Time To Tune-Up … Your Heart

So, its that time again. You pick up your guitar and sit down to play or practice. What’s the first thing you do? Tune your guitar of course. If your guitar is out of tune, then every sound coming from your guitar will be off.

I have a great friend who uses the guitar as an analogy for our lives. Jonathan Dubuse Jr, shared with me, that if we want to stay in tune with God, then we need to continually tune up our hearts and minds. Staying in tune doesn’t happen by itself. Just like our guitar, the more it gets , played, moved, abused, effected by the temperature and weather, it continually needs to be re-tuned. Our lives are the same way. We all have the best tuner money can buy to do this … it’s the Bible. The Word of God is our life tuner. It lets us know if we’re flat and tells us if we’re sharp.

Galations 5:25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Enjoy this video of Jonathan Dubose Jr on guitar …

If your life is playing a bit out of tune, then pull out your tuner!

Tutorial – How He Loves by John Mark McMillan

You know a worship song has arrived when its being redone by lots of different artists on lots of different albums.  John Mark McMillan’s song,   How He Loves is one of those songs.  I checked Amazon and I can see it recorded by David Crowder, Jared Anderson, Lake Hills Church, Northstar Worship and many more.

The song is simple to play with only four chords (C, F, G, Am7) but its effect as a worship song can be great.  As John states in his tutorial video below, its the dynamics that really make this song go.  I would add that its the opening and pouring out of the worshiper’s heart that makes this song so  powerful and intimate.

Here are the chord variations that John Mark uses, as mentioned in the video:

C   - x32010
F/A - x03010 (substitute for Am or Am7)
F   - x33010 (variation of F with open G and E strings Fmaj9 no3)
G   - 320001

How He Loves by John Mark McMillan

Verse 1
He is jealous for me loves like a hurricane
I am a tree bending beneath
The weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden I am unaware of
These afflictions eclipsed by glory
I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me

Oh how He loves us so
Oh how He loves us
How He loves us so

Yeah He loves us
Oh how He loves us

Verse 2
So we are His portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean we’re all sinking
So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
And I don’t have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way that

Changing Strings

Changing strings is like changing the oil in your car.  You need to do it to maintain your vehicle … or in this case, your guitar.  Personally, I’m terrible with changing my guitar strings regularly.  So, why should we be diligent with changing our guitar strings?

Why you should change your strings regularly?
My top reason would have to be the sound.  When strings get old, they simply don’t sound good.  They don’t stay in tune and they lose their intonation.  Strings also break over time, and its quite embarrassing to be playing in front of friends or church and have your strings break.  Also, finger sludge on your guitar strings just isn’t cool. 

How often should I change my strings?
The real answer to this is “it depends”.  It depends on a number of factors such as the type of strings you use, how much do you play, how hard do you play, how sweaty or oily your hands are while playing, etc.

When should I change my guitar strings?
There are a number of signs to look and listen for.

  • deadened tone
  • decreased sustain
  • intonation is effected making chords sound out of tune
  • noticeable dirt and grime on strings
  • noticeable wear on strings at fret locations
  • string(s) breaking

What kind of strings should I use?
Type of strings depends a few things.  The type of guitar you have, the sound you like and the way it feels.  First and foremost, you should use strings designed for your type of guitar.  If you have an electric, you should use strings designed for electric guitar.  If you have an acoustic, likewise.

Strings have various materials used in their construction and manufacturers also use different techniques which effect sound, strength and tone.  Classical guitars use nylon strings for the E-B-G strings.  Acoustic strings can be made of bronze and brass with additions of zinc, copper or tin.  The ratio of materials effect the tone.  Electric strings are made of stainless steel, nickel plated or pure nickel due to the magnetic response of the pickups.  Then there’s a whole slew of manufacturers using various coatings on the strings to prolong life and tone (ie: Elixir nanweb and polyweb strings)

How do you decide which to use?  It really comes down to your preference.  It would be great if the stores had your exact guitar strung up with different types of strings, but that isn’t likely.  So trial and error may be the only way  to find out.  Whenever you change strings choose a different brand or style and make note of the sets you like the best.

Does string gauge matter?
Absolutely!  String gauge is simply the measurement of string thickness.  Thicker strings produce more sound due to their mass which is why many players depend on thicker guage strings for better tone.  Tone is great, but if thicker strings make it harder for you to do bends or cleanly fret your chords, it may not be a good move.  Also, changing your string gauge will effect your guitar’s setup (intonation, neck bow, etc).  If you change string gauges, it would be wise to get your guitar set-up again.

OK, I’ve changed my strings, now what?
This is the easy part … play … and play some more.

Guides to Changing Strings:

What are your favorite strings and
How often do you change your guitar strings?