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> Tuning Yout Guitar - Tips For The Rec Participants
Darius Wave
post Mar 29 2013, 11:35 AM
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Hi there GMC'ers.

Going through some of the REC lesson takes I found many of You have some tuning issues...and I'm not suggesting You don't use your tuner at all.
Let's talk about some guitar tuning issues that comes with many guitars and even those more expensive happen to have some.


Besides the most common problem that beginners often have (matter of how they press and sometimes bend on the fret a little, while there should be a solid note) there are some things we should know about guitar.

1. Currently produced guitars...even those cheap ones have fret slots cut by the CNC with precision to about 0,001 mm. This means that in most cases (considering well done fret leveling) we can trust the tuning on frets...even with guitar for a 200$.

2. The nut is mounted where the "0" fret would be in the theory diagram but...be aware to trust it. Very often You could notice that after tuning open string to 0 cents You can find that 2nd, 3rd or even 5th fret can be at higher pitch (happens to see 5 to 10 cents difference!). It's a matter of finger pressure while we hold the note and the pitch changes according to how hard we press the finger on the fret. You can compensate this by making deeper strings slots in the nut or moving the nut towards the bridge (that's exactly what Buzz Feiten did) but his solution is much more risky for doing by yourself at home. I have my own guitar service and I do both of those things at least few times a week (most often deepening the strings slot). Lowering the strings on the nut is not a perfect solution cause it costs You a little more fret buzz while hitting hard with You right hand.

3. Because mentioned above, two little upgrades needs some experience or a big caution while doing for the first time, I came with this two tricks while thinking how to help Your tuning without interfering your instrument.


Setting up the measure:

Usually You do this by checking 12th fret compared to the open string and then little correction with the higher frets...WRONG!
As I said before - fret slots are cut with very precise CNC and trust me...if You will adjust the measure comparing like 3rd and 5th fret to the 15th and 17th than it's more possible that most of the frets will be in tune, while only the open string stays at a little lower.

Warning...many guitars have the issue of last 2-3 frets being at much too high pitch comparing to others. Don't look at those frets while adjusting the measure. We try to make most part of the fingerboard in tune...especially the part that is in use for most of our playing. In most cases You will have a very good +/- 3 cent result on every fret.

<b>How to tune:</b>

Now we believe our frets so we should tune the string while holding a note on the fret. Here comes an idea from Buzz Feiten. Let's say there are some intervals that sound very smooth on distortion and some that are a little dissonant. Two mostly worth of trust are octaves and 5th's. After some test I came up with tuning like this:

E1 - checking the 3rd and 5th fret...than little comparison to 12th (tiny correction if needed)
B2 - 5th fret and the 12 th
G3 - 4th and 7th + 12th
D4 - 2nd and 5th + 14 th
A5 - 2nd and 7th + 12th
E6 - 5th and 7th + 12th

Remember...chance to get 0 cents on every fret is almost impossible so we check a few frets to have averaged, good tuning within +/- 3 or 4 cents tolerance on each fret


This will make our guitar feel much more in tune to the backing track.

Of course - not every guitar needs that, but I found that even those expensive, tune much better in recordings, while tuning them with this method.

Good tuner need

Good automatic tuner is a must have in this case. I can advice You some of the Seiko models - SAT101 , SAT500 ...some of the best cheap tuner on the market. It's important cause some tuners have to high tolerance level and they can glow green light with +/- 7 to 10 cents. Be very careful...watch closely the tuning scale marks on your tuning device.

This post has been edited by Darius Wave: Mar 29 2013, 11:45 AM


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Jouve
post Mar 29 2013, 03:46 PM
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Hey Darius, that's a very important article! I was thinking to get my guitar to the workshop to set up the measure, and thanks to you I've tuned my guitar nicely myself cool.gif
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gregc1
post Mar 29 2013, 03:59 PM
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Definitely going to try this tuning method.

I've always used the 12th fret harmonic to tune with a tuner and without the tuner I have always used the 5-7 method. 5th fret harmonic on the low E tunes to 7th fret harmonic on A and so on. This is the only way I've ever known so I'm interested to try this.


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Darius Wave
post Mar 29 2013, 04:12 PM
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I did many experiments and test through years including true temperament and buzz feiten and this is what I found most efficient without interfering in guitar nut smile.gif Hope it will help other to get better overall feeling of guitar in tune while it's based on some compromises.


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klasaine
post Mar 29 2013, 06:21 PM
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I'm gonna try that method. Thanks Darius.

I'd also like to add that it's important to NEVER tune down to a pitch. Always loosen below pitch and then come up.
This way you won't have any slack around the tuning gears/posts that can slip while playing. I would do this even with the bridge fine tuners of locking systems too. When ever you loosen something it always has potential to go (loosen) a little further.


