Easy Guide to Tuning Your Guitar

Happy Traum, John Sebastian

Secrets to Staying and Playing Perfectly in Tune

60-minute video With John Sebastian
  • Code:DLHAPHT21
  • Skill Level:Novice (1)

There is nothing more important to making good music than having your instrument play (and stay) perfectly in tune. An out-of-tune guitar can be a painful experience for you and your listeners alike, and tuning it up can be a frustrating and time-consuming process for new players. We feel that tuning should be learned right along with fretting, chording and picking the instrument, and we have made this DVD to help you get it right.

Happy Traum and John Sebastian demonstrate many tricks and techniques for tuning up quickly and easily. Although invaluable for novices, even experienced players will gain important insights from this DVD lesson. Happy starts by showing you how to tune your guitar to the notes of a piano or keyboard. If you don't have something like this handy, though, you can learn "relative tuning," matching the open strings to fretted notes. This is the first way most people learn to tune their guitar, and there are tricks involved in getting it done right.

Once you've got the basics down, there are ways to refine the process. You can get a purer note by playing harmonics, making it easier to hear the exact pitch of a string. You'll learn to train yourself to listen for "beats," a distinct audio pattern that comes from the sound waves colliding when one string is mismatched with another. With practice, you'll hear those beats clearly, and by judging the speed of them (the slower they get the closer they come to matching the notes) you can tell when the strings are perfectly in tune.

Of course, these days we have electronic tuners, which have been a great boon to players and listeners around the world. How do they work? What's the best kind to get? How do you use them in different playing situations? What's the calibration button for? Happy and John Sebastian discuss several of their favorite tuners, the advantages of one type over another, tricks to using them correctly and how to put them to good use.

Many other aspects of good tuning are covered here: how to stay in tune when using a capo, troubleshooting your guitar for pitch problems, and the right way to put on your strings so they stay in tune. All in all, this DVD will help you train your musical ear, and teach you to use some of the many devices that make life easier for developing guitarists.


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