Be a Supporter!

Mind blowing guitar tuning tips

  • 632 Views
  • 24 Replies
New Topic Respond to this Topic
deadlyfishes
deadlyfishes
  • Member since: May. 15, 2011
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 05
Musician
Mind blowing guitar tuning tips 2013-02-25 09:09:59 Reply

A lot of information here. Will change the way you think about tuning your guitar for your live performances or recording sessions.

If you don't tune much, try to get into the habit of doing it more often, it can totally kill a recording if your intonation is off. This also goes for other instruments as well.

Good intonation is everything when recording or performing. Your little clip tuners, stage tuners, and rack tuners might not be enough to be in tune!

Guitar Tuning Nightmares Explained:
http://www.endino.com/archive/tuningnightmares.html

...Also I don't think it explains about floyd rose guitars. That's all I use these days, and it is a pain. Don't even get me started on those -________-


<Professional Composer> <AudioJungle Reviewer>
OFFICIAL MUSIC SITE!
Check out something I did for NATA 2013! Hikarian's winning NATA 2013 Entry

BBS Signature
Sequenced
Sequenced
  • Member since: Feb. 6, 2006
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Moderator
Level 20
Gamer
Response to Mind blowing guitar tuning tips 2013-02-25 09:21:00 Reply

yay for having perfect pitch


lel

Buoy
Buoy
  • Member since: May. 18, 2006
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 40
Musician
Response to Mind blowing guitar tuning tips 2013-02-25 09:40:08 Reply

This would be extremely stressful to read if being perfectly in tune was my top priority. I don't like how he keeps calling it a hell and a nightmare and such, very unpedagogic. The tuning tips (from "some tuning tricks" to about halfway through "the real nightmare begins") are useful. as for intonation, just don't fuck with it if you don't know what you're doing, you'll fuck up.. leave it to someone else

deadlyfishes
deadlyfishes
  • Member since: May. 15, 2011
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 05
Musician
Response to Mind blowing guitar tuning tips 2013-02-25 10:12:32 Reply

At 2/25/13 09:40 AM, Buoy wrote: This would be extremely stressful to read if being perfectly in tune was my top priority. I don't like how he keeps calling it a hell and a nightmare and such, very unpedagogic. The tuning tips (from "some tuning tricks" to about halfway through "the real nightmare begins") are useful. as for intonation, just don't fuck with it if you don't know what you're doing, you'll fuck up.. leave it to someone else

It REALLY does suck when your guitar strings are in tune and all and your string/fret intonation is off...
Then you finally understand why people smash their instruments after playing horribly off.


<Professional Composer> <AudioJungle Reviewer>
OFFICIAL MUSIC SITE!
Check out something I did for NATA 2013! Hikarian's winning NATA 2013 Entry

BBS Signature
Back-From-Purgatory
Back-From-Purgatory
  • Member since: Dec. 11, 2004
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 33
Musician
Response to Mind blowing guitar tuning tips 2013-02-25 14:17:04 Reply

At 2/25/13 09:09 AM, deadlyfishes wrote: ...Also I don't think it explains about floyd rose guitars. That's all I use these days, and it is a pain. Don't even get me started on those -________-

I know the feeling... my 7 string has a floyd rose... real god damn pain in the ass... And I rarely even use it.

Although, I did fix the intonation on my 6 string a while back... made a pretty big difference in sound.


Audio/BBS Mod
News: Bye bye Skype - Music: Tonight Will Be The Night- Art: Kira
\/\/\/ Click the sig for fun times! \/\/\/

BBS Signature
Megamannt92
Megamannt92
  • Member since: Mar. 22, 2006
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 03
Musician
Response to Mind blowing guitar tuning tips 2013-02-25 14:26:02 Reply

Yay NG guitar discussion!

I use a Snark chromatic tuner. Pretty darn accurate and its especially great if you are like me and switch between a lot of other tunings.

