Another tuning question for dummies

Y'all come on in and sit a spell. All things Slide and alternate tuning. Celtic, country...whatever. Get your fill of DADGAD, open G and whatever tickles your fancy. Strictly on topic please.
Post Reply
Thundersloth
newbie
Posts: 30
Joined: September 25th, 2008, 11:23 am
Location: Nevada County, NorCal

Another tuning question for dummies

Post by Thundersloth » October 8th, 2009, 9:16 am

Okay - I know how to tune a half step down. No biggie. However, I'm working on a tab and it's throwing me off...

eb
Bb
F#
C#

Ab
Eb

On my tuner, I can only tune down by using flats (for example, I can hit the flat note button and it'll set it to one step down, twice goes two steps down, etc) and I'm not sure how to tune down to a sharp. How can I tell the difference between an F# and a Gb? I guess my problem in understanding this is only because my tuner only reads EADGBE and it won't show me when I'm in a F, or a C, etc. Any suggestions guys?

Image

- Would I just let it go to 450Hz where it reads #?

User avatar
NoteBoat
Musically Insane
Posts: 5694
Joined: August 9th, 2003, 8:48 pm
Location: SW of Chicago
Contact:

Re: Another tuning question for dummies

Post by NoteBoat » October 8th, 2009, 9:31 am

In 12TET (the technical term for our tuning system - twelve tone equal temperament) there's no difference between F# and Gb. So your tuning is just a half step down, and whoever tabbed it out doesn't have a clue for what notes should be called.

But tuning to 450Hz isn't the answer. That's simply the point where the pitch is getting closer to Bb than it is to A... it doesn't mean it's a Bb, which would be 466.164Hz.

Since your tuner only does the guitar notes, you'll have to tune fretted notes - just slap a capo on the first fret, tune as you would for standard tuning, and then take the capo off. Voila - you've dropped a half step.
Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL

Thundersloth
newbie
Posts: 30
Joined: September 25th, 2008, 11:23 am
Location: Nevada County, NorCal

Re: Another tuning question for dummies

Post by Thundersloth » October 8th, 2009, 10:04 am

Hey thanks a lot, that's the answer I was looking for. Thank you so much for the advice.

...And to think I've been playing it right the whole time!

User avatar
Vic Lewis VL
Albus Dumblechord
Posts: 10862
Joined: April 28th, 2004, 2:54 pm
Location: Newton-le-Willows, England
Contact:

Re: Another tuning question for dummies

Post by Vic Lewis VL » November 2nd, 2009, 5:28 am

I have the exact same tuner (or at least, I did until I left it somewhere!) and the easy answer is....

Press the "flat" button once - you should have a small "b" icon showing. Then tune to EADGBE. Each string will then be a semitone flat.....Eb, Ab, Db (shown in your tab as C#,) Gb (shown as F#,) Bb and Eb when the green light's lit up.

Tom's answer actually begs another question - how do you actually tune a guitar with a capo on? Doesn't the capo - by reason of gripping the strings - physically interfere with the whole process? The way I see it, you'd have to:

1 - pluck note with capo on.
2 - lift capo, or take it off.
3 - adjust tuning.
4 - put capo on.
5 - pluck note and repeat.....

Seems an awfully long-winded way of going about things to me....

:D :D :D

Vic
"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)

User avatar
Vic Lewis VL
Albus Dumblechord
Posts: 10862
Joined: April 28th, 2004, 2:54 pm
Location: Newton-le-Willows, England
Contact:

Re: Another tuning question for dummies

Post by Vic Lewis VL » November 2nd, 2009, 5:43 am

Oh, and an afterthought - I've found with this particular tuner (especially if the batteries aren't brand new, or you're tuning an acoustic through the built in mic....) that it helps if you get close to the tuning you're aiming for by ear, then fine tune with the tuner.

For your Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-Bb-Eb tuning, presuming that you're tuning down from standard EADGBE;

1 - Tune the 6th fret of the bottom E string to the open A string (doesn't have to be bang on, just close...that applies to all strings.)

2 - Tune the open A string to the 5th fret of the bottom E string

3 - Tune the open D string to the 5th fret of the A string

4 - Tune the open G string to the 5th fret of the D string

5 - Tune the open B string to the 4th fret of the G string

6 - Tune the open top E string to the 5th fret of the B string.

