Learning to tune your guitar with ear

Have you ever listened to a detuned guitar? It does not sound very pleasing after all. All acoustic guitars carry the tendency to lose their tuning slightly over the course of a few hours. Over a couple of days, they end up completely detuned. This is primarily because the strings of the guitar are constantly in stress and are hence pulling against the tuning pegs. This pull causes the tuning pegs to slowly rotate and to slightly loosen the strings.

So the first thing to do whenever you pick up your guitar to play is to tune it. While tuning with the help of a digital tuner is extremely easy, being able to tune with an ear could actually be very handy in cases where a digital tuner is not available. However, this is a skill that has to be learned and practiced.

The exercises mentioned below will help you in train your ear to recognize the exact differences in pitch, hence allowing you to tune your instrument by ear. Moreover, these practical exercises are designed to train the ear in hearing small changes in pitch in both the directions.

Things that you will need:

A digital tuner for ear training.

  1. Tuning the note lower and bringing it back
  • In order to develop a good sense of pitch, you must begin tuning your guitar with a tuner so as to have a good reference to compare with.
  • Hit the low E note, and note the physical location of Low E in the physical tuner of the guitar.
  • Keep on hitting the note, and in doing so, carefully listen to the pitch.
  • While letting it ring slowly, turn the pitch lower just a quarter clockwise turn and then rotate it back to its original position while listening to the changes in the pitch.
  • Keep a note of the way a difference in sound is generated as you move lower, and then bring it back to the right pitch.
  • Use a tuner to check the accuracy in pitch, of the note that you have returned to after lowering it.
  • Carry this on for each string until you get it right.
  1. Tuning the note higher and bringing it back
  • Simply carry out the same procedure as mentioned above, with the only difference that you will have to take the note higher a quarter turn, and then bring it back to the right pitch.
  • While bringing a note from a higher pitch to a lower pitch, bring it a little lower than you are supposed to. Then, raise it a little higher to the right pitch. Do check your final note against a tuner to measure your accuracy.
  • Carry this process out for every string, and do it quite often.

While the above-mentioned exercises will most certainly help you in ear training, tuning by ear is a skill that is developed slowly and requires disciplined practice. Dedicating about 10-15 minute in one session, with three sessions a day would slowly do the trick.

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Collecting Vinyl Records

With the advances made on the internet, music is quite literally available in the palm of our hands. This is as a result of the revolution that has seen the move from vinyl records, to radio cassettes, to CDs, to iPods and now on our phones in mp3 format. This evolution has left collection of vinyl records to a few people who know their value and appreciate their artistry. It is not uncommon to hear of an interior designer adding a turntable in a room as part of the décor in a house because of their artistic value.

Vinyl records are now considered collectors’ items with an actual community whose main agenda is to collect and own as many records as they can. Why, you ask? There is a variety of reasons why people collect vinyl records. Some of these reasons include:

  • As a hobby just like collecting stamps or rocks, even shoes
  • To appreciate the quality of music that is lossless, meaning it has not been compressed into the mp3 format acceptable by most phones
  • To preserve memories from back when the vinyl records were a big deal
  • Like in the case of interior designers, you get to collect art at the same time
  • They are valuable; they may cost a pretty penny when buying but once you want to dispose of them by selling you are bound to recoup your money and more

Whereas collecting vinyl records is an exciting hobby, it is not always easy. Some of the challenges that discourage the collectors include:

  • It is expensive to collect, just like any piece of art from back in the day. You can pay up to $1700 or more for a record on e-bay today
  • There are not too many records in the market today in comparison to the 70s when they were the in thing
  • There are lots of knock off in today’s market that can leave one at a loss after spending so much money to discover the record was copied off a CD- couldn’t get any worse!
  • The search for quality records can take a collector far and wide and this requires a level of commitment to achieve
  • Unlike digital music that you can access by the touch of a button, vinyl records have to be turned every few songs and not many people have that kind of patience
  • To top it all off, vinyl records require good caring for in order to maintain them in good condition, otherwise they become ruined

An encouraging fact for vinyl collectors worldwide to know is that there is an increase in the records in the market today. More and more record pressing companies are coming up in the market to cater to the ever increasing number of collectors. This is bound to bring with it good tidings such as a significant drop in the cost of records and their availability in stores. This is indeed good news for people who appreciate good quality music and art but cannot fork out the exuberant prices they go for on e-bay for instance.

Wherever you buy your record from, do your homework to ensure you don’t get a reissue or a warped copy.

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The Truth of Alternative Music

Alternative music has always been described as being different – or simply being the “other” in the music industry. This has left the genre in a state of the unknown since the “what” the alternative music is the “other” too has always been a mystery.

However, this answer can be described in a variety of ways. Alternative music is the “other” of the status quo. The music that sticks it to the man. The tunes that are opposed against repressive political leaders and ideas, racism, classism, and sexism – basically anything that would make a “traditional” businessman cringe of she ever heard the lyrics. This form of music has been known to attract people who consider themselves as people who think freely and consider themselves to be radical believers for being against the norms.

Where did Alternative Music Originate From?

Unsurprisingly, alternative music began around the same time that rock’n’roll was reaching its peak. While that music genre was dominating the charts and developing a fanbase full of people who were into hand banging and moshing – an underground equivalent was beginning to form as well, which was providing a much-needed voice for people who didn’t fully feel as if they fit in the rock’n’roll crowd.

