Tuning a guitar

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by mott555, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. mott555

    mott555 Well-Known Member

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    The Peavey auto-tune guitar thread got me wondering. When I tune a guitar, I only tune the low E-string up using a tuner, and I tune the rest of the strings to it using harmonics and octaves. If I use a tuner all the way through, power chords sound just slightly out-of-tune and dissonant. I don't think it's my intonation because every guitar I've ever played was like this, and I assume it's due to the slight inaccuracy in our modern 12 tone equal temperament system. I recall EVH saying something about how guitars just aren't built right and the B string is out of tune if "properly" tuned, so he slightly flattens it to make chords sound better. I'll do this if playing some Van Halen, otherwise I just make sure it's in-tune relative to the D string using octaves.

    And so I wondered how auto-tuning guitars deal with this since I've never tried one before.

    Has anyone else noticed these minor tuning imperfections? How do you tune up and deal with them? I've got a system that seems to work for my style of playing, just wondering if I'm crazy or if this is a common thing.

    By the way I may have the gift of perfect pitch. I always ear-tune my guitar after putting new strings on it and I'm usually within half a semitone of "proper" tuning, often just a hair flat.
     
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  2. Blacque Jacque

    Blacque Jacque Well-Known Member

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    I tune each string dead on to the tuner, then temper by ear.

    I usually flatten the low E a touch & sometimes the A a little too, just to set it midway between the E & D. I tune the top e to the 5th fret harmonic of the low E & then tune the B to the top e. Then there's the D/B relationship, which is always funky & I usually do that last.

    I have also tried tempering the intonation, flattening the bass strings a touch & sharpening the trebles, this is similar to what piano tuners do. It's fiddly to get it right, but once you do, the whole guitar tends to tune just a little more sweetly, especially the damned B.
     
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  3. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    I just do a quick by ear, check any sour ones on the Korg pedal and play the thing. My fingers take care of the rest.
    Biddlin ;>)/
     
  4. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    :lol:Omaha, of course you're flat.:lol:
    Happy holidays in the coasts' DMZ!
    Biddlin ;>)/
     
  5. slide222

    slide222 Well-Known Member

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    for me these little clip on tuners are great , and about £3 from hongkong china ebay after a life in engineering and loud amps my hearing isn't what it use to be , so I always tune by tuner
     
  6. GIBSON67

    GIBSON67 Well-Known Member

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    I've only recently noticed that when changing strings, I can get pretty close to standard tuning without a tuner, my ear must be improving. But a tuner normally for me, all strings.
     
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  7. poeman33

    poeman33 Well-Known Member

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    I always tuned by ear. Either from Fender's website or a keyboard. I had an old Korg tuner but it went through batteries so fast I never used it. I finally broke down and got a cheap tuner and it works great.

    Funny thing is I used to do the EVH thing to and lower the B string a hair. But now it doesn't seem to need it, so I guess I'm not so perfect pitched after all.
     
  8. stax

    stax Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Grew up using a tuning fork, it was a blessing in disguise as I learned how to play by ear because of it. But, when I use a tuner I tune outside in. Low E, high E, A, B, D, G and then run thru them from bottom to top Low E, A, D, etc. to fine tune. Correct that B is always wanky, no other string is as much a problem!
     
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  9. S.A.T.O.

    S.A.T.O. Well-Known Member

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    If you're in tune string to string and you sound "off" while playing chords check your intonation.
     
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  10. sam marshall

    sam marshall Well-Known Member

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    .
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2013
  11. guitargoalie

    guitargoalie Well-Known Member

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    I read that evh thing too, but I've never done it and it sounds fine. I never tune them all to perfect pitch because as soon as you pick/fret hard it's sharp. My "secret" to good chord intonation is

    Low E - a bit flat
    A - a hair flat
    D - dead center
    G - a hair flat
    B - dead center
    E - dead center

    For example with my pod xt tuner the recognizable note range is the bracket, dead center is the circle, line is the string

    [ >|o< ] would be where i set the e,a,g

    I used to find that with an open G chord, the g string would be in tune, but then with an open E it would ring a bit sharp. I guess this has to do with the Les Paul g string nut problem, but I fix it by putting the D up more than I used to.

    If I'm out or just tuning quick I'll use the 5th and 7th fret harmonic trick to tune the guitar to itself.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013
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  12. scat7s

    scat7s New Member VIP Member

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    yes.

    it makes me crazy. i dont think i have perfect pitch, but im pretty sensitive to it.

    this is one of the main reasons i have switched to quite heavy strings, although they say intonation is a bit harder to nail with heavier strings, it helps to keep my chords from going sour from fingering and picking imperfections, which compound tuning imperfections.

    its a tradeoff, but it mostly works for what i do.

    what kind of baffles me is how recording engineers and producers are able to make recordings sound flawless with layers and layers of guitar tracks and other stuff....talk about tedious work. on so many of the older recordings you can hear the flaws if you listen very carefully, that chorusing effect that is sometimes present which isnt an external effect at all. sometimes you can hear that sharp B string on a D chord or whatever. but these days, pro recordings have found a way around these issues. i guess its the equivalent of an airbrushed supermodel?

    and i dont know, but i would assume the autotune instruments would suffer the same symptoms. its only truely correct in certain positions.
     
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  13. Ghostman

    Ghostman Well-Known Member

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    Two words: Buzz Feiten
     
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  14. JAC

    JAC Well-Known Member

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    I use a tuning fork and harmonics. Many hate this, I don't care because it works for me.
     
  15. EndGame00

    EndGame00 Well-Known Member

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    The only time I used a tuner when I was gigging and can't hear the guitar. I never really use them. I can to tune my guitar to concert pitch by ears alone.
     
  16. Micky

    Micky Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    I can use my scope or my frequency counter...
     
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  17. yladrd61

    yladrd61 Well-Known Member

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    I tune my Strats in E flat, I use a G# tuning fork on the A string, then I tune all my strings so they all match when I play an E flat. I tune all my other guitars in E using the same method with an A tuning fork.
     
  18. Adwex

    Adwex New Member

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    I still have my tuning fork somewhere. Did you ever have a pitch pipe?

    Now I have a Lexicon digital whiz bang multi-effects rack processor with a newfangled MIDI footcontroller gizmo, tuner built-in. It's better this way. :lol:
     
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  19. MaxFrames

    MaxFrames Well-Known Member

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    I tune more or less in the same way as the OP. If I tune dead center (expecially the G and B strings) they tend to sound sharp even if the intonation is correct, so I get a reference for the A/440 Hz and tune the rest by harmonics and ear.
     
  20. brp

    brp Well-Known Member

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    What Jacque said.

    I did start with a pitchpipe.
    I still have on my board a Seiko Quartz VU style I bought in '88-ish I mainly use and it matches all the other moderns tuners fine it seems. I also have a built-in to a DSP rack one I use at home, and when recording check them against the ones in G.Rig and Sonar.
     

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