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Guitar set-up by a pro...

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(@corbind)
Noble Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 1735
 

Setting the bridge saddles forward/backward to let your guitar "precisely" play notes along the string. It also involves (often) adjusting the height of the saddles to accomplish that goal.

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


   
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(@trguitar)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3709
 

+1 because ordinary tuners just don't have the accuracy for a fine intonation.

Do you use a strobe tuner to tune when you play? Cause out of tune is out of tune. :P

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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(@misanthrope)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 2261
 

+1 because ordinary tuners just don't have the accuracy for a fine intonation.

Do you use a strobe tuner to tune when you play? Cause out of tune is out of tune. :P
My intonation can be hideously out when my tuner(s) says there's nothing wrong with it - they have a window of Hz that they'll call in tune and it's far too wide for my liking, or for me to set intonation anything better than ballpark. I can do intonation better by ear, but I think I've come up with a method for doing it perfectly by ear - more on that when I find where the wife/kids have hidden my allen keys :roll: :wink:

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


   
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(@trguitar)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3709
 

Exactly my point! I'll use my cheap digital tuner to get close as I can and from there I trust my ears. I do the same thing when I tune up. If it sounds off to my ear I tweak it. If the intonation doesn't sound off to my ear, then how can I notice anything wrong when I'm playing? I cant. You can spend the big bucks to have it done to the micron in a guitar shop, but if the shops humidity and temperature are different from your house, you bring it home and guess what? For now, it's close enough for me. If I were to start a business and charge people to do setups, by all means I'd be buying a strobe tuner. I can't argue that it is not more acurate. It is. That is what you are paying for when you spend that kind of money to have your guitar setup. For me, with 20+ guitars? It's DIY all the way.
Nobody will set your guitar up as well as you do once you learn. Plus, it will save you lots of money.

Wes
I +1 that! 8)

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

I can do intonation better by ear

Probably not. Our ear hears notes as being "in tune" when the frequencies are in agreement, and in a tempered scale, only the octaves are "in tune" - all the other notes are off, some a little (like fifths), some a lot (like thirds).

As you go higher up the fretboard, intonation gets farther off, for reasons of geometry and math that I won't get into here. A luthier is usually going to use the 12th fret harmonic to get close, then the 19th and/or 24th fret to dial it in. The result should be a string that's "in tune" with the frets well within the average limit of human hearing.

When I say "average limit", it's not truly average. The most recent study I've read on the ability to hear sub-cent differences in tone didn't use an "average" population - it used 30 concert violinists.

Anyway, a shop with a strobe tuner is probably going to get your intonation set so the first 12 frets are off less than quarter cent. Even the exceptional concert violinists didn't hear that well - they'd start picking up the "out of tune" notes around the 17th fret.

When people say they can set intonation better by ear, one of two things is usually happening... either they have old strings, which can make individual notes out of tune because of the mass distribution... or their ears are picking up the out-of-tune aspects of the tempered scale, and they're making the guitar "in tune" by moving notes closer to the Pythagorean scale.

But that makes your octaves slightly out of tune, because of fretboard geometry.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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(@misanthrope)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 2261
 

I expect you're right, that makes mucho sense. It's probably even both those things, as it's usually a third that grates and makes me tweak tuning and I use old strings as much as I can (I don't do jangle!). But, if I get it as close as I can with the tuner, I can still hear things that sound out all over the place. If I then refine it by ear it removes some of those problems and lessens others, whether that be closer to pythagorean or equal temperement. I'm a nerd, I love to understand theory, but at the end of the day practice wins out for me :)

Perhaps you could give me a little insight into the idea I'm going to try out tonight? (or rather, going to try out whenever I've found those damned allen keys...)

Basically, I can be much more accurate with tuning when playing a unison or an octave (using the beat note) than I can when I'm playing two notes in quick succession. What I thought to do was, to set the A string for instance, tune the E as perfectly as possible, then tune the A string to that with an octave - so open E against E on the 7th fret of the A string. Using the beat note I can get that pretty much spot on. I then play the 12th fret harmonic on the open E against E on the 19th fret of the A string. If there's no beat the intonation on the A is good, and if there is a beat, the direction and amount I have to tune the A string to remove it will tell me whether to lengthen or shorten the string and give me a good idea of how much by. It's basically the same principles, but using beat notes instead of the single, alternating note you get from comparing 12th fret to 12th fret harmonic. What do you reckon? Theoretically sound or have I missed something?

*Edit* Works for me! The beat note is not as strong when playing a note against a harmonic so you need plenty of volume, but I think the result is worth the extra hassle...

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


   
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(@mrjonesey)
Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 470
 

I guess my ear is just not that sophisticated. If my tuner shows that it's in tune open and in the 12th, then it sounds pretty good to me all over the fretboard. It doesn't bother me one bit and I very, very, very highly doubt that the vast majority of listeners can tell if my tuning is a micron or two off. There are so many variable when playing with temp, humidity, string stretch/relax, whatever, that I usually have to adjust a couple of times during a gig anyway. And I don't use a strobe tuner then either, so it's probably not "exact."

Do what you want, but I'd rather save my cash and spend it on more gear.

Jim

"There won't be any money. But when you die, on your death bed, you will receive total conciousness. So, I got that going for me. Which is nice." - Bill Murray, Caddyshack ~~ Michigan Music Dojo - http://michiganmusicdojo.com ~~


   
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(@corbind)
Noble Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 1735
 

+1 because ordinary tuners just don't have the accuracy for a fine intonation.

Do you use a strobe tuner to tune when you play? Cause out of tune is out of tune. :P

I use my Peterson strobe tuner every time I pick up my guitar as well as the tuner from my multieffects pedalboard. I look at both while I'm tuning up.

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


   
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(@dubyatf)
Trusted Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 64
 

+1 because ordinary tuners just don't have the accuracy for a fine intonation.

Do you use a strobe tuner to tune when you play? Cause out of tune is out of tune. :P

I use my Peterson strobe tuner every time I pick up my guitar as well as the tuner from my multieffects pedalboard. I look at both while I'm tuning up.

I almost told Santa I wanted a Strobo-Flip for Christmas but I chickened out and opted for a Red Ryder BB gun. I'm just wondering if you got a 'flip or a 'stomp or other Peterson ($$$$) and how you liked it for set ups (and just tuning in general). Ease of use? Looking at the the specs - the Petersons seem like the bees knees!

I'm looking forward to doing my own setups after reading Dan Erhlwhine's book (How to make Your Electric Guitar Play Great) and a good tuner would probably help.


   
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(@corbind)
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Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 1735
 

I highly recommend any Peterson tuner. I think the one I use is discontinued. All of them are good, but I'd recommend this one:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/StroboStomp2/

I'd guess they are around $200, but they are accurate to 1/10th of a cent! That's about 30x more accurate than most tuners! :shock:

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


   
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