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     Wayne "Six Finger" Severson          Face

Please note the easy address here is: sixfinger.cjb.net


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NEW!  "Tuff Guy"  Published, © 2000 Lion Feather Records The first track on my new CD, Bite the Buddha is here as an MP3 file. Please give it a listen.To download, right click Here.
Or, for real audio, check out
Sixfinger at iuma.com or mp3.com.
There is also a page at the Artist Forum.


     Cat   Hi, I've been involved in music for over twenty five years,
yes I'm getting old, and have deep interests in many of the associated fields.
  • Voice
Music Notes
  • Theory
  • Live Performance
  • Recording
  • Song Writing
  • The Marriage of all the above with Life itself

As this page develops I will add insights, tips & tricks and some basic
solid information that will help you put it all together and keep it there.


      Click here if you
want a CLOSER
LOOK.  : : : : I'd wait for a better picture unless you have to know what I look like.)


For a synopsis of the songs on my new CD
"Bite The Buddha" with direct links to the lyrics
Click Here!

Door Way

Only if you dare!


For a brief history, a look at my future, my basic philosophy
and a look at Lion Feather Records , go here.

For a look at recordings from my past with David Allan Coe,
Stray Horse, or my own releases, go to the Archives Page.

I am currently on tour with Stray Horse,
if you want to find us, check our Schedule.

Music Links  Cool!

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with any questions or comments,
sixfinger@lionfeather.com

(I sometimes go 2 weeks before checking my mail)

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Guitars are good, guitars are great.

The guitar is one of the most unpredictable and least reliable musical instruments in existence, it is also the sweetest, the warmest, the most delicate expressive and varied instrument I know. The present day popularity of the steel string acoustic and electric guitar is enormous, from the limited three chords of the amateur to the technical skill of the virtuoso, its ability to please at all levels is a major factor in it's success. The guitar seems to have a quality in its sound to evoke atmosphere. Really it's not that hard to learn enough to accompany yourself or just have some fun, but to master it, it's a life time study. If you're just starting don't fall into the trap of getting a cheap guitar that's "good enough to learn on". You need an instrument that's set up well so it's not too difficult to play and plays in tune.

Tuning. Let's get some terms straight. A string has a pitch when it is tightened, set into motion, and vibrates at an even rate. We currently use a standard of A = 440 vibrations per second, also known as hertz. The string that is the thinest, highest in pitch and closest to the floor when in standard playing position is the top string. (Also called the First String or the High E String in standard tuning.) The fat wound string, lowest in pitch, closest to your ear is the bottom string.(Also called the Sixth String or the Low E String in standard tuning.)

Intervals. An interval is a measure of distance from one pitch to another. The first interval to learn is the Octave. An octave is an exact doubling or halving of a given notes frequency. If the note A = 440 hertz, (a frequency of 440 vibrations per second) then a note an octave below would be 220 hertz. Now if you were to play both notes at the same time, the higher tone (440 hz) is exactly twice as fast as the lower tone (220 hz) and consequently the two tones would beat in sync with each other. When this happens the two tones are in tune and you won't hear the beating. If the two tones were slightly out of tune you would hear a slow beat, the farther out of tune you go the faster these beats become until you get so far they become indistinguishable. Then you have noise. This process holds true for all of the perfect intervals. Unisons, Fifths, Fourths and Octaves. Unisons are two tones of the same pitch. You use them when you tune to another instrument or by freting a low string to match the pitch of an open string (one that is not freted).

TheStandard Tuning of a guitar is in fourths. (We'll define a fourth later.) From low to high the strings are tuned E, A, D, G, B, and E. Yes, there is a deviation between the G and B strings, this is a major third. This is done to facilitate a sameness from low to high and make fingering easier. As you finger the frets the pitch rises due to shortening the string length. Each fret changes the pitch by a half step.

O.K., This is an important concept. While looking at the guitar, think about the octave, the halving or doubling of frequencies. If I wanted to double the frequency, or pitch of a string, I would shorten the string length by by half. Look at the distance between the nut and the bridge of your guitar and find the middle of the string between these points. Now count the frets (starting at the nut). The twelfth fret is the middle, it is the octave, it is where the double markers are. And it is important to note and observe that the octave is devided into twelve equal parts which are called half steps and this is why each fret is a half step.

There are two ways to change the pitch of a string.

1. Change the string length. On a guitar this is done by pressing a string down against a fret (usually a nickle-silver wire) just firmly enough to make contact with the fret so it can vibrate cleanly with no buzzing sound. The string now has a new point of departure and is effectivly shorter and higher in pitch.

2. Alter the tension of the string. The string is anchored at the tailpiece or bridge, then crosses and rests on the saddle. It then spans the distance between the saddle and the nut, which has a slot cut in it, and is then wound around a tuning gear or peg. If you tighten the string it goes higher because it vibrates faster (higher frequency).

I'm not a physics guy but when you pluck or pick a string, you have set it into motion. Now if that string is long, thick, heavy and loose it'll move, but not real fast. If that string was tighter it has to disapate that energy somehow, so it moves faster. If you shorten the string by pressing it against the twelfth fret (effectivly cutting it in half) and it has the same energy, well it's going to move twice as fast.

The guitar, whether it's acoustic or electric is really just a bunch of pieces of wood glue or screwed together. I'm not belittling the instrument just pointing out it's nature. Wood is relativly soft and changes with the weather. Humidity ,altitude and temperature can have a dramatic effect on a guitar. Even the act of playing your guitar will warm it up and effect some changes.

So when you first start to tune your instrument you want to listen to the pitch of another instrument, tuning fork or a note on another string of your guitar. Let's assume your tuning to a piano or another guitar that's already tuned. It doesn't really matter which string you start with. It depends on your hearing, maybe you hear higher notes easier. It depends on the enviroment, maybe your refridgerater is humming close to a low Bb. Do what works. By listening to the highness or lowness of pitch try to match your strings with the other instruments,s. High E to High E etc. As an exercise get as close as you can. In practice just get close for two reasons:

1. As you tune the other strings, the tension on the guitar will change and cause an already tune string to go out. So one by one get all the strings close , and then go through them again.

2. If you strum hard or bend strings the guitar has to settle in. So you might want to play a little in the style you normally play.

Then go through the strings once more to make sure you're still close, and go back for fine tuning. Now listen for the beats when both notes are played together. Remember when you're in tune there are no beats. If you're not sure, gently loosen your string as you listen. If you hear them, tighten back up until they're gone.

A guitar will not play in tune properly unless it is set-up properly!

More to come.

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