Looking for a new perspective on learning the guitar? Richard Lloyd (of the 70’s punk band Television) has a great set of lessons and essays on his site, including a fascinating explanation of why the guitar is such a pain to tune. He suggests a tuning technique that I’ve started using with great success. If you’ve got a good ear for tuning, try this:
First tune the bottom E. string to a tuning fork or tuning machine. Next, fret the E. string at the tenth fret. This will give you a D. Tune the D. string to this note by ear. Next, fret the D. string at the fifth fret. Tune the G. string to the D. string at the fifth fret. Now fret the G. string at the second fret. This gives you an A. Tune the A. string from this note. Now fret the A. string at the second fret. Tune the B. string from this note. It will be an octave up. Next, fret the D. string at the second fret. This gives you E. Tune your high E from this. Again this will be an octave.
Voila! Strum the guitar. It should sound considerably more pleasing.
The site also features some guitar lessons designed to build motor skill (i.e. finger exercises) and, occasionally, make you feel like a spineless lemming (i.e. lots of ranting and raving about the evils of imitating other musicians). So what if I want to be able to play “Little Wing” note for note? Still, it’s a sweet site.