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how to tune?

Technique
gx1327  
1 Nov 2009 21:39 | Quote
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when i first bought my electric guitar, it only came with an E-tuner on the amp. it was easy enough to tune the E string and then tune the rest of them relatively, but kind of a pain. i went and bought a dedicated tuner last weekend and had a couple of questions.

first, it's a lot more sensitive than the amp not a bad thing. BUT, i noticed when strumming a string that the initial pitch is sharp but then flattens out as the string vibrates.

so my question is: which frequency should i tune to? the initial pitch when plucking the string? or the pitch the string creates as it vibrates freely?
case211  
1 Nov 2009 22:06 | Quote
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use harmonics at the 12th fret of each string

it is much more accurate as you don't pick the string as hard

they are very easy to pull off at the 12th, just lightly touch the string and pick it like normal
JustJeff  
1 Nov 2009 22:42 | Quote
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If when you pluck the string it flattens over time... it means you need new strings.

When was the last time you changed your strings.
gx1327  
1 Nov 2009 23:10 | Quote
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pretty recently, maybe 2-3 weeks tops.
fender_bender  
2 Nov 2009 09:17 | Quote
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I tune mine so its in tune immediately after I pluck and through most of the sustain afterwards, maybe 4 seconds, never really counted it out before. I also use my neck pickups or my bridge and neck together when tuning my electric. It allows more low frequencies into the tuner and helps it determine pitch better. Using the harmonics on the 12th fret is debatable when tuning. I hear some say always tune that way and some say never tune that way. I'd rather tune it the way I play it which is pick the string and let it ring. Done it that way on stage for 10 years and haven't had any problems.
case211  
2 Nov 2009 09:34 | Quote
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I say whatever works for you, do that.
raptorclaws  
2 Nov 2009 14:44 | Quote
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It's a great question. I tune to the initial pluck.

an aside: I had a bozo moment last week. I had my tuner out and couldn't understand how a guitar could be so out of tune. After a questioning my ears after a minute I realized I had left the capo on the first fret.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has also found thenselves turning the wrong tuning knob for the string.
BodomBeachTerror  
2 Nov 2009 14:58 | Quote
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yea i turn the wrong nobs all the time

what i often do is just play a power chord, and if it sounds right, and i usually can tell by the vibration in the neck and the sound. its good enough for me
case211  
2 Nov 2009 15:00 | Quote
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I'm a total stickler about tuning, I hate being even a little out of tune on anything.

nater2  
2 Nov 2009 17:22 | Quote
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i feel u case. i'm an absolute tuning freak. but what i do to tune is just repeatedly pluck the string about twice per second.

@raptorclaws i do that all the time when i play fender guitars because i'm used to the tuners being on different sides of the headstock
sev121993  
2 Nov 2009 18:01 | Quote
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I'll give you a hint: At one point you will have to turn the tuning pegs. I know it sounds stupid, but trust me on this one, it works.
BodomBeachTerror  
2 Nov 2009 18:02 | Quote
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i saw that one coming
Domigan_Lefty  
2 Nov 2009 19:32 | Quote
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On my old Squier i would turn the wrong key so many times. And it was always out of tune. So i bought my Les Paul...

Anyway, its best to tune to the initial strum, and then go to the 12th fret.
Nightmare  
3 Nov 2009 05:58 | Quote
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nice, I like that topic, I had the same question in mind too. ever since I got the digitech rp pedal, it has been pretty easy to tune the guitar, I mean im too lazy to plug the guitar into the tuner and stuff.
Mici  
3 Nov 2009 06:59 | Quote
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nater2 says:
what i do to tune is just repeatedly pluck the string about twice per second.

