Just had to share my brief, but embarrassing story of a man, his guitar and a poorly calibrated tuner.
I was all hyped and ready to play an outdoor gig. It was a cavalcade of artists, so my band only had two songs to worry about. We had practiced them a lot, were tight and ready to go. Being as it was an Autumn day in NY state, there was a slight nip in the air on an otherwise sunny day. But the guitar was in its case, in the shade. I had a half hour to be back stage and cued up, so I was constantly tuning. I noticed that, as I was tuning using a clip-on with it set to chromatic, each string was off by a step sharp. I assumed it was the cold air, so I brought everything back down to what it should be. Or so I thought.
With no time to warm up and my bass player's rig already on stage, I figured all was cool since he had just played a song with somebody else and it sounded fine and in tune. So, I relaxed and enjoyed the other acts that went on before me, tweaking my tuning now and then.
So, we get up there, start playing and...
something's wrong. I look at him and ask "What key are you in?" He says, "Eb". I think, "me too". So, what was wrong. I did have a capo on since it's easier to play Eb as a D. But I moved the capo up one fret and we finally matched. So, after a quick joke to the audience, we went ahead with the song.
Then came the second blunder. The next song was in E major, but I, like a fool, took off the capo and the same mess ensued. What was I thinking? Brain fart.
So, I quickly put it back on the first fret and we matched again.
Once I figured out the solution in each case we played the songs quite well. But stopping them midstream and starting up again always seemed like a mortal sin. But maybe a worse sin is playing through and sounding lousy all the way. Or worse than that, feeling defeated and leaving the stage without entertaining anyone.
In any case, I figured out what went wrong. Ironically, I joked just prior to going on stage how I would set my tuning to A-441. I didn't. But what I hadn't noticed was a little "b icon" next to it. I had never used or even known about that option. It had eluded me. Lesson learned. That being said, I'm going to use the "guitar" setting from now on.
Funny, a line in the chorus of the song we sang was "Keep it simple, stupid..." I should have followed my own advice.
So, what's your story? Don't be shy. You're among friends. Look at is as group therapy. I know I feel better already.