Tag Archives for " Guitar Tuner "

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How To Use A Guitar Tuner

A common question beginners often ask is “How to use a guitar tuner?”

So I thought I would make a quick lesson here on how to use a digital guitar tuner to tune your guitar.

Tuning your guitar is incredibly important. If the guitar isn’t in tune, you’re not going to want to play it, because it will sound terrible. It’s pretty much that simple. So if you’re just getting started, there’s nothing that’s more demoralizing than sounding terrible all the time, so that’s something you need to fix! Strangely enough, this is still one of the most often-overlooked issues that beginners face. Simply taking the time to tune your guitar before you play it will make for a much more enjoyable practice session… and don’t even get me started if you’re planning on performing! It doesn’t matter how good a person is on the guitar, tuning the instrument is ALWAYS the first step.

As a side note, if you’re really struggling to get your guitar properly in tune, and you already know how to use a guitar tuner, then there is a very good possibility that the intonation is out on your guitar. If so, I recommend bringing your guitar to a music store or guitar tech and get it checked out. Oftentimes it will need a re-intonation, which isn’t difficult, and can make a world of difference.

How To Use A Guitar Tuner

You might also want to check out a related lesson that I did on How To Tune Your Guitar By Ear. Hopefully this lesson will clear up any questions on how to use a guitar tuner.

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Planet Waves Capo Tuner Review

The Planet Waves Capo Tuner is an ingenious gadget that has rolled (most of) the functionality of a tuner and a capo into one unit. I say (most of) because this tuner doesn’t have any way of indicating which note you are on, but only whether or not the note you are playing is on pitch or not.

Planet Waves Capo TunerFunctionally speaking, I didn’t find this was a problem. Unless you’re de-tuning to some other tuning entirely, or re-stringing your guitar, then I find that most times my guitar is pretty close to standard tuning when I pick it up. It is for these types of tweaks that this capo tuner works just great – in fact, most of the time having a note displayed at me is a waste of time anyways, except for the situations I mentioned already.

So how does the tuner work if it doesn’t have a readout? Simple – it uses a three light system, with a few different colors of lights. It is intuitive and easy to use. Because it works off the vibrations in your guitar, you can literally have it clamped onto any part of your guitar and it will work. This means you can use this as a tuner either on the fretboard, while capo’d, or just clamped onto the headstock as a tuner.

We’ve talked about the “tuner” part of this – but this capo tuner is exactly that – a capo AND a tuner.

As a capo, the Planet Waves unit works nicely. My main complaint against these spring loaded capos is that they normally don’t have any sort of tension adjustment, which reduces their ability to perfectly adjust to different instruments. However, as you can see from the picture, this capo tuner does have a tension adjustment, which works quite well.

I’ve used this capo tuner on acoustic and electric 6 string guitars, and it worked fine on both. It is advertised to work well on 12 strings as well, but I haven’t had a chance to test that yet.

I found the capo tuner comfortable and quick to use one-handed. Whenever you use a capo, there’s going to be a bit of adjusting to get it to work well with the curvature of your guitar neck, but I quickly discovered that if I put it on a slight angle compared to the frets it works best for me.

If you’d like to get one of these for yourself, they’re available for a good price at Amazon.

Full disclosure: Planet Waves / D’Addario was kind enough to send me one of these capo tuners for review purposes.

Planet Waves Capo Tuner Review:

Watch the Planet Waves Capo Tuner Review on Youtube

2 Stocking Stuffers For Guitar Players

christmasChristmas is just around the corner, and that means I’ve been fielding the annual question of “Hey Jonathan, what do you want for Christmas?”

Strangely enough, I always have a hard time coming up with answers for that question, but it got me to thinking – what would be some cool ideas for stocking stuffers or gifts for guitar players?

Well, I’ve got a few ideas here. A few of them are even on my own list! =)

1. Strap Locks

Strap locks are super handy for your guitar – a close friend of mine once dropped his $2500 GNL (yeah… it broke in half) because the guitar strap fell off. Sucky way to learn a lesson. Strap locks guarantee your guitar is never coming off unless you want it too. They’re pretty easy to install (if you’re not sure, just bring them in and get a guitar mechanic to do it for you) and they’re pretty cheap too.

2. Electronic Guitar Tuner

If you know a guitar player that doesn’t have an electronic guitar tuner, then this one is a no-brainer. Electronic tuners are excellent because they don’t depend on your ear unlike tuning forks and the like. They consistently get you exactly in tune (though like any tool – you have to use it correctly!). Big benefit? If your guitar is electric or has a pickup, you can plug it in and peacefully tune your guitar right in the middle of a 120 decibel rock concert without difficulty.

3. Guitar Stand

Don’t like always digging your guitar out of the case each time you want to play it? Have an amazingly beautiful gem of an axe that you simply want to display to the world? Or do you simply want some place safe to put your guitar while you run to the bathroom in the middle of a practice session? A guitar stand is your answer…

4. Guitar Strap

At under $4 this workhorse of the guitar world is truly a great stocking stuffer. Nothing fancy here – we’re talking about a plain black strap. However, if you can squeeze an extra few bucks out of your budget, you’ll likely find something more colorful, or even leather. Straps are a cool way of adding a bit of personality to your guitar. My personal favorite strap is the one I use on my electric – its white leather with black music notes on it. I think Stevie Ray Vaughn used one just like it! Here’s One Just Like It

5. Guitar Capo

One of these days I’m going to do a lesson on using a guitar capo. Capos let you instantly transpose a song into another key, and they’re tons of fun because you can get some really crazy tunings out of your guitar by capoing only some of the strings. Most commonly though, you can use a capo to play a song that is in F for instance as if it were in open E (chords are MUCH easier) simply by putting the capo at the first fret. Great for guitar players of all levels.

6. Guitar Strings

Buying a guitar player more strings is like getting a ‘normal’ person more socks. Eventually they’re going to need more, and what better place to get resupplied than their Christmas stocking? I’ve put a link here for D’Addario light acoustic strings, which is what I use personally on my acoustic, however if you click through you’ll find electric strings there as well. I was surprised to see Amazon selling three sets for less than $20 – usually I pay more locally! A quick tip for keeping your guitar playing fresh – replace your strings often. I try to do mine once a month to keep that great sounding tone.

7. Guitar Picks

Last, but not least (though definitely cheapest!) are guitar picks. Every guitar player needs them (well – some of you might be hardcore finger pickers I guess) and these things are always getting lost or worn out. You can get a nice pack of picks for a few bucks, and why not throw in one of those handy pick holder gizmos as well? Every guitar player has their own preference on the hardness of their picks – personally I prefer a medium-hard pick… something around .83 or .88 mm.

Well that’s it for this year’s stocking stuffers list for guitar players! Any other great ideas? Leave a comment below and tell us about it!

…and a Merry Christmas to you :)!