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Ear Tuning?


CowboyBillyBob1

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This happens to me sometimes, actually more often than I would like. I set up my rig and guirat exactly how I want it to sound, It's like nirvana, just perfect. Then the next day or even a few hour later it does not sound the same. Nothing has changed the levels on all the boxes and amp are exactly the same but it sound different. I sometimes have to tweak the levels to get back to what I want to hear.

It must be my ear! I am in the same room sitting in the same spot and it's just different. Is it the humidity or temp? It drives me crazy. I easily know if I change the volume on the amp all bets are off but this is comparing apples to apples.

 

Has anyone else experienced this or am I just a freak?

Ok I have left myself open to loads of jokes and that's OK but has anyone else experienced this?

 

Edit: I just thought it may have to do with the pick I am using at the time. I have some picks that give me more treble and some that are mellow. I should make note of that when getting my ideal tone.

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Another even more overall factor has to do with the absolute fact that our brains translate what we hear - and that tends to be in context of what else we've been most recently hearing.

 

E.g. If you're hunting on a wooded mountainside you become quickly quite sensitive to differences in sounds from the wind and sounds of your own and ... perhaps ... that of the deer or elk you're seeking. Yet it takes a little while for the sounds of your vehicle to disappear and your mind to attune to the environment surrounding you.

 

m

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I've gotten my open tuning I've done from day 1 down by ear perfectly. It's a bit low, loose, and bubbly, but it always sounds exactly the same. I feel pure happiness every time I restring. Anyways, on the matter of sounding different after a putting my guitar down for a bit, it doesn't happen, or I've never noticed it?

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Wait till you get older and your hearing isn't what it used to be [confused]

 

My hearing ain't ever been good. My mom's been a bus driver since I was 2 years old, and I've ridden her bus every day since then.

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Oh man, that could be so many things.

 

If you are noticing a difference, as in actually NOTICING a difference, my guess is that there likely is a difference somewhere.

 

I would not rule out listener fatigue, or perhaps that the reference is different. By reference, I mean when you play for a bit the sound may hit you different than if you have quiet and come into it fresh.

 

You might be onto something with the pick. Or, it could be warm-up time with the amp. It could even be the quality of the electricity in your house at different times of the day.

 

I am guessing there is likely a difference, you just haven't found it yet. I am curious what it might be.

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I've gotten my open tuning I've done from day 1 down by ear perfectly. It's a bit low, loose, and bubbly, but it always sounds exactly the same. I feel pure happiness every time I restring. Anyways, on the matter of sounding different after a putting my guitar down for a bit, it doesn't happen, or I've never noticed it?

It's not the guitar that is sounding different ( I don't think so anyway) it's the amp and effects because they need a tweak of the dials to get it to where I want to hear it.

 

I am making a note of every cable I use and in what position it is in. Also which end goes to the amp and which end goes to the guitar. Picks are also something I am going to take notice of. One last thing is I have decided I will not get any older so that my ears stay fresh.

 

Wish me luck.

 

Amother thought perhaps the alcoholic filter I use is effected by the brand and quantity of beer I consume.

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I've noticed exactly the same thing. Happens to me all the time...

 

In my case I think it's simply perferring subtly different tones from one time to another. I might have dialled-in my #1 guitar/amp 'perfectly' but the next time I pick it up think "Grief, that's muddy!"

 

Mood/Mind plays a large part; what the brain wants to hear changes from session to session.

 

P.

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Same here! I hate edgy tone, prefer it to be mellow and round. I set up the amp (not easy to use the over-sensitive controls of an old Regent amp), then I connect my pedals. Sounds great! The very next day I find it too bright - not just a bit, but annoyingly bright. Swap a pedal in chain, then it's fine again. The next day...and so on. I guess it comes with age. 20 years ago I didn't bother about it that much: plug it in, turn up the gain and go. Sic transit gloria mundi...Cheers... Bence

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I think there are many factors, as other posters have covered.

 

A contributing factor can be the weather, although that is a more gradual effect.

 

When I started my duo, I used to write down the volume settings for each venue we played. And when I went back, quite often I would have to change them. Wondered why? After intense googling I found:

 

1) Humidity affects volume and tone by changing the resistance of the air.

 

2) Temperature also affects volume and tone by changing the speed of sound (slower when it is colder).