As for Floyd Rose guitars....they aren't too bad you just have to figure them out. They can be frustrating though. Especially when everyone online says they are so easy to set up. They aren't! They can be very tricky, however once you figure them out you can restring one in about 20 minutes.
A few tips for FR Guitars

-Once you get them set up initially, set them up for one kind of tuning. One does not change tuning on a Floyd Rose on the fly. :P
-When changing strings replace the strings with the same brand and gauge of string. This way balancing the tremolo is easier.
-Tune the guitar from the Low E string, then tune the high E string, Then the A then the B string... Etc. The trem balances easier this way.
-A rubber door stop is awesome for holding the trem in place.
-Use the door stop to hold the trem in the place you want. Once it gets in tune the the door stop will wiggle out easily or fall out. If the trem goes too far up, loosen up the 2 tension screws on the back until it balances then detune and retune it.


Hey check out my music! Its guitarlicious or something.... Pirate Metal! | Rock with guest Female Vocalist

MetalRenard
MetalRenard
  • Member since: Sep. 19, 2012
  • Online!
Forum Stats
Member
Level 09
Musician
Response to Mind blowing guitar tuning tips 2013-02-25 14:38:02 Reply

Mind blowing? No... Useful? Yes. If only to educate the masses, since I too have been faced with a band with that problem and it's a real pain in the arse!


Rocker, Composer and World Ambassador for Foxes! I'm on Youtube. Come check me out! Veteran REAPER user.

BBS Signature
Ragamuffin
Ragamuffin
  • Member since: Feb. 12, 2013
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 03
Musician
Response to Mind blowing guitar tuning tips 2013-02-25 15:11:57 Reply

Cool article, but nothing new or revolutionary. I mean, hell, I learned most of this from my violin teacher ages ago. And this definitely should be something taught in guitar classes. Not to mention the point of studying this on your own if you're self-taught.

But still. Been there done that complex the whole time.


BBS Signature
Braiton
Braiton
  • Member since: Dec. 21, 2009
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 31
Musician
Response to Mind blowing guitar tuning tips 2013-02-25 15:18:26 Reply

At 2/25/13 09:40 AM, Buoy wrote: as for intonation, just don't fuck with it if you don't know what you're doing, you'll fuck up.. leave it to someone else

So true. I tried once. It didn't go well.

frootza
frootza
  • Member since: Jun. 4, 2009
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 25
Musician
Response to Mind blowing guitar tuning tips 2013-02-25 18:47:49 Reply

Boss Chromatic tuner is the best tuner you can invest in for live gigs. Lots of others can get the job done though.

When you tune, tune UP. UP! For instance if you need to get into drop D... Don't just tune the E straight down to the D. Go a little but under that D, and tune UP to the D.

Otherwise you'll be playing for 5 minutes, doing some string bends and be completely out of tune.

Perfect Pitch is extremely rare, and it usually gets confused for Relative Pitch which is actually quite common and more useful.

If you have Perfect Pitch, in a nutshell, that means you know, without any reference, what a G is. When you hear a C# out of the blue, you can call it out. Also hearing songs that are slightly off key will forever be an annoyance.

MetalRenard
MetalRenard
  • Member since: Sep. 19, 2012
  • Online!
Forum Stats
Member
Level 09
Musician
Response to Mind blowing guitar tuning tips 2013-02-25 19:09:29 Reply

At 2/25/13 06:47 PM, frootza wrote: When you tune, tune UP. UP! For instance if you need to get into drop D... Don't just tune the E straight down to the D. Go a little but under that D, and tune UP to the D.

Indeed, TUNE. UP! Good advice.


Rocker, Composer and World Ambassador for Foxes! I'm on Youtube. Come check me out! Veteran REAPER user.

