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Reverb advice on tuning

#1 User is offline   Hawkesman 

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 04:31 PM

This just popped into my inbox...

https://reverb.com/n...cepts-explained

Why the downer on tuning with harmonics? Whatever the 'physics' may be, I've tuned the same way for 30+ years. I've always set the intonation by ear, and in latter years I have occasionally checked it with a tuner, but I rarely have to change anything, and then not by much. I then tune by using the 5th and 7th fret harmonics to tune the E, A, D & G strings. I then use the A string 7th fret harmonic to tune the high E, then use 5th and 7th fret harmonics to tune the B to the high E. My simple end-check is to play an open E chord at the 13/14 frets and make sure there is no 'phase'. It works perfectly, and players that I work with have often commented that my tuning is always spot-on.

Any thoughts/views?

H.


Guitars:
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#2 User is offline   glp2012 

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 04:52 PM

Here's my thought...you have 30+ years of experience and the guy that wrote the article doesn't.

I watched a YouTube video with Joe Walsh showing you how to tune the guitar. According to him, he has perfect pitch and doesn't need a tuner. His advice always tune up to the note!
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#3 User is offline   Hawkesman 

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 04:57 PM

View Postglp2012, on 14 May 2017 - 04:52 PM, said:

His advice always tune up to the note!


+1 to that! I still occasionally see people tuning down, but I've now learned to grit my teeth and STFU. Unless it's in the studio! Posted Image
Guitars:
Gibson Explorer
Gibson SG Special
Gibson SG Standard
Gibson Firebird V
Ibanez Destroyer II DT50 (1981 - owned from new)
Aria Pro II XRB Bass

Amps:
Marshall JCM 800 2204 (1982 - owned from new)
Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 50
H|H VS Musician
H|H VS Bassamp

Cabs:
Marshall '74 2045
Marshall '75 2045
Marshall '75 1982A
Marshall '79 1982A
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#4 User is offline   rct 

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 04:57 PM

View PostHawkesman, on 14 May 2017 - 04:31 PM, said:

This just popped into my inbox...

https://reverb.com/n...cepts-explained

Why the downer on tuning with harmonics? Whatever the 'physics' may be, I've tuned the same way for 30+ years. I've always set the intonation by ear, and in latter years I have occasionally checked it with a tuner, but I rarely have to change anything, and then not by much. I then tune by using the 5th and 7th fret harmonics to tune the E, A, D & G strings. I then use the A string 7th fret harmonic to tune the high E, then use 5th and 7th fret harmonics to tune the B to the high E. My simple end-check is to play an open E chord at the 13/14 frets and make sure there is no 'phase'. It works perfectly, and players that I work with have often commented that my tuning is always spot-on.


Harmonics begin sharp, tuning quickly to harmonics like we did in the 70's to keep the gig moving was bad, resulted in guitars poorly intonated from one song to another and somewhat out of tune with each other.

We don't play harmonics, we play open notes, fretted notes, and combinations of the two. That's about the best reason not to tune with harmonics.

You can use beats to help intonate, but getting a guitar intonated for the most part all over the neck, for the most part, requires something that hears things we can't hear.

rct
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#5 User is offline   Hawkesman 

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 05:05 PM

Perhaps so, but tuning is, as we all know, not an exact science, it is a compromise. No neck has 'perfect' fret placement, so, to me, using an electronic device instead of one's ears will not allow the human factor to temper these variances and achieve the best overall result. IMHO.
Guitars:
Gibson Explorer
Gibson SG Special
Gibson SG Standard
Gibson Firebird V
Ibanez Destroyer II DT50 (1981 - owned from new)
Aria Pro II XRB Bass

Amps:
Marshall JCM 800 2204 (1982 - owned from new)
Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 50
H|H VS Musician
H|H VS Bassamp

Cabs:
Marshall '74 2045
Marshall '75 2045
Marshall '75 1982A
Marshall '79 1982A
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#6 User is offline   rct 

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 05:08 PM

View PostHawkesman, on 14 May 2017 - 05:05 PM, said:

Perhaps so, but tuning is, as we all know, not an exact science, it is a compromise. No neck has 'perfect' fret placement, so, to me, using an electronic device instead of one's ears will not allow the human factor to temper these variances and achieve the best overall result. IMHO.


Fair enough.

Nobody wants to hear your harmonics. That's the last answer that I didn't put up there, and to me, as a guy that did that for decades, the best reason to use a tuner. Nobody wants to hear you tuning.

rct
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#7 User is offline   Hawkesman 

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 05:41 PM

View Postrct, on 14 May 2017 - 05:08 PM, said:

Fair enough.

