Guitar God’s help please.
Got the axe, three weeks in and very pleased with how I’m progressing, my guitar tutor recommended getting a tuner as my guitar tuner app is not cutting the mustard. They appear to start at a fiver and go beyond a hundred, don’t want to spend hundreds, but don’t want to embarrass myself by buying sh1te, edgeukate me please.Posted 9 months ago
I should have asked what his was, but it did look a bit like an 80s battered jobbie.
Are we talking acoustic or electric guitar? Take a look at the Thomann website. You can pick up a Korg tuner for under 20 quid.Posted 9 months ago
Am far from a guitar god, but…
Modern clip on tuners are pretty decent, decent ones start from around a tenner. A Boss TU-2 (or TU-3, or similar) is easy to use with an electric, and has a nice easy to read display.Posted 9 months ago
Boss tuner app for your phone is free and goodPosted 9 months ago
Then get on the other guitar thread for help/tips..Posted 9 months ago
+1 (from another non-god)Posted 9 months ago
TC Electonics tuner. Also available as an app for iOS. Used to be free.Posted 9 months ago
Apps are basically dependent on the phone hardware, teh Boss one just doesn’t really work at all on my old Moto, all over the place. Snark is very nice, and not so much more expensive than the cheapest you can get.
With electric I like a plugged one, it just makes more sensePosted 9 months ago
I’ve tried some apps and some cheap £2 clip-on tuners, but this is still by far the best…
Pedal: Boss TU3Posted 9 months ago
Clip On: Snark
None Clip On….Korg CA20 or similar
Snark all the way.Posted 9 months ago
No tuner required. All you need to know is ‘boys are back in town’ is Open A power chord and then tune all other strings to it. Or ‘enter sandman’ main power chord is E. Job donePosted 9 months ago
Snark againPosted 9 months ago
The Fender app works fine on my Moto 5G, Fender pedal tuner too, and a cheap tuner/metronome from Lidl is the best clip on I’ve used. Boss had some poor reviews the last time I was looking for a better tuner, in the end I stuck with what I’ve got.
Your ears are really good tuners too. Even if you have an accurate tuner your guitar is not going to be in tune for everything because the intervals between notes aren’t perfect and if the errors add up the wrong way some chords can sound quite badly out of tune. If I’m playing things in G I drop the B-string till it shows just out of tune low because then it’s in tune to my ears.
No tuner required
I used to use Slade’s Cum on Feel the Noize to tune up when I was a kid. The opening note is G.Posted 9 months ago
Get one of these. That sounds tweak your tutor nicely
(I have no idea if they work well or not. Seems like an interesting idea if you change tunings a lot)Posted 9 months ago
I tried a Gibson SG with some automatic tuners in a local shop, the tuning wasn’t great to my ears to start with then first bend it was a country mile out. If I’d bought it the first thing I’d have done would have been to fit some vintage tuners, but the neck nearly as wide a cricket bat was a deal breaker, and the balance, and the generally cheap feel.Posted 9 months ago
You’re doing it all wrong. When I first started aged 14 I just cranked it up with the window open and played along with my Buzzcocks records until the neighbour opposite got so angry he was banging on the door demanding to tune the guitar up.Posted 9 months ago
A clip on is good for beginners, but I’ve found (and I’m by no means a pro)
I now prefer a reference tone, E for example, if you’re playing in standard tuning, so you can get the thickest and thinest strings Bob on.
I then tune all the other strings accordingly using the standard method and double check using harmonics and arrive at a compromise, so the guitar is in tune with itself, but might not nessesarily be Bob on in terms of precise frequency.
Tuning by ear rather than strictly to a dial on a guage as different guitars have slightly different innotation, resulting in flats and sharps where they shouldn’t be.
It’s well worth learning to tune by ear rather than a guage or digital reference.
I still need a reference tone, but once that’s dialed in, do the rest by ear using harmonics if you can to really fine tune it.Posted 9 months ago
Don’t forget that strings stretch too, so when they are brand new they will go out of tune quickly, so when I put new strings on, I’m purposely heavy handed to take some of the stretch out so they become more stable. You’ll have to retune quite often until the strings are broken in a bit, so I speed that process up by being more heavy handed.Posted 9 months ago
For what the OP wants and needs – buy a Snark. SN5X is £10.50 from Amazon and “just works”. Good quality and rightly popular. Much easier to use than phone apps.
Tuning by ear is a great skill to learn (I haven’t yet) but learning guitar is hard enough to start with so just get the Clip on and have done with it.
@mattyfez – I’ve found that if you stretch the strings* after installing a few times until they don’t change after a stretch (I find about 3 times does it) then the tuning is rock solid from then on.
