Tuning By Ear…No Reference

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by h4ck.b0x7, Jul 24, 2021.

  1. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    16,910
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2010
    Location:
    Up North
    I can hit G pretty well.
    Seriously, I play the opening Lick for Don't Fear the Reaper in my head.
    it isn't perfect but, pretty close.
     
    Telecaster88 likes this.
  2. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,442
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2021
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I can come pretty close without a reference note. But not perfect by any means.
     
  3. Lucius Paisley

    Lucius Paisley Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    45
    Posts:
    1,230
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2020
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Barber Of Seville.
     
    Telecaster88 likes this.
  4. regularslinky

    regularslinky Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,529
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
    Location:
    NEPA USA
    I have good relative pitch, but I need a reference. People who don’t amaze me. I remember the guy who owned the neighborhood music store when I was learning to play could tune a guitar with no reference - and he was a drummer!
     
  5. DDickens

    DDickens Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    206
    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    San Jose, California
    Driver 8 — R.E.M.

    Starts with an open E string. But…I’ll take a tuner any day of the week.
     
    Telecaster88 and h4ck.b0x7 like this.
  6. bumnote

    bumnote Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    Age:
    52
    Posts:
    753
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2018
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Honky Tonk Woman. I can get really close w/ the G by playing that one in my head.
     
  7. esseff

    esseff Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    1,900
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2014
    Location:
    East Midlands, UK
    I still can't tune accurately by ear using adjacent strings as a reference after 45 years. :( I sometimes can't hear individual instruments in a song either.
    I remember a music shop salesman tuning an acoustic guitar I was interested in by playing each string open and getting it up to pitch in a couple of seconds.
     
    Telecaster88 likes this.
  8. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,510
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2019
    Location:
    Challenging Definitions of Sin
    When I'm tuning a guitar without a tuner, it's always a 'feel' thing. I've been doing this long enough that I can get the A string pretty dang close to proper pitch just by the tension of the string...and then I use relative pitch to get the other strings tuned up.

    I'm usually pretty close when I get done.
     
    Telecaster88 likes this.
  9. teleplayr

    teleplayr Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,698
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2012
    Location:
    Nicoma Park, Oklahoma
    A fellow guitarist I knew who taught on the side told me he used the dial tone on his land line.
     
  10. widefault

    widefault Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    170
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    Location:
    Green Bay, WI
    War Pigs, the "masses" at the end of the first line is an E.
     
    OmegaWoods likes this.
  11. Weazel

    Weazel Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    809
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Location:
    Location Location
    Also, my old man told me that the deepest note an untrained man can hum is in the ballpark of E flat.
     
    Telecaster88 and Rockinvet like this.
  12. Dostradamas

    Dostradamas Tele-Meister

    Age:
    49
    Posts:
    417
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2021
    Location:
    Oregon
    I used to use Roxane to tune my bass.
    Starts with the open G string and holds the lower octave at the first break
     
  13. Gardo

    Gardo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    2,114
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2019
    Location:
    Lancaster Pa
    I took my Tele along on our last vacation. With the neck unscrewed it fit nicely in a suitcase . When we arrived it was simple enough to put it back together but I had no tuner. I know what it’s supposed to sound like so I tuned it by ear. The next morning our daughter the music major was in our room so I told her I had no idea what the tuning was like and asked her to use the app on her phone to check the it. Played the first string and it was perfect pitch but a half step low. I brought it up and checked the second string, it was also 440 a half step low. My daughter grabbed her phone away and told me to just use my ear and walked away. I wasn’t trying to show her up but was rather proud of myself
     
  14. goonie

    goonie Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,460
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
    Location:
    Australia
    I can sing the high E as close as a headstock tuner.
     
  15. kookaburra

    kookaburra Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,010
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    My relative pitch is ok. but I don't have perfect pitch. I can usually tell if my guitar's range is starting to be sharp or flat of standard tuning, but I can't accurately pull a reference note out of thin air.

    My relative pitch is better if I haven't been using a tuner a lot.
     
  16. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,121
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2009
    Location:
    South Australia
    I remember tuning by ear. I used harmonics, so too the rest of the band No signature song but a Good E or G chord. A keyboard player was also helpful for notes.
     
  17. Old Deaf Roadie

    Old Deaf Roadie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    3,511
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2017
    Location:
    Oregon Coast
    I suffer a 75% hearing deficit and prominent tinnitus. I rely on a tuner, although I can get pretty close to an A and tune the rest of the strings from there.
     
    Greggorios and Telecaster88 like this.
  18. Rockinvet

    Rockinvet Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,727
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2019
    Location:
    Virginia
    Over the years I’ve used various techniques. In college I carried around a tuning fork to train my ear to hear A440. But I have more accuracy knowing my vocal range. I can pretty much tune each string using the interval V to I, or sol to do for you solfege fans. I’ll be darned I’m still pretty close. I’ll do this then check with the tuner in my DAW and be in the ballpark.
    Sometimes I’ll think of a song that begins with a particular chord but its not always the same song. Just whatever pops in my head.
     
  19. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    4,488
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2017
    Location:
    Harvest, Alabama
    I can tune a guitar without a clip on (or in-line to the pedal board) tuner, but I prefer not to.

    My reference song is Joe Walsh's Rocky Mountain way.

    Somehow or another, if I hum that song in my head, and tune the top and bottom strings to the E that I believe to be right, then the subsequent tuning works out to be spot-on.

    :)
     
  20. teletail

    teletail Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    71
    Posts:
    2,566
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2019
    Location:
    West By God Virginia
    +1

    After all is said and done, more is said than done. Everyone is ten foot tall and bulletproof on the internet.
     
    Dismalhead, Greggorios and nojazzhere like this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.