I spend a lot of time playing the song "Tuning" because the B string bugs me but I know a lot of people that struggle with tuning their guitar and have a hard time getting the tension right even if they don't have to match tone to tone. Anyone here seen this system in person?
( Before anyone asks, I don't know now much it costs but I imagine it's not cheap.)
Quote: "I know a lot of people that struggle with tuning their guitar"
To me, a most Important Issue regarding Instrument Design and Manufacturing Quality, is the Tuning Stability of the Musical Instrument.
It involves a great Many Aspects of Design, Raw Materials and Construction, that need to Work Together in a Cohesive Way. Then there's the Musician.
A Studio Manager a while back was telling me about a Blind Pianist (who is very popular here) who came in to Record an Album. The Studio had a Grand Piano which had just been Tuned for his Recording Session.
But the first thing the Pianist did when he arrived was to open his little Tuning Case, and proceed to Re-Tune the Piano Completely. The Studio Manager, told me later "It was just as if he was pulling the whole Instrument Together, more Precisely and Cohesively In Tune".
For an Important Recording, where "Character of Sound" is everything, one can completely understand this. And as with the Guitar, if the Music to be Played does not Modulate, or introduce other Key Signatures, then all is well. As is the case when the Guitar is Perfectly in Tune on the Open Strings. But as soon as you start to Finger Strings with various combinations of Open and Closed Strings, then things can get out of kilter.
On the Whole.
Generally the best you can achieve in regards to Perfect Tuning is an Optimal Working Compromise that allows for Acceptable Tuning with Great Versatility.
But when I came to understand the effect of differing Guitar Chords, stretching different Strings. It was a complete and utter revelation to me, of quite astounding proportions.
A great many things that I had failed to understand in regard to Tuning, being out of Tune, needing to Adjust Tuning, and basically, how Guitars really worked, simply all fell into place once I grasped this Issue.
I'm quite sure that a tremendous number of Guitar Owners, perhaps the overwhelming majority, (of which the folk that gather here are not perhaps a proportionally representative group), actually wrestle with this problem every time they Play their Guitar, but don't really understand what is going on. They deal with it but don't really understand it properly. For myself, I can take no credit in my understanding of this matter.
But many years ago, Hartley Peavey patiently explained the mechanisms and issues involved, in a manner that I found to be perspicaciously illuminating. The insights he shared with me in regard to the problems of how Guitars Function where Tuning is concerned, without exaggeration I would say were Life Changing to me. So many things I had grappled with on an instinctive and intuitive basis, suddenly made complete and absolute sense.
Today, with the WWW, thanks to Oxfords Sir Tim Berners-Lee, people are much better informed than was the case many decades ago, so probably far more people are aware of these matters now than was the case, so very many years ago. But I am ever grateful to Hartley for his kindness and the revelation his explanation brought to me. He was a great innovator in the use of Plant Facility CNC Machines for Guitar Manufacturing.
Quote: "I'm too anal about being in tune, to the point of it becoming a disorder. I've walked out on performers whose only issue was a lack of being in tune. It's like nails on a blackboard....to me."
I can completely understand this.
But have grown to have a completely different take on it.
For if we examine the varied Musical Cultures of other parts of the World.
There are places where, within the 12 Tone Scale of the West, far more unbelievably Complex Scales are often times involved.
This is why certain Eastern Musical Styles appear a little out of tune to our Westernised Ears, which are almost totally unaccustomed to those extremely fine differences in Scale.
What this means in fact, is that the Human Ear and Brain can adjust itself to accommodate and find totally acceptable, such differences. It can become highly sensitive to them, both accepting and rejecting of them; but also completely desensitised to them, finding them both completely satisfactory and highly objectionable, dependant on the individual.
So the Salient Point is, what is regarded as being "In Tune" or "Out of Tune". Is largely a matter of Culture.
And ones exposure to, or lack of exposure to such differences.
In other words, it's Relative.
In point of fact.
I actually believe the Artist and Performers Psychology.
As well as their Ears Tuning Sensitivity, are strongly involved in many of the Issues that are likely to most affect Guitar Players and Musicians.
Although they can and do notice and detect such differences in Tuning anywhere, and can be concerned about them. When an Important, Career Defining Moment has Arrived in their Life.
When there's a Huge Sense of Occasion before a Great Audience. Perhaps on an Important Recording Date. Suddenly, Hidden, Unrealised Stresses Involved can Powerfully, Accentuate, Exaggerate and Amplify, the Overwhelming Importance and Impact of such Issues to the Psyche.
