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Introduction To The Martin Taylor Guitar Academy
This "introduction" block sets the stage for what is to follow. Put down your guitar, and enjoy learning about Martin's background, influences, and philosophy about music and the guitar. If you are anxious to get going, you can skip ahead to the "Underlying Concepts" block or even "Learn By Playing Tunes" block. Just be sure to get back and watch these important videos!
Underlying Concepts
The "Underlying Concepts" block starts very basic and progressively lays down the foundation for Martin's approach to fingerstyle guitar. Even if you are already an advanced guitarist, Martin asks that you go through all of these lessons. This block ends with Martin teaching two versions of the jazz classic "Satin Doll."
Developing Technique & Musicianship
Here we switch almost entirely to music, musicianship, and advanced techniques for making music on the guitar. To get started right, Martin teaches a simple but soulful version of his own composition "True." Martin uses this tune as reference point throughout the curriculum. More techniques flow from Martin's presentation of jazz blues, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow", and "My Romance."
Learn By Playing Tunes
Watch, listen, play. It's all here: A progressive collection of tunes that represent every skill and technique Martin employs in his fingerstyle guitar playing. For many of these tunes, Martin provides a very detailed analysis of all of the techniques employed. All of the tunes are presented with alternate camera angles (you can see exactly what Martin sees using the "topview" camera angle), and slow-motion versions. Many of the tunes have downloadable notation PDF files, though Martin prefers you to use you eyes and ears rather than the notation which can become a "crutch" and inhibit progress.
Auxiliary Lessons
This is the place where material will be placed that relates to specific topics not covered in the core curriculum, such as accompanying a singer, gear, etc.
Guided Arrangements
30 Day Challenge
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Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons: All About Tuning

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Course Description

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I'd like to talk about,
a little bit about tuning the guitar,
first of all.
Now tuning the guitar can be.
It's made a lot easier now.
The fact that we, we have guitar tuners.
There's some very good guitar tuners.
That we can use.
But there's some other things you need to
know, first about this.
Because you can't, always rely totally on
the, on the tuner.
Because certain characteristics of, of the
musical instrument.
But use the guitar tuner as your starting
You will never get your guitar in tune,
unless the guitar is in tune with itself.
That's, that's very important.
The, the twelfth fret, just here, this
fret here, now this has to be,
it must be exactly halfway, between the
bridge, here, and the nut, here.
It's got to be exactly.
The halfway point.
Something that happens with a guitar,
when you have this halfway point is you
have what we call a natural harmonic.
So if we don't actually press the note
down but we just play above the fret and
then take out the, hit the note and then
take the finger off very quickly,
the left finger, we get a natural
We can do that on all six strings.
the way we check whether that the the 12th
fret is exactly in the middle is that
we play the harmonic, on the 12th fret.
And then we play the note.
And they should be the same.
You can check that with a guitar tuner.
It will tell you.
That's a very good way of checking.
Now, if the note, is flat.
To the harmonic.
That means the bridge, is too far away
from the 12th fret.
It's too far in this direction.
If it's sharp, then it's too close to the
12th fret.
It's too far over this way, so you need to
adjust it.
And I'm telling because this,
this type of guitar that I play an, an
archtop guitar, a jazz guitar.
Has a floating pickup.
That means it, it, it's not glued to the
It, it can, it can move around and they
move around very easy.
If you have a guitar that has a, a, a set
then you may need to, well, you will need
to go to see somebody at a guitar shop and
they'll, they'll, they'll fix that for
But this is the first thing you gotta
is that your your bridge is in the right
And the 12th fret is, is right in the
Because if it isn't, you can tune up
forever and
it'll never really be properly in tune.
So that's like, our kind of internal
So we, we adjust bridge this way.
Now, using a guitar tuner.
We can just.
Sometimes we can do it again with these
I've got a guitar tuner here.
And, it will tell me whether I'm in tune.
This one if I'm in tune it turns green.
It's really good.
So I do that with all the strings.
Now, for those of you that have been
playing for a while, you'll notice.
And it probably baffle you cuz it baffled
me for a long time.
You'll wonder why you're tune, perfectly
in tune to the guitar tuner, but
then you'll play certain things, it sounds
out of tune.
Doesn't sound quite right.
Well this is a really deep subject which
I, I won't go into here.
