This is Paul Franklin’s E9th copedent, as of February ’96. Paul is one of the busiest session players in Nashville. His list of recording credits reads like a “Who’s Who” of modern country music and includes a lot of pop and rock artists as well. Paul is an active participant in the online world of steel, especially the steel guitar forum on America Online.
Paul was one of the first to use the F#->G# knee lever change which has become somewhat of a standard on modern steels. I was surprised to see that he also raises his second string to E with that knee, a change that is not nearly so common. Makes sense, though.
Notice the unusual fourth pedal, which lowers the middle G# and and both B’s a full step. If you’re having a hard time copping Paul’s licks from hit records, you might want to consider adding this change to your guitar.
Another unusual change is the vertical lever, which raises the middle G# a minor third to B! This is the same string that is lowered a full step by pedal 4. Imagine for a minute the potential of being able to move a note by five half steps without moving the bar…
Update! Paul now lowers his sixth string from G# to E (two full steps!) on his vertical lever. See SteelGuitarForum.com/Forum5/HTML/002508.html for a discussion about this radical knee lever.
Notice that Paul has added an extra change to the 3rd pedal – he raises his low E along with his high E. Most players never touch the low E when the 3rd pedal is engaged. This change makes the 8th string more useful in that pedal position.
I think that Paul Franklin’s E9th tuning is the full embodiment of the modern Nashville pedal steel sound. If you’re trying to play the songs you hear on the radio, you can’t go wrong with a setup like this. It’s also very useful for other kinds of music – Paul’s work with Dire Straits, for example, is some of the best rock steel on record, in my opinion.
Copyright ©1997 and 2001 by Bob Lee