Although, if you’re a person who can appreciate having the specifics, a great year to pinpoint alternative would be 1965. This marks the time where the Velvet Underground, the kings of alternative rock, finally formed their group while hanging out in a loft in New York – which is also the time where MC5 started having their garage-based jam sessions, as well as the creation of the California based Captain Beefheart. Though if you keep searching back further in time, you’ll be able to find flashes of solo artists and groups that were jamming with the familiar alternative tune of loud, rhythm-heavy music that always needed a guitar riff to make it sound even more perfect. If you want to give the possibly first recorded underground rock album a listen, then definitely look up the Black Monk Time album by The Monks put out in 1965.

The Sound of Alternative Music

While alternative music has been described as the “other” compared to more popular artists and songs that are in the spotlight should help you with identifying what the music sounds like. This gives you a basis of defining what alternative music might sound like.

As a mini history lesson, the years spanning between the middle of the 80’s through the early 90’s, the alternative music scene went through a massive tune up which changed the notion of how it was perceived in the media, especially in America. Once punk-rock become a defined music genre, the 1980’s were beginning to be filled with artists who were more punk-rock than alternative.

Thus, leading to the merging of punk-rock and alternative music becoming one. This combination has caused fans of both genres to almost arguing over which artists are considered punk-rock or alternative. Although, while this issue is solely being relived by both genres having a more defined tune to their music, the ongoing crisis of alternative music is still alive and strong.

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Jack White announces new solo album

After a lengthy absence, Jack White has today unveiled the first single from his debut solo album, Blunderbuss,

Titled Love Interruption, the song is available to hear online and appears almost one year after his former band, The White Stripes, announced their split.

In a press release, White said: “I’ve put off making records under my own name for a long time but these songs feel like they could only be presented under my name.

“These songs were written from scratch, had nothing to do with anyone or anything else but my own expression, my own colors on my own canvas.”

Love Interruption will be available to purchase digitally later on today, while the album itself is to be released April 23.

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OHZ’s SONG OF THE MONTH: January 2012 (#20)

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Martin Grech returns with three new songs

Martin Grech has recently returned from obscurity with three new tracks made available via his official Facebook page.

The British musician finally released his long-awaited Meta project in 2010 and has since been experimenting and sharing music with his dedicated fanbase.

Grech, who wrote an open letter to fans in December thanking them for their continued support, claims to be without a record deal and working alone.

The last official studio album that the singer-songwriter recorded was March Of The Lonely in 2007.

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The Gorillaz, Andre 3000 and James Murphy unite for new track

The Gorillaz have today released their new single Do Ya Thing as a free download.

The song, which was recorded for Converse’s ‘Three Artists.One Song’ campaign, is available from Converse.com/doyathing and features appearances from Outkast’s Andre 3000 and LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy.

James Hewlett, the group’s co-creator, is currently working on a video to accompany the song as well as designing a new Converse shoe range.

So far Converse’s ‘Three Artists.One Song’ campaign has resulted in a number of interesting projects, including a collaboration between Pharrell, Santigold and Julian Casablancas and a track put together by Kid Cudi, Best Coast and Vampire Weekend.

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Boots Riley: Interview

Raymond “Boots” Riley is not your average, modern-day rapper. Far from a world of self-indulgence, materialism, Cristal and platinum chains, the Oakland-based activist–cum-music artist is distinguished for his campaigning against social inequality.

Active in the music industry for over 20 years now, Boots entered the game as leader of the controversial political rap duo The Coup, a group known throughout hip hop circles as a highly respected socio-political force.

Since then he also formed a group with Rage Against the Machine’s equally politically vocal guitarist Tom Morello, as well as being at the forefront of Occupy Oakland and the fight against oppression.

As The Coup get set to embark on their first official European tour, Boots kindly gave up his time to answer some questions on his past, present and future projects. READ FULL INTERVIEW…

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Rufus Wainwright unveils new single

Rufus Wainwight has revealed the first single from his forthcoming seventh solo album, ‘Out of the Game‘.

Produced by Mark Ronson, the album will be released on April 23 and features guest appearances from Martha Wainwright, Nick Zinner, Sean Lennon, Nels Cline and Andrew Wyatt.

The album has been described by the singer as “the most pop album I’ve ever made” and, according to Wainwright was influenced by the likes of David Bowie, Elton John and Freddie Mercury.


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Ras Kass withdraws from The HRSMN

West coast rapper Ras Kass has announced his decision to part ways with hip-hop super group, The HRSMN.

Announcing his decision via video, the 39-year-old emcee claimed: “there’s a lot of shit I don’t agree with, so I have to step out of it”.

The quartet, composed of rappers Canibus, Killah Priest and Kurupt, released a nine-track LP in 2003 titled The Horsemen Project, an album that was barely promoted and only made available online.

It was later revealed that Killah Priest had sanctioned the release of The Horsemen Project and that despite containing all four rapper’s vocals, the release was by no means an official project and rather a collection of scraps and random collaborations.

However, in May 2011 a video trailer surfaced, indicating plans for the quartet to release a new album that was to be executive produced by the Wu Tang Clan’s RZA.

While contract issues have so far hampered an official release from the four veteran emcees, Ras Kass has now moved to confirm his withdrawal from the group, a factor that could result in the collapse of The HRSMN project.

Rass Kas, who is currently working on his projects F.I.L.A. and Spit No Evil, has experienced a troubled career, overshadowed by various legal issues and record contract disputes that have so far starved him of the plaudits he deserves.

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