October 02, 2010
How to tune a guitar
...if you're a luthier, that is.
I was wondering why a Yamaha classical guitar I purchased a few years ago always seems out of tune, and started a discussion about it in a guitar forum, including measuring the pitch while each string is open and fingered on the 5th and 12th frets (bizarrely inconsistent results). They suggested I check out this fascinating article by Gregory Byers. It describes the lengths (pun not intended but allowed) a guitar-maker has to go to to create a situation where each string is somewhat in tune on each fret. My Yamaha was not made that carefully! Of course very few guitars are. Byers spends a month making a guitar, and they cost $9,500.
Get yer mental health here!
A friend of mine, Tom Sulcer, with whom I like to harmonize on tunes like the Beatle's "If I Fell," posted a fairly massive article called "Mentally Healthy Mind" in a Google knowl. It touches on everything from deliberative democracy to Maslow to Spinoza. Did I mention that it's massive? My own impression is that most of the important understandings in life are largely unconscious and hard to modify through conscious deliberation, whereas Tom appears to try and leverage a conscious understanding of just about everything related to living a life. We'll see who's right by noting which of us plays better guitar at age 95.