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 Post subject: Tuning Issues
PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:54 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2005 12:26 pm
Posts: 899
Tuning is a challenge for most guitarists so here are some tips to get and stay in tune.

The system of tuning one develops is important. For me, tuning at the Vth fret or by harmonics simply doesn't produce good results. The tuning method I found is most effective is found here: http://www.scottkritzer.com/Teaching/Video/TricksoftheTrade/Tuning/KritzerTuning.pdf. Another very effective way to tune is simply by the open strings of the guitar, the interval of an open 4th. The tricky part here is the third from strings G to B. After I tune the guitar using this method I play some of the chords of the piece, especially the ones in different positions, and make adjustments where necessary.

When changing the tuning of the string for a piece, (most often done with the sixth string to D), there are some compensations that should be made for the fact that when the string is moved such a distance it will naturally want to return to it's previous position. Also, one should learn, as with all tuning, to do it quickly and quietly. Here's a trick for this adjustment: Practice going from normal pitch to new pitch, (on the 6th string from E to D). Count the number of revolutions, plus or minus, that it takes when turning the tuning peg. Memorize this and when re-tuning in concert use this number. If you're using the same guitar and string brands it's usually a consistent distance. Remember to take into account that a note altered will, a few seconds after playing it, try to return to the previous pitch, causing it to go slightly out of tune. So, when I tune my 6th to D for instance, the string goes a little flat. So when I'm memorizing the distance I turn the peg I take this into account and go a bit farther. The string will adjust in a few beats. When I go back up to E then I go a bit sharp.

If, while playing, you notice the previous adjustments don't work then you might want to adjust the string. you You can be pretty confident that the string will be trying to return to it's previous pitch. In other words, if you've tuned down from E to D then the D note will go sharp so you can adjust it down. If you tune back up from D to E and the string is going flat you can adjust it by the 'peg' or simply reach up, just above the nut and squeeze the string - this usually works and takes less time than adjusting the tuner itself.

Often we don't worry too much about tuning when practicing but I've found that if I'm sloppy in practice that I simply b]can't[/b] keep my guitar in tune in concert. So, start every session with the above method and then practice keeping your guitar in tune.

In other words incorporate the skill of tuning on the fly in your practice. You have to first asses what is out of tune and which direction, sharp or flat, you need to adjust the string. Then you decide WHEN to make the jump. This is a great opportunity to practice your tuning skills for performance. If you do so you'll develop the ear and skill required to be in tune, and stay in tune, in almost any circumstance.


Last edited by scott on Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 10:43 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2005 11:16 pm
Posts: 752
Location: PNW
This is an amazingly hard skill to acheive despite sounding so simple and so straightforward. I am incorporating now this into my practice in anticipation of the upcoming event.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 2:45 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2005 12:26 pm
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Another consideration regarding tuning and performing - when to change strings.

In general, I'd suggest changing strings two to three days before a performance. If you can change strings and keep the guitar in tune for the following three to four hours then the strings will adjust much faster. For that reason I don't like to change my strings at night, go to bed and find them completely slack. Better to change them after a practice and then keep them doggies up to pitch for a few hours.

In addition, I don't always change all of my strings. Sometimes I can get away with changing the basses only. That's not a problem. My rule of thumb is to change the whole set every other time.

Scott


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 2:45 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2005 12:26 pm
Posts: 899
Another consideration regarding tuning and performing - when to change strings.

In general, I'd suggest changing strings two to three days before a performance. If you can change strings and keep the guitar in tune for the following three to four hours then the strings will adjust much faster. For that reason I don't like to change my strings at night, go to bed and find them completely slack. Better to change them after a practice and then keep them doggies up to pitch for a few hours.

In addition, I don't always change all of my strings. Sometimes I can get away with changing the basses only. That's not a problem. My rule of thumb is to change the whole set every other time.

Scott


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