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Author Topic: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?  (Read 4484 times)

ALLEN WRENCH

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Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« on: April 06, 2005, 09:02:24 am »

I've got a bizarre guitar situation going on right now.

I'm on the last song of my record and I can't get the guitars
to sound tuned to the bass.

On tuners (Peterson strobe and 3 others) they look ok, but just don't sound right.

After further investigation I noticed that when you play one note on one string,
on guitar, it sounds out of tune… WITH ONLY THE ONE NOTE PLAYING.

Has anyone ever had this problem with a guitar?
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heinz

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Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2005, 09:08:53 am »

sounds like they need to be intonated.
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covert

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Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2005, 09:27:31 am »

Strings can have weird overtone series for any number of reasons, and will then sound out of tune with themselves.  Try changing the strings.  

Also, when tuning for a fast song, you may want to tune so that the settle down period is shorter than for a slower number.  Similarly, the settle down period for bass is longer than for guitar, so they may sound sharp when tuned properly.
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ALLEN WRENCH

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Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2005, 09:29:36 am »

Remember, this is ONE guitar playing/holding one note… NOT two guitars playing the same note.

The one note sounds like it's out of tune, but it's the only thing playing.  

It’s really bizarre.

I was suspecting the magnetic pull of the other pick-ups causing some sort of oscillation.  This is a Strat with EMG humbucking rear, mid and neck position single-coil sized pick-ups.
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ALLEN WRENCH

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Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2005, 09:37:39 am »

About the strings, my guitarist plays a kind of weird set… real heavy bottoms and normal tops.

First-E:  10
Second–B:  13
Third–G:  17
Fourth–D:  36
Fifth–A:  52
Sixth-E:  60

Oh man, they’re the Zakk Wyld signature series!  What a dirt bag.
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Eric Rudd

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Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2005, 09:39:20 am »

ALLEN WRENCH wrote on Wed, 06 April 2005 14:02

I've got a bizarre guitar situation going on right now.

After further investigation I noticed that when you play one note on one string,
on guitar, it sounds out of tune… WITH ONLY THE ONE NOTE PLAYING.

Has anyone ever had this problem with a guitar?



Are you saying that the one string is out of tune with itself, or as compared to the bass guitar?

As someone mentioned the guitar might need to be "set-up." Intonation, nut and/or saddle adjusted, etc.

During my time working on guitars at a music store occasionally (rarely) you'd get a string that would generate a "wolf tone." (I don't know if this is the technical term, it's what my boss called them). It's basically a poorly manufactured string, or one that had degenerated, and was causing an out of tune harmonic with itself.

You might try a new set of strings, if you haven't already.

Eric
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Eric Bridenbaker

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Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2005, 09:46:00 am »

For sure, the intonation is the first place to check. This is done by comparing the 12th, or better still the 19th fret harmonic against the fretted note. They should be very close on a tuner, with light to moderate touch. If the guitar is in need of attention, you may wish to have a guitar tech setup the instrument.

Also, it is totally possible for a strong player to pull sharp as much as 25 to 30 cents, simply by pressing too hard. This effect is exaggerated by action that is too high and is more prominent on the lower frets.

If the player is a Zakk fan, he may even be pinching out unintentional harmonics, which subscribe to a just tuning scheme and may seem out from the equal tempered notes used by the other instruments in the recording.

Bad strings or even bad frets can throw the tuning off. Action that is too low can cause the string  to a catch a higher fret than intended, or even the pickup, which is bizarre sounding, but easy to identify at least...

Room nodes and higly notched/phased sounds can  do strange things to the perceived pitch as well.

If the player does dig in too hard there, then a temporary solution is tune specifically for the context of this note to get the take.

Cheers,
Eric
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ALLEN WRENCH

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Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2005, 10:15:01 am »

First of all I can intonate my guitars and basses myself.  But just to double check I had a friend of mine who is a ‘senior master-builder’ for Fender double check and the intonation’s fine, and the playing technique is fine.

Once again… this is not when one guitar is playing with another guitar, or when the guitar is playing with the bass, or even when the guitar is playing a chord…

When the guitar is playing a single not (such as just an open A)… the single note sounds out of tune with ‘itself’.

