8 String C6 C13 A6 Lap Steel Tuning

Here's a really simple overview of the C6, C13 and A6 tunings for 8 string lap steel. See the table below for a summary of these tunings in terms of string gauges, tuning and scale notes. Depending on the song and what riffs I want to use, I will either tune the low 6th note to a 6th or a 7th (making the high 6th note a 13th). I often retune the low root note up a half tone as well to get certain chords. See my other lap pages for an explanation of some of these ideas. Simple half tone raise bends accomplished by pulling the string behind the bar make many more sounds and chords available. Seventh chords, 13th chords, augmenteds, 7-5 and b9 chords are within easy reach with the 13th tuning. I like the clear high sound of the E tunings for some stuff and the low full tone of the C and A tunings for others. Note that the string set I chose allows for fast retuning between C6 low (3rd scale note on top) and A6 high (5th scale note on top).

The song below (just a little ditty for this DEMO. Some would say I DEMOlished the tune)) was recorded on my 8 string Excel Frypan. The first verse uses the C13 tuning and the second verse uses the A6 tuning. The first verse uses a Paloma Stone Slide bar and the third verse uses a Dunlop hollowed out chrome bar. I think the last verse has a warmer tone but certainly it's nice to have a choice of bars for different sounds.

Listen To Lap Steel C6 And A6

C6 Low Tuning C13 Tuning A6 Tuning
Gage Note (Scale In Key Of C) Note (Scale In Key Of C) Note (Scale In Key Of A)
.014 E (3rd) E (3rd) E (5th)
.017 C (Root) C (Root) C# (3rd)
.022W A (6th) A (6th) A (Root)
.024 G (5th) G (5th) F# (6th)
.030 E (3rd) E (3rd) E (5th)
.034 C (Root) C (Root) C# (3rd)
.042 A (6th) Bb (7th) A (Root)
.046 G (5th) G (5th) F# (6th)

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