Dennis Montgomery’s Stacked 7ths

8-string Stacked 7ths Copedent

Dennis Montgomery has this copedent on his 8-string Fender 400. Think of it as stacked 7ths – from the bottom up it is 4-note chords GMaj7, Bm7, DMaj7, F#m7, AMaj7.  Very interesting!  Dennis writes:

When I got my Fender 400 in 2016 my copedent choices were Sneaky Pete’s B6, A6 in the Fender manual or a choice between the top or bottom 8 strings of 10 string E9.  I studied all the options but wanted to do something different.  My style of music is progressive rock and 7th chords are king.  My goal was something that would both optimize major, minor and dominant 7th chords played on adjacent strings, and also provide a logical open tuning that made learning the patterns for soloing intuitive.  I came up with something I call G15.

For this to work on a Fender 400 I added two knee levers and coupled the C & D pedals together so the C pedal could pull 3 separate strings (Fender 400’s are limited to pulling 2 strings at a time).  Any modern 8 string pedal steel with at least 3 pedals and 2 knees should be able to handle this copedent.
The open tuning alternates major and minor 3rds beginning with low G (G-B-D-F#-A-C#-E-G#).  In the open position, this groups 7th chords on every 4 adjacent strings (starting from string 8 and working up):

1) GMaj7:  G-B-D-F#
2) Bm7:         B-D-F#-A
3) DMaj7:          D-F#-A-C#
4) F#m7:               F#-A-C#-E
5) AMaj7:                   A-C#-E-G#

The stacked major/minor 3rd structure provides a few 9th chords in open position as well (again from string 8 working up):

1) GMaj9:  G-B-D-F#-A
2) Bm9:         B-D-F#-A-C#
3) DMaj9:          D-F#-A-C#-E
4) F#m9:               F#-A–C#-E-G#

In some ways, you can think of the tuning as 2 parallel 4 string 7th chords an octave and 1 whole step away from each other.  That was an idea I got from studying Sneaky’s B6 where strings 8-7-6-5 are the same notes as strings 4-3-2-1 or 2 parallel 4 string inverted 6th chords an octave apart.  I decided to make mine a whole step apart instead for more chordal options at each bar position.  For example, open position strings 8-7-6-5 give a GMaj7 where open position strings 4-3-2-1 are an AMaj7.  The A-B pedals and both knee levers change the same string on both the upper and lower groups of 4.  I found this made it conceptually easy to learn how to alter the chords in both groups and know what to expect.  Of course, that’s only a small part of the chordal options.  When you include the C pedal and all other adjacent string groups it’s possible to get 4 different Major 7th, 4 different minor 7th, and 4 different dominant 7th chords at each bar position.  There are also several augmented and diminished triads, sus4’s, and major and minor triads available.  This doesn’t even take into account an analysis of chordal notes not on adjacent strings.  

As far as soloing, I find the stacked major/minor 3rd tuning makes it easier to understand where I’m at.  You still have to memorize your major, minor, pentatonic, etc patterns, but if you get lost in a solo you know that no matter where you are, 2 strings above is always a 5th and 2 below is a 4th.  Hard to explain, but there’s a symmetry to the open tuning that just sounds right.  For me, working out a solo easily falls into place compared with other non-symmetrical tunings where I always feel I’m forcing my bar to play a pattern that just doesn’t make intuitive sense.

If anyone wants more info on the tuning or has any questions, they’re welcome to PM me on the forum.

Check out the homepage for my progressive rock band, Mutiny in Jonestown at:

Listen to Mutiny in Jonestown at:

Leave a Reply

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