What the heck do I tune this thing to?

Well, here’s what I do – your mileage may vary.

E Tuning E B E G# B E

The magic of the E chord….Elmore James would have tuned his guitars to this, if they wouldn’t have snapped in half. Elmore, and Duane Allman used open D tuning – this, just a step Up. The advantage to open E is that all the chords are where you think they should be…G is at the 3rd fret.
Less to think about on stage = better playing.

I know, I know…what about the classic Dobro tunings, and c6, etc…..
well I learned slide with an Elmore James tab book – so that’s what I use.
I play blues based, minor pentatonic scaled solos
so this is just fine and dandy for my applications.
You need to try them all, and see what makes sense to you.
Your style of music, your style of playing will tell you which
tuning is going to be your friend….heck – alot of pickers
use various tunings. My brain hasn’t mastered this yet
but it’s important to remember all musicians are students of music
and the learning never stops.
Be humble and practice, practice, practice.

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Places I’ve played and who I played with


I’ve been very lucky to live in Austin and be surrounded by tremendous talent, and thru friendships I have been able to hop up onstage with some wonderful musicians.

Here’s a list, that I will be updating as needed:

Thierry LeCoz – French Rockabilly legend, and great guy
Ernie Durwawa – Great Drummer, worked with the Texas Tornados, John Lee Hooker and many many others.
John X Reed – Lubbock legend, known for his session work, classic leads and his work with the late great Jessie Guitar Taylor
Speedy Sparks – Austin’s Bassist for the stars – he’s played with them all.
Chris Bolister – Singer songwriter for the UK, who winters in Playa Del Carmen, a great, great talent and a super guy.
Jubal Thompson – Currently in Colorado, simply the finest musician I have ever known…great songwriter, singer, and mind boggling guitarist.
Brent Parkin – Canadian Blues king, he has played with Gatemouth, BB, all the legends…few people play as fluid and sophisticated as Brent can.
The Freight Train Troubadours – Sal, Ace, Todd, Mikey, Chris…thanks guys!
Tyler GrassĀ  – crazy good mandolin player ( and guitar…and who knows what else)
Cecil “Chico” Orapeza – drums, mando, guitar, vocals –
our buddy Chico sits in with us here and there and is one super
musician and great guy.

Places I have hit the stage (so far):

The Saxon Pub – South Austin’s premiere music venue
Evangeline Cafe – Cajun cafe and music venue owned by Curtis Clarke
Cypress Creek cafe – Wimberley, texas – great room
Alamo Draft House – Austin Movie house with booze and tunes!
Keith’s place – Playa Del Carmen, MX – live music pub
Rockin Tomato – Austin’s combo of Pizza and live music
Capt Dave’s Bad Boys – Playa Del Carmen – the stage is 50 yards from the gulf of Mexico…you can’t beat that!
Sams Town Point
– Manchaca, TX Honky Tonk
Leeann Athertons Full Moon Barn Dance – great austin event
Wendlefest – Smithville Texas – cool outdoor festival.

and more to come……

Gear Review – Oahu Tonemaster

Here’s my late 40’s early 50’s Oahu Tonemaster – I picked her up on ebay
about 10 months ago for $250.00 with the original HSC. The tuner pegs were shot, and the wiring was rough but the folks at the Vintage shop in Austin, TX got her back to life.

These babies have a huge, fat tone – sustain for hours and a great look.
The checkerboard binding, real metal frets and inlayed dots – plus the great hand rest/ string cover makes this steel the belle of the ball.

If you can grab one for under $500, I would do it.