Steel Guitar Tunings and Copedents

In the language of pedal steel guitarists, the combination of string tuning and pedal/knee arrangement is called a copedent (pronounced ko-PEE-dent). There are nearly as many pedal steel copedents as there are steel guitarists. Most of them are minor variations of the “standard” E9th or C6th, but some are radically different. Just adding a knee lever with an unusual change on it can open a wide range of new musical possibilities to the adventurous player.

Of the many copedents listed below, I recommend Bob Shilling’s 10-string E9th as a good starting point for the beginner. It includes the most standard pedal and knee changes, and can serve as a baseline reference for studying the others. I’ve written an article on E9th theory to help get you started.

Also, I’ve written an overview of the Sacred Steel E7th copedent. Thanks to recording artists like The Campbell Brothers and Robert Randolph, variations of the Sacred Steel copedent are gaining popularity among rock and blues players.

Click the links below to explore our archive of copedents.

E9th Pedal Steel

C6th Pedal Steel

Universal E9/B6

Unusual Copedents

Steel Guitar Tunings (without pedals)

6 Replies to “Copedents”

  1. I was at the March 3, 1976 session at Nashville Sound Studios and for several years had the original tapes which I might be able to find. I would like to know if anyone is still around that attended that great night and would be interested in that information, it was quite an event. I also still have 3 of the original press vinyl’s in their original wrap. These must be on a collector’s wish list. Let me know if you have any questions it has been a long time. Great album with great picture’s on back as well as a picture of the time card each signed on the front..

      1. Bob, it was session Dave Burley put together with John Gore, Doug Jernigan, Curly Chalker, Maurice Anderson, Henry Strzelecki, Julian Tharpe, Speedy West, Buddy Emmons, Louie Bellson, Jimmy Day, Hal Rugg, Lloyd Green and Jimmy Bryant and recorded at the Nashville Sound Studios. I will attempt to send you a copy of the album tomorrow or Friday if you are interested. This was the first time all were brought together in the same session. Thought it might interest someone. Let me know. Several of us who helped to put it together came down from Kalamazoo just for this session. Also, Les Paul was to have been there but his manager had passed away as we we led to believe and was unable to make it. I understand he stopped Dave from releasing a session in Dallas so that turned out to be a good thing.

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