Lap Steel Tuning and String Selection
There is a broad choice of tunings available for lap steel guitar depending on sound, style, and personal preference. There is no "correct" or standard tuning. Something that makes the instrument so unique lies in the ability to make subtle tuning changes to create new and unique - or classic - sounds. That being said, we have a few basic tunings that we recommend. If you would like to request a certain tuning or custom string gauge on your lap steel, we will be happy to make those changes for you at no additional charge before we ship. Just let us know in the comments section of your order.
The JMLS-E six string set is designed for E Major tuning. All of our six-string steels ship with these strings. This tuning is great for country, rock, and blues.
The JMLS-C6 six string set is designed for C6/Am7 tuning. This tuning is often associated with Hawaiian guitar sounds as well as Western Swing and Old-Time Country
The JMLS-G six string set is designed for G Major tuning. This tuning is favored by many resonator (Dobro) players. Using this tuning makes the transition simple to lap steel.
The JMLS-8 eight string set is intended for a C6 tuning which lends itself to Hawaiian, Western Swing and Old-Time Country sounds with added tonal versatility.
Feel free to experiment with different tunings. Part of the enjoyment is trying out different ways to create new sounds or replicate the classic stylings of your steel guitar heroes. A quick search on the internet will provide you with far more information then you will likely ever need and is beyond the scope of this site.
Below are are optional tunings depending on preference and style of play. Alternate tunings may require a substitution of string gauges. Tunings are from High to Low or first string through sixth.
Six String Tunings
E: E, B, G#, E, B, E
A6: E, C#, A, F#, E, C#
C6/Am7: E, C, A, G, E, C
E13: G#, E, C#, B, G#, E
E7: E, B, G#, E, D, B
Eight String Tunings
C6: E, C, A, G, E, C#, A, E
A6: E, C#, A, F#, E, C#, A, F#
E13: E, C#, B, G#, F#, D, G#, E