Everything you see, has to be Perfect.
I have found, Highly Experienced Studio Engineers have better Listening Acuity than Musicians as a general rule, and are far more Sensitive to Differences in Tuning.
I know some who absolutely love the effect on a Recording, when a Guitarist will Tune their Instrument as Perfectly as Possible to the Key they are Playing in. Although you have to allow for different stretching on different String when using different Chord Shapes, it is possible to Home in on a Given Key. This is of course possible when there are no Key Changes or Modulations in the Music
However, the downside to this approach. Is that although there definitely is a Technical Satisfaction in Tuning Precision that appeals to the most Sensitive of Ears. And a Solo Virtuoso Artist may indeed find their Performance enhanced by such an approach.
The Overwhelming Majority of Ears on which the Sound of the Music will fall, are largely, completely unconscious of such extremely fine differences. Even if they were demonstrated to such people, in a Clinical Situation, the reality is, most really would not find them personally at all to be a matter of Genuine Concern.
Moreover, when the Virtuoso Artist Performs in Ensemble. With a far larger, more varied and perhaps constantly changing, Group of Musicians. If also required to Perform a Wider Ranging Musical Repertoire. Then the problems can and do appear, along with the strong constraints and limitations of such an approach. Please appreciate, I am not against Artists and Performers having Specialised Tuning Approaches or being Uber Fussy in regards to Tuning.
Rather, I am sensitive to the fact a Good Sense of Perspective is a Great Asset for Life, for it affords one the Tremendously Panoramic Overview, that Everything is Relative. But as long as the Artists approach is Positive and Contributory then all is well. But the moment it starts to be Disruptive. Interfering with Creative Flow, taking a Toll on the Overall Efficiency of the Rehearsal and General Well Being of the Entire Ensemble.
Then some adjustment in attitude is required on behalf of the Performer, or an accommodation needs to be implemented, which may involve a form of technical support to help them. This is not at all uncommon.
However, the central issue is. Tuning. Vitally Important though it is. Should Serve the Musical Ends of the Event or Project.
Not in any way Detract from it.
Paul's comments are actually very deep
Quote: "I'm too anal about being in tune, to the point of it becoming a disorder. I've walked out on performers whose only issue was a lack of being in tune. It's like nails on a blackboard....to me."
The Issue involves far more than that of the Average Guitarist Tuning their Instrument.
It can become (and does) a Major Battlefield for Artist, Performer, Musician versus Producer, Recording Engineer, Musical Director and like a lot if things in Life it's a "People Issue" as much as an "Instrument Issue".
Just as some Guitarists are more In Tune than Others, undoubtedly, some Orchestras, are far more in Tune than Others.
And as the Music of The Great Masters conform to Standard Western Conventions so The Greatest Orchestras of the World. Performing the Greatest Music of the World adhere to Standards.
I believe where Tuning is concerned there is a Sliding Scale of Tune-ability with Extremes at either end, both of Accuracy and Inaccuracy. But I also believe a Point of Optimal Concord between every different element involved and possible to be incorporated in the relationship also too exists, and that is what I seek.
It is this Point of Concord. That typically affords the Original Composer and Musical Arranger The Widest Range of Imaginatively Creative Possibilities in Writing. Using the Most Innovative, Greatly Ingenious, Instrumental Pallet of Inventiveness and Orchestral Tonal Colour.
The Sense of Perspective, that flows from a Properly Representative, Well Constituted Democracy, that is Accepting and Inclusive. This is the point of the Well Tempered Tuning so widely embraced around the World.
It is my Starting Point.
As for Electronic Tuners.
Many years ago, a friend of mine had a Piano Business. One of his Piano Porters, a nice young lad with promise, wanted to have a Career in the Piano Industry, so my friend got him a job with Steinways.
They taught him to Tune with the use of an Oscilloscope, using the Eye to Train the Ear. Now it might seem to be cheating, especially for those like myself who have broadly always tuned by Ear, but it is the fastest way to get the Ear Properly trained and Attuned.
Within Six Months he was Tuning Elton John's Steinway Piano, so there must be something to this approach and method. I think there are some people that simply would never use a Tuning Aid, and perhaps it's just something within them that resists the idea. But there is a Proper Legitimacy to their use, and personally, I find them to be a great help.
I first encountered Peghead Tuners.
