My Non-Pedal Tunings

I used to play a Fender Stringmaster D-8. It was set up for traditional country and western swing like this:

Front Neck E13
   .013   F#
   .012   G# 
   .015   E  
   .018   C# 
   .020p  B  
   .024w  G# 
   .034   E  
   .036   D
Back Neck A6 or C6
   .015   E     E
   .018   C#    C
   .022p  A     A
   .026w  F#    G
   .034   E     E
   .038   C#    C
   .046   A     A
   .054   F#    G

These days I’ve settled into D/G (D over G) tunings. My main 10-string pedal steel is tuned to D6/G, so keeping the non-pedal instruments tuned to the same notes helps me move from one instrument to another. The Stella album was recorded in D/G, which is also how I tune my 6-string resonator and electric lap steels.  It’s actually just 2 notes different from the standard G Major Dobro tuning. My 8 string Sierra electric is tuned to D6/G, like the middle 8 strings of my pedal steel.

D/G for Dobro or Lap Steel

   D    .016     .015
   A    .019p    .018p
   F#   .028w    .026w
   D    .036     .034
   B    .046     .038
   G    .056     .048
D6/G for 8 Strings
   .013   F#
   .015   D
   .018   B
   .020p  A
   .026w  F#
   .034   D
   .038   B
   .048   G

On the squareneck reso, I use a dobro set and slack the 2nd and 3rd strings. On Stella and the electrics, I use the same gauges that I use on the pedal steel.  Keeping it simple.

-Bobby Lee

2 Replies to “My Non-Pedal Tunings”

  1. Hi Bob,
    I’m going to try you E9th tuning today.
    Also like that D/G 6 string tuning so think I’ll set that up on my Chinese Fender lap steel. Looks like it’s actually a D6th/Gmaj9th combination. Should just about max out the possibilities for 6 strings.
    Still like the A6th for my 8 string Clinesmith, but will have E13th on the next Clinesmith aluminum JM Model. Should get that in June.
    If I find I don’t like the E13th then I’ll switch to E9/6th like I have on an old Morrell 8 string. Bottom up; E F# G# B E G# C# F#. For some tunes I drop the low E to D for the 7th. Lot’s of E9th pedal & knee lever sounds with slides into and out of slants.

  2. Hey, your D/G is the closest I’ve found to what I’m using…. I have the exact same, except the G is a G#! Not good for the open strum, but it gives you a 1/2 dim chord on the bottom 4 strings, which I love. Same inversion as the min7 just up 3 frets…. And a slant will get you augmented. I like going back and forth from blues to swing, and it’s working well for me. cheers!

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