Essentials for Guitar

Tuners and Capo in the Toy Box

I was at a bluegrass concert once when a well known musician commented,"Please forgive me, I need to tune my guitar." I knew what he meant because as with any stringed instrument changes in temperature or humidity affect the strings and can make for some terrible sounds when not in tune. Today we have some pretty high tech tools we can clip right on the peg head of our instruments to quickly put a string back to its normal 440 tuning. For guitars, banjo's, fiddles, and mandolins the process of tuning the instruments are as easy as raising or lowering the strings to the desired pitch displayed on the tuner.

There are many chromatic tuners for accomplishing this task but the Intellitouch is by far the best for the average musician. When the strings are plucked to tune the key of the string lights up on the tuner and to be in perfect tuning three arrows on either side of the string pitch point to indicate the string is in tune. For example when tuning the E on a guitar the tuner would look like this:>>>E<<< and for B: >>>B<<< when tuned properly. Arrows to the left of the key only would indicate the string is flat and if to the right only would indicate the string is sharp and needs to be lowered to get the 3 arrows on each side of the key showing on the tuner. . The remaining strings,G,D,A, and the low E would each have the three arrows when the strings are properly tuned. Other tuning which may be a step above or below can be adjusted on the Intellitouch tuners. Some tuners do not have the arrows but correct pitch is indicated by a green color displayed on the tuner.

Another essential tool for guitar, banjo, and Dobro is the capo. The capo is a great tool to allow players to play using the same chord patterns while the neck or frets are shortened. For instance if a player or vocalist desires to sing in the Key of A, a capo would be attached at teh 2nd fret and the chord positions for G could be used for the A key. Capo's come in many styles and it is usually the musicians choice and preference that determines which one he will use. I personally like to use a capo because with arthritic hands some chords which are difficult in their normal neck position are less stressful to my fingers and hands when using a capo.

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Comments 8 comments

princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 5 years ago

Temperature changes can very annoyingly put a guitar out of tune. Digital tuners are surely the way to go. I haven't used the intellitouch tuner before. The one I use looks exactly the same as the one in the picture.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Hey Cousin! Those Kyser Brand capos that you've got pictured - those things are made just outside my tiny hometown (Kaufman, Texas) - and the Kyser family is well known here!

I might promenade on out there one of these days and ask em' for one of them there jobs that people sometimes have!


Cousin Fudd profile image

Cousin Fudd 5 years ago from From the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina Author

Hey Wes, thanks for stopping by and I bet yoy don't even need a job. We use Shubs but Kysers work just as well.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

I got a really nice brass custom built capo that John Holman built - he sort of works for Bill Collings of Collings guitars - that thing's nicer than any capo I've ever seen.....

.....but.....

I still use the Kysers more - simply because it takes about one second to put them on or take them off.

I literally couldn't hardly believe it when I found out those things were from my town - one Christmas the guy married to one of my pretty cousins started handing them out to all of us amateur pickers in the family - and he told us he was doing the accounting for Kyser.

Blew my mind!


Cousin Fudd profile image

Cousin Fudd 5 years ago from From the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina Author

Now that is way cool. I agree instant on and off the neck and clamp it to the peg head when using standard chords. Got any more of those freebies? Gary broke his Kyser last night, I thought to myself now what a coincidence is this.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

How in the word do you break a Kyser?

That takes some skill right there! Ha! I'm going to get a shub one of these days. I've got some kind of oddball capo that I've never seen the likes of before around here somewhere. I ought to see if I can get a name off of the thing and take a picture.


Cousin Fudd profile image

Cousin Fudd 5 years ago from From the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina Author

Wes, the spring broke I guess a stress fracture but we like those Kysers. Sure beats a No 2 pencil and a rubber band.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'll bet it does!

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