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Bundy
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 12:37 am   Reply with quoteBack to top

Everything I know about playing guitar I learned through eyes, ears, and extensive research. For a guy who has never paid a dime for lessons, I think I have it going on. Razz I'm always learning whether it's from watching a beginner play a tune I don't know, or watching something like the Eagles Farewell I DVD. I soak it up like a sponge and try to incorporate it all.

Thus, as it's still free for me to learn, I pay it forward and have several "students" I teach regularly. For free.

There are a few who have problems playing in tune, and maybe you folks have encountered players like this before. Specifically, their problem is with playing a guitar that by all intonation purposes is precisely in tune. When they fret a chord or a single note it's out of tune. Bends are one thing, but we're talking about simply fretting a note here with no gimmicks.

This had me baffled until I observed someone playing a 1st position D chord out of tune today. (I'd played the same chord only seconds prior so I know this instrument was in tune.) I noticed them "pulling" the B string sharp, thus making the entire chord sound nasty. I tactfully tried to explain what they were doing and it didn't sink in.

There are others I know who play simple single note lines against simple chord progressions and they're fingering notes out of tune on a guitar that is indeed in tune!

What is a good method to teach one to play notes on the neck in tune? Maybe exercises with a tuner? I mean, if I wanted to jam with these guys and play a harmony line to 'em, I would have to pull my notes sharp to be in tune with their out-of-tune-ness! Mr. Green

Another subject: capos. I particularly like/use the common Kyser clamp and I know many others who use these as well. Their problem is that when they clamp say, the 2nd or 3rd fret the whole guitar goes out of tune. I'm thinking this is due to the location of the capo and/or the strings being pulled sharp behind the fret?

A method that works well for me is to put that Kyser clamp directly ON the fret I want to capo. It's a bit more of a delicate procedure to avoid buzz but I've found this will insure your chords will be in tune.

Thoughts?

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datswite
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 7:31 am   Reply with quoteBack to top

I hear you, man. I think a lot of new players are a bit ham-fisted and just need to learn to lighten up on their grip. Encourage them to use a light touch. Teach them to only push the string down enought to keep the strings from buzzing. Anymore pressure is not really necessary. Not only will that serve to discourage pulling strings sharp, but it will also eliminate pushing the note sharp (fret height). Additionally, teach them to fret each not as close to the fret wire as possible - fingers in the middle of the fret are a recipe for disaster for a new player.

Also, check the setup on their instrument. Many new beginners tend to buy cheaper guitars that suffer from high action - encouraging a death grip. A little finesse goes a long way.

Hearing that a note or chord is out of tune is tougher lesson that will come with experience. Always tune before playing and ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS use a tuner. By playing with you, they will start to hear their intonation problems.

Also, that is absolutely awesome that you're teaching for free. Having grown up without a lot of money, and beginning to play well before the internet, I know how hard it can be to learn to play an instrument. Having a teacher early on would have certainly made me a better player. You're sharing knowledge and stopping bad habits before they get ingrained in the player. That is just awesome!!!!!

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wickid
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 8:51 am   Reply with quoteBack to top

I think many begginners have a push-button approach to fretting (I bet I did, I *AM* ham fisted, well its only a bit swollen, but its getting better Wink ). Like you have to press down until you get a reactive response, like its a button on a machine. A musical instrument is a new, foreign concept.
Maybe explain what fretting really is - that is changing the "length" of the string to change the note (frequency) played by pressing the string to the fret ... and no more. The note is a factor of the tension (constant, set by the tuning key/knob) and the effective string length (changeable). I honestly didnt understand this basic concept for the longest time (maybe too much for a 10 year old - when I statred - to absorb?).
You only need enough pressure to get the string on the fret. For a begginner, sometimes this touch takes time and practice. When I started, I didnt know if it mattered where behind the fret I pressed down. It didnt matter, as long as the string touched the fret bar.
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Folkie
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 9:17 am   Reply with quoteBack to top

It might help to check the gauge of the strings they're using -- I'd think any beginner using .009s is asking for problems with tuning, just because the strings are so easy to bend without meaning to. Upping them to .010 or .011 might help (encourages callouses as well).