When Producer/Engineer AL Schmitt was working in Paris with Guitarist John Pisano, who had an early type of "Intellitouch Tuner".
It enabled him to Check his Tuning, Silently in the Dark, something I thought was a Great Idea for Professional Musicians, working in particular settings. But they didn't seem to have a strong market presence here at all then, so I ordered one.
Being the first generation of this Technology, it had its problems, but gradually they brought out Later Generations, which very much improved on the first iteration of essentially the same product. I have a whole bunch of these and used them a while back to provide complete tuning consistency when making a complex Multi-Guitar Recording, involving many different types of Instrument, Playing in Various Different Styles.
Peterson make the best Bench, Rack, Foot, Peghead and Software Tuners, but are The Professional Solution, so very expensive if you decide you want a good one.
Whereas today, many good Tuners can be bought very reasonably. There are a whole raft of Great Tuners out there, I have 5 IntelliTouch Tuners, (Thanks to John) 3 Radio Signal Korg Tuners, (these use a tiny clip on piece on the Peghead with just a light to tell you they work, so are minimal footprint and weight, but have a Large LED Base Unit with a Big Backlit Panel and a Sweeping Needle Device.
I'm not sure they make them now, but these are what I seem to have gravitated to, although I have a lot of other similar devices and gadgets for the Floor from Yamaha and Others etc.
Along with my three Tuning Forks!
In the Studio, there are a number of Very Large Keyboards.
Clavinova's, Stage Pianos, Full Sized Synthesisers, and Production Workstations.
Now it's quite likely that many Guitarists will be Playing in Musical Ensembles at some time or other with people that possess these type of Instruments.
And you will probably find that it is necessary, to tune your Instruments to one of these types of Keyboard. What you may not realise, and often isn't realised by the Players themselves.
Is that there are usually Five Different Types of Tuning. Digitally Designed and Built into the Keyboards Global Parameters, and if they are Accessed by the Player, he can try different Types of Tuning of the Keyboard (throughout its entire Compass, usually eight Octaves) and you can see and hear which type of Tuning best befits the Instruments and Musical Genre of the particular Music, you are currently making.
This isn't a difficult thing to do, because as he moves through the Compass of the Instrument, and you Play along, it will probably become very obvious what works for you and what doesn't. The purpose of the exercise is to accurately determine, what works best for you. Once this is done, a note can be made, or it can be remembered, or The Selected Tuning Method, Saved and locked into the Instruments Global Parameters, Permanently. If desirable.
This isn't something I see Ordinary Players do at all.
Which makes me imagine that they simply don't know about it, or have never delved onto the Depths of the Instruments Features.
But I think it's something worth doing in Rehearsal to Set Up. After all Guitarist get their Instruments Optimally Set Up to Play Well, so why shouldn't Keyboard Players get their Instruments Set Up Optimally too?
The thing is, it is not only the "Form" of Tuning Method, whether it's Well Tempered or any of the other available Tuning Types, (usually 5 in most High Quality Keyboards) but also the Pitch of the Tuning is adjustable too. This could be useful to know if you play with Artist that benefit from Special Tunings that suit your Voice. Or if you use a Special Guitar Tuning as the manner is quite often the case with Players of 12 Strings, Down Tuning the Voicing's and so on.
With so many people making their Own Recordings, these days.
And folk occasionally Playing in Ensembles that feature additional Musical Instruments.
With Worship Groups, Churches and so on that have existing Pianos and Organs and a Variety of Instruments, that need to be got to work together.
And with Acoustic Guitarists and Folk Musicians with Instruments of so many types, that do at times go for quite esoterically Inclined Tuning Methods. It seems to me, that as Guitarists, the better and wider our understanding of the available possibilities and accommodations that can be of a Facilitating Benefit to use and those we work with, the better.
Quote: "Remember to keep dreaming about other stuff"
I see it Purely as Technological Advancement.
And can understand why many people would be against it, whilst also appreciating that there will be other people that think it's the Bee's Knee's.
The point about Technology though is NOT to let it become your Master. Make it become your Servant and find ways that other people haven't thought of yet, to use it to your Advantage.
Let me give you an Example.
Today I had an E-Mail telling me about the Wonders of Magnets to the Luthier Community.
Yet if these dear folk were a little more creative and imaginative, they could Sell the Magnets to a Far Wider Demographic of Consumer.
