Sunday, May 31, 2009

For Guitar Players

Ok, here’s one for the worship leader/ guitar player goof-up files.
Upon finishing first service this morning, I removed my capo, which I used for the last song of the set and clamped it onto my head-stock (Note: I was playing my Tele). When the second service started, I picked up my guitar and started playing the intro to the first song when musical chaos broke out. My E string was way out of tune. So much so that I thought I was the victim of a saboteur. It was a step and a half sharp and nothing but sabotage could explain why a perfectly in tune guitar would instantly go so horribly out of tune. So for the whole first song, I played avoiding the E string. At the end of the first song, I made a joke about it, re-tuned and moved on. The rest of the set went fine until we get to the last song again. I remove the capo from the head-stock to place it on the neck. Once again, the E string is horribly out of tune. Ahhh!!! What is wrong with my guitar?! I almost speed dialed Randy Hughes right then and there. It was all one frantic, harmonic swirl of dissonance. Then it dawned on me: I was the saboteur, unaware. After the use of the capo in the first service, when I moved it from the neck to the head-stock, I accidentally clamped the capo down onto the E string, of the very narrow Tele head-stock. When I re-tuned after the second song I was actually tuning a “clamped string” (capo is still on the headstock at this point). When it was time to play the final song of the set again, I removed the capo from the head-stock to place it on the neck, releasing the E string, but now it’s sounding a half step flat. Chaos again. Ahhhh! Fortunately for me, Bill Wellons was mid-prayer and I had time to re-tune again and gather myself for the final song without subjecting the Holy Ghost and all of Brentwood to another round of tuning torture. What a funny sequence of events. I felt like I was Chevy Chase when he got his own talk show that time: Trying hard, but not quite sure what to do.


Josh Via said...

Awesome! glad I'm not the only one with capo issues.

Billy Pumphrey said...

I had a problem with my PRS once. I had been working with the springs in the back of the guitar, and did not put the retaining bar back on to hold the springs on.

I was playing a gig in front of probably a few thousand people and one of the springs came off.

I started retuning, then I realized that the spring came off. The start of that song was "What is Hip" and that songs starts with a guitar solo. I was playing and trying to bend the strings to get the notes in tune.

Since it is a floating bridge, all of the strings were out of tune. Ouch.

Thank you for sharing.