Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tuning the Guitar

In yesterday’s class, Michael (the instructor) provided some of the students with guitars for Rs.3,500 (GB&A brand) and electronic tuners (FT-009 model) for Rs.650. He had checked my guitar last week and said there was no need buy another one. I had to change the rusty strings, though. I had ordered for just the tuner.

Today, after dinner, I started with lesson one and the first/critical step is to tune the guitar. The basic idea is to have each of the 6 strings play the exact musical note, which if not done, screws up whatever you play. Michael is going to teach about tuning the guitar in the next class, but I couldn’t wait so long. I browsed through different sites but didn’t find any relevant instructions for using the electronic tuner. The manufacturer’s link for downloading the User Manual did not work. I even found this popular youtube video, but I didn’t have the patience to watch the full length of 10 minutes.
Electronic tuner
I knew that the strings had to be tuned to notes E,A,D,G,B,E (thickest string to the thinnest string; from top to bottom when you’re holding the guitar in the right hand). So, I clipped the tuner on the headstock (the top edge of the guitar, see guitar anatomy here). The funda is that you play each string and check the note displayed on the tuner. If the note displayed is higher, you’ve got to loosen the string, until the tuner flashes green and pointer in the middle (which means, the frequency matches with the note played on the string).

Voila, after a few minutes, I got the tuning right (I now realized the difference between music coming out of tuned and un-tuned guitars) – the sound is so much better to listen!

What next…I’m too sleepy now, so will write about how to read musical notes in tablature form and how I’m learning to play the happy birth day song. Stay tuned!
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