Monday, December 7, 2009

IT's the Guitar!

Hey Kitten what'chya doin?
Wanna plaaaaaaay the guitar?
You say whats that sound,
Coming out of the hole in the wood?'s the guitar.
(seriously, you better know that's The DeadMilkmen)

Today my son sat down to play his guitar. He's had 2 months of lessons, and I think he's starting to have a real grip on the basics for a 7 year old. (i.e. - produce a clean note when you strike a string and practice makes perfect). However, the lessons are not running during the month of December, and his guitar hasn't been tuned since the Monday before Thanksgiving. It sounded, uh, interesting today. Interesting in a painful "please stop playing that instrument" kind of way.

I couldn't say that though. He's a 7 year old, and there's his self esteem to consider. I had to suck it up and listen. And that's what I did. For 5 minutes until I felt compelled to remind G that he wasn't allowed to practice his guitar until all his chores were done. THEY ARE? Crud. OH, I mean, "can you double check the chore list?"

Seeing as pain in my knee is already chronic, I decided that pain in my ears was optional and I was going to have to fix this somehow. My choices were limited - hunt up a musician to tune the guitar, take it to Guitar Works and beg, or do it myself.

Before my voice changed I could sing quite well. Unfortunately, once my voice changed and I developed the range of a middle aged man, I was uninterested in pursuing any kind of musical career, and so, despite the fact that my father is one of the most talented musicians I know (and I know a lot because he is a talented musician), I have no instrumental ability.

Did I mention that Dad plays guitar? And Banjo? And pretty much if it has strings he can make it happen... but never once in the 900 times that he offered to teach me to tune one of these instruments did I listen? Nope. Not ONCE. AND now my son owns 3 guitars, 1 banjo, 1 base ukulele.... all which need tuning.

Today I was inspired by my recent foray into the world of "tallness" via basketball, to try a bit in the world of "music-ness" via guitar tuning. I now own a tuner *see above note about son owning 5 stringed instruments. And I knew, in general, how a guitar should sound and, in general, how a tuner should work. So the instructions on the tuner were clear, strum the guitar, tune the string - the tuner will tell you what note you're closest too. I foolishly assumed that if the note was an off key F, that the string should have been an F.

Ha. HAAHAHAHAHA. GUESS WHAT? Those suckers can be off by as many as 2 whole notes! So after I tuned it, I gave it a strum, and when my ears stopped bleeding I thought, "I'm going to need to do something a little more precise". Enter into the equation "GOOGLE". Seriously, did you know you can learn ANYTHING on google? ANYTHING AT ALL? EVEN - "How To Tune A Guitar"?

3 minutes later, armed with this new knowledge, I tuned that baby right up. And set my son loose with the 5 songs he knows. They're the 5 songs he's going to know until he spends a little time with D-Dad or Lessons resume (in January), so if I have to hear them over and over (and over), at least now I can hear them over and over in tune.

No comments: