Skip to content

Forum

Notifications
Clear all

Isn't it amazing how the simplest thing.....

Page 1 / 2

(@catsworth)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 104
Topic starter  

.....can really give your playing a boost?

I went out shopping today and, as always, had a trawl around my local music shop.

<Hands up if you don't know how this is going to end>

Well....you guessed it.....I had an attack of GAS and (in a moment of supreme weakness) splashed out on a Boss TU-2 chromatic tuner.

It's amazing, knowing that my guitar is in tune (properly in tune, not just in tune with itself) has given me a lot more confidence and made me feel better about my practicing. I'm finding it easier to learn the songs that I want to learn because when I'm playing it right it actually sounds right.

So.....all you lazy so-and-sos that haven't bothered to buy one yet.....get out and buy a guitar tuner now!

Honestly, you won't regret it.....well, apart from the fact that I now have (for the first time since I started playing again) blisters on my fingers :P

Rumour has it that if you play Microsoft CDs backwards you will hear Satanic messages.

Worse still, is that if you play them forwards they will install Windows.


Quote
(@dneck)
Honorable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 632
 

there is nothing that sounds worse then a guitar 99% in tune!

"And above all, respond to all questions regarding a given song's tonal orientation in the following manner: Hell, it don't matter just kick it off!"
-Chris Thile


ReplyQuote
(@catsworth)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 104
Topic starter  

Sure there is.....

Me playing a guitar that is 99% in tune ;)

Rumour has it that if you play Microsoft CDs backwards you will hear Satanic messages.

Worse still, is that if you play them forwards they will install Windows.


ReplyQuote
(@ignar-hillstrom)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5384
 

Is that the one with the build-in metronome, if so then I think we might be using the same tuner. Amazing, if anyone had said I'd one day use the same tuner as catsworth I wouldn't have believed him. ;)

Anyway, tuners rock. Espescially if you keep on tuning the guitar first by ear, and then by tuner, you'll find yourself not just with the confidence of knowing you're in tune but also discover that your ear has improved a lot as a result of constantly playing a properly tuned guitar. Ofcourse, after that you might find yourself able to tune by ear, which is where the metronome steps in. After all, I'm sure you'd feel mightily hornswoggled if that would not have been included.


ReplyQuote
(@phinnin)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 138
 

Boss TU Tuner = The first pedal every electric guitarist should buy.


ReplyQuote
(@catsworth)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 104
Topic starter  

Arjen: Alas, we are not using the same tuner for mine does not have the built-in metronome. I hadn't thought about tuning by ear and then tuning with the pedal, and using that as a method for training your ear.....sounds like a great idea to me.

Phinnin: /signed Couldn't agree with you more :)

Rumour has it that if you play Microsoft CDs backwards you will hear Satanic messages.

Worse still, is that if you play them forwards they will install Windows.


ReplyQuote
(@ignar-hillstrom)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5384
 

I figured out the mistake: I use the TU80. And while that is a much more spectacular name ofcourse then the rather bland 'TU2' it actually is a much cheaper device. It's not even a pedal. Have fun with it, that indeed is a great pedal to have. :)


ReplyQuote
(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5599
 

I have owned the TU-2 about 5 years now and it is a great tuner. It is great for gigging because the display is very bright and easy to see in the dark, and I also like the mute feature that allows you to tune without being heard. This tuner has so many features, but I simply use Chromatic tuning.

I also bought the AC adaptor and the "daisy chain" cable that allows you to power up to 9 other pedals off the TU2. In reality, you can only power maybe 5 unless you have small pedals that are mounted very close together. But I have used my TU-2 to power all my other pedals many times, works great. It also works on a wide variety, I have powered Arion, DOD, Danelectro, and other pedals, worked great on them all.

This pedal is also very reliable. I had trouble with mine only once when a drink was spilled on it. It went a little wacky. I took it home and took it apart, sprayed the insides with glass cleaner and allowed it to dry. That was about a year ago and it's still going strong.

Have fun. It's nice to play in tune. :D

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


ReplyQuote
 Faza
(@faza)
Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 25
 

Electronic tuners are a godsend, especially if you play live and have to tune up quickly in a noisy enviroment. However, don't neglect your ears - after you tune up with the tuner (especially at home, when you have the time and leisure) play through some tuning sequences (the 4th/5th fret one, or some harmonics) and listen to how it sounds. Try several - unless your guitar is set up perfectly chances are that tuning will be out somewhere. A tuner only checks whether your open strings are in tune - it does not ensure that every note on the fingerboard is.

The way I usually tune up is that I use a tuner first and then run a quick harmonic sequence and try a couple of chords. I've learned the response of my guitar, so I know where to look for tuning glitches and how to eliminate them. If I were to rely solely on the tuner, there would be places that are not quite there - especially once the strings get a bit older - and since I wouldn't have worked on developing my ear for spotting these problems, I would never know! But someone in the audience or the band always would...

Viridian on MySpace


ReplyQuote
(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5599
 

Faza

If after you tune your open strings you find the guitar out of tune up the neck, you probably need to check your intonation. And a good tuner is invaluable for this as well.

I will tune a string to pitch with my tuner, and then fret that same string at the 12th fret. Some use harmonics, but I have found this method not to be accurate. So I fret the same string at the 12th fret with the normal pressure I play with. If the fretted note is sharp (very normal), then I loosen the string and move the saddle back. I retune the string and try the note again. I keep going in this method until I get almost a perfect match between the open string and note fretted at the 12th.

If the fretted note is flat (rare), then I loosen the string and move the saddle forward toward the headstock. Again, tune up to pitch and compare the open string with the note at the 12th.

Then go to the next string and do the same thing.

If you get your intonation correct, your chords will sound beautiful and in-tune wherever you play on the neck.

