Author: Lange, David

Instrument tuning in a pinch, then?
When it comes to instrument tuning, musicians often use a tuner to tune each string with precision. And sometimes they use a method called ?relative tuning?. Let?s use the guitar as an example. As long as you can get one string in tune, you can tune the remainder of the strings off of that string. Unless you have an extraordinary ear, you will need a tuning fork, a piano, recorded music, or another instrument that is in tune, so you can find that note to start with. So what if your guitar is out of tune and you don?t have any of those options available?

Well, Ma Bell is looking out for us. The dial tone on land line phones is usually in the key of ?F?. Of course, there could be some challenges tuning from a telephone?... As an example, a speaker phone is probably essential. And it could get a bit awkward trying to maneuver with your guitar in a phone booth.

Apparently there are actually phone numbers throughout the world you can call that provide a variety of tones for tuning purposes. I stopped short of researching those phone numbers ?.but??. once again as your investigative reporter, I couldn?t resist looking around the house for something in key? .. So tuner in hand, I began my exploration.

Hmmm? Let?s start with the truck horn. Oh ya, that?s a great way to maintain a good relationship with the neighbors? I could not do this one without some help. Of course my kids are willing to help me whenever I ask; and they did this time. Need someone to lay on the horn while I climb under the hood. I would bet that their discussion following this experiment was down the lines of whether dad is finally loosing it. Now, my tuner is sometimes slow to respond. Not this time. I thought the needle was going to fly off of its pin. The horn turned out to be a very sharp ?D?.

I moved on to a number of appliances with no luck of getting even close. I stopped short of trying the smoke alarm??In the end, now obsessed with finding a solid note somewhere in the house, I headed to the kitchen, got a glass, and figured out just the right amount of water to get a ?G? when taping the glass with a spoon. For those of you taking notes, I used about a half cup of water in a one and a half cup glass. End of experiment?

I don?t think I have taken on such a ridiculous venture since I vocally harmonized with a malfunctioning high voltage transformer on a power pole years ago. No, I didn?t climb the pole to do this.

Now I would like to take this opportunity to share a very exciting upcoming event with you. The 48 Hour Jam in Bakersfield. This event is timed perfectly? a week after the holidays (so you have had a chance to recover). I look forward to attending this jamming marathon, and hope to see you there if you can make it! Below are some helpful details and contact info if you need more information. Hope to see you there!

On January 9-10, the California Bluegrass Association will host a 2-day jam
in Bakersfield, CA.

All Bluegrass pickers and grinners are invited to enjoy two days of indoor jamming at the Doubletree Hotel - no band performances, no shows - just 48 hours of jamming! (There may be some outdoor jamming, weather permitting).

The Doubletree is a beautiful venue just off Hwy 99 and close to restaurants, including Buck Owens' Crystal Palace.

The Doubletree has set aside a block of rooms, at a special rate of $89 a night, and three rooms just for jamming.

Those who attended this event last year can attest to the casual atmosphere and spontaneity of the unstructured schedule. The absence of professional performers also means no admission charges for the event.

Saturday evening there will be a band scramble and open mic in the hotel lounge from nine to midnight.

It is hoped that the Bakersfield location will encourage participation by Bluegrassers from Southern California as well as those from "up North".

The special room rate is good until Dec. 7. Call the hotel at 661-323-7111. Reference "Bluegrass" and "48 Hour Jam"

For more information, contact Duane Campbell at
or go to the CBA website at

Wait! There?s more!

On the evening before the 48 Hour Jam, Jan. 8, the Kern County Sheriff's Activities League and the Kiwanis of East Bakersfield present A Night of
Bluegrass benefit dinner and concert featuring The Steep Canyon Rangers. This event will also be held at the Doubletree Hotel, social hour at 6 p.m., dinner at 7, and the concert at 8. Tickets are $40. For tickets or information, call 661-589-8249 or 661-391-7771.

Attend the dinner-concert and get a head start on 48 Hour Jam II ! (Ask the hotel for the special room rate for Thursday night as well).

Don't miss if you can help it!

Till the next time?..

p.s. Hmmm? I wonder if the ice machine at the Double Tree has a tone?.. the hair dryer?
The elevator bell?
Posted:  11/16/2008

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