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Resonator Guitar Lovers Online


Sep 6, 2022 - 10:15:19 AM
15 posts since 9/11/2012

Hello and thanks for taking a look.
If this has been covered before could you send me the discussion link?

I've been playing my 1937 Sq. Neck Dobro for many years. I Just sent if off to Schoonover in Oklahoma for a new spider and cone. Added a 1/4 so I can go into the board. It's great

I'm looking at working on lap steel this winter. Work on some some blues and some rock. Key of G affords me to use all the acquired skills from the Dobro in G. What are the advantage's of playing in D? We generally play tunes in key of A, C, D, E, G

Thanks

Sep 6, 2022 - 11:13:04 AM
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694 posts since 1/18/2012

It can all be done with (bluegrass) G tuning. Just look at Rob Ickes as an example. Blues, rock, jazz, bluegrass.
Tasty is it gets. He seems to use nothing but G (or occasionally same 1-3-5-1-3-5 triads dropped to F for old guitars).

Having said that, about 6 years ago I switched to D tuning exclusively. It just worked better for me with the guys that I play/sit-in with. Mostly blues, rock, americana type stuff. I play lap steel, dobro, and weissenborn (and a little E9 pedal steel), and with a capo at two, I have an E tuned steel, which really makes navigation easy for my simple mind (I play guitar a bit also).

For me the advantages of D (and capo’d E) are that I can more intuitively play blues chops and bottleneck type licks and sounds.

D is also beautiful sounding and very full for the Irish melodic type songs that Jerry Douglas does so beautifully.
And songs like Little Martha.

I’ve stuck with D because, to be honest, I’m just not the sharpest knife in the key jumping drawer. I play better if I stick with one tuning.

Disadvantage in open D (in my opinion) is that it puts G at the fifth fret, and when playing with all your bluegrass buddies, it puts “the peoples key” at your disadvantage, at least for my ability—you lose all those cool sounding open strings for rolls and runs.

I recently played a casual bluegrass gig with some old buddies a few months ago. I played in D. My friends said it sounded great. I know it didn’t. To be honest, it felt like I was playing with a guitar that was missing a few strings.
But I’ll still stick with D anyhow—it suits most of the music I play with my abilities.

Edited by - Lounge Primate on 09/06/2022 11:14:10

Sep 6, 2022 - 11:41:46 AM

wlgiii

USA

1373 posts since 9/28/2010

Take note of your singers' vocals ranges. I play in E and C6 instead of D and A6 or G6 to suit our singing keys.

Sep 6, 2022 - 12:42:29 PM

PeterJ

USA

155 posts since 8/5/2008

As a banjo player, I thought playing lap steel in G would be an easy transition. Silly me. But I've settled on Dobro G tuning for lap steel (which is about 80% of what I play with the band) because it's familiar enough. I'll usually capo to keep open strings available.

Without a capo, I'll play in G, C and D, then capo up 2 or 4 when needed. I'm starting to play a bit in A and E without a capo, but it's harder for me to play and sing at the same time in those keys.

I highly recommend you check out Megan Lovell of Larkin Poe -- she plays lap steel almost exclusively in open G and plays in all keys without a capo. And she's an amazing reso player, too.

Sep 6, 2022 - 5:31:20 PM

503 posts since 11/28/2012

You’re asking about lap steel for blues and rock…

Either major triad tuning will work…G or Open D.

I like Open D for the 1-5-1 intervals on the bottom three strings. Awesome for low blues growl and power chord type stuff. Minor chords (real and fake ones) are handy. Alternating bass thumb patterns (to amuse yourself with solo arrangements) are yours for the taking.

David Lindley, among others, famously played a 1-5-1-3-5-1 tuning to great effect for rock and blues.

I play everything in Open D nowadays, both on Dobro and lap steel. Even Dobro bluegrass.

If you don’t want to invest in learning a new tuning, G will work just fine, as evidenced by Megan Lovell and others. I’d miss the low growl of the bottom D string in Open D...but that’s just me.

Edited by - JC Dobro on 09/06/2022 17:35:47

Sep 7, 2022 - 8:47:30 PM

resojim

USA

15 posts since 9/11/2012

Thanks everybody !

I also play and sing on a Anderson Crowdster Plus hybrid. Guitar. Play and sing on Nat. Reso-Lectric guitar. I'm always looking for a growl on this one. I'm already in enough trouble, with the band, for my slow transitions between instruments trying to re-group. Sheesh how about a sip of beer too? Got a bunch of new tunes to work on this winter. I better stick with G and be satisfied. "Well i can't be satisfied but I just can't keep myself from tryin" Muddy Waters

Sep 25, 2022 - 10:21:21 PM

papadafoe

Canada

2 posts since 9/25/2022

I’ve recently been flipping between D & G on my Dobros and lap steels too.
For G tuning I’ve been using the round neck version, DGDGBD because it gives me a bigger bottom end, and gets rid of one the major 3rd strings.

