Extended C6th
(an amazing tuning as demonstrated by Billy Robinson)

       The following YouTube video is by steel guitar virtuoso Billy Robinson, whom I had the privilege of meeting in Knoxville, Tennessee back in 1992 at a steel guitar convention. I first heard him play the song, Candy Kisses, a classic. The following video is nothing less than amazing. Billy is using a 10-string, non-pedal, extended C6th tuning [ (D-G-E-C-A-G-E-C-A-F) ... D being the 1st string (highest on top) and F the 10th, or lowest string on bottom. I've never seen such incredible bar slants like he does in here. He uses a 12 string bar I believe. The song is named, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH IT HURTS ME, a classic steel guitar favorite. This'll make the dogs howl for sure! Enjoy!) Billy Robinson explains his tuning.

Maurice Anderson's Extended C6th Tuning

Here's Maurice Anderson from Texas performing, Tiny Bubbles. Reece is playing a 12-string non-pedal steel guitar.

The following is Maurice Anderson's 12-string Extended C6th tuning...

12 String C6th

The Basic Extended C6th Tuning

An extended C6th tuning has a high G note on top (i.e., G on the 1st string, which is the thinnest gauge string). This is exactly what Herb Remington used on his hit instrumental, SWEETNIN (I recorded this using a BOSS-BR600 recording unit on a $79 Artisan lapsteel from Musician's Friend). Here's the BB rhythm track for SWEETNIN. The harmonics are really great in this song. I played this publicly and a woman started crying. I don't know if my playing was that terrible, or if her heart was touched... lol.

She was touched, because she told me it was beautiful, and I was happy to hear that. That is my goal, to play so beautifully that people cry. If my music fails to make some people cry, then I need to work harder on my tone and technique. Vibrato is a tear jerker! Harmonics are a tear jerkers! I have found that I play best to rhythm tracks that inspire me. The tracks are the key. If you don't like the background, then it's hard to get into the song. Out of all my rhythm tracks, only a handful really inspire me to play the way I like to play. I love Beyond the Reef. It is a beautiful song with beautiful and meaningful words. This is one of my favorites.

Going back to the song, SWEETNIN I just shared with you, I only used a 6-string lap steel. Here's the tuning, from high (1st little string) to the 6th (biggest bottom string)... { G, E, C, A, G, E }. Notice that I don't have the usual C, C# or Bb that I normally use for C6th. I recorded SWEETNIN on what is called an “extended tuning.” If I had 8-strings, I would tune the 7th string to C, and the 8th to an A note. Thus, string 8 is one octave lower than string 4. But, again, as I said, I prefer just a 6-string tuning. Also, the string are farther apart on the 6-strings, which I like a lot. I never did like the closeness of the strings on 8-string laps steels.

I really like playing C6th with a high G for certain songs to get that western swing sound, but I'll always prefer a high E note instead. That's just me. I like a .016" or .017" gauge string for the 1st string. Generally, the high G is about .011" to .013" gauge. I don't like any gauge thinner than .016" for lap steel.


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