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All About Guitar Tuning


By Will Jones




Once I found ole Buck sitting under a shade tree beside his house holding an old battered guitar. He was turning the tuning screws and listening to the sound it made when he plucked the strings.

I asked ole Buck, “do you know how to play the guitar?”

He said, “No, but then again with his guitar I don’t have to know. It looks so bad that everyone will blame my wrong notes on it and not me.”

I asked, “Buck, do you know how to tune your guitar?”

He said, “Yeah, with a pair of vise grips.”

I said, “No, no that’s not what I mean. I mean do you know how to listen to the notes as you are tuning your guitar? Do you know how to tune it without a piano?”

He answered, “No, do you know how, Smarty Pants?”

“As a matter of fact, I do. I know that if you tune your guitar one string as a time, relying on the previous string for your note, that when you finish, your guitar will sound terrible. What you have to do is always tune all your strings to the top string. That way your guitar will always sound right. It has something to do with ‘harmonic dynamics’, but the theory is very technical and difficult to grasp.”

“Grasp! It’s not be gasping! What in the world has that got to do with anything?”

“Well, Buck, it’s very simple. If you are going to be successful in what you are about to do you don’t do it by imitating the last person who did your job. You go back to the basics that you got you where you are today. Only then can you start to make the fine adjustments in your day-to-day operations without losing your sense of direction.”

Anytime you make an improvement to your basic skills concerning what you are working on, those improvements go to your bottom line. It’s profit to you. This means you will be more successful with a lot less effort.

I couldn’t share that with ole Buck because I saw that his eyes were getting that glassy look that comes on just as his brain pan needs emptying.

Ole Buck went off muttering something about someone always having to be right. I just thought that it is indeed a cruel burden, but someone has to bear it.


Copyright Will Jones

 


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