BBS Signature
Chemich
Chemich
  • Member since: Jan. 27, 2009
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 06
Musician
Response to Mind blowing guitar tuning tips 2013-02-27 05:26:36 Reply

If you've been playing guitar for more than two years steadily and haven't learned to tune by ear, you're doing it completely wrong and need to start doing things the right way. Took me only a year to get a hand on how to tune guitars by ear, but seriously now it's not hard to do (unless if you're tone deaf.)


☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

BBS Signature
Buoy
Buoy
  • Member since: May. 18, 2006
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 40
Musician
Response to Mind blowing guitar tuning tips 2013-02-27 09:31:38 Reply

At 2/27/13 05:26 AM, Chemich wrote: If you've been playing guitar for more than two years steadily and haven't learned to tune by ear, you're doing it completely wrong and need to start doing things the right way. Took me only a year to get a hand on how to tune guitars by ear, but seriously now it's not hard to do (unless if you're tone deaf.)

You can't fully tune a guitar by ear without perfect pitch. You can have the strings in tune with each other but you need a reference first if you're going to use it in a recording or performance with anything else.

Chemich
Chemich
  • Member since: Jan. 27, 2009
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 06
Musician
Response to Mind blowing guitar tuning tips 2013-02-27 11:35:22 Reply

At 2/27/13 09:31 AM, Buoy wrote:
At 2/27/13 05:26 AM, Chemich wrote: If you've been playing guitar for more than two years steadily and haven't learned to tune by ear, you're doing it completely wrong and need to start doing things the right way. Took me only a year to get a hand on how to tune guitars by ear, but seriously now it's not hard to do (unless if you're tone deaf.)
You can't fully tune a guitar by ear without perfect pitch. You can have the strings in tune with each other but you need a reference first if you're going to use it in a recording or performance with anything else.

Call me crazy, or maybe even insane but how I usually do it is measure the tension of the string (or cable,) and then I can make a good guess of where it needs to be via tuning wise. then by ear I bring it up to where it needs to be by using a program that can emulate a sound which I can base my tuning on. Then usually from the starting point (Low E,) I can just assume every other string by comparison and my tuning will sound pretty perfect at the end of my procedure.

idk it just works for me, also guitar rig has some handy tools in it that I use to make sure it's at least somewhat accurate.


☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

BBS Signature
Buoy
Buoy
  • Member since: May. 18, 2006
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 40
Musician
Response to Mind blowing guitar tuning tips 2013-02-27 12:04:02 Reply

At 2/27/13 11:35 AM, Chemich wrote: then by ear I bring it up to where it needs to be by using a program that can emulate a sound which I can base my tuning on.

i.e what I said - you're using a reference.

Chemich
Chemich
  • Member since: Jan. 27, 2009
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 06
Musician
Response to Mind blowing guitar tuning tips 2013-02-27 12:38:04 Reply

At 2/27/13 12:04 PM, Buoy wrote:
At 2/27/13 11:35 AM, Chemich wrote: then by ear I bring it up to where it needs to be by using a program that can emulate a sound which I can base my tuning on.
i.e what I said - you're using a reference.

More likely I use the tension of the string as a reference according to pitch and tone, not doing the same exact thing you do. I don't start with pitch to get an idea, I start with how the tension should be and then I work my way from it.


☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

BBS Signature
frootza
frootza
  • Member since: Jun. 4, 2009
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 25
Musician
Response to Mind blowing guitar tuning tips 2013-02-27 13:35:08 Reply

At 2/27/13 05:26 AM, Chemich wrote: If you've been playing guitar for more than two years steadily and haven't learned to tune by ear, you're doing it completely wrong and need to start doing things the right way. Took me only a year to get a hand on how to tune guitars by ear, but seriously now it's not hard to do (unless if you're tone deaf.)

Playing guitar won't necessarily get you a good ear. But you can be a great musician, and be able to tune a guitar by ear right from the start.

To be safe, even if you are Joe Satriani, you are going to tune digitally.

A few other tricks I recommend are using the harmonic on 5th and 7th. Get good at matching the harmonics swirling.

