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So you thought you knew how to tune your guitar?

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 lars
(@lars)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1120
Topic starter  

Well you don't

Why?
Because it is impossible :D
Interesting article here:
http://www.endino.com/archive/tuningnightmares.html

lars

...only thing I know how to do is to keep on keepin' on...

LARS kolberg http://www.facebook.com/sangerersomfolk


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

Thanks lars, very interesting read. I have first hand experience of many of these issues on my Marlin since I rescued it from total unplayability - it's fantastic when it's on form, but it's hyper sensitive to just about everything mentioned in that article, and just as my ears are starting to get good enough to be annoyed by it too :roll: :mrgreen:

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


   
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(@scrybe)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2241
 

yup, I've mastered the art of playing an open low E and producing a somewhat E sharp instead when it comes to my Tele. :roll: and I like my strat with tremolo moving up and down.... :roll:

gotta love my Spear and Epi' for their comparative tuning stability. :D

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


   
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(@rahul)
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Posts: 2736
 

Aarrrgghhhh. I am just about happy with my 5-5-5-4-5 tuning.


   
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 lars
(@lars)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1120
Topic starter  

Aarrrgghhhh. I am just about happy with my 5-5-5-4-5 tuning.

Yeah - I know...

Actually it is kinda strange - when I tune my violin, or rather every violin player, tune by listening to the intervals on two adjacent open strings - obviously that is the only way sans fret. But I don't know why I havent transferred that to guitar. Think I shall start doing that on the 12th fret. Just for the fun of it

lars

...only thing I know how to do is to keep on keepin' on...

LARS kolberg http://www.facebook.com/sangerersomfolk


   
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(@slejhamer)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3221
 

... those "strobe" types ... I haven't seen a strobe tuner in years, and never liked 'em much, though they work well if you can figure 'em out.

Can't figure out a strobe tuner?

I stopped reading at that point.

"Everybody got to elevate from the norm."


   
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(@ricochet)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

Actually it is kinda strange - when I tune my violin, or rather every violin player, tune by listening to the intervals on two adjacent open strings - obviously that is the only way sans fret. But I don't know why I havent transferred that to guitar. Think I shall start doing that on the 12th fret. Just for the fun of it
You're all set for playing lap steel, then. :D

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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(@ghost)
Prominent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 815
 

Well now I know less then I did about tuning my guitars. :cry:

I wish I could tune my guitars by ear. Might give me a reason to pick up playing violin.

"If I had a time machine, I'd go back and tell me to practise that bloody guitar!" -Vic Lewis

Everything is 42..... again.


   
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(@vic-lewis-vl)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 10264
 

One of the things the guy mentioned in his article was the difference between tuners - I have four tuners, and one built in to my amp, and they all agree with each other! Wonder if they all agree with his ear? I reckon it'd take Superman's ear to differentiate between the tiny fluctuations in pitch he mentions.

I must admit though, I've never tried to use pitch pipes in my life!

: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.)


   
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(@ricochet)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

I'm unimpressed with "perfect pitch" folks who gripe about others being out of tune and exclusively ear tune. I've never seen one of those folks get it in tune when checked with a tuner. (Relative tuning by ear is of course an important skill to have.) They go (as we all do by ear) with Pythagorean intervals, not equal-tempered tuning which requires deliberate mistuning of all intervals except the octave. The major third especially is quite different in equal temperament from what it is in Pythagorean intervals.

The phenomenon of strings going sharp on the attack and flattening as the vibration dies down is very real and everyone should know about it. That's a big reason for the alleged tonal superiority of heavy gauge strings; light strings that aren't very taut when tuned to pitch really exaggerate the effect. The main riff in Queen's Fat Bottom Girls is a great place to hear the effect, on the last bass note.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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(@cyranodb)
Estimable Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 178
 

Hmm...wonder if that means it's worth spending the money on a good boss pedal tuner thingy.

"I use heavy strings, tune low, play hard and floor it. Floor it, that's a technical term." - SRV


   
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(@ricochet)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

You need to understand the working and limitations of your gear. Including your instrument, tuner, and ears.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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(@gnease)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5038
 

... those "strobe" types ... I haven't seen a strobe tuner in years, and never liked 'em much, though they work well if you can figure 'em out.

Can't figure out a strobe tuner?

I stopped reading at that point.

And if he had learned to use one, he'd have discovered one more interesting thing: The harmonics are rarely perfect integer multiples of the fundamental. In any case, there's a lot of correct info in the article, though some of the emphasis is arguable.

On perfect pitch (even if only relative): If someone is that sensitive to tuning, all music is bound to drive them crazy. Cuz ain't nothing really in tune ... except for Zen Guerilla, apparently. And then most of us should be aware that our lowly guitars are usually tuning offenders. It's part of the charm.

-=tension & release=-


   
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(@ricochet)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

Exactly. And as he points out, the pitches change between playing fast and slow, picking hard or picking softly. Few people bend or slide to a perfect pitch. I've listened to some Muddy Waters slide stuff that seldom hit an exact note, but it was KILLER!

The thing about harmonics not being exact multiples of the fundamental is because they're real strings, not ideal ones. Ideal strings are a theoretical concept. They have only tension and mass, with no stiffness whatsoever. Can't have that in the real world. The effect of adding stiffness is to effectively shorten the vibrating length of the string, since part at each end is clamped in place and stiffness makes a short part act more or less like a rigid rod with the rest "hinged" from it. As you go up the harmonic scale, the vibrating segments are shorter and the more-or-less fixed stiff end parts become a bigger fraction of the length of the shorter vibrating segments. So higher harmonics go progressively sharper compared to the fundamental, because they get shortened more. The more tightly a string is stretched, the less important its stiffness becomes and the more it acts like an ideal string, right up to the breaking point. Heavy strings have to be stretched tighter to reach a particular pitch, so their harmonics are more in tune than light strings that are stretched less tightly.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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(@gnease)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5038
 

The thing about harmonics not being exact multiples of the fundamental is because they're real strings, not ideal ones. Ideal strings are a theoretical concept. They have only tension and mass, with no stiffness whatsoever. Can't have that in the real world. The effect of adding stiffness is to effectively shorten the vibrating length of the string, since part at each end is clamped in place and stiffness makes a short part act more or less like a rigid rod with the rest "hinged" from it. As you go up the harmonic scale, the vibrating segments are shorter and the more-or-less fixed stiff end parts become a bigger fraction of the length of the shorter vibrating segments. So higher harmonics go progressively sharper compared to the fundamental, because they get shortened more. The more tightly a string is stretched, the less important its stiffness becomes and the more it acts like an ideal string, right up to the breaking point. Heavy strings have to be stretched tighter to reach a particular pitch, so their harmonics are more in tune than light strings that are stretched less tightly.

You and I might be the only ones who bother thinking or caring about this arcania. But when I finally got around to buying an LCD "Strobo" tuner, I thought it was pretty interesting to see the real world string harmonic frequency relationships shown so clearly. And of course, the same is true in electronic circuits (e.g., amplifiers), as real world resistance, inductance and capacitance values are not frequency invariant due to so-called 'parasitic' resistive and reactive elements. Same physical behavior everywhere one looks.

-=tension & release=-


   
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