My Television Ate My Guitar

I was looking through some of my old blog posts and I came across this one from all the way back in 2005. I think it is still relevant today so enjoy!

My television ate my guitar!

Eventually something has to be done.

You know the feeling. You have been playing the same licks for so long you can’t remember when you learned them. Playing the guitar (input your instrument) just doesn’t seem to be fun anymore…it has become boring! Boring because you only know the first 10 bars of any given song and maybe 3 or 4 really cool licks that you can’t place into a song anyway. So you might have taken up a different hobby, maybe skeet shooting. (don’t laugh, this really happened)

Well, what are you going to do about it?

1. Set a goal.

make it a small goal, something attainable in a short time. Just like weight lifting or training to run a marathon, we have to work up to the bigger goals gradually. As we build momentum, it gets easier and lot’s more fun. For example, don’t say you want to learn the entire guitar solo to Free Bird in a week. Rather, decide to learn 4 bars in a week. As your ears learn to hear notes and chords better and you get faster at transcribing the solo, add a couple of measures at a time.

2. Be consistent.

Try to pick up your instrument at the same time every day. I know, I know. I can already hear the excuses about being busy with work, kids and the like. I can’t believe everybody is working 24/7. There is always some down time or quiet time. Turn off the TV for a half hour and pick up your instrument. The key here is to play at the same time every day. Obviously playing more is great but at the minimum at least once a day.

3. Have your own area.

One of the biggest time wasters in practicing is clearing off the dining room table and trying to find your books or CDs that you are working from. By the time you get everything together, ten or fifteen minutes has gone by. All you need is a corner where you can keep your instrument and a music stand and maybe a small table. This area is off limits to the rest of the house. You should be able to go there and get right down to work.

4. Have fun!

If music isn’t going to be fun then why bother? There are plenty of other hobbies or activities that would love our time and money. But also keep in mind that if playing music was easy then everybody would be doing it and that would take the uniqueness from it. remember why you started playing in the first place. When the licks or chords get unbearable ( see my posts on barre chords), get up and walk away but go back later and take a smaller section to work on.

That’s plenty for now. Find the time, a place and get down to it!

www.steelguitarzone.com

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Some Lap Steel Guitar Tunings

Some Lap Steel and Non Pedal Steel Guitar Tunings 

    Today I received an email from Skip who plays lap steel. He just found an old Gibson lap steel and wrote to ask me about how to tune it and what strings to use on his new pawnshop find.

I often receive questions about playing the lap steel so I suppose I better get working on a Lap Steel course!

In the meantime, I put on one of my favorite Jerry Byrd records and thought I would jot down some tunings for those who are interested. It seems to me that most lap steel players fall into one of 2 basic groups:

Blues Players and Country/Hawaiian players. The reason I combine the country and Hawaiian together is because they use similar lap steel guitar tunings, at least as a starting point.

 Let’s start with the Blues style since that is the most straight forward.

Most blues players who play lap steel use similar tunings to the bottle neck players (electric guitar, think Duane Allman).

The tunings are generally open E, A and occasionally D.

 

E: 1 E   .015                           A: 1 E     .015             E7 1 E   .015

    2 B   .020                                2 C#   .017                  2 B   .020

    3 G# .024                                3 A    .022                   3 G# .024

    4 E   .030w                             4  E    .030w                4 E   .030w

    5 B   .038w                             5 C#   .034w               5  D  .036w

    6 E   .056w                             6 A     .042w               6  E   .056w

 

These are the basic starting points for open tunings to play blues on the lap steel guitar and suggested string gauges. Feel free to experiment with the tunings and string gauges. Think of these tunings as jumping off points for your own musical explorations.  

Some Hawaiian/country  tunings:  (Note, some of these tunings are for 8 string lap steel guitars. If you have 6 strings, simply omit the bottom 2 strings of the list.)

 

C6 (very popular)                 A6 ( also very popular)             D9

     1   E   .014                             1  E       .015                            1  E       .014

     2   C   .018                             2  C#     .017                            2  C      .018

     3   A   .022                            3   A      .022                            3  A      .022

     4   G   .024w                         4    F#    .026w                         4  F#     .026w

     5   E   .030w                         5    E      .030w                         5  D      .034w

     6   C   .036w                         6    C#   .034w                          6  C      .036w

     7   A   .042w                         7    A     .042w                         7  A      .042w

     8   G   .046w                         8    E     .056w                         8   F#    .050w

 

E13th (used by Don Helms on the great Hank Williams recordings)

      1    G#

      2    E

      3    C#

      4    B

      5    G#

      6    E

      7    D

      8    B

 

Keep in mind these are just a sampling of the many tunings used by the great lap and non pedal steel players such as Jerry Byrd, Joaquin Murphey, Herb Remington, Don Helms and many other pioneering non pedal steel players.

Like the blues tunings previous, use these as starting points and experiment on your own and also listen to some of the non pedal steel players I listed above and notice that many times they use different tunings on different songs to achieve a desired sound and feel.

 

Now grab your steel, tune it up and do some playing! 

Copyright 2013 Joe Stoebenau Music