The terms ‘overtone’ and ‘wolf tone’ sound like what’s going on.  next thing I’m going to try is changing the strings and then also the brand of strings.
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canada

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Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2005, 10:16:55 am »

Eric Bridenbaker wrote on Wed, 06 April 2005 14:46



If the player is a Zakk fan, he may even be pinching out unintentional harmonics, which subscribe to a just tuning scheme and may seem out from the equal tempered notes used by the other instruments in the recording.




Haha, this is true.  Poor Zakk.

But yeah, this sounds like the classic "holy shit, I actually have to maintain my guitar even though I play metal, punk, reggae, hardcore, low-fi etc ?!"
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maxdimario

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Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2005, 10:44:17 am »

What's probably happened is that the neck (or neck and middle)pickup is too close to the strings.

this causes the bass strings to create a second or 'false tone' due to the physical restriction of the pickup's magnet on the guitar string.

you need to pull the pickup(s) away from the strings, sacrificing sensibility, but the sound will improve.


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PP

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Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2005, 04:32:28 pm »

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Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2005, 04:37:03 pm »

Attack can certainly change intonation as well as decay. No one I know can pluck a string , have it resound and decay and stay within a few cents. The nature of the instruments!

Forget the tuning meter and twist on the machine heads to find what sounds good to you overall.

Try to stay away from other kinds of twisties  (like doobies) because they certainly have a tendancey to change the aural aspects of tuning!!!
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runamuck

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Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2005, 06:57:32 pm »

I used to rebuild and tune pianos. I would ocassionally come across a string that had been nicked or kinked that exhibited the same characteristics you are describing, if I understand you correctly.
All to be done would be to replace it.

It could be that simple.

Jim
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Bill Mueller

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Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2005, 08:20:22 pm »

In addition to all the good advice concerning intonation, fresh strings and tuning, I want to point out that the electric guitar, like the piano or any instrument that uses tensioned metal strings exhibits a characteristic called inharmonisity that prevents it from being truly in tune in both it's fundamental and harmonic frequencies.

There is a tuning modification called the buzz feiten system that corrects for the problem in guitars. Once you have heard a guitar with this modification, I doubt you will ever want to go back.

http://www.buzzfeiten.com/

Best Regards,

Bill
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Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2005, 08:29:28 pm »

Yea Bill, I got that done to my bass...no wonder I never have issues with it anymore.

If it works the guitar as well (and I am sure it does) it is a must install.

Hell, if Larry C says so...go for it.
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ALLEN WRENCH

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SOULUTION Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2005, 11:29:49 pm »

• SOULUTION! •  SOULUTION! • SOULUTION! • SOULUTION! •

OK guys here’s the solution to my guitar and bass recording situation… even though the guitar had been intonated, the guitar played various cords SLIGHTLY ‘out of tune’.

The BOTTOM LINE… I should’ve ignored the tuner and LISTENED to the guitar… and lowered my pick-ups!  

This was a bit confusing… Once hearing the guitar out of tune, I instructed my guitarist to retune… doing so to all open strings.  Once the tuner gave the thumbs up I would then commence to recording.

After monitoring the recorded tracks… something was still out of tune… the guitarist checks his tuning, which was fine. The next culprit HAD to be my bass.  I rechecked the intonation there and it was fine, so I re-recorded my bass tracks.

After quite a while I realized the tuning problem with the guitar.  I had to get the bass to work with THIS guitar in particular because its tone had been the best for this particular song.  And believe me, I tried about 10 other guitars… I began feeling like I was in the Mixerman Diaries.  I ended up tuning the bass regionally to the guitar (fretted ‘D’ on the ‘A’ string, and fretted ‘A’ on the low ‘E’ string) and everything turned out fine.

AS FAR AS THE SINGLE NOTE
sounding out of tune with itself… dropping the neck and middle position pick-ups helped this out a ton.  I like the Strat tones sometimes, but what an unruly device!

The big winners with this thread where:
maxdimario and Poyser for both scoring on the annoying effect of the pick-ups being too close to the strings.  Poyser gets extra credit for also confirming this as an 'ocassional' Fender problem.

And also to LEVEL for suggesting to IGNOR THE TUNER!

Thanks for all the help guys!


- ALLEN WRENCH
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arconaut

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Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2005, 07:24:45 am »

Hi folks,

I realize this has been resolved, but I just thought I'd add that a "wolf tone" occurs when the inherent fundamental resonance of an instrument is "activated" by that frequency being played on the instrument. It's sort of like a coupled oscillator.

