Andy Volk's Tuning Encylodpedia!

My Tunings and Tuner Settings

I get a fair amount of questions regarding my tunings and set-up so I thought I'd lay it all out here. I've used this configuration for years on my 1956 Triple-neck Fender Stringmaster.

John Ely promo shot

The basic tunings are pretty straightforward.

  • My C6th is actually a C13th, the one used by many Hawaiians today. I got it from listening to Barney Isaacs, who got it from Jules Ah See. I'm not sure if anyone used it before Jules did.
  • My A6th is the standard western swing A6th that predominated before C6th took over. On occation I will restring this to the standard C6th, which is just the A6th transposed up 3 half-steps. I'll do this if the band strongly favors the key of F, C, and G—there are many more open string options on the C6th for these keys.
  • My E13th is from Leon McAuliffe. I discovered that you can get a lot of big guitar chords by adding a third finger pick and using unusual grips with the right hand.
  • I do use the B11th quite often but not on my triple-neck. It is a slight variation on the Jules B11th. I moved up some of the low strings to get lusher strums at the expense of that deep bass strum sound Jules got.

The settings below are based on a system I call Adjusted Tuning. For more on this and why I tune most of the strings either sharp or flat, go to my page on tuning up.

My Triple-Neck Setup
C13th Tuning
Pitch Gauge Cents 440 Scale
E .014 -6.0 438.5
C .017 +4.0 441
A .020 -6.0 438.5
G .024w +6.0 441.5
E .030w -6.0 438.5
C .036w +4.0 441
Bb .042w -6.0 438.5
C .060w +4.0 441
A6th Tuning
Pitch Gauge Cents 440 Scale
E .014 +6.0 441.5
C# .017 -6.0 438.5
A .021 +4.0 441
F# .026w -6.0 438.5
E .030w +6.0 441.5
C# .036w -6.0 438.5
A .042w +4.0 441
F# .052w -6.0 438.5
E13th Tuning
Pitch Gauge Cents 440 Scale
E .014 +4.0 441
C# .017 -6.0 438.5
B .018 +4.0 441
G# .024w -6.0 438.5
F# .026w +4.0 441
D .034w +4.0 441
G# .046w -6.0 438.5
E .056w +4.0 441
My C6th
Pitch Gauge Cents 440 Scale
G .012 +6.0 441.5
E .014 -6.0 438.5
C .017 +4.0 441
A .021 -6.0 438.5
G .026w +6.0 441.5
E .030w -6.0 438.5
C .036w +4.0 441
A .042w -6.0 438.5
My B11th
Pitch Gauge
E .014
C# .017
A .020
F# .024w
D# .030w
C# .036w
A .042w
B .060w
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Title: Slide Rules: Tunings for Lap Steel, Bottleneck, Resophonic and Indian Slide Guitar

Author: Andy Volk

Slide Rules

Designed to fit in your guitar case, Slide Rules includes over 70 of the most popular and useful tunings for acoustic and electric lap steel guitar, bottleneck slide guitar, resophonic guitar, Weissenborn® and Hindustani slide guitar as used by the greatest players of the past and present. The book features tunings and string gauges for Rock, Blues, Country, Hawaiian, Western Swing, Folk, Celtic, Bluegrass, Jazz, Pop, Cajun, Ambient, Classical, Raga and every genre in between.

Presented in an easy-to-read, graphic manner, the strings, notes, and musical intervals for each tuning are shown along with comments about the tuning; its uses, advantages and the players who've used it. A string gauge chart helps you set-up each tuning with the proper gauge strings.