Introduction To C6 Tuning For Lap Steel

In this lesson, i give you an introduction to C6 tuning for lap steel. You don’t need to learn a lot of things to get you started, just start off with the basics: tuning up your instrument, understanding the harmonic layout of this tuning then the major and minor chords.
Once you’re done with that, you can check out some of my song tutorials!

You can get the accompanying files for free below (please consider supporting the site by buying a lesson or making a donation if you only use the free lessons 😉 )

I have also included links to useful accessories (strings, picks and bars…) as a reference (not exhaustive of course).

Video Lesson



PDF Diagrams

Get the accompanying files for this lesson here:





Many lap steel players find the bullet bar (3/4″ diameter) more convenient for slants:


I personally prefer the classic dobro bar:





Propik fingerpicks are also really good ones !




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7 thoughts on “Introduction To C6 Tuning For Lap Steel

  1. Before I settle on tuning my new Peavey PowerSlide lap steel guitar, would you tell me if the 6th string tuned to C is the same note as the middle C on a piano? I taught myself to play a bit of keyboard and have a lot of country songs and hymns that were written/arranged in the key of C. If the C6 tuning starts at the middle C note on a piano, then many of the score sheets I have will not work for me on my Peavey since they involve notes below middle C. Is there a better tuning that I should use? [I am retired and in my seventh decade so trying to learn more than one tuning system right now is not my current motivation or my meager budget plans. I like slower songs, ballads, hymns, but also like to play some Beatles songs and classic rock-n-roll hits. What tuning system would you recommend for me?]

    I really like your free lessons and will be purchasing some lessons after I figure out what tuning I want to buy strings for to use on my Peavey. Thank you!

    1. Hi Marc, you might need to play the melodies one octave higher then but you know, learning piano and lap steel are two different things. If you have a good ear and know the melodies then any tuning will work…It is more a matter of learning the neck in the tuning you have chosen and then figuring out how to play a good sounding melody (of course you need to learn the basic lap steel techniques first).
      C6 is great for country but high open G dobro might be a little bit easier to get started.

      1. Thank you! I do have a resonator guitar that is tuned to GBDGBD that came to me recently so I can go that route and once I have a handle on that, either learn C6 or retune my Peavey to Dobro Open G. I’ll decide and then I will start on your lessons for one or the other soon. Thank you again! You are by far the best guitar video teacher I have found here on the internet!

  2. Hi Pat,
    I’m a beginner to guitar and music as a whole.
    In your tuning video you described CEDACE.

    Now how do you understand from sound that this is C and this is one octate higher C.
    What makes you decide that this is C E A D and all the other notes?
    I’m just confused and how to understand this.
    Can you help me out if you have any guide where I could understand this basic stuff.

  3. I’m trying to learn how to play the 6 string lapsteel. I currently play bass guitar at our church using the number system. I have a 6 string lapsteel and would really like to be able to play gospel songs on it. It is currently tuned to C6 tuning and I’m not sure if that is the best for gospel. This is all totally new to me. I could really use some help and guidance.
    Rich Vineyard

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