That being said, I prefer open D most of the time because you get the root on top AND on the bottom, and the 3rd only once.

Of course, as has already been mentioned, Megan Lovell seems to do just fine with the standard GBDGBD Dobro tuning on her lap steels.

Sep 26, 2022 - 7:34:16 AM

503 posts since 11/28/2012

quote:
Originally posted by papadafoe

That being said, I prefer open D most of the time because you get the root on top AND on the bottom, and the 3rd only once.


Welcome.

Both these points drive home key advantages (to me) of Open D, especially for lap steel.  There are others as well.

Having only one third in the tuning allows one to "manage responsibly" the prominence of the major key flavor.  It is a simple matter to simply avoid plucking the third, making for minor key or modal character to suit the tune.

I'll grant that having multiple thirds is handy for fast bluegrass "lick style" Dobro playing, but there are work-arounds for that as well.

Edited by - JC Dobro on 09/26/2022 07:35:52

Sep 28, 2022 - 2:29:46 PM

1384 posts since 1/14/2011

After I got my Asher Electro Hawaiian Jr., I took a lesson from Mikiya Matsuda (https://www.mikiyamatsuda.com/videos/) to get his advice about which tuning to use for swing or blues. Mikiya's advice was to try High A6 (C#,E,F#,A,C#,E) because of the similarity to Dobro tuning, so I'm using that tuning but modulated to G (B,D,E,G,B,D).

I had my Asher upgraded with the Hipshot Doubleshot, so I can have 2 tunings to choose from. I would like to (but not able to) use both G6 and D tuning, but the difference in string gauges/tensions needed makes it impossible. I found a combination of strings that work for G6 and standard GBDGBD, so that's my setup right now. 

Edited by - Oboe Cadobro on 09/28/2022 14:34:23

Sep 28, 2022 - 2:39:54 PM

wlgiii

USA

1373 posts since 9/28/2010

%$##@ new tuning! I'm not familiar with high A6, so I won't be able to resist trying it out. It's even an easy retune from C6. Thank...sort of.

Note to those who haven't experimented- It's fun to try out various tunings to hear how they work. You don't have to stay there; just return to your usual tuning(s) after playing around a bit.

Sep 28, 2022 - 3:00:21 PM

4240 posts since 7/27/2008

Dane, how  about "regular" G6 dobro tuning on the Asher - GBEGBD? You can get as "swingy" as you want with that tuning. Mikaya was taught by Alan Akaka, so his frame of reference is pretty Hawaiian with some vintage western swing. 

Have  you tried a .034w as a 4th string on the Asher? That way you should be able to go back and forth unless the 34 can't handle all the movement from the tuning switching. 
 

If the .34w can't handle it you could go to a .32w and have no problem. It can feel a little floppy when tuned to D - but then so does a .056w  6th string when tuned to D. And since you are plugged in and don't have to "load" a cone, it should sound just fine when you pluck the string. 

Sep 28, 2022 - 3:01:40 PM
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1384 posts since 1/14/2011

quote:
Originally posted by wlgiii

%$##@ new tuning! I'm not familiar with high A6, so I won't be able to resist trying it out. It's even an easy retune from C6. Thank...sort of.


It's a sickness, I tell ya! laugh

quote:
Originally posted by MarkinSonoma

Dane, how  about "regular" G6 dobro tuning on the Asher - GBEGBD?

Have  you tried a .034w as a 4th string on the Asher? That way you should be able to go back and forth unless the 34 can't handle all the movement from the tuning switching. 

If the .34w can't handle it you could go to a .32w and have no problem. It can feel a little floppy when tuned to D - but then so does a .056w  6th string when tuned to D. And since you are plugged in and don't have to "load" a cone, it should sound just fine when you pluck the string. 


I had not thought of that. Lightening up the 4th string sounds like a good potential solution to give me both DADF#AD and GBEGBD 6th tuning on the lap steel...I'll start monkeying around with that soon. However, I'm gonna hafta relearn Steel Guitar Rag cuz I won't have the D-E-G-B string tuning any more....sad

Edited by - Oboe Cadobro on 09/28/2022 15:11:01

Sep 28, 2022 - 3:21:26 PM
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wlgiii

USA

1373 posts since 9/28/2010

Side note- Most fiddlers are tired of playing Orange Blossom Special and most banjo players are tired of playing Foggy Mountain Breakdown, but we'll never get tired of playing Steel Guitar Rag, will we?

Sep 29, 2022 - 7:59:28 AM

1384 posts since 1/14/2011

quote:
Originally posted by wlgiii

 we'll never get tired of playing Steel Guitar Rag, will we?


Ha ha, tru dat!

Edited by - Oboe Cadobro on 09/29/2022 07:59:42

Oct 3, 2022 - 6:55:39 AM

wlgiii

USA

1373 posts since 9/28/2010

Back to the High A6- I tried it retuning a borrowed 7 string lap steel from C6 to A6 and really came to life- The 7th string added a low root for 1356135.

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