* – finger under string by the pickups, stretch string up by a cm or so. Run finger up to nut and back again. Repeat on all strings. Go easy on the thinner strings just in case they cut! I don’t think it’s the string stretching so much as everything pulling tight – ball end pulling up snug, wraps around the tuning peg pulling up tight etc.Posted 9 months ago
I think the Boss Tune gives note and octave so instead of the note you get note plus octave which is fine if you remember that the guitar is tuned down one octave. Middle C on guitar is not middle C on piano. This only applies if you are playing classical guitar.Posted 9 months ago
I also had a download tone generator for the computer for tuning octave pairs on a lute.
I switched to a Korg CA50 which is usually fine until one day it just went haywire. I then realised the neighbour was out strimming. You can also set the tuning reference pitch on the Korg if you are using odd tuning.
If you have the set up I would go with a plugin tuner so no outside interference.
No tuner required. All you need to know is ‘boys are back in town’ is Open A power chord and then tune all other strings to it. Or ‘enter sandman’ main power chord is E. Job done
Pretty sure Thin Lizzy always tuned half a step down. So you’ve been playing with the your guitar in Eb the whole time 🙂Posted 9 months ago
Fender app on the iPhone. Gives a reasonable guide, then play through a few chords, using e minor as the best, most unforgiving reference. I tend to tweak the B and G depending on the key I’m in too.Posted 9 months ago
Go old skool and tune from an A440. 😆
Posted 9 months ago
Sorry, but yet another Snark fan.
10% of everything at PMT atm.
Oooh, and lovely, all solid Fender travel acoustics for £250 at Andertons……must…….resist…..
And once it’s in tune, you can move on to the intonation. 🙂Posted 9 months ago
I tend to tweak the B and G depending on the key I’m in too.
Does your guitar need set up and intonated?Posted 9 months ago
Snarks work well. But I’ve found that all the guitars I’ve owned (4) have sounded better with the B a smidge lower than the tuner wanted it.Posted 9 months ago
Whilst learning to tune by ear is undoubtedly a good skill to have you’ll rarely see anyone do it in real life unless they are just fiddling about at home. On stage many will use a Boss TU 3. Snarks are good because they are cheap and you can use them to set the intonation as well.Posted 9 months ago
My ear tuning got much better when I bought a fretless bass. Very important to get that in tune first otherwise your muscle memory training is off. Hard to get the intonation set right on that too. Kinda useful to have the (side dot only in my case) markers in the right spot.Posted 9 months ago
I use to be of these easy to use and inexpensive
D’Addario Planet Waves PW-CT-12 NS Micro Headstock Tuner
£14 from GAKPosted 9 months ago
Thanks for the help all, it is an electric and I would need to tune it not plugged in to the amp. I’ve tried a few apps and they are all tuning flat, I know intonation is slightly out in places but I’m only weeks in so no biggie. I think the tuning fork is a good call and I’ll investigate the other suggestions asap.Posted 9 months ago
I did play tenor saxophone in another life so not totally sopping wet behind the ears. 😁👍
I was only kidding about the tuning fork btw. 😆
Get a tuner. Relative running is alright. Fine if you are sitting about. But your ears won’t tune as good as you can with an accurate tuner. One that can measure down to 1 cent. The human ear can only really start to differentiate sound at 4 or 5 cents if I remember right. So you ear won’t be as accurate as a tuner.
Which is fine for sitting about. But soon as you interact with other sounds. Whether on stage or recording . You want to me more accurate.
If you need to change tuning manually after using a tuner to fix it, your guitar most likely needs a set up.Posted 9 months ago
Whilst learning to tune by ear is undoubtedly a good skill to have you’ll rarely see anyone do it in real life unless they are just fiddling about at home. On stage many will use a Boss TU 3. Snarks are good because they are cheap and you can use them to set the intonation as well.
Over the years I’ve seen pretty much every one of those methods used, but it largely depends on the type of instruments being played – electric and electric/acoustics usually have a tuner on the floor, that the guitar is plugged into, acoustics most often seem to use one of those little clip-on jobbies on the head of the guitar, I’ve seen quite a few musicians tune by ear, especially if they’re using open tunings or re-tuning between songs, and very recently I saw Maria McKee using her phone to tune her guitar.Posted 9 months ago
If you’re in the key of G then the b-string will have to be tuned down about 5cents to be in tune so your ear will hear that it’s out of tune and you can correct it by ear, or if you’ve got a tuner tune it down 5cents.
Try playing a G-chord on your guitar with the b-string perfect according to the tuner or 5cents low. It’s obvious which one is closest to being right. Even with the harmonics perfectly set it’s the fact that the intervals between notes aren’t perfect that you’re fighting against.
