Chimes Video; Variations of the E9th Copedent

Hello fans and fellow players,

This is Bob Hempker subbing for Bobbe Seymour.

We had an interesting question from a reader this week wanting to know how to do chimes correctly. This is a subject that is better demonstrated than explained, so we shot a video and put it up on YouTube.

Here’s the link:

This week we’re going to get into copedents. This is basic knowledge for those who have been playing for awhile, but will be essential knowledge for beginning and novice players who should find this week’s newsletter pertinent.

Copedents are as personal and individual as anything else we have in our lives and vary from player to player. I guess the main basic difference in a lot of E9th copedents would be based on Buddy Emmons or the Jimmy Day setups.

The Buddy Emmons setup which is referred to as standard by many people has the fifth and tenth strings raising a whole step on the outside floor pedal, the second pedal will raise the third and sixth strings a half step from G# to A. The third pedal raises the fourth string from an E to an F# and the fifth string from a B to a C#.

With the Jimmy Day setup your main two pedals are your second and third ones. The Jimmy Day setup which is still used by some of us, and is what I use raises the fourth and fifth strings as explained above on the first pedal. The second raises the third and sixth stings the same as the Emmons setup does. The third pedal raises the fifth and tenth strings like the first pedal does in the Buddy Emmons setup.

To simplify the differences, the first and third pedals are reversed. So when you are reading tablature, if you are playing the Jimmy Day setup, remember the pedals go C, B, A, instead of A, B, C.

When I write tab, I don’t use the letters A, B and C. I use the letters R and L for raise or lower. I’ll use the numbers 1 or ½ after the letter. That way you don’t have to read tablature backwards or forwards, you just pay attention to whether you have to raise or lower.

When it comes to knee levers in a copedent, you need to put the changes on your knee levers to coincide with the floor pedals you use them with. In other words, with the Buddy Emmons setup, you need to raise your fourth and eighth strings with your left knee left so you can use it with the pedal that raises the fifth and tenth string, referred to as the A pedal. Alternatively, you can put that change on the right leg.

If you’re playing a Jimmy Day setup you would want that change on your left knee right lever or on your right leg. I personally like having the E raises and lowers on the same leg. I have them on my right leg which is somewhat unorthodox, but whether you choose to put them on your right or left leg, I would recommend having them on the same leg.

I’d like to talk about lowering the second string. A common way of doing it with a knee lever is having a half stop on the knee lever so you lower your D# string to D, then if you want to lower it a whole step to C# keep pushing the knee lever until it goes against the permanent stop.

Some people have two separate knee levers doing this, one to lower a half step and one to lower a whole step. Another way of doing it is tuning your second string open to C# instead of D# and raising it twice to stop at D and then D#.

Still another way is to tune your second string open to D. You can raise it a half step with a knee lever and lower it a half step with a different knee. Jimmy Crawford was the first player I knew to do this. My friend Terry Bethel in Branson who works for Mel Tillis, does it this way. Tyler Hall, a phenomenal young player who works for Joe Nichols plays this way also.

I have a vertical knee lever on my left leg which raises the first string to G#, raises the second string to E and raises the seventh string to G#. That is not a standard knee lever but I like it especially the seventh string raise. I like being able to play a Major Seventh chord with major seventh note which would be the seventh string, in the middle of the chord. It’s hard to get that particular inversion any other way.

One other common change is lowering the sixth string. I like to lower it a whole tone, but I have the string split tuned to where I can lower it a whole tone with the knee lever to F#, then raise it back with my A floor pedal for a G note.

For those who are wondering, a split tuner is found on some modern day steel guitars. They are the row of hex screws at the end of your changer assembly on the right end of the guitar when you’re sitting behind it.

I especially like to split the sixth string by lowering it a whole tone with the knee lever, then raising it a half tone with my B pedal to get a half step raise. In actuality you’re lowering the string a half step. I like using this with my A and B pedals for a dominant seventh chord.

It also works well just with the B pedal for a minor chord. In open position, this gives us an E minor chord when you play strings four, five and six. You can also play the eighth and/or tenth string with this. It is easy to relate to this position in our minds because it is the same position for an E major with no pedals or knee levers.

With the personal nature of copedents, you’re better off to buy your steel guitar from a store like Steel Guitar Nashville where we understand the differences and where you can specify what you want.

If you buy a guitar on Ebay or from an ad on the internet, you get what’s on it and what’s on it may not be comfortable for you or may not fulfill your needs for the music that you play.

Here at the store, we get many players who have bought their steel on Ebay and they have to send it to us to set it up correctly and after paying for shipping and everything, it ends up costing them more than if they had bought the guitar here in the first place.

Another issue with steel guitars is that because they are so mechanical, you don’t know what kind of condition the guitar is going be in until you actually receive it. At least when you buy a guitar from us, you know that it’s been gone through and everything and properly adjusted and setup and nothing is stuck or broke underneath.

School is back in session in Tennessee so we decided a Back-To-School event would be appropriate. For the month of August, we are paying the shipping on all guitars shipped anywhere within the lower 48 states. We’ll also throw an extra set of strings in the box.

Check out our monthly specials at and we’ll try to save you a lot of money.

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Steel Guitar Nashville
123 Mid Town Court
Hendersonville, TN. 37075
(615) 822-5555
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