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


ReplyQuote
 Faza
(@faza)
Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 25
 

Wes: Of course, I know all about setting intonation, that's why I mentioned the guitar being set up perfectly. :) I also know all about the fact that all methods of setting intonation are at best an approximation. The basic method you have outlined should ensure that the note at the twelfth fret is in tune - the action of the strings at nut and bridge, incorrect neck bow, fret wear, the age and wear on the strings can all have a hand in throwing the intonation out elsewhere.

The procedure I mentioned above takes into account the fact that the scale length of each string (set by changing the saddle position) is set to the optimum. The adjustments I then make are small and account for miniscule imperfections. The point I was making is: use your tuner, but don't rely on it to end all your tuning problems. Listen with your ears, not your eyes. Whenever a chord or note sounds wrong on stage, the audience won't care that "it's alright on the tuner" and the only way you can be sure it will sound good is by listening. :D

Since you did mention setting intonation, here's some advice I read on the subject (and now use regularly :) ), from Johnny Smith: after setting first string intonation by whatever method (he recommends checking the harmonic vs. the fretted note on the 19th fret), check the intervals on the second string with the open first string. Going through a sequence of 5th fret, 9th fret, 12th fret, 17th fret on the second string, playing the open first string underneath (remembering, of course, to tune the second string 5th fret precisely to the open first string ;) ) you are in fact outlining a major chord (root, major third, fifth, octave). Listen to each interval, to see whether it is in tune and make adjustments at the saddle to compensate. Repeat the sequence for each consecutive pair of strings, lowering it a step on the G string - 4th, 8th, 11th, 16th frets respectively. This is a better method than simply setting the intonation at the twelfth fret since:
- it goes through several positions, so you have a idea how good the intonation is all over the fretboard
- it checks strings against each other, instead of setting each to be in tune with itself. The time most people really hear tuning problems is when you play intervals or chords, so this is an important reality check.

Another useful reality check that I use when setting intonation, is playing open chord forms at the twelfth fret (open G is especially useful, since it has a lot of open strings). If they sound okay, I can be pretty certain that the guitar is in tune all over.

Finally, an important thing to remember: guitars - no matter how good and how well set up - do go out of tune all the time, for various reasons. You should be alert to this fact and for that you have to train your ears to hear it. Using a tuner is no guarantee that you will always be in tune. Hearing that you are, is. :D

Viridian on MySpace


ReplyQuote
(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5599
 

Faza

I agree with some of what you said. The problem with ears is that they get tired just like every other muscle in the body. Playing a gig especially, long hours at loud volume, most tend to go a little tone deaf. I know this happens to me, and not only from listening to loud music for hours, but sometimes just because I am tired. So, I tend to trust my tuner more than my ears. Yes, I can tell when my guitar goes out of tune, but I usually trust my tuner to get it back in tune, especially after playing a long period of time.

And I also agree that intonation can never be 100% perfect. But the method I gave is very good. I do not constantly go all over my guitar listening for notes that are barely out. You will wear out your tuners doing that, you will be tuning constantly. But if your guitar is set up well, using the method I gave your chords will sound very good all over the guitar.

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


ReplyQuote
 Faza
(@faza)
Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 25
 

Notes that are barely out do add up. :D But seriously, the method you gave is a good starter and I do use it (on the 5th, 12th, 17th and 19th frets) as another reality check. Also, I would not even consider going to a gig without a tuner. ;)

I was merely pointing out that first and foremost we should learn to trust our ears. They do get tired, but like every other part of our body (not least our fingers and brains), they should be trained for endurance as well as precision. One thing that hasn't been mentioned - and should - is that electronic tuners are not infallible. The electronics they use do tend to deteriorate with time and the pitches they show need not be 100% precise. I've personally heard the results of a band where everyone used a different tuner and the results weren't all they could be (it's a good idea for everyone to use the same tuner when performing or recording).

The reason I have gone on on this subject is that I think tuning is a fundamental part of guitar playing. Like proper fingering and picking, it should be learned. Electronic tuners are useful devices, but we shouldn't allow ourselves to come to rely on them exclusively, just as we shouldn't use calculators for all our arithmetic (I've heard of a situation where a clerk in a shop could not add up the groceries being bought because the batteries in her calculator had died). The tuner should be a useful tool that allows us to do a job we could just as well do ourselves, quicker or more conveniently. Learning to tune by ear takes time and effort and an electronic tuner can be of great help here - provided we don't settle for the instrument being in tune simply when the right LEDs light up or whatever.

Viridian on MySpace


ReplyQuote
(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5599
 

Faza

I agree with everything you said this time. Tuners are not infallible. I have noticed that temperature and even humidity can affect them.

At gigs I use the Boss TU-2 tuner this thread is about. But I also have a tuner in my Zoom GFX-1 multi-efx pedal. And they almost never agree. The Boss is always a little flat compared to the Zoom. But I like the Boss better because it seems to pick up a weaker signal from the pickups a little better than the Zoom, plus the display on the Boss is great in the dark.

And I have read articles that say while a tuner is mathematically correct, it is not musically correct. Some people refuse to use tuners for this reason. But I find tuners very useful because the are quick and do not get tired like our ears, and they are close enough. I do not really go overboard on tuning. I used to do that years ago and found I was tuning my guitar more than I played it. I have learned to set up my guitars very well and set the intonation very accurately. They sound very good, in-tune and musical. And another advantage of tuners is that you get used to playing in tune, I can hear when my guitar is out of tune better now than I could years ago when I tuned with a pitch-pipe (didn't really have guitar tuners when I started).

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


ReplyQuote
 Oric
(@oric)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 87
 

I have an electronic tuner, but I normally just go for my keyboard, and tune to that.


ReplyQuote
Page 1 / 2