Discovering E13 Lap Steel Guitar – Bilal’s Bebop

This has taken a huge amount of time and effort before I settled on a tuning I hope you enjoy my efforts and observations.

E13th tuning is a very familiar sound in Western Swing and classic country and has even been used on Jazz.

My tuning has Combined two Jazz legends – Bill Leavitt’s tuning and Tom Morrell into one. This happened by years of experimentation and me thinking it was unique turned out I discovered the intervals were the same as Tom Morrell for most of the tuning and Bill Leavitt’s 6 string Lap Steel Guitar.

My challenges and discoveries came as there is hardly any E13 tuning books or materials to learn from so I decided to study music theory and that would help it all come together in a Jazz context.

So in using a more studied approach I am finding such gems in E13.

On my 12 string tuning I have common grips that repeat inversions. As like other tunings.

But it really comes alive by being so closely voiced- what does this mean. Well I am finding that connecting chords you can pretty much reach for ascending/descending grip progressions that move you from one chord to another.

The movements are so close that your chord lines are usually only one fret (semitone) or two frets(tone) away.

Pretty darn cool. Now to analyse that sounds like a mouthful but to have a deeper understanding we MUST know why it works.

So I will update you guys with tid bits that reveal my E13 tuning in more detail.



  1. Open Strings
  2. So why is it called E13/b9?
  3. E13 – reverse slants just a taste