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Darius Wave
post Mar 29 2013, 10:56 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Mar 29 2013, 06:21 PM) *
I'm gonna try that method. Thanks Darius.

I'd also like to add that it's important to NEVER tune down to a pitch. Always loosen below pitch and then come up.
This way you won't have any slack around the tuning gears/posts that can slip while playing. I would do this even with the bridge fine tuners of locking systems too. When ever you loosen something it always has potential to go (loosen) a little further.




Yes...Thanx for adding this entense. That's a reason why so many people think that tuners don't keep the tune correctly..As a matter a fact it's usually string stucking in the nut. And this can be avoided buy ALWAYS finishing on the "up" key movement.


U usually tune to keep not more than +3 cents while the finger press the fret very hard so it could go back to 0 cents while sustain smile.gif


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klasaine
post Mar 29 2013, 11:06 PM
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Ah, that speaks to another matter - which will be individual to the player.
Do you tune to the 'attack' or the sustained note?
Depends on playing style and touch,

This post has been edited by klasaine: Mar 29 2013, 11:07 PM


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Headbanger
post Mar 30 2013, 12:07 PM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Mar 29 2013, 11:35 AM) *
E1 - checking the 3rd and 5th fret...than little comparison to 12th (tiny correction if needed)
B2 - 5th fret and the 12 th
G3 - 4th and 7th + 12th
D4 - 2nd and 5th + 14 th
A5 - 2nd and 7th + 12th
E6 - 5th and 7th + 12th

Remember...chance to get 0 cents on every fret is almost impossible so we check a few frets to have averaged, good tuning within +/- 3 or 4 cents tolerance on each fret


This will make our guitar feel much more in tune to the backing track.


I think I'm being a bit dense. (other people understood and I didn't)..How do we tune using this method?..I don't understand.

This post has been edited by Headbanger: Mar 30 2013, 12:08 PM


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Darius Wave
post Mar 30 2013, 02:12 PM
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It's based on not tuning the open strings but checking the tuner according to the notes on the mentioned frets


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Headbanger
post Mar 30 2013, 03:42 PM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Mar 30 2013, 02:12 PM) *
It's based on not tuning the open strings but checking the tuner according to the notes on the mentioned frets

Okay Darius...thats what I was thinking you meant, but I didn't want to start wandering off into some new method if it wasn't right!Cheers Dude!


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Blister
post Mar 30 2013, 06:03 PM
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Darius, you must have written this just for me! smile.gif I have a terrible time with tuning & this will help me tremendously!

Also, do you have any advice when using a capo? Or should it even make a difference?

Thanks again!


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Darius Wave
post Mar 30 2013, 08:40 PM
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Ohhh....This is same for capo but the whole issue with capo is the pressure it makes and after You put it You souhld not touch the tuners...strings might loss the tune while playing.


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klasaine
post Mar 31 2013, 12:26 AM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Mar 30 2013, 07:40 PM) *
Ohhh....This is same for capo but the whole issue with capo is the pressure it makes and after You put it You souhld not touch the tuners...strings might loss the tune while playing.


A capo adds another level of complication but you can tune once the capo is on. You just have to yank (pull hard) on the strings to get all the slack out of them. Also the capo ideally should not be too tight. It only needs to apply the same amount of pressure as your fingers do.
1-Place the capo.
2-Tighten or loosen to pitch as necessary.
3-Give a pull on the strings.
4-Repeat.
You need to learn how much pressure to adjust the capo for as well as where you place it in the fret (this is crucial and all guitars are different).

I use a capo with one band for 90% of our set. This is my capo of choice - http://www.shubb.com/original/index.html
I like it because you can adjust the pressure (which is distributed evenly on the back of the neck) and it comes in various neck profile and fingerboard radius styles.


This post has been edited by klasaine: Mar 31 2013, 01:06 AM


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Blister
post Apr 1 2013, 03:30 AM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Mar 30 2013, 06:26 PM) *
A capo adds another level of complication but you can tune once the capo is on...


Thank you, Ken. I had not heard of the Shubb. This is really helpful! smile.gif

This post has been edited by Blister: Apr 1 2013, 03:31 AM


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Darius Wave
post Apr 2 2013, 03:21 PM
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Good point about tuning with the capo smile.gif


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Darius Wave
post Nov 15 2013, 07:05 PM
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Just a little reminder of some ( i hope ) useful post I did about tuning the guitar. Maybe some of new users will find it working for their instruments


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Huargo
post Dec 7 2013, 01:43 PM
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Direct to my bookmarks smile.gif
thanks


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Darius Wave
post Dec 9 2013, 07:44 PM
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great to see someone make it useful smile.gif Hope it helps hurago smile.gif


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