Buddy Emmons’ E9th Copedent

In the mid 1950’s, Buddy Emmons contributed to the evolution of the pedal steel guitar by splitting the function of the two pedals that changed the pitch of several strings from the I chord to IV chord. This “split-pedal” setup became the standard pedal arrangement in the E9 tuning, since it allows greater musical flexibility than the earlier pedal setup pioneered by Bud Isaacs. Buddy also expanded the tuning from 8 to 10 strings, adding the first two so-called “chromatic” strings.

His copedent evolved over the years, including experiments with 12-string necks tuned to E13th. Most sources agree with the basic arrangement in the chart shown below for his D-10 instruments. It’s very typical of how most new guitars are configured today, except for the lack of a 1st string raise on RKL.

See also: Buddy Emmons’ C6th Copedent

10 Replies to “Buddy Emmons’ E9th Copedent”

  1. Buddy claimed that he used equal temperament, but it’s clear on his early E9th recordings that he flatted his thirds. He probably used equal temperament on his C6th neck and tweaked it a bit for a sweeter sound in country ballads on E9th. Most steel players use something close to just intonation (barbershop intervals). See my page about it at http://www.b0b.com/infoedu/just_e9.html

  2. In your chart you have for example +F, – Bb, and ++c#
    what do the + or – stand for, some charts show eg.
    F+1 or F-1 I’m just a beginner and love the steel guitar
    sound and am anxious to learn thanks.

    1. In my copedent charts, + means raise 1/2 step, ++ means raise a full step, – means lower a half step, etc.

    1. Yes, and also the pedaled C# (major 3rd of A), the Eb lever (major 3rd of B), and the F lever (major 3rd of C#). The actual amount in cents varies from player to player, and sometimes from one guitar to another depending on the amount of cabinet drop. The F lever gets twice the amount, because it is the major 3rd of the C# which has also been lowered.

  3. I’m just curious what LKV stands for and what it might do. Sorry for the possibility simple question.

      1. Ok. Thanks!! I have a pedal steel that only has 4 knee levers (lkl, lkr, rkr, rkl, you get it). Is the lkv the type of thing that can be installed? Again, sorry for the potentially silly question

        1. I suppose it depends on the brand. Contact the manufacturer. If they’re no longer in business, ask in the Pedal Steel section of The Steel Guitar Forum.

          But honestly, the vertical knee lever isn’t necessary. A lot of guitars don’t have it, and many people who have it don’t use it anyway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.