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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 5599
14/02/2006 9:19 pm  

There's lots of ways to tune besides the old standard fret the 5th fret (except G string fret the 4th) and harmonics.

For instance, play the bass E string open and fret the 7th fret on the A string. I have always found this far more accurate. You do the same on all strings except when you play the open G string you must fret the 8th fret of the B string.

I have used a tuner for years, it is the quickest way. Also, your ears get tired sometimes and your perception of pitch is not so sharp.

My favorite way of manual tuning is simply pluck two strings open at once, like the open bass E and open A strings. This is an interval of a 4th. You just listen carefully. This is the only way I know how to describe it, but I just match up the vibrations. If you hear a wobble, they are out of tune. If they are perfectly in sync, they are in tune. This is an easy and very accurate way to tune once you get used to it. Try it, you'll like it. :D

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


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(@pvtele)
Reputable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 483
14/02/2006 9:28 pm  

Tuning with harmonics is more accurate than tuning with fretted notes.

...take your guitar and knock a string out of tune so that the difference is about one beat per second when tuning by fret. Now, without touching the tuning peg, play the two harmonics together - it'll be a few times faster.

Yay physics!

So it does :shock:

Oh well - live & learn. Still don't care for the method myself - and since my electric's always plugged into a processor with a built-in chromatic tuner ...

(Yes I still tune my acoustic with a tuning fork - 440 Hz at the 5th fret top string and work down - but only when I have to :wink: )


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(@hummerlein)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 168
14/02/2006 10:30 pm  

Thanks Hummerlein - I knew there was a way to do it, just couldn't think what it was..

:D :D :D

Vic

Glad to help :)


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(@undercat)
Prominent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 963
14/02/2006 11:06 pm  

My favorite way of manual tuning is simply pluck two strings open at once, like the open bass E and open A strings. This is an interval of a 4th. You just listen carefully. This is the only way I know how to describe it, but I just match up the vibrations. If you hear a wobble, they are out of tune. If they are perfectly in sync, they are in tune. This is an easy and very accurate way to tune once you get used to it. Try it, you'll like it. :D
Funny, I just got introduced to this one a few weeks ago, and yeah, I really like it. I was skeptical at first, thinking that since my ear isn't perfect I wouldn't be able to do it, but no, it's easy and it impresses your friends for bonus points. :roll:

Do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life...


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(@misanthrope)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2268
15/02/2006 11:54 am  

My favourite way is still to rake down slowly through Am/G... but then I love that chord :)

ChordsAndScales.co.uk - Guitar Chord/Scale Finder/Viewer


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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 5599
15/02/2006 11:32 pm  

One thing I forgot to say, tuning with harmonics only works well if your intonation is correct.

Of course, if your intonation is off no method works particularly well. You might tune the traditional way fretting the 5th fret, and your open chords will sound good. But chords up the neck will sound terrible. But if your intonation is off and you use harmonics, probably no chords anywhere will sound right.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


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(@sparrow-aka-honor-roller)
Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 55
17/02/2006 8:39 pm  

knowing the intervals is a great feeling, when i started out i couldn't even tell an octave. i think intervals and then harmonics like hummerlein said works best, and you can check chords or triads you're accustomed to.


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(@amira)
Trusted Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 78
18/02/2006 6:50 am  

ps: dammit, how come my "quotes" never work! :(

i think it's cos you've got one too many opening tags at the start of the post you're quoting and then an extra closing one after your post which you dont need. just remember: you need ONE SET of opening and closing tags around the post you are quoting (the opening tag will have = members name in it in speech marks "" and the closing tag wont - it will just say /quote in the square brackets) and then nothing around yours - that will be done automatically when you click submit.

not being able to give any guitar advice it feels good to be able to solve a problem on here... :D


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(@gnease)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 5058
19/02/2006 6:51 pm  

One thing I forgot to say, tuning with harmonics only works well if your intonation is correct.

Of course, if your intonation is off no method works particularly well. You might tune the traditional way fretting the 5th fret, and your open chords will sound good. But chords up the neck will sound terrible. But if your intonation is off and you use harmonics, probably no chords anywhere will sound right.

Yeah Wes, you've hit on half the problem with harmonic tuning. As seductive as it is to those educated with phyics :wink:, it's easy to forget that it is best for tuning if one intends to play only open string harmonics. As soon as one starts fretting notes, it becomes obvious on many guitars that harmonic tuning alone is not going to cut it. The additional reason for harmonic tuning's frequent inaccuracy is because of nut height issues -- usually a bigger problem on acoustics than electrics, and very common on high end guitars as well and medium and low enders. Even on a properly set up guitar, low fret notes on the higher strings typically come out slightly sharp. I'll toss it over to the physics (and mechanics) students to figure out why.

When using any method of tuning, it is a good idea to check a few chords or fretted intervals after the initial tuning and adjust tuning to sweeten as required. Usually, one will will know what needs to be done for a particular guitar after some experience with it. This even applies to use of electronic tuners.

BTW, there is one respect in which harmonic tuning is superior: It looks/sounds cooler to the audience.

-=tension & release=-


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(@sparrow-aka-honor-roller)
Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 55
19/02/2006 11:32 pm  

some people also say it works better with lots of distortion?


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(@hummerlein)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 168
19/02/2006 11:42 pm  

some people also say it works better with lots of distortion?

Yes, try it some time. You can hear the wobbling a lot easier, then get it just so they melt into one note.

The reason I like tuning with harmonics better than fretting a string and checking that way is that both strings are open with the harmonics, so you can be re-tuning the string while the harmonic is still ringing out. Doing that while fretting is a hassle.

That's why for drop D i suggest just hitting your low E and your open D and de-tuning your E until they match. Really simple since both are open strings and stuff.


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 lars
(@lars)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1121
20/02/2006 8:11 am  

Stick with your electronic tuner, VM - why walk when you can ride?

Huh? For the sake of practice of course! :)

Learned to tune violin (in fifths G D A E) when I was a kid. Tuning a guitar felt somewhat easier.
I've never had a tuner. I'm sure I could get used to use it though - suddenly new things seem indispensable (mobile phones spring to mind...).

Lars *old and reactive today*

...only thing I know how to do is to keep on keepin' on...LARS kolberg http://www.facebook.com/sangerersomfolk


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(@tinsmith)
Prominent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 830
20/02/2006 12:03 pm  

I only use a tuner to get in "concert" tuning. Otherwise, I use mostly alternate tuning.
Tuners are new for me. When I was a kid we used a harmonica, which is what I used until about five years ago.


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(@misanthrope)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2268
20/02/2006 1:30 pm  

While we're on the topic, it's a good idea to always tune up to the correct pitch from below, rather than down from above. It helps the guitar stay in tune for longer, especially when tuning more than one string at a time and altering the tension on the neck.

I'm not entirely sure why it works (I'd guess that it's to do with the gears settling in a way that takes more effort to overcome the initial friction and start slipping), and it's not really an issue on most guitars, but it's worth getting into the habit just for the next time you're using someone else's beaten up el cheapo :)

ChordsAndScales.co.uk - Guitar Chord/Scale Finder/Viewer


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(@tinsmith)
Prominent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 830
20/02/2006 3:26 pm  

Good point & true for me also.


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