Musicians today seem to use a lot of Metal Music Stands. But their Music can still Fall Down from the Stand while they are Playing which can be quite Devastating for a Musician.. On the Diana Ross Hit "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" this was exactly what happened to the Bass Player on the Recording Session, but it was the Best Take and so became the Track Released as a Single. Happily, it happened towards the end of the Track, and they were able to Improvise.
If the Bass Player had two weak versions of these Magnets fitted with a little handle for gripping securing their Music to the Metal Stand This problem could have been completely eliminated altogether. There are far more Musicians in the World that suffer from Falling Music than there are Luthiers needing Magnets. If they just fitted little Handles to these Magnets they could Sell Bucket Loads, if they Marketed it Correctly.
Keep Quiet about that won't you!
Can you see? It's not the Technology that's so important although of course, someone has to Invent it.
It's really all about HOW YOU USE IT Creatively. How you Apply it, and how you Innovatively make it Work for You!
The Best Iteration of this Tuning has been used by Lil' Jim in Led Zepplin.
He was all over the Technology, as soon as it appeared and has made good use of it.
Then, he has done that all the way through his Career, both in regard to his Instrument and also his Invention of New Music.
This is the Best you Can Get.
Here is Li'l Jim in Action with his Automatic Tuning Gold Top Les Paul.
It's not what you have.
But what you do with it that really counts.
Your in depth and insightful replies are VERY MUCH appreciated.
You're a true scholar, talented writer AND a gentleman.
Also, thanks for always including "a few other things" to think about.
Again, much appreciation and have a WONDERFUL Holiday season :)
I have feeling Neil Young's career is a stake here.
Quote: "Even using a strobe tuner, all the strings need to be rechecked as a harmonic system. I've never owned a guitar that didn't need a bit of a tweak after using an electronic tuner. It's the nature of the beast and comes with the territory."
I completely understand individuals Sentiments and Skepticisms.
But although I have been Tuning by Ear for Many Decades without any such Technology.
In reality It's just another Technology. Be its Master, NOT its Slave and maybe that you can make the Technology, work to advantage.
I wrote earlier, about my Radio Signal Enabled Tuners with the Large Back Screen Viewing that is easy to See. Tuners that are Needle Sweep for Accuracy.
A while back I did a Recording Involving different types of Guitars and incorporated Solos of "Battling Guitars". The Recording actually involved 7 Different Guitar Instruments all Recorded over a while, so having a Technical Means to ensure complete Tuning Consistency while all this Guitar Switching was going on, was a Great Boon that made everything easier.
Here's Artist James Taylor.
With some Tips to help you Tune your Guitar Well.
Although James is using a Software Tuner, what he's doing is pretty much how my Tuners Operate and Look Like in Practice.
So you can see how it's used and how Greater Accuracy and Consistency is Afforded to the Artist and Performer. Again, don't be its Slave, Master Technology and Make it Work for You!
Quote: "I drive my wife crazy"
It's no crime.
To be a Hot Blooded Man.
That has a Devastatingly Magnetic Attraction.
With Charisma and Charm, Irresistible to the Opposite Sex.
But would not for one moment, think to boast about that, on Internet Fora.
Many, many years ago.
I used to Work and Write Songs with, with a Stunningly Attractive Girl.
She too had Heartfelt Sentiments and Skepticisms regarding the Problems Presented by Newly Emerging Technologies.
Powerful Robotic Devices, Complex Automated Systems, Pseudo Humanistic Emulations that Represent Functions once Dominated by Human Activity.
Here she is.
Singing her Hit "Automatic Lover".
"Automatic Lover" released in 1978.
Reached Number 5 in the German Hit Parade.
And went to Number 4 on the UK Singles Hit Chart.
Number 1 in France, Spain, Italy, Japan, Argentina and Turkey.
It also Climbed High in South Africa and was a Great Success in Brazil.
Like it or Loathe it. The Salient Point is Master and Make Technology Work For You.
"I have feeling Neil Young's career is a stake here."
Excellent call - humor is a great medicine!
Willy Nelson needs one of those gadgets on his guitar
His guitar teck said he replaces one tuner on Trigger every so often as he nervously retunes it between songs and he doesn't know he doze it.
The Peterson StroboSoft app on my iPad and iPhone is the cat's meow.
On the iPad, go to app store, search for strobe tuner, and you'll see iStrobosoft HD Tuner ($9.99). Peterson says it has the same algorithms as their StroboPlus HD ($140).
I also keep pdfs of schematics, a Starrett decimal-fraction chart, drill-tap chart, etc. on the iPad.