 

#2 explained something else to me. I grew up in the Rock and Roll era, and played in guitar bands most of my life. As the temperature in the room got colder, the guitars would go sharp and I'd have to adjust my sax (only one adjustment as opposed to 6 strings so it's logical for the sax to retune). Easy to explain, the metal in the strings shrink causing the string to go tighter. Look at the overhead power and telephone lines in the winter and the summer and you will see what I mean.

 

But saxophones go flat when the temperature gets colder - just the opposite of guitars. In wind instruments, the length of the instrument determines the pitch. As the holes on the sax are closed with the keys from top to bottom, the "tube" becomes longer and the pitch lower. When it is colder, the speed of sound is slower, so it takes the sound longer to get to the first open key of the sax, and that is the same as making the sax longer.

 

So there is our physics lesson of the day - or at least as the links I found on google explain it.

 

Notes

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Afterthoughts:

 

Actually, I'm not that picky about tone (not that it's wrong to be picky about tone - there is more than one way to make music).

 

I figure if I change my tone 10%, 10% of the audience might like it better, 10% of the audience might like the tone before the change better, and the rest won't notice the difference.

 

I am picky about intonation. I sometime play notes flat or sharp for effect, but I do that intentionally, and I don't want my instrument making that decision for me.

 

And I'm picky about how the instrument plays. How responsive is it? Can I coax the nuances out of the instrument that I want?

 

I played with another sax players who used to get a box of 25 reeds and throw out at least 20 of them because they didn't sound quite right. I tend to only trash one or two out of the box. Due to our mouthpiece tip opening and chamber size we played different strength reeds. Too bad or I could have collected years worth of reeds in a few months ;)

 

Notes

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Beyond the "physics" of it, I'm still convinced that our own perceptions change as much or more, depending on ambient sound conditions different time we listen.

 

An example: even our vision changes and adjusts for color changes throughout a sunny day; it'll start out bluish and end redish. Yet we tend to perceive far less difference than our camera might record for us.

 

m

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Yes it is true that hi or low barometric presser will effect sound, that's all sound is.... changes in barometric presser. But if your using a tube amp with a lot of stomp-boxes of the older variety then you have another thing to throw into the mix as this is a lot different then a strait up modern solid state amp with just a guitar and a cable.

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Could be brain phasing. Depending at what frequency your brain was working at during the time you experienced the tonal nirvana... Although you have not changed your amp or gear settings your body is no longer in the same spot as it was during the time you experienced your perceived perfect sound due to the planets rotation and your relative position in the universe. Time and global position affect the frequency in which your brain is functioning and although the sound is similar, it's not quite the same.

 

Answer... You have to keep tweaking.

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Depending at what frequency your brain was working at during the time you experienced the tonal nirvana.

 

Even though Dave's reply is 'tongue in cheek', he is actually correct in a sense.

 

Your hearing, mood, and physical energy all change through out the day and evening. I personally feel physically at my peak betwwen 9 am and noon. If I play then my ears seem to be sharper in picking up subtle tones and my mind is much more focused.

 

If I am in a good mood, invariably the guitar sounds better to me. When i get home in the evening from work I am usually pretty tired and if I noodle around on the guitar it usually sounds a bit off.

 

Sometimes I tune the guitar and start playing and it sounds off, the more I warm up and practice it gradually starts sounding better. In a typical 2 hours practice session it takes me about 10 minutes to warm up and another 20 or 30 minutes to get in the groove. Same goes for my hearing, it needs to warm up to.

 

YMMV.

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Could be brain phasing. Depending at what frequency your brain was working at during the time you experienced the tonal nirvana... Although you have not changed your amp or gear settings your body is no longer in the same spot as it was during the time you experienced your perceived perfect sound due to the planets rotation and your relative position in the universe. Time and global position affect the frequency in which your brain is functioning and although the sound is similar, it's not quite the same.

 

Answer... You have to keep tweaking.

So how can I control the time & space continuum? Is there a pedal that can do that?

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I have a 30 yr old mesa boogie that was doing some funky stuff to me.

 

I sympathize with all you old farts on here about hearing and seeing. I'm 51 now and things sure don't work like they used to and I don't care what anyone says,, hearing gets worse with age it's a proven fact and nothing you can do about it.

