Inconsequential question for the day: How do you tune...open string, or 12th fret harmonic???

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by E5RSY, Oct 18, 2019.

  1. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I tune with the open strring, most often with the built in chromatic tuner on my Cube amp.
    I actually set my into intonation with it, too.
    I only tune with the harmonic if there is loud music in the venue, or a loud bass player on stage.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
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  2. f69tele

    f69tele Tele-Meister

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    I tune using a Black Snark, strings 1&2 open, then check at the 12th fret harmonic. Strings 3,4 & 5 at the 7th fret harmonic and string 6 at the 7th fret harmonic but then fine tune fretted on the 3rd fret G note. Guitar sounds and stays in tune very well. I also have a D'Addario NS micro tuner on the headstock, but I find that it's usually not accurate enough no matter where I tune - open, harmonic or otherwise.

    I have a friend who is a world renowned pedal steel player and he tunes his steel by harmonics only, after tuning the open E's to 442 on a tuner. In his theory, the law of physics dictates that any string no matter how long will have a perfect harmonic 3rd and 5th and if you check in on a tuner, that 3rd will be awful flat, but is perfectly in tune with itself. Tempered tuning was the start of communism! LOLOL!! Anyway, that's how he tunes his steel and I have never heard him play out of tune against a 6-string or piano or... etc..

    But, back on track here where we're talking about Tele's not pedal steels!
     
  3. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Steel guitar and slide guitar often benefit from just rather than tempered tuning. When you're using a bar to play open chords, you are not
    playing other intervals that are going to sound extra sour due to just rather than tempered tuning. See video above...
     
  4. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    You really can't tune effectively without doing both. If your open string note isn't in tune with your 12th fret
    harmonic/note, then you're not in tune! :rolleyes:
     
  5. rolandson

    rolandson Tele-Meister

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    Open.
    No wait...12th fret harmonic.
    No...not that...5th/7th fret harmonic.
    Wait a minute...
    No, this...
    [​IMG]

    Yeah, that's it!
    Works good.
     
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  6. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Electronic tuner for me on open strings ... Then if it sounds off ... Tweak by ear ... I consider myself to have a good sense of pitch ... I may be wrong or delusional ... It won't be the first time ...or the last time
    ...
     
  7. Stubee

    Stubee Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Both but in most guitars a bit of tuning via fretting for the G and B strings is a help. Guitars aren’t exactly “perfect” to me if I don’t do that, especially flattops.
     
  8. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Holic

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    You're right. I guess the question could add "at a home setting or a stage setting".

    At home it's harmonic, with the band it's with a pedal now for me too. In either setting I prefer the harmonic, but recognize no one else does.
     
  9. kbold

    kbold Tele-Holic

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    Works well. ..... Infringement notice from the grammar police.

    I too have become lazy, and basically use an electronic tuner. Used to use an A 440 tuning fork.
    However, I always double check manually so things sound sweet. This works good for me. :D
     
  10. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    Open, harmonic, electric, ear, chorded, bar chorded. Anything I can use.

    Fortunately, my acoustics hold tune really well and I don't fool with them much.

    If I may quote Waylon,

    "The only two things in life that make it worth living, is guitars that tune good and firm feeling women".

    Words to live by.
     
  11. simond

    simond Tele-Meister

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    Someone mentioned James Taylor. He tunes bass E 12 cents flat, A 10 cents flat, D 8 cents etc. This is because the strings go sharp when you hit them. I've tried it on my acoustic and it seems to work, though generally for expediency I just go with my tuner. JT has a certain sound which may partly be from his tuning habits. There is a YTube about it somewhere. Maybe it is similar to piano tuners who stretch the intonation over the keyboard making the bass side progressively a little flat and the treble sharp (if I got this the right way round - piano tuners chime in!).
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019
  12. MrGibbly

    MrGibbly Tele-Afflicted

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    I go open, then harmonic, then whack a couple chords and “sweeten” the G or B to taste if I plan on playing a bunch of cowboy chords. Otherwise, I leave it alone after checking the harmonic.
     
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  13. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    Open strings and 12 fret harmonics for quick checks mid gig with a tuner.

    I mix it all with 5th and 7th fret harmonics and sweetening the B in chords if wanting to get closer to perfection, or as close to it as a guitar allows, if there is more time/less pressure.

    If I don’t have a tuner I use the 5th and 7ths to get it all nice and in tune with itself.
     
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  14. f69tele

    f69tele Tele-Meister

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    This might be true if your instrument was tuned to a major open chord, however, pedal steel and lap steel for that matter are typically tuned to C6, E9, B6 and other variations. Then you have all the half and whole step raises and lowers of the pedals and knee levers that come in to play. Most steel players can’t play in tune without using the Jeff Newman or Buddy Emmons tempered tunings.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  15. rolandson

    rolandson Tele-Meister

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    Following an injury that left me unable to preform ... permanently, a friend gave me a lap steel, hoping it would ease my loss somewhat...

    Or so I thought.

    As he's also a nemesis on the chess board, I soon discovered that his gift was really a diversionary tactic intended to drive me slowly insane as I tried to figure out how to tune that f***er...! Diabolical, don't you think?

    But I showed him. I learned to play it.
     
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  16. kbold

    kbold Tele-Holic

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  17. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    first read about this in Gan Erliwines book and looked into it in detail its an interesting concept

    Buzz Feitens tunning system

     
  18. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    For setting intonation, Dan Erlewine says open & 12th fret (non-harmonic). That makes a whole lot more sense to me than harmonic for the simple reason that one plays the 12th fret naturally lots more than it's harmonic.

    If you are referring to just tuning then open string is sufficient if you have set the intonation properly. Why use the harmonic when it is rarely used?

    The best thing may be a guitar with Buzz Feiten tuning system. If you don't know what that is then Google is your friend.

    The guitar fretboard is a series of compromises and will inherently sound out of tune. So, it's your brains at stake if you want to continually beat your head against the wall with extreme tuning gymnastics.
     
  19. dickey

    dickey Tele-Afflicted

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    I plug into a tuner, hit a string, & center the needle. DUH!

    Pedal steel is a little different. I temper tune, but have all the tempered needle positions on my tuner memorized.
     
  20. guitartwonk

    guitartwonk Tele-Meister

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    I always go for the 12th harmonic. It seems to give me better tuning across the board than at zero. YMMV of course.

    Sent from my Phone using Tapatalk
     
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