I generally prefer the Planet Waves capos to the Kyser -- you can adjust the grip to the minimum needed to avoid buzz, unlike the "one grip fits all" of the Kysers. And getting the front edge of the capo on the fret definitely helps, especially on a 12-string (which is almost impossible to capo without adjustment, and I've been playing them for 120 years).


Last edited by Folkie on Thu May 20, 2010 11:23 am; edited 1 time in total
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BluesPicker
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 10:04 am   Reply with quoteBack to top

I'm a big fan of Shubbs capos, but regardless of the capo I'm using, I, too, place it directly on the fret wire. Not having big hands minimizes the possibility of my fretting hand bumping it. With the Shubbs, I can adjust the tension so it's an easy matter of getting it on and off, and not hearing any buzz (once its set right).

I know the preferred way of using a capo is behind the wire, but the pulling down on the strings is by its nature going to result in some intonation issues. So, like you, I put it on the wire.

About the other point you brought up:

I have never owned a guitar with jumbo wire, but did play on one at the Hollywood Carvin store a few weeks back. I can see where using a heavy hand to fret such a neck would create problem. I was able to adjust the pressue pretty quickly to stop that problem. On a guitar with medium or even medium jumbo frets, out-of-tune issues caused by playing with a heavy hand would probably not be as much of a problem or as noticeable as it would be on a guitar with jumbo fret wires.

Paul
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Bundy
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 1:09 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

Many great replies here, guys. I thank ya.

Don't get me started on ham-fisted players who beg for jumbo frets. The examples I'm speaking of are on Gibsons, Epi's, Schecters, even my Carvins. None of these have jumbos and we're still encountering that 'out of tune' problem. You know it's bad when someone plays my Carvin out of tune then hands it to me, and I check it against a tuner to find it perfectly in tune. Mr. Green

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hankwillow
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 1:12 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

I hear that about pulling the string sharp. After I've been playing my old Harmony acoustic for a while I fall back into that bad habit of bearing down too hard. It has always needed a harder touch, not only being an acoustic, but a $15 guitar as well. But boy, does that screw up a nice light electric.

Don't have any good suggestions on how to get them to play with a softer touch other than just keep repeating, "lighten up, Francis".

And thanks for working with newbies. The world could do with a few more folks like you.

Rick
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sirmyghin
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 4:52 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

Bundy wrote:

Don't get me started on ham-fisted players who beg for jumbo frets. Mr. Green


Leave me out of this Razz

It may be their fingers need to loosen up and stretch a bit too, I still pull some notes a bit in awkward chords.
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BluesPicker
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 7:01 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

hankwillow wrote:


And thanks for working with newbies. The world could do with a few more folks like you.

Rick


This is so true, Rick and Bundy. I never took a lesson and never learned how to read music and always figured I'd never be able to teach anyone how to play a guitar without that sort of training myself. Maybe I need to rethink that. I'd sure like to give something back for all the joy making music has given me. It truly has been a personal blessing.

Paul
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Bundy
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 8:23 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

Part of it goes back to never having anyone to teach me. I simply pass on what I know and it's not about just showing off. These people have said they've learned more from me in three hours than they have in three years. I'm somewhat of a chord inversion freak and force them to think about how that fretboard is laid out.

One of my best "students" is my 12-year old son. I'll show him a riff or lick and he'll struggle, but will practice that on his own and have it down pat in two days. Plus, he surgically scrubs his hands like I do before grabbing up the Carvins every time; good habits must be started at the beginning. Going back to my first statement in this post, I have vowed that as long as I live he will always have a teacher.

Unless of course, in a decade (or less) he grows to smoke me on the instrument and I gotta take lessons from him. Mr. Green

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Brian D
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 11:24 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

One point I have to agree on is string gauge. Too light a string will indeed create more pressure and hence be susceptible to go out of tune when fretted. I can understand why one would want to use extra-extra light gauge strings when first starting out. Pain! When I first started to learn (like Bundy, self-taught) I wanted the smallest strings because my finger tips were in so much pain.

With that, force the beginner to use medium gauge strings to learn proper fretting technique.

Capos... I really feel (IMHO) that the capo creates a fret zero when properly placed on the fret board. Close to the fret makes that fret represent the nut. Granted it is not scored so there would be some movement if the capo does not have sufficient pressure. Placing the capo on the fret could detune the instrument. Even the best guitars (i.e. my vintage Martin) has to be retune once a capo is applied.