 

But if you have an old amp like mine, or a dusty environment or maybe you smoke?

I really believe dirty pots affect the tone long before it gets obvious(crackling when turning knobs).

I find that before I try anything I pull off the knobs and blast the pots with some good contact cleaner.

 

If that doesn't work,, increase the consumption setting on the alcohol filter and turn your amp to 11.

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I have a 30 yr old mesa boogie that was doing some funky stuff to me.

 

I sympathize with all you old farts on here about hearing and seeing. I'm 51 now and things sure don't work like they used to and I don't care what anyone says,, hearing gets worse with age it's a proven fact and nothing you can do about it.

 

But if you have an old amp like mine, or a dusty environment or maybe you smoke?

I really believe dirty pots affect the tone long before it gets obvious(crackling when turning knobs).

I find that before I try anything I pull off the knobs and blast the pots with some good contact cleaner.

 

If that doesn't work,, increase the consumption setting on the alcohol filter and turn your amp to 11.

Since my LP is only about 6 months old I doubt it's the pots. I will take your other suggestion under consideration while I sip my drink.

This 2012 Standard is becoming an obsession. I fall asleep playing it and it's the first thing I do when I wake up (not counting a morning pee). I have dialed in sounds that only existed in my head before. I guess I will just tweak away and make it a way of living. At least until they invent the time and space pedal.

 

 

"Ground Control to Cowboy Bob"

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Even though Dave's reply is 'tongue in cheek', he is actually correct in a sense.

 

Your hearing, mood, and physical energy all change through out the day and evening. I personally feel physically at my peak betwwen 9 am and noon. If I play then my ears seem to be sharper in picking up subtle tones and my mind is much more focused.

 

If I am in a good mood, invariably the guitar sounds better to me. When i get home in the evening from work I am usually pretty tired and if I noodle around on the guitar it usually sounds a bit off.

 

Sometimes I tune the guitar and start playing and it sounds off, the more I warm up and practice it gradually starts sounding better. In a typical 2 hours practice session it takes me about 10 minutes to warm up and another 20 or 30 minutes to get in the groove. Same goes for my hearing, it needs to warm up to.

 

YMMV.

 

What Markini is describing here is typical of my 1st post on fatigue. When you fist get up from a good sleep/rest your ears are at there least amount of fatigue in your whole day.

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Since my LP is only about 6 months old I doubt it's the pots. I will take your other suggestion under consideration while I sip my drink.

This 2012 Standard is becoming an obsession. I fall asleep playing it and it's the first thing I do when I wake up (not counting a morning pee). I have dialed in sounds that only existed in my head before. I guess I will just tweak away and make it a way of living. At least until they invent the time and space pedal.

 

 

"Ground Control to Cowboy Bob"

 

 

Actually I was talking more about the pots on your amp.

or more sips may be the answer lol... :)

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So I was playing early this afternoon and everything sounded peachy keen. The Temp was 72 degrees F and Barometer was 45%. I went out and came back from the supermarket started playing again and something was not right. I had to tune my guitar, every string was off. Thats odd because this thing stays in tune sometimes for days with just a small tweak if I get real aggresive. The tone was gone as well. Spent at least a half hour getting it back to how it should sound. Was I just getting tired ears? Too early to have a drink so that filter was not an option. I looked at the temp and it was 77 degrees F. The Barometer was now 68%!! Wow it got real warm and humid in a short amount of time.

 

I think that is the cause of being so out of tune and the tone just turning to crap. When I was younger I would probably not even notice it but now I am so focused on my tone and can hear small differences because I am aware of them. I probably need to turn the Air Conditioner on to bring the temp down and dry out the air. If I do that then I am in for another tone tweaking session.

 

What a drag. It's getting later and it looks like the alcoholic filter is opening up for business.

 

Am I the only one who has this as an issue. Probably worse here in the North West since the temp and humidity changes often. I probably need to get an appliance that will adjust the humidity up or down as needed. That will probably cost a fortune.

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I think a lot depends on a given guitar.

 

My 175 is incredibly sensitive to changes in temp/humidity. That's why I got a semi - which functionally is a solidbody with wings, and a lot less sensitive than a full hollow, especially a full hollow with a trapeze tailpiece that I'm guessing makes it a lot more sensitive even than a flat top.

 

m

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