Richard Lloyd Rocks

Never mind the bollocks, here's the man himselfLooking 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.

Comments 6

  1. Thanks for introducing me to these lessons and swinging by my blog. I only hope you’ve got more posts coming. They always seem to reinvigorate my interest in playing and practicing. How’s your Marshall 18 coming?

    Any chance you might tab Art Brut’s “Emily Kane”?

    1. That is funny, i took a couple lessons in 1970. Just didn’t have the time or inclination to work at it though. This was how I was taught to tune my guitar. I also sang in a rock band and am pretty sure they used this method on stage. 😉. will check his site out. thanks for the info

  2. I’m glad you find it inspiring! I try to blog as much as I can. My students and my girlfriend keep me busy. Not that I’m complaining.

    The amp is coming, slowly but surely. I’ve got most of it wired and Al the amp guru is coming over on Sunday to have a look. I think I’ll be testing it in 2-3 weeks. Can’t wait.

    Sorry, I don’t know “Emily Kane.” Sometimes I tab things out for non-students. I charge my regular hourly rate ($80)–shoot me an email if you’re interested.

  3. Thanks for this Rob, It’s a very cool site. Pretty different from yours but I feel like they share something good. Maybe it’s that both of you guys seem to really understand the instrument, and want to help people to improve, but are also very musical in your approach. Anyway, it’s helping me get things I’ve always struggled with, so thanks!

  4. Hi everybody,
    I really love Richard’s guitar playing, his way of thinking and his guitar tone.
    Does anybody know how he gets that gritty sound on the solos for Call Mr. Lee on the Television album from 1992?


    1. I know it’s over 6 years later — but none of the lessons you mention here seem to be on his site anymore (or at least it’s not obvious where to find them).If you know if they still are available please share the info — thanks.

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