Things are never going to be perfect, you’re up against too many approximations, it’s what sounds right that matters and you work towards that. Not that most of your audience notices. I played a set in a local club with the monitor not working and the rhythm guitarist’s amp right behind me. I was both singing and playing deaf. First thing I asked off stage was whether my singing was a little out of tune or a lot out of tune, and whether the guitar work was even in the right key – nothing but compliments but I can’t see how I was possibly singing in tune.Posted 9 months ago
Nope, sounds better perfectly in tune. I do set up and intonate my guitars myself though. So it is set up precisely for me.
The guitar is an inherently unstable instrument anyhow. It’s not a perfect instrument.
Intervals between notes are perfect btw, thats what 12TET is. Kinda the point of it. 😆 There’s 100cents in a note, 1200 cents in an octave. Different keys, don’t have different flavours, they are just direct transpositions, unless you are deliberately using a different tuning system.Posted 9 months ago
They aren’t on any real instrument and that’s kinda the point. Anyhow, have a look at some of these vids and see if you change your mind:
Only one for the moment I can’t find the one I’m really looking for but Paul makes the point I’m trying to make better than I can with text.
Edit: still can’t find it but Paul Davids does it just as well and easier to understand:Posted 9 months ago
Aye I’ve seen them before, I understand the theory behind it all. If you are looking to achieve sounds like an interval with a perfect ratio of notes, ie 2/3 from the just intonation system, fair do’s go for it, but all you can do is play that interval, the rest of your guitar will be off relatively.
If you really want to play around with different tuning systems get yourself a keyboard and a copy of Pianotech. and play around with that, it’s much easier..
You can’t do it on a guitar, the instrument is built for the 12TET system.
If you wanted a guitar to work on say the just intonation system, you’d need the frets to be spaced very differently, and you’d be locking your guitar into one key.
Crazy madness like this: Stuff that! 😆
Different tuning systems are nice to play around with. But ultimately the likes of just intonation is very limited, ie it’s locked to a key, sounds terrible the further you go away from that key on the circle for 5ths. 12TET is a compromise, but it’s a very good compromise in that it gives us the ability to freely move around keys.Posted 9 months ago
Incidentally, the first video, about james taylor tuning, that’s him just tuning the guitar for specifically playing up the neck on an acoustic.
He’s more trying to fix intonation problems relative to him and the guitar I’d think, and being a little too anal about it tbh.
I can understand that different people will need their guitars set up slightly differently depending on how they play, ie if they press the strings harder or softer, it’s why I set up my electrics myself. As I then know that they are fairly accurate at the octave and the open strings to the pressures I tend to use to play on the strings.
But use your tuner, go up a string on each note, you’ll notice that even on a perfectly tuned and intonated guitar, the tuning is variable, you don’t fret the strings with equal pressure all the time. And that is just on one string, now factor in that your fingers move about the strings, changing strings and position with each chord, and you’ll understand that perfect tuning isn’t actually a thing, it’s all an approximation.
It’s 2 separate issues tbh, there’s tuning systems, and there’s intonation problems, they aren’t the same thing.
The first one, is something to play around with and understand, but 99.9% of people are better off on 12TET.
The second one intonation, is a question of guitar set up firstly and secondly how you actually play, how you treat the intonation variability through naturally playing the guitar actually forms part of your guitar style, whether you know it or not! ie the ability to wiggle notes is what makes guitar stand out over say a piano!
The guitar being inherently unstable is a major part of it’s charm.
Stay in tune with each other people though, so use tuners! 😆Posted 9 months ago
It doesn’t take long to drop the b-string a little if you’re playing in G or D and acoustics always benefit from dropping the thick strings a fraction if you’re playing hard unplugged. If you’re aware of any song where a slightly low b is a problem I’d be interested. There’s not one song I play where a low b sounds bad to my ears, I’ve just tried songs in G, A, C, D and E.
I also tried Live Forever (G major except the playout which is Am), both the chords and the solo with the B string between 15 cents flat and 15 cents sharp. Try it and tell me where you think the sweet spot is. I then tried Don’t look back in Anger (C major) and the sweet spot worked for that too. Mexican Strat with intonation set at 12th fret BTW.Posted 9 months ago
Here’s an interesting test.
Which one has the B string tuned 5 cents lower?
tbh, I don’t think a few cents here or there particularly matters all that much, it’s as much a personal preference as anything else. Soon as you listen to something even if it’s slightly out of tune for a couple of seconds you just get used to it. That’s why 12TET works.
Most important thing is things are tuned together.Posted 9 months ago
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