Nobody wants to hear your harmonics. Nobody wants to hear you tuning.

rct


Why? It's just a part of what happens when I play with people, and I'm used to it. Also, I just checked the intonation on my SG, then tuned it in my usual 'harmonics' way. I then did something which, oddly, I'd never done before and checked it with my tuner. It was spot-on. Oh well, each to their own I guess! Posted Image
Guitars:
Gibson Explorer
Gibson SG Special
Gibson SG Standard
Gibson Firebird V
Ibanez Destroyer II DT50 (1981 - owned from new)
Aria Pro II XRB Bass

Amps:
Marshall JCM 800 2204 (1982 - owned from new)
Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 50
H|H VS Musician
H|H VS Bassamp

Cabs:
Marshall '74 2045
Marshall '75 2045
Marshall '75 1982A
Marshall '79 1982A
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#8 User is offline   Hawkesman 

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 05:44 PM

Oh, and sorry about the last series of Sherlock. I quite enjoyed it, but I know not everyone did!
Guitars:
Gibson Explorer
Gibson SG Special
Gibson SG Standard
Gibson Firebird V
Ibanez Destroyer II DT50 (1981 - owned from new)
Aria Pro II XRB Bass

Amps:
Marshall JCM 800 2204 (1982 - owned from new)
Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 50
H|H VS Musician
H|H VS Bassamp

Cabs:
Marshall '74 2045
Marshall '75 2045
Marshall '75 1982A
Marshall '79 1982A
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#9 User is offline   rct 

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 05:46 PM

View PostHawkesman, on 14 May 2017 - 05:41 PM, said:

Why? It's just a part of what happens when I play with people, and I'm used to it. Also, I just checked the intonation on my SG, then tuned it in my usual 'harmonics' way. I then did something which, oddly, I'd never done before and checked it with my tuner. It was spot-on. Oh well, each to their own I guess! Posted Image


Oh sure, between friends absolutely. But not in a bar.

rct
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#10 User is offline   surfpup 

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 05:50 PM

Tuning a guitar is never perfect. It's a compromise. Whether you are fretting or using harmonics, you will slowly sharpen up as you proceed to the higher strings. Always cross check with lower strings.

That said a tuner is more accurate than your ear no matter who you are. Modern tuners even have sweetened tunings to compensate for the finger pressure on the fat strings. Most people do this naturally after enough years of playing. Ever tuned up then noticed you clamp down an open G chord and the root note is sharp?
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#11 User is offline   rct 

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 05:51 PM

View PostHawkesman, on 14 May 2017 - 05:44 PM, said:

Oh, and sorry about the last series of Sherlock. I quite enjoyed it, but I know not everyone did!


It was rough. They could have done so much more, so much better. I hope they can find time to make one offs here and there. Those seem to be the best. It went really well through out, got weak when they started trying to tie up the whole Mrs John Watson intrigue, and man, the last three were awful.

We just got the Victorian Slum show. Pretty good stuff!

rct
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#12 User is offline   Hawkesman 

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 05:52 PM

View Postrct, on 14 May 2017 - 05:46 PM, said:

Oh sure, between friends absolutely. But not in a bar.

rct


Yeah - fair point. Trouble is my eyesight has got so bad I can't see the bloody readout unless it's within 2 feet of my nose! But I guess the original point I was trying to make is that tuning with harmonics works fine if you know what you are doing. That's all.

Cheers,

H
Guitars:
Gibson Explorer
Gibson SG Special
Gibson SG Standard
Gibson Firebird V
Ibanez Destroyer II DT50 (1981 - owned from new)
Aria Pro II XRB Bass

Amps:
Marshall JCM 800 2204 (1982 - owned from new)
Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 50
H|H VS Musician
H|H VS Bassamp

Cabs:
Marshall '74 2045
Marshall '75 2045
Marshall '75 1982A
Marshall '79 1982A
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#13 User is offline   Dennis G 

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 06:30 PM

View Postglp2012, on 14 May 2017 - 04:52 PM, said:

Here's my thought...you have 30+ years of experience and the guy that wrote the article doesn't.

...Joe Walsh showing you how to tune the guitar...His advice always tune up to the note!

This (tune UP to the note)


View Postsurfpup, on 14 May 2017 - 05:50 PM, said:

Tuning a guitar is never perfect. It's a compromise...That said a tuner is more accurate than your ear no matter who you are.

And this. My 2 cents, anyway. [laugh]
Dennis
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#14 User is offline   Megafrog 

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 07:38 PM

I have been playing for 35 years and back in the day I would tune via harmonics. I now use a variety of tuners from Snarks to chromatic pedals and when I attempt to tune by harmonics and compare, I am usually off by a bit on the G, B and E strings. Maybe I am just going deaf. [confused]
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#15 User is offline   Hawkesman 

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 07:57 PM

View PostMegafrog, on 14 May 2017 - 07:38 PM, said:

I have been playing for 35 years and back in the day I would tune via harmonics. I now use a variety of tuners from Snarks to chromatic pedals and when I attempt to tune by harmonics and compare, I am usually off by a bit on the G, B and E strings. Maybe I am just going deaf. [confused]


Yes - but after you've done it manually, does it sound right, all over the fretboard, regardless of what the machines say? Accuracy, precision? I genuinely don't believe that these terms can apply to an instrument that can only be imperfect, however well-made. Hence my faith in the 'human factor' first, and machines second. Posted Image
Guitars:
Gibson Explorer
Gibson SG Special
Gibson SG Standard
Gibson Firebird V
Ibanez Destroyer II DT50 (1981 - owned from new)
Aria Pro II XRB Bass

Amps:
Marshall JCM 800 2204 (1982 - owned from new)
Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 50
H|H VS Musician
H|H VS Bassamp

Cabs:
Marshall '74 2045
Marshall '75 2045
Marshall '75 1982A
Marshall '79 1982A
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#16 User is offline   Retired 

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 09:02 PM

As a 13 year old learning to play I was taught to use your ear. Did that through my 20's and I got pretty close or good enough as I just played at home. It always sounded good and I checked it with a E, A & D chord. But bought my first tuner at age 60 and I loved it. Use it all the time and it's so much quicker.
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#17 User is offline   MichaelT 

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 06:43 AM

View Postrct, on 14 May 2017 - 05:08 PM, said:

Fair enough.

Nobody wants to hear your harmonics. That's the last answer that I didn't put up there, and to me, as a guy that did that for decades, the best reason to use a tuner. Nobody wants to hear you tuning.

rct


Ah, the Ancient Chinese Art of Tu Ning. Or to badly quote something else: On stage, everyone can hear you tune.

I definitely like my Snark SN-10S tuner. Big bright letters that I can see close up and afar, cuts off the sound to the amp should I need to tune and seems to be pretty accurate for normal stage/practice use. I know people that use the harmonic tuning but I rarely have. For quick tuning, I'll usually just play an E or G open chord and tune up, or down then up. I've seen/heard Hendrix tune up on stage, full volume, but he didn't have these kinds of things available in his day and he was also quick about it.

There's a lively discussion further down the page discussing tuning with harmonics. Does anyone remember tuning with a tuning fork or pitch pipe? I wish I still had mine, just for fun.
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#18 User is offline   deeman 

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:24 AM

View Postrct, on 14 May 2017 - 05:46 PM, said:

Oh sure, between friends absolutely. But not in a bar.

rct


Agreed, when I'm jamming it doesn't bother me to hear people tuning, but if I'm watching a band live I do not want to hear them tuning. Just mute the damn thing and use a pedal tuner and get off my lawn!
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#19 User is offline   kidblast 

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:31 AM

Tuning never has been and never will be something where it's absolute perfection. For every one theory that's out there, three disprove it.

That "argument" with the comments in the article posted was childish.


Basically what I tell (well used to tell) my students when they'd ask "What's wrong with this".. (most of the time, nothing really major).

Just use your tuner to get as close as you can, use your ears to compensate for what ever one of the many quirks your guitar may have. (a poorly cut nut, off intonation, old cruddy strings, what ever...) not exactly stuff rockets are made from.

are there exceptions when something is actually OFF and needs to be addressed? of course... but often times, it's just lack of patience, and not understanding the physics are not, never will be perfect. in music, everything winds up being a compromise at some point in time.

just my 2-cents, like they're important right?

And,, don't know what's worse, some one oblivious and bangin away on a guitar that isn't tuned, or me listening while they're tuning it... the ever so popular clip on tuners need nothing more than the vibrations off the headstock. (pssst... we know you're using em, we seem on your headstock.. so y'all can just trun down your volume, tune that suckah... and you'll at least be closer to being in tune, we wont want to slice our wrists, and at the end of the day... we'll all be happier.)

Then there's acoustic pianos that haven't been tuned since "W" was president....... oh the horrrrrrrrrrrrorrrrrrrs..
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#20 User is offline   Versatile 

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 10:07 AM

Spare a thought for little old moi....:blink:

A 12 string is the biggest challenge to 'compromise tune' with.....

Starting with open chords....reasonably OK....[thumbup]

Capo 5th requires thick 6th,5th and 4th detuning.....both 2nd's out differently....[unsure]

Back to open....reverse former adjustments....

No time to faff with a tuner....done by ear with joke patter to entertain.....:-({|=

Beginning to consider taking 2 guitars around to ease the burden....Posted Image

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