive and sounded good to you.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2021
  3. billy logan

    billy logan Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    491
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2019
    Location:
    weatherford tx
    thanks mexicanyella post#2 - I didn't know that. Bass to treble, D G D G B D is the "other Open G" until rn!

    back to OP's question - after this self-answered Q.? Have I had my coffee? Yes.
    GOOD QUESTION!!!

    Tunings is called everrrr darn thing! e.g., Sebastopol idk - Open A idk - Open D idk

    In Dobro "Open G" MIGHT be, bass to treble, GBDGBD
    But I'm pretty sure that's NOT Keith Richards' (an electric guitarist with the Rolling Stones, a rock group) idea of "Open G"

    Pretty sure open E would be, low to high, a/k/a bass to treble, E B E G# B E like probably the notes of the first E chord I ever fretted in low to high bass to treble EADGBE tuning

    a/k/a DO SO DO MI SO DO giving me intervals, 6th string with 5th string, 5th string with 4th string, etc., of

    DO to SO a fifth ...
    SO to DO a fourth ...
    DO to MI a MAJOR 3rd ...
    MI to SO a minor third ...
    SO to DO a fourth

    (advancing slide players may thank me 4 that ^ when they're doing their double-stop fills and harmonizing their melody)

    HOWEVER! :(
    I don't think Open A or Open D mean those same intervals. Idk WHAT they mean. SELF-INDULGENT IN-CROWD B.S. I like my bass to treble C6, CEGACE, but:

    "DADGAD" is the ONLY well-named tuning! ime. Ok "standard" means EADGBE. But words and symbols are SUPPOSED to DIFFERENTIATE amirite?

    Come to think about it "bass to treble" KICKS "low to high" ASS because the treble strings are lower (to the ground)

    I read where Jerry Byrd occasionally used a very close-interval tuning on an 8-string that was practically the DO RE MI major scale (with one exception I forget what)
    I thought keyboard players would LUV that, if they wanted to slide some :)

    Earl Hooker played slide in EADGBE, bass to treble, tuning :). Check out instrumental "Tanya" by Earl Hooker. Its 4-bar intro is typical, but then! the feeling is crazy good ime. The visuals are stills; warning - the last one saddens.
    .
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2021
    mexicanyella likes this.
  4. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    29
    Posts:
    9,798
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2019
    Location:
    Land of Mary
    D,g,d,g,b,d

    I put the b a little flat and the high d a little sharp to...I guess to temper it/ make it ring together nicely
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2021
    billy logan and mexicanyella like this.
  5. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    76
    Posts:
    7,236
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2018
    Location:
    Washington
    I am far from an expert but I keep my lap slide Dobro in "high bass" or "dobro" G (GBDGBD low to high). One round neck resonator is in "normal" open G (DGDGbd low to high) - I mix slide and finger fretted notes on that guitar. And my Weissenborn is in normal open D. I don't own a lap steel (yet)
     
    mexicanyella and T-Bone like this.
  6. T-Bone

    T-Bone Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,168
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    While I prefer DGDGBD on my “armpit” guitars, I like GBDGBD on my lap steels. I put a reentrant E on my 7-string lap steels for G6/Em7. Even without the E string, you still have an Em7 chord on the open strings.
     
  7. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,459
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Location:
    Troy, MO
    @billy logan yep, E B E G# B E is the open E I know also, which is open D (D A D F# A D) tuned a step higher. Different interval relationship than open G, apart from both having a major triad grouped together going across the strings.
     
    billy logan likes this.
  8. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,459
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Location:
    Troy, MO
    @davo8411 ...can we get some lap steel pics of your fleet to check out? I love lap steel pics.
     
    guitar_paul1 likes this.
  9. billy logan

    billy logan Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    491
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2019
    Location:
    weatherford tx
    mexicanyella cleared up my wrongness about Open D, 'cause I would've guessed this:

    WRONG{{which would make normal Open D, bass to treble, D# A D A C# F# like the basic EADGBE fretted guitar chord right?}}WRONG

    "reentrant" rhymes w/ "scene slant"? no. I have to guess it's an out-of-order treble string on the bass side. What that has to do with re-entry and space flight idk.
     
    guitar_paul1 likes this.
  10. guitar_paul1

    guitar_paul1 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    545
    Joined:
    May 29, 2003
    Location:
    washington state
    There is a fair bit of old instructional material for E7. My old lap steel teacher used that.
    Lo to hi:
    E B D G# B E

    Another very cool one mentioned in a previous thread is:

    G B D F# A D

    Which gives you both major and minors.
    I just tried it and it's super good for chord accompanying and you can use a set of Dobro strings.
     
