The Heartwood Beat, Issue 16: Chord Chart Update and Restringing Tips

Hello Heartwood Beat Subscribers,

I hope you’re all well and enjoying the start of summer. I’m having fun with my most recent writing project: Creating a beginning guitar course that I’ll offer on my website starting this summer or fall.

Chord Chart Update

I just posted thirty new chord charts, including a trio of toe-tapping Taylor Swift tunes, a round of indie-rock refrains, and a cornucopia of classic-rock crowd-pleasers. Most include strumming diagrams (I know how helpful those are to many of you), and there’s strumming video support for $7/month, too.

U2The Allman Brothers – Ramblin’ Man
America – Horse With No Name
Avett Brothers – Shame
Belle and Sebastian – Judy and the Dream of Horses
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Lodi
Taio Cruz – Dynamite
The Decemberists – Down by the Water
Bob Dylan – Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
Green Day – She’s a Rebel
Steve Earle – Pilgrim on this Road
James – Sometimes
Jet – She’s a Genius
Joni Mitchell – Conversation
MGMT – Time to Pretend
The Mountain Goats – Sax Rohmer #1
Nada Surf – Always Love
Tom Paxton – What If, No Matter
Katy Perry – Firework
Katy Perry – Hot N Cold
The Pretty Reckless – My Medicine
Radiohead – Karma Police
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Storm in a Teacup
Kevin Rudolf – Let it Rock
Amanda Seyfried – Li’l Red Riding Hood
Taylor Swift – Speak Now
Taylor Swift – Teardrops on My Guitar
Taylor Swift – You Belong With Me
They Might Be Giants – Roy G. Biv
U2 – Love Rescue Me
U2 – Where the Streets Have No Name
Eddie Vedder – Society

Restringing Tips

Restringing25 years of restringing my guitars have taught me the following tricks. I hope these help you enjoy, or at least zip through, this chore.

1. Clear a table and lay down a towel

You want enough room to rotate your guitar without knocking over lamps, empty beer bottles, etc.

2. Make a restringing kit

Wire cutters
Dunlop Formula 65 Cleaner
Gertlitz Guitar Honey (for conditioning rosewood and ebony fingerboards)
Mechanical Pencil

3. Clean your guitar after you remove old strings

There will never be an easier time. If you oil your fingerboard, use separate rags for oil and cleaner.

4. Lubricate nut slots with a pencil

Have you ever heard a quiet, high “ping” when you tuned your guitar? That’s the sound of your string suddenly slipping through your nut slot. This is bad: To easily tune your guitar, you need your strings running through that slot like water through a pipe. Les Pauls are notorious for this problem, because their headstock design requires strings to take a sharp turn as they pass through the nut, increasing friction.

To lube the nut slots, just scribble graphite in each nut slot with a mechanical pencil.

Fan Mail

Rob's Totally Awesome Guitar Teaching HandbookEvery few days I get the pleasure of reading praise from a reader of my Totally Awesome Guitar Teacher’s Handbook. Here are a few recent ones that made me smile.

“Rob – in the short amount of time I have been reading your hand book – you have save the musical lives of 10 young students I have been struggling with. Thank you – I can’t wait for class today.”

“Your book is just what I needed. I’ve read it twice and just printed it out today so I can highlight and scribble notes. Now I feel good about turning my garage into a professional looking studio for learning.”

“Thanks to reading and applying the info in your ebook, my site is drawing in a steady stream of new students and I’m loving the journey of building a stronger and stronger teaching practice.”

Learn more about the Handbook here.

Enjoy the music,


Comments 23

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  2. None of the songs listed go directly to their chart on Songster. One has to type in the name of the song into the search on the site. This is a pain but doable. However, the song Roy G. Biv isn’t there at all. I haven’t checked all of the songs yet but, will do so soon. Seems to me though that this is Robs job not mine. I would think that someone selling a book would do a more thorough job. This is enough to make a potential buyer reconsider.

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      Hi John,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad to hear you’re finding useful. I should clarify that simply advertises on my site. I have no control over their content.

      You may have noticed that the ads for some of my other chord charts (not the ones in this update) link directly to Songsterr’s tabs for that song—i.e., when you’re looking at my chord chart for “Folsom Prison Blues,” and you click on the banner ad at the top of the page, you go directly to Songsterr’s tab for “Folsom Prison Blues”. This is a cool feature that I was able to automate when I redesigned my site, but is cumbersome to do by hand. My focus is primarily on providing excellent content on my own site, and making sure my premium content (my book and strumming video service) is working perfectly.

      However, it sounds like you find the direct links from my charts to Songsterr’s tabs useful. I’ll take a second look at how much trouble it will be to establish those links.

      Thanks again for your feedback,


    2. Rob does a great job of providely a conveniet service for you free of charge. It would discourage me from purchasing any of his products becasue Songsterr is not a product he runs or owns.

      It is obvious how much work Rob has put into this website. You should be more appreciative of the work that he has done.

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      Hi Markus,

      Yes, remove all the strings. I’d never heard that this could cause damage, and am reassured by the example of every guitar tech I’ve seen restring a guitar—each one starts by loosening all the strings, cutting them and stripping them off the guitar.

      I scanned a few guitar forums discussing the subject and the consensus is that there’s no danger. To be on the safe side, don’t leave your guitar unstrung—this may encourage a warped neck.


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  3. this is a really good load of resources for guitarists, very valuable!

    for guitar strings and fretboard, I use GHS fastfret, that stuff is amazing! and prolongs the life of the strings.

  4. Cool stuff Rob. Yea I have found useful in my study of the bass. I really like the functionality of it. It has a good amount of songs and I love that you can select to play things at half speed. This was vital to my learning Nancy Wilsons acoustic intro for Heart’s Crazy On You.

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      Hey Jojo,

      I use Gerlitz Guitar Honey for my rosewood and ebony fretboards. Nothing on maple–they’re finished. I would NOT use olive oil–I expect it’s too thick. You don’t need to treat your fretboard very often, so you should never really be “in a pinch.”


  5. Great stuff Rob! I spend a fair bit of time trying to persuade my students to change their strings more often! What you are doing here at Heartwood is excellent. I wonder if you would like any of the topics I cover on my site ‘Your Guitar Tutor’. I have been teaching beginners for many years now and have had a great tim along the way!



  6. Great points there Rob. I’ve been teaching guitar 25 years and never thought about using pencil lead as a lubricant! I’ve also never tried Gertlitz Guitar Honey either, something I definitely plan to do. It may be another subject all together but the brand of strings used is important. Some of them have glaring differences. That and stretching the strings real good to keep them in tune. Nothing worse than putting on new strings and then fighting with them till they’re broke in. Some of my students have complained about that.

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