Now you should be fairly close - press the flat button, hit the bottom E string - it should show "6E" in the top left hand corner of your display, and if you're lucky either the green light should be showing or one of the two reds, showing you're a touch out. Fine tune it, and repeat the process for the other strings.

:D :D :D

Vic
"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)

Fretsource
Senior Member
Posts: 984
Joined: May 26th, 2006, 6:40 am
Location: Lanarkshire Scotland
Contact:

Re: Another tuning question for dummies

Post by Fretsource » November 2nd, 2009, 6:17 am

Vic Lewis VL wrote:Tom's answer actually begs another question - how do you actually tune a guitar with a capo on? Doesn't the capo - by reason of gripping the strings - physically interfere with the whole process? The way I see it, you'd have to:

1 - pluck note with capo on.
2 - lift capo, or take it off.
3 - adjust tuning.
4 - put capo on.
5 - pluck note and repeat.....
I don't really see the problem, Vic. Why would you have to take the capo off to adjust the tuning? You can still turn the pegs with the capo on. I agree that a tight capo's grip can have an effect, but it's very slight and nothing that a little tweaking can't fix when you finally take it off.

User avatar
Vic Lewis VL
Albus Dumblechord
Posts: 10862
Joined: April 28th, 2004, 2:54 pm
Location: Newton-le-Willows, England
Contact:

Re: Another tuning question for dummies

Post by Vic Lewis VL » November 2nd, 2009, 6:39 am

Fretsource wrote:I don't really see the problem, Vic. Why would you have to take the capo off to adjust the tuning? You can still turn the pegs with the capo on. I agree that a tight capo's grip can have an effect, but it's very slight and nothing that a little tweaking can't fix when you finally take it off.
It was just a thought - I've never actually tried tuning with a capo on. I just felt that the capo would hinder the tuning process by gripping the strings (especially wound bass strings) and making it harder to tune. Could that be a sign that my capo's too tight, perhaps? It is adjustable.

:D :D :D

Vic
"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)

User avatar
dhodge
Musically Insane
Posts: 5733
Joined: June 15th, 2002, 8:21 am
Contact:

Re: Another tuning question for dummies

Post by dhodge » November 2nd, 2009, 8:30 am

Quite often some fine tuning is necessary. Sometimes it's the capo and sometimes it's that the person using it doesn't place it optimally (at a slight angle instead of parallel with the fret). In theory it should be fine, and for most people's ears it is, but it's amazing that when you check it with a tuner it's often slightly off.

Of course, some people do it perfectly every time. Your mileage may vary, as they say...

Peace

User avatar
Vic Lewis VL
Albus Dumblechord
Posts: 10862
Joined: April 28th, 2004, 2:54 pm
Location: Newton-le-Willows, England
Contact:

Re: Another tuning question for dummies

Post by Vic Lewis VL » November 2nd, 2009, 4:49 pm

dhodge wrote:sometimes it's that the person using it doesn't place it optimally (at a slight angle instead of parallel with the fret).
Really? I don't think I've ever come across that particular piece of advice before - or if I have, for some reason it's gone in through one ear and straight out the other! Which way should it be slanted?

:D :D :D

Vic
"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)

User avatar
dhodge
Musically Insane
Posts: 5733
Joined: June 15th, 2002, 8:21 am
Contact:

Re: Another tuning question for dummies

Post by dhodge » November 3rd, 2009, 1:44 am

I've got to stop writing when I'm so tired. I meant that they placed the capo at an angle and not parallel to the frets. Sorry about that.

Peace

User avatar
Ricochet
Guitari Lama
Posts: 8056
Joined: July 20th, 2003, 4:48 pm
Location: Bristol, Tennessee, USA
Contact:

Re: Another tuning question for dummies

Post by Ricochet » November 5th, 2009, 8:52 pm

I'm really tired. I read it and understood it the way you meant it. :D
"A cheerful heart is good medicine."

User avatar
Vic Lewis VL
Albus Dumblechord
Posts: 10862
Joined: April 28th, 2004, 2:54 pm
Location: Newton-le-Willows, England
Contact:

Re: Another tuning question for dummies

Post by Vic Lewis VL » November 6th, 2009, 6:44 am

I must have been tired, too! Makes sense now....

:D :D :D

Vic
"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)

Post Reply