If you fret with your left hand, get used to using the tuning knobs with your right hand.

If you are playing a live gig, you actually might not have time to tune before hand (arrive late, another band doesn't show up).

Check yourself seriously. Hit a piano key to an E. Tune to it and use it as your reference pitch. Then, tune the rest of the strings entirely by ear. After, check your "by ear" tuning to an extremely accurate guitar pedal.

Buoy
Buoy
  • Member since: May. 18, 2006
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 40
Musician
Response to Mind blowing guitar tuning tips 2013-02-27 13:41:52 Reply

At 2/27/13 12:38 PM, Chemich wrote: More likely I use the tension of the string as a reference according to pitch and tone, not doing the same exact thing you do. I don't start with pitch to get an idea, I start with how the tension should be and then I work my way from it.

No; "a program that can emulate a sound which I can base my tuning on" <-- that is your reference. I was just making a minor point anyway - that you can't just pick up a guitar, tune it and expect your middle A to be 440Hz.

And yeah you do have a peculiar way of doing it. I also use the tension of the string when tuning, but it's only when I'm restringing or if the guitar is wildly out of tune. Otherwise the differences are too small to be any more useful than just listening for me at least. Unless by tension you mean the oscillations you get when you're close to the right pitch, which is what everyone uses.

Buoy
Buoy
  • Member since: May. 18, 2006
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 40
Musician
Response to Mind blowing guitar tuning tips 2013-02-27 13:54:22 Reply

At 2/27/13 01:35 PM, frootza wrote: A few other tricks I recommend are using the harmonic on 5th and 7th. Get good at matching the harmonics swirling.

This will actually give you worse results, for two reasons:

- Your guitar frets (and all modern western instruments) are set up according to Equal temperament, while the natural harmonics gives you notes from Just intonation. Therefore when you tune using harmonics you get slightly different pitches and your guitar will be slightly out of tune with itself and everything else when you play anything that isn't natural harmonics.
- Holding your finger down on the fret changes the tension on the string and produces a slightly higher pitch. Since you will be holding down the frets most of the time, you should do the same when tuning or you'll be a bit sharp all the time.

It's useful if you need to be quick, but it's not ideal.

frootza
frootza
  • Member since: Jun. 4, 2009
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 25
Musician
Response to Mind blowing guitar tuning tips 2013-02-27 14:18:58 Reply

At 2/27/13 01:54 PM, Buoy wrote:
At 2/27/13 01:35 PM, frootza wrote: A few other tricks I recommend are using the harmonic on 5th and 7th. Get good at matching the harmonics swirling.
This will actually give you worse results, for two reasons:

- Your guitar frets (and all modern western instruments) are set up according to Equal temperament, while the natural harmonics gives you notes from Just intonation. Therefore when you tune using harmonics you get slightly different pitches and your guitar will be slightly out of tune with itself and everything else when you play anything that isn't natural harmonics.
- Holding your finger down on the fret changes the tension on the string and produces a slightly higher pitch. Since you will be holding down the frets most of the time, you should do the same when tuning or you'll be a bit sharp all the time.

It's useful if you need to be quick, but it's not ideal.

I have to disagree with you as well as the misleading wikipedia page here. If you notice the error for the octave, it is 0. While it is the most difficult tuning method, in terms of tuning by ear it is the most accurate.

If your intonation is set up properly, you won't have an issue. I've used this method at live gigs with no issue, because I know that my intonation was set up properly.

You don't hold your finger down on the frets when playing a harmonic.

Getting into specifics, there is no way that the guitar can be perfectly tuned across the fretboard, even if the intonation is seemingly perfect.

Buoy
Buoy
  • Member since: May. 18, 2006
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 40
Musician
Response to Mind blowing guitar tuning tips 2013-02-27 14:33:12 Reply

At 2/27/13 02:18 PM, frootza wrote: I have to disagree with you as well as the misleading wikipedia page here. If you notice the error for the octave, it is 0.