  11. T-Bone

    T-Bone Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,168
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    “Reentrant” is “re” + “entrant”, like re-entry. Usually a treble string on the bass side, but occasionally multiple treble strings on the bass side, and occasionally, on lap or pedal steels, combined tunings where you might have two consecutive multi-string tunings on a single neck. As far as the reason for the name goes…?

    Reentrant tunings are the standard tunings for soprano ukuleles and 5-string banjos, and are fairly common on Steel Guitars too.
     
    mexicanyella and billy logan like this.
  12. guitar_paul1

    guitar_paul1 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    545
    Joined:
    May 29, 2003
    Location:
    washington state
  13. davo8411

    davo8411 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    399
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2011
    Location:
    Pensacola, Florida
    I only have two. I have a cheap Rogue that I won’t bother posting since they are easily viewed on Musicians Friend. The one I have tuned to open G is this 1953 Supro Supreme.
    73A5574A-A587-416E-82DC-DF95986A6D86.jpeg ECFA2451-7509-4B8C-A812-646C3432FACF.jpeg
     
    Telecaster88 and richiek65 like this.
  14. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,459
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Location:
    Troy, MO
    Cool old Supro!

    I was just at a Guitar Center store today and someone had brought in a Rogue as a trade-in or something. It Had a nice minimalist vintage steel shape, although it was pretty close to candy apple red in color. I wanted to try it out but was in a hurry. Looked like a worthy instrument, or at least a worthy starting point for a hotrod steel project.
     
  15. davidge1

    davidge1 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,184
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2006
    Location:
    USA
    I've been playing steel since the 1980s,..this is what I'd do: Since you already have a c6 tuned steel, I recommend you use the standard dobro tuning for the other one... low to high: GBDGBD, and start learning from dobro instructional material. "Dobro playing" is a completely different way of approaching the instrument than "steel playing". So by doing that, you'll have a whole new arsenal of sounds. I would buy a steel capo too, since dobro playing involves lots of hammer ons and pull offs, and is usually done in the key of G, using a capo to play in different keys. The dobro tuning will give you a sound that fits much better into different kinds of music than the C6, which will always sound Hawaiian / Western Swing / vintage country.

    Here's a great example of Al Perkins playing a G tuned lap steel, capo'd at the second fret to put him in the key of A. Watch him play, and I guarantee you'll be sold on using this tuning!
    The song starts at 48:18:
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2021
    mexicanyella and MickM like this.
  16. davo8411

    davo8411 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    399
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2011
    Location:
    Pensacola, Florida
    Davidge1: I am going to go with GBEGBE tuning for now, but some of the other tunings mentioned in this thread sound like they are worth checking out.

    Mexicanyella: The Rogue is certainly functional and so cheap if someone wasn’t sure they wanted to commit to the instrument.
     
  17. T-Bone

    T-Bone Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,168
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun with that Em tuning!

    I’d be really tempted to drop the high E to D, as an easy way to keep my Em while also gaining Em7, G, and G6.
     
    mexicanyella likes this.
  18. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,459
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Location:
    Troy, MO
    And if you did that, it would be easy to throw in a behind-the-bar string pull on the high string for certain licks or chords where you wanted that higher note, but didn’t want to slant the bar. It’s easier to find, grab and pull the high string behind the bar compared to the “interior” strings. Less chance of a fumble.
     
  19. davo8411

    davo8411 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    399
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2011
    Location:
    Pensacola, Florida
    Dang it! I meant GBDGBD!
     
    T-Bone likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.