I've done that pretty much always. Seems to work for me. Which gives us: I tune to the initial sound.
After reading Case' post I tried to tune it using harmonics and it worked OK, too.
case211  
3 Nov 2009 07:19 | Quote
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I use the harmonics because the sustain with those is much better per string than if I would just pluck the string, that's really why, it just gives me more time to tune the string.
carlsnow  
3 Nov 2009 07:56 | Quote
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using the "pluck" gives you a false Sharp.
wait 1/2 a second and let the string settle back to its center.

and while elec tuners are great on-stage, and lol, if like me ya teach all day BUT at some point you must begin to use your ear to tune..the sooner the better

RAWK!
Cs

case211  
3 Nov 2009 08:03 | Quote
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yeah, I'm starting to finally hear what a standard pitch chord(C,D,E,G,A are the ones I know for sure) are supposed to sound like, I can actually form them in my head. And I'm starting to hear what a standard pitch E,A,D,G, and B are supposed to sound like, though it isn't as accurate as using a tuner just yet, I hope to get there pretty soon.
Mici  
3 Nov 2009 12:10 | Quote
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@Carl
But then aren't you always playing sharps while actually PLAYING guitar. If you're playing a fast riff where no note lasts longer than the quarter of a second perhaps, aren't all the notes in the riff sharp?
case211  
3 Nov 2009 12:22 | Quote
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@mici

it's only a slight sharpen maybe a half of a half step(1/4 step? 1/8 step?) so it's not a huge difference but it is slightly sharpened
fender_bender  
3 Nov 2009 14:49 | Quote
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It depends on how hard you pick the string. The harder you pick it the sharper it will go. The reason is you are 'stretching' the string with the pick. When the pick finally lets go of the string its starting point is going to be sharper because you are basically bending the string. If that makes sense.
carlsnow  
3 Nov 2009 15:02 | Quote
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Mici says:
@Carl
But then aren't you always playing sharps while actually PLAYING guitar. If you're playing a fast riff where no note lasts longer than the quarter of a second perhaps, aren't all the notes in the riff sharp?


What a great question! Kudos Mici ! … no-one has ever asked me that.(really)
but
Case (good job Suh!) almost nailed it dead-on
Case says:

it's only a slight sharpen maybe a half of a half step(1/4 step? 1/8 step?) so it's not a huge difference but it is slightly sharpened


The “answer” is in between what you’ve both asked/stated and varies a bit depending on what type Plank is being tuned.

For a stable context let’s assume this guitar is ‘perfect’ and hold tune very well.
The nanosecond the pick hits the string it becomes ‘part of it’(string) in that while its touching, the string it briefly shortens it while also, when using a digital tuner, slams said tuner with too much information.
We are talking less than a second here.
Even the most wonderfully “perfectly” intonated Plank will ‘stray’ from a ½ second to as long a second, at times longer.
I DO NOT know the science of this , lol, I’m a guitar-teacher not a physicist; I can only go by my 35years playing and the countless guitars (students) I have tuned over that time.
I would count “one Mississippi” in my head and take that ‘reading’ as true.
BUT
There are problems there as well, new strings old strings and type Plank and on and on but I’ll hit the Basic.
Say the strings are already stretched when ya put them on (I know but just humor me a minute) the same settling-effect would occur.
And this is KINDA where Mici’s second question comes in to play.
I meet very few folks (esp. non-pros) who tune their guitars well (or to the standards I was taught) and this comes from tuning the entire Plank with a tuner and leaving it at that.
Without going into a vast array of variables lemme give a few hints to the beginning guitarists who may read this.
Tune the guitar starting with the G, then A, B, and high-E etc.. what you want to do is keep the tension on the neck as stable as possible—as many times tuning the final E (123456) or B (does not matter which) will pull the other notes slightly out.
Always tune after you tune! Digital tuners, or whatever ya tune with do not replace the ear.
The guitar (again – a million reasons) is like a fingerprint—there are no two ‘alike’, but all share a common tuning conundrum: “the tuner says its in buuut”
After ya use a tuner play a big open G and micro-tune the (usually) the guitar to itself. Try playing an open C next and continuing to listen for ‘off’-soundings that should not exist, lol, in a nice little C or G Chord and if they exist correct them(when ya first start do this you will want to refer the A or G (tuning Low-Down from E offers 6Six changes to get it wrong and 5 movements away from the tuned note)
In other words after you tune your guitar…tune your guitar TO your guitar.
AKA
Your Guitar may be in tune BUT slightly out of tune, with itself, even the most expensive , best lutiered, and perfectly intonated Plank can 'do' this is mainly due to a neat little oddness in string width (gauge) that causes problems with G or D strings, as they are (depending on what the highest pitched Wrapped sting is, usually D or G) the thinnest on the guitar by virtue of being a thin wire wrapped with bronze, etc…: as in the last ‘gold’ G string on an Acoustic Steel or a Silver D’Adarrio Electric D String, Dig?


