From Matt Smith’s
Using the slide in D6 or E6 Tuning
If we simply raise the 2nd string a whole step (from A to B in D tuning, from B to C# in E tuning), we get a 6 chord open tuning. These tunings
are used extensively in Hawaiian and Western swing music, often on lap or pedal steel guitars. It’s hard to be in a bad mood when playing these
tunings (even when playing the blues). You’ll either feel the soft tropical breezes or the smell the cattle on the lone prairie.
In this tuning, the sound of the 6th comes from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd strings, which form a minor chord and give us a 6-chord sound when played
against the rest of the strings. If we lower this minor chord a whole step, we get a dominant 9 chord—a very cool sound, as in the example
below, in D6 tuning.
Below is the lick-building diagram for this tuning. Notice we now resolve to root, 3rd, 5th, 6th and major 7th.
Here’s an example using single-string lines against an alternating bass, Travis picking–style. You’ll need to use very little of the slide, covering just
the 1st, 2nd and 3rd strings and keeping the bass strings open. When you master this exercise, you’ll be a cool drink o’ water!