Great topic and excellent discussion! These are my opines based on my current playing style and preferences.

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treg
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 2:02 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

What is this about "in tune"? It's hard enough remembering, let alone, playing the right frets. Then there's that whole darned rhythm thing. So not only remembering, but playing, the right frets at the right time. Now you're gonna add that the notes have to be in tune? Eh? Where's the part where I'm up on stage with flashing lights and screaming female fans? You can take your "in tune" and @#$!!#. Mr. Green

But seriously, just try to show them how all 3 parts are needed to make it sound right. Frets, rhythm, and in tune-ness. As hearing develops, out of tune notes are easier to pick out, but in the beginning it's hard enough just getting any notes to sound and even then there's rhythm. Try to point out the mistakes. Play it right and then play what they did. I don't have that much skill to know if it's sharp or flat in a chord, only enough to know that it's off somehow. It's a matter of learning to be aware of all the elements combined. Also, the student's goals have something to do with it. Do they want to be perfect or just have fun making some noise? I'm of the "make noise" variety to the best of my hearing ability. Mr. Green

This video featuring Segovia and a student should help immensely.



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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 2:35 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

/\ Laughing Twinkle Twinkle .... denied! Mr. Green
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Brian D
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 2:44 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

Too bad a video of the worlds most foremost guitarist is buchered by some sh*t for brains idiot who thinks it's funny. Sorry, I am not amused at all.

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X100BNut
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 3:46 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

Silly, that's Maria von Helsenbourg. Tragically born without eardrums or a soul, and in spite of Segovia's tough criticism, she persevered, and secured her place in history as Neil Young's guitar teacher.

Soon the only sin will be telling jokes badly.

I confess, I giggled a bit.
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 4:27 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

[quote="Bundy"] Plus, he surgically scrubs his hands like I do before grabbing up the Carvins every time; good habits must be started at the beginning.

And I thought I was the only anal player. I have a scrub brush and a bar of lava soap ready to go always. I've been playing 40 years and never paid a dime for lessons. Hell I dont know what key im in sometimes , but its the right one , just know where to go on the neck . Just recently a buddy of mine decided at 52 yrs old he wanted to learn to play , so i've really enjoyed teaching him . But I have to tell you thats a little late to start. He over thinks everything. And you talk about bend chords out of tune.
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 4:39 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

X100BNut wrote:
Silly, that's Maria von Helsenbourg. Tragically born without eardrums or a soul, and in spite of Segovia's tough criticism, she persevered, and secured her place in history as Neil Young's guitar teacher.

Soon the only sin will be telling jokes badly.

I confess, I giggled a bit.


Is that the right spelling of her name? I couldn't find anything when I searched for her.

For anyone who's offended or upset by this video, I wasn't trying to make a statement about her or anything. I didn't even know who she was. There is a whole series of these "famous person shreds" videos.

I thought it was funny because that's probably what we all sound like to someone like Segovia. At one part, he says "you have to caress the E." I'm just lucky to be able to play an E without getting that dreaded plink noise from muted strings. Mr. Green

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Brian D
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 8:32 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

Treg, my comments were not directed at you. I just don't think it funny when someone does things like this. Just so immature. Sorry if I got a little bent. I mean, the Chaconne is one of the hardest pieces to play on a guitar, I know, I tried and failed.

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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 8:57 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

Brian D wrote:
Treg, my comments were not directed at you. I just don't think it funny when someone does things like this. Just so immature. Sorry if I got a little bent. I mean, the Chaconne is one of the hardest pieces to play on a guitar, I know, I tried and failed.


The problem I have with players like Segovia is the pompous belief that interpretation in music is moot and everything should be played as the other believes the writer would have intended it. Can't deny they outclass me heavily, but that seems common among really snooty level musicians (my big band days were once corrected such by a 'judge' on our performance)
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PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 12:05 am   Reply with quoteBack to top

I didn't see that in the (original) video. Segovia is trying to get the gal to play the tune with interpretation, not robotic. I think Segovia inspired players to one, play it correctly, and two, play it with feeling. I see he was correcting her on timing but that was more to get her to feel the piece.

I once read of Segovia chewed out Christopher Parkening for "not playing it correctly". Segovia made Parkening go back and relearn the piece. Interesting.

Oops... Hijacked

Sorry Embarassed

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