I'll just really kind of skim over the
If you wanna know this subject in more
detail, then I suggest you speak to
a piano tuner, because this is where I
learned about this.
And this is the whole kind of tunes
training is, is involved around this.
Because the guitar seems to be in tune
according to the,
the tuner is perfectly in tune, but to
your ear.
Thinks, that doesn't sound quite right.
This is an element that we call, in music,
What this is means, is we actually, ba,
very basically,
the guitar has to be slightly out of tune,
to sound in tune.
And this is quite a deep subject.
But I'll just skim over the surface a
little bit.
Go back to the ancient Greeks.
Now, Pythagoras was a guy who liked to
measure stuff.
And one of the things he measured, was the
intervals in music.
And going up the seven octave scale, in
intervals of fifths.
One of the things that they discovered,
was the further up you went,
even though they were perfect intervals in
the same spaces, to the ear,
it sounded out of tune.
And, if you carried on logically that way,
the further up you went,.
You would actually have, have to stick in
another note somewhere.
It's a little bit like the musical
equivalent of a leap year.
So, our ear automatically adjusts to that.
The reason for this, and I'll just speak
about it in, in relation to the guitar,
the, the reason of this inharmonicity or
sometimes called temper-tuning, is because
the guitar has to be slightly out of tune,
to compensate for certain factors.
Now a couple of these factors are, are
called modes of vibration.
Now, latitudinal modes of vibration, this
is, this is long stuff.
But it's actually, it's quite fun.
You'll, if you, if you go to your local
bar on a Wednesday night and
they have a quiz night, you're gonna win,
if this question ever comes up.
The fattest string on the guitar, the, the
E string, the bottom string here,
if you look at that, if you play that, and
you hit it gently,
you'll see a slight movement, going
backwards and forwards that way.
That, that's called latitudinal mode of
The harder you hit that, [SOUND]
The, the more it will move.
And you can hear this very very slightly.
If I play this note soft.
Then I play it hard,.
And there's a lot of movement,
that note goes sharp.
Because that movement is causing the, the
string to shorten actually.
It's causing it to shorten.
The opposite happens with the high
So, with the high strings there's not as
much movement.
So, sometimes to the ear it can sound,
sound flat.
Very often if you tune to a, a tuner and
the top strings are tuned exactly.
Exactly right, it may sound to the
listener, slighty flat.
So once you've got the guitar in tune with
a tuner, start trusting your ears.
So, one of the ways I,
I tune is actually very similar to the way
piano players tune.
I, I tune in fifths, so I'll, I'll take.
[SOUND] The A-string.
In intervals of fifths,
the E, which is the fifth,
another A, E.
And then I'll do the same again in D and
then in G.
a good testing point with, with this is if
you play an A.
And then if you play the, the major third
on the third string, which is the C# here.
Sometimes that can sound sharp when
the guitar is in tune according to the
So you might wanna flatten that slightly.
That sounds more in tune for me now.
This top string's in tune according to
the tuner.
But I'm going to sharpen it very slightly.
The bottom E string is also in tune.
But that sounds a bit sharp to me.
So I'm gonna flatten that very slightly.
Cuz I'm gonna hit that quite hard
That sounds in tune to me now.
Because, I've used the, the tuner as the,
the basis of it, but then,
I've started to trust my ear.
And this is all to do with other,
there are other inharmonicity factors,
which relate from the piano to the guitar
with, with strings.
The, the, the, the scale of the guitar.
The, the gauge of strings, how thick the
strings are, or how thin the strings are.
How much they vibrate, and you'll
sometimes notice if you play the,
the style of guitar that I play,
if you try to play it with strings that
are very light.
And you have a, a flat a plain third
rather a third string [SOUND].
I play with a wound third string.
A plain third string will vibrate more and
it will always sound slighty out of tune.
So, these are other enharmisoty factors of
the scale of the guitar and the, the, the
string gauge.
So I've kind of, there's, there's quite a
lot to, to tuning a, a musical instrument.
But just bear tho, those things in mind.
Use the tuner.
It's a fantastic thing to have, but then
start trusting your ear,
and if you want, you can tune
the way I do, in fifths.
And then adjust accordingly to that.
If that sounds a bit sharp, flatten that
Start trusting your, your, your ears to,
to these things and I think you'll, you'll
find it works, it works for me.
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