Yes, it's the only interval that's the same in equal temperament and just intonation. The tones you get from the natural harmonics at the 7th fret, however, are slightly different from a fifth in equal temperament.

While it is the most difficult tuning method, in terms of tuning by ear it is the most accurate.

It's easier since you have both hands available. But it's less accurate if you play anything else than natural harmonics. It's not really an opinion thing, it's physics and math.

If your intonation is set up properly, you won't have an issue. I've used this method at live gigs with no issue, because I know that my intonation was set up properly.

I'm just saying that tuning by holding down the frets (i.e the regular way) gets you slightly more in tune.

You don't hold your finger down on the frets when playing a harmonic.

Which is why you get a different pitch from when you dofinger down on the frets, which is usually almost always. That's my point.

Getting into specifics, there is no way that the guitar can be perfectly tuned across the fretboard, even if the intonation is seemingly perfect.

Yes, but that's irrelevant.

frootza
frootza
  • Member since: Jun. 4, 2009
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 25
Musician
Response to Mind blowing guitar tuning tips 2013-02-27 14:52:29 Reply

At 2/27/13 02:33 PM, Buoy wrote:
At 2/27/13 02:18 PM, frootza wrote: I have to disagree with you as well as the misleading wikipedia page here. If you notice the error for the octave, it is 0.
Yes, it's the only interval that's the same in equal temperament and just intonation. The tones you get from the natural harmonics at the 7th fret, however, are slightly different from a fifth in equal temperament.

While it is the most difficult tuning method, in terms of tuning by ear it is the most accurate.
It's easier since you have both hands available. But it's less accurate if you play anything else than natural harmonics. It's not really an opinion thing, it's physics and math.

If your intonation is set up properly, you won't have an issue. I've used this method at live gigs with no issue, because I know that my intonation was set up properly.
I'm just saying that tuning by holding down the frets (i.e the regular way) gets you slightly more in tune.

You don't hold your finger down on the frets when playing a harmonic.
Which is why you get a different pitch from when you dofinger down on the frets, which is usually almost always. That's my point.

Getting into specifics, there is no way that the guitar can be perfectly tuned across the fretboard, even if the intonation is seemingly perfect.
Yes, but that's irrelevant.

If you are tuning E and A. You hit a harmonic on E 5th fret, A 7th fret. It isn't the form that makes it difficult, it what you have to listen for which makes it more difficult.

If you intonation is off, you are completely F'ed, either way.
Pressing on the frets isn't necessarily more accurate. If you are closer to the nut, you will be flat. You need to be as close to the bridge as possible. This is a known fact, regardless of equal temperament. It is SO widespread in the music industry by brilliant players. I rarely see anyone tune by fretting a note.

Lets be real for a second. If you want to be as accurate as possible. You would combine both methods. Or, man up and use a tuner.

frootza
frootza
  • Member since: Jun. 4, 2009
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 25
Musician
Response to Mind blowing guitar tuning tips 2013-02-27 15:06:59 Reply

At 2/27/13 02:52 PM, frootza wrote:
At 2/27/13 02:33 PM, Buoy wrote:
At 2/27/13 02:18 PM, frootza wrote: I have to disagree with you as well as the misleading wikipedia page here. If you notice the error for the octave, it is 0.

I think I should have been more specific in my initial post.

Using the harmonics is just a good way to backtrack and check your tuning. Fretting the notes are great, and certainly can be more accurate. It will vary based on the player.

Lets just put this debate on hold. There are definitely a few ways to look at it. Based on science and based real world usefulness. I think we all started off learning the fretted method, but its pretty cool to be at a gig and tune to a harmonic instead.

Buoy
Buoy
  • Member since: May. 18, 2006
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 40
Musician
Response to Mind blowing guitar tuning tips 2013-02-27 15:13:01 Reply

2 debates about ridiculously minor stuff should be enough for this thread for today yeah