B11 Tuning – lap steel guitar

B11 Tuning for lap steel guitar

B11 is rich in 9th and 7th chords and works especially well for Hawaiian songs. It’s a combination tuning. Part of it is A6 and the other part is B7, B9, B11. There are a few variations of the tuning. The 8-string version I’m discussing here is (high to low) E, C#, A, F#, D#, C#, B, A. The 6-string version is an easy re-tune from C6 tuning. (high to low) E, C#, A, F#, D#, C# (or B).


8-string B11 tuning

Strings 1 through 4 are an A6 chord.  The middle strings (omit string 1) are B9 (and B, B7, B11).

Fret 2 is B6, and Open is B9. Whatever 6th chord you are playing, just drop back two frets for the 7th or 9th chord. For example, A6 on fret 12 (strings 1 through 4), drop back to fret 10 and play the middle strings (omit string 1) for A9. That big 9th chord is the signature sound heard in Hawaiian songs like “How D’ya Do” and “Sand”.

The chart below shows some of the open chord positions, with root note A, root note F#, and root note B. There are other open chords that I left off the chart… diminished chord on strings 3, 4, 5. Also Am6, flat 5, Aadd2, etc.


CHORDS on B11 tuning

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