Whew … Gotta student in 15 so I’ll leave it at that fer now.
I hope this helps someone somewhere…

Oh and uh,
RAWK!
Cs
deadman2k666  
3 Nov 2009 23:35 | Quote
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I find that if my guitar is relatively in tune, or close to Eb tuning, i tune by ear, but if not i tune with my good ol lazy man's tuner
nater2  
4 Nov 2009 13:02 | Quote
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and also your guitar will NEVER be perfectly in tune because (this may sound kinda weird) it can only be perfectly in tune if it is tuned to a key. not like changing the notes on the strings, but if you tune with and electric tuner and then fine tune by ear to a G chord it will be tuned to the key of G. like sometimes you can tune it "perfectly" to a G chord and then a play an E chord and it might sound out of tune. i hope this made sense.

@carl. everything you said was totally right, not trying show you up or anything ha ha
deadman2k666  
6 Nov 2009 20:59 | Quote
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@nater i didnt know that till right now!
Mici  
9 Nov 2009 07:48 | Quote
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Yay! A big THANK YOU goes to you, Carl!
About the last part of your post: I've read that Eddie Van Halen doesn't tune his guitar the way the tuner would, so he tunes one of the strings a little "sharper" because of some strange Physics involved that I couldn't understand.
So, from what I understood, even the slightly sharps just after we pick are perfectly normal and we count them as PERFECTLY IN TUNE, although TECHNICALLY they're not, right?
case211  
9 Nov 2009 08:14 | Quote
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@mici

he actually flattens the B string slightly because if you've ever played the riff from "Runnin' with the Devil", it sounds horrible if you don't flatten it to get rid of that weird out of phase oscillation(If that's the correct term)
vincejonesiii  
10 Nov 2009 12:49 | Quote
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f..... wow mind.blown.
Mici  
10 Nov 2009 16:02 | Quote
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@Case: Oh, ri-ight! About playing the riff from "Runnin' with the Devil", no, I don't think so. LOL! I don't even listen to him (but plan to do so very soon), I was just reading about him at the time. Anyway, I don't think he does it just so that particular riff will sound good. I think I read that on Wikipedia and there was some theory that I couldn't understand a bit of (and probably still can't) involved.
Thnx for correcting me, though and ROCK ON! \m/

@Vince: :Z WHAT??!!
case211  
10 Nov 2009 16:07 | Quote
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@mici
Mici says:
Anyway, I don't think he does it just so that particular riff will sound good.



your right about that part actually, I believe he typically tuned the B string to be slightly flattened almost all the time, its really helpful in a lot of the chords that he uses, its helps them sound brighter and more full.
nater2  
10 Nov 2009 17:42 | Quote
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i think it's a little funny we cant' figure out how to tune our guitars lol
Mici  
11 Nov 2009 10:43 | Quote
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@Case: Well, you gotta give it to the man. He's some kind of genius!

@Nater: Hahahahahahahah! LololololoL! IT IS funny, actually.

I feel like such a smartass now that I asked Carl something nobody has asked him before. Hahahah! :P
case211  
11 Nov 2009 11:34 | Quote
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@mici

that's why he's one of my favorites! lol



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