Sandra Dodd

Lori Odhner wrote this. I've heard her play guitar many times. I know her husband. It's not really about guitar tuners, but the name of it is "Guitar Tuner."

I have been playing the guitar since before I could drive. The technique for tuning the strings is simple enough. Pluck the E string with a finger on the fifth fret and match the pitch to the neighboring string. Proceed across the fretboard with only a minor deviation at the third string. Not rocket science, except that we are talking about the ability to discern flats and sharps. There have been a few awkward moments when I was performing for a crowd and did not tune up correctly ahead of time, and had to stop to turn the white pegs while people looked at their shoes and coughed. Not a tragedy when you are sitting in the dark cooking marshmallows but in church it takes the reverence down a notch.

There were times I would like to forget when the guitar was out of tune but I had already plunged into the song and decided that correction was a lost cause. I sang louder and mentally apologized to the folks with sensitive ears. Other times it was not actually my fault, like when a curious child standing next to mom singing decided to find out what happens when they swivel those knobs that just happen to be eye level with a four year old.

At some point someone cooler than me taught me about harmonics and I started tuning that way but actually I prefer the fifth fret system.

Then a few Christmases ago John bought me a magical device that clamps onto the head of the instrument and digitizes the whole process. I push a button, and pluck a string. The gizmo tells me not only if it is on pitch but whether it is high or low. I keep playing until I get the green light. Instant and accurate feedback. A deaf person could tune it. Probably Beethoven had one.

The other day a friend vented to me about her other half. I listened, as is my custom, without advice. Then she flat out asked me.

"Am I being reasonable?"

My mind reeled. She was inviting me to respond. I chose my words carefully.

"I can see how you are frustrated with him for not being a better listener. Does he go to work faithfully every day?"


"Good father?"


"Helps around the house?"

"All the time, really."

I paused to let her hear her own answers.

"Maybe you could find a friend to listen to you, and not expect him to."

She twisted her mouth and nodded slightly, like when the wheels are turning inside your head.

I wonder if a brilliant inventor could patent a relationship tuner. We could speak into it and get immediate information about whether our words were flat or sharp. Sometimes my children chime in with their opinions.

"Mom, get over it. You are making a big deal over nothing."

"Do you intend to sound so frosty?"

At least it gives me a chance to start over. And it is easier to take correction from a gizmo.

Sandra Dodd

While just about everything about unschooling can improve marriages by making people more thoughtful and considerate.

I have additions to a couple of my pages about divorce (which are really about preventing and avoiding and discouraging divorce):

Added (second item there) to divorce prevention page:
Something BIG happens when a person turns away from selfishness to service.
Something HUGE happens when a person can care about another person more than about himself. (and more)

Cleaned up and linked elsewhere, an obscure page for helping prevent divorce: