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Atlternate tunings -- Dark Fire vs Synth


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I am interested if anyone has a comparison of doing alternate tunings using the robot features of the DF verses using a synth device like a (say) VG-99, and in particular, doing this for live performances.


My guess would be, since I don't have a DF, that once you get a tuning set with the DF, you have to use if for that song, but the synth would give you more freedom to quickly jump between tunings (do that open slide lead during a standard blues number;-) but you might not be able to achieve the desired tones with the synth.



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I own both a Dark Fire and a VG-99.


I also own a Variax 500 & 600 too


The Variax will "flutter" when the pitch changes more than +/ - one step.


Some folks are happy with the Alt Tuning feature of the VG-99 - indeed it is the best available on any DSP emulated alt tuning system.


But nothing beats real strings at alt tuning pitch - particularly if you play slide and desire sustain. The Dark Fire is superior because its the real string at the real pitch, allowing real feedback sustain. I have good results with my Barber Tone press compressor and a good amp with the Dark Fire , I can nail Lowel George, Bonnie Rait, Mick Taylor clean sustain slide. I find it impossible to do that with a Variax, or VG-99 - since there is no direct acoustic path for the correct pitch frequency from a speaker to re-energise the strings.


Bottom line - with Alt tunings, the VG-99 sounds dead, little sustain.


By contrast, the Dark Fire is the real deal and sings when playing slide, its robotic tuning is the only way to go when playing slide during live performance - or performing any other Alt Tuning style. It gets there in seconds.

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There's also the issue (at least for me) that when you strum the guitar, you hear the strings at the regular tuning but the output is at the different tuning. If you're in a situation where you're not able to hear yourself strumming, then it's not a problem. It's just distracting for me.

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