Alternate Tuning

I’m playing the guitar again after many years. (I want to be a songwriter when I grow up.) Being a metaphorian I see the similarities between the instrument and life. Both require tension to make music. Too tight and the string snaps; too loose and the notes are flat.

Strings are tuned separately but strummed together. So it is with the physical, spiritual, relational, sexual, financial and emotional aspects of life. Each area is constantly tweaked by our circumstances and our psyche.

Tension is necessary but painful. The word is synonymous with strain, stress, pressure, tautness and anxiety. Muscles hurt after exercise; the heart aches when separated from loved ones; the soul burns with unrequited desire.

When the strain gets too intense we desperately grab for the tuning pegs—but they’re often out of reach.

At worst, we can go completely out of tune or pop strings. Others are offended by the jangle and leave us alone; a fate that feels worse than death.

Or we can accept that life sometimes shifts to alternate tuning rich with minor and diminished 7th chords, e.g. the blues.


Not my favorite kind of music.

It’s hard to dance to.

3 thoughts on “Alternate Tuning

  1. The Bauls of India use a single stringed instrument. Strumming is done with fingers. Watch this beautiful video of Parvathi Baul singing. The song is about God always. Some more of her songs are available on youtube.

  2. Glad you’re picking up the old axe after all these years. I am playing more than ever, in worship band at church, doing weddings and occasional shows with my son Adam and his wife. If you come out here, let’s jam.

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