Just as a room has "modes" based on its dimensions, so too do instruments. Usually, a well built instrument's resonance will be below the range of the notes it plays, but this problem does happen often with cellos and acoustic basses.

When a player hits that magic note that causes the instrument to resonate, the result is a strange, warbly, beating tone. Sometimes it can be elusive - for example, I have a violin which has a wolf tone (which is unusual) that happens when I play B-flat, but actually only when I play the b-flat above middle-C on the G string, which is not that often. It is a flaw in the instrument and it lowers the value.

You can try to tame the problem by using different strings, and sometimes putting a mute or damper on the string on the non-playing side of the brige can help (you have to experiment to  find a position that works).

For future reference...

ns
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Eric Rudd

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Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2005, 09:01:24 am »

arconaut wrote on Thu, 07 April 2005 12:24

Hi folks,

I realize this has been resolved, but I just thought I'd add that a "wolf tone" occurs when the inherent fundamental resonance of an instrument is "activated" by that frequency being played on the instrument. It's sort of like a coupled oscillator.


For future reference...

ns


Thanks for the additional info. Nice to know.

Eric
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Eric Rudd

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Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2005, 09:02:43 am »

arconaut wrote on Thu, 07 April 2005 12:24

Hi folks,

I realize this has been resolved, but I just thought I'd add that a "wolf tone" occurs when the inherent fundamental resonance of an instrument is "activated" by that frequency being played on the instrument. It's sort of like a coupled oscillator.


For future reference...

ns


Thanks for the additional info. Nice to know.

Eric
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PP

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Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2005, 02:56:31 pm »

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arconaut

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Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #20 on: April 11, 2005, 05:24:13 pm »

Hey Poyser,

Believe me, that's been done. Actually, the guy who sold it to me is a reputable violin maker/repair person and he acknowledged the problem when he sold it to me. Otherwise, it is a wonderful instrument, though it's not my main axe anyway, since I acquired something better a few years after that (got me through college, though).

Noah
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PP

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Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #21 on: April 12, 2005, 03:05:20 pm »

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Radd 47

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Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #22 on: April 12, 2005, 06:29:49 pm »

Nobody mentioned the guitar itself.

Ever hear a really crappy Sears Silvertone guitar?
Try to get one good note out of it. Lowering the pickups won't work. A guitar is just like a violin, it's made out of wood, it resonantes, and some sound better than others.
I had a guitar that sounded bad, turned out the whole neck had cracks in it. Found this out after the headstock got snapped off. Took the neck apart to find garbage wood. The internal cracks were not visible from the outside. No wonder it sounded like crap and kept drifting out of tune. I always wonderd if that 2 stamped on the pegboard ment "second". Now I know.


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arconaut

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Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #23 on: April 12, 2005, 08:12:18 pm »

Radd 47 wrote:
A guitar is just like a violin...

Yeah, but a guitar burns longer!  Very Happy
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PP

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Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #24 on: April 13, 2005, 02:32:53 am »

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con_ritmo

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Re: Anyone ever had this guitar / tuning problem?
« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2005, 06:18:41 am »

because a guitar's notes are fixed due to the frets...they are always out of tune with themselves in respect to voice leading and chords and stuff.  when i pay attention to it...(especially when i play one) it drives me completely nuts...infinitely more so than a piano...

and yes, using a tuner just makes it even worse.
of course a single note will be out of tune with itself if all the strings aren't precisely in tune with one another...
using a tuner won't make them preceisely in tune...

no self-respecting string player uses a tuner and you certainly can't even come remotely close to tuning a piano properly using one...

regarding the wolf tones on the violin...well you can tame it by playing the darn note every day...not only will that help but  you'll also discover a way to bow and vibrato it so that it will be passable.  you could also put your shoulder into the body to supress the vibration...

in any case, if there's going to be a wolf on the violin, yeah it'll be up there on the g.  

in terms of construction...the biggest difference between a guitar and a violin...no not the f-holes, not the sound post, etc.

guitar = flat top and bottom... violin = arched...
it makes the construction of the violin monumentally more challenging.


regarding the guitarist-> just because you can mix-and-match different gauges together doesn't mean you should...
in the end he should just use one set....

anyways...

Very Happy
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