Just had a thought about tuning. Sometimes old-school acoustic folk type guys say "don't use a mechanical tuner, that's cheating! Tune by ear" This would imply that either you're tuning from a reference note, or your ears are so well-developed that you can accurately identify a pitch frequency on its very own (something we might all aspire to)
In reality, it's most common for people to tune using a tuner. Especially on stage, some tune without even hearing the sound of their instrument.
I would simply suggest that even when staring at the meter on your tuner, you should still audibly hear the note you are tuning. This way, you will become familiar with how the note sounds when in tune.
_________________ "The Chapman Stick is profound because it represents an evolution in human consciousness." -Flint Blade, Sticktuitiveness episode 0.9, "Pilot Your Craft"
Good point Flint.....sounding that note while tuning is prolly a good ear training exercise.
I always believed a player should be able to tune his instrument by ear. That being said, unless you have perfect pitch, it may be hard to find that perfect E on your guitar......but one should be able to tune the rest of the instrument to pitch in relation to that top string.......without the aid of a tuner.
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 3:07 pm Posts: 6170 Location: Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
Re: Tuning Out Loud
It's good to know how to tune onstage without a tuner, because someday that tuner battery is going to die, or the tuner will malfunction.
I always start with the two strings that match pitch in whatever tuning I'm using, which in the Baritone Melody tuning is the E string (strings 2 and 9), then I tune the other strings using unison and octaves to those strings.
Using a tuner in a mute mode is a courtesy to your audience, but it's not much of one if you do a bad job and then play a song out of tune....
_________________ Happy tapping, greg please don't PM me, If you want to get in touch use email firstname.lastname@example.org
Joined: Thu May 30, 2013 2:45 pm Posts: 470 Location: Sylmar, California
Re: Tuning Out Loud
I still carry an A440 tuning fork for those times my tuner battery dies or whatever. You can ping it against a mic stand, hold it over a pickup pole piece and it'll ring like a string. Then play an A note, match the tones and tune the instrument from there. When I started playing pedal steel there were no electronic tuners and I carried 3 forks - A, E & C and was able to get pretty much as in tune as those contraptions can get. There was a saying that steel players spent half the time tuning and the other half playing out of tune. Unlike ET (even tempered) instruments like pianos or steel, Sticks are quite easy to tune because it's all 4ths, 5ths and octaves and you can tune out the beats to JI (just intonation), let the 3rds, 7ths and 9ths fall where they may and get away with it. I probably have 15 different kinds of tuners but my favorite and most accurate floor pedal for guitar, bass, mandolin or Stick is still the Korg DT-10. I use a Peterson for my pedal steel because I can program the G#s a tad sharp, C#s and F's a tad flat to compensate for string hysteresis and a few other aberrations unique to my tuning copedant which is a blend of ET and JI. As far as tuning out loud in front of an audience, if your instrument has new strings, bridge & truss is properly intonated and you have a very accurate and stable tuner you should never have to.
Sun Feb 12, 2017 12:51 pm
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 8:05 am Posts: 2112 Location: Stockholm/Sweden
Re: Tuning Out Loud
Where I live, I'm playing out in the public streets and home concerts at institutions where people might behave in an utterly noisy way, so I have grown used to adjust pitch while playing. In the morning, when I leave, I tune up with my 440 Hz fork and it rarely happens to me that more than one string gets kicked out of tune. If needed I can throw in a really slow piece by Eric Satie that is almost droning on a minor chord, making it easy to adjust a bad string, or two, while a chord sustains.
I like MR, due to the relations between the two sides, but for the general pitch of the entire instrument, I listen for where it sounds best. With my SG12 this happens at a half-note down (F sharp by the lowest bass string) and for my Grand this leads me to keep it at a half-note up (D by the lowest bass string).
_________________ Cheers / Per Bamboo SG12+PASV4. Wenge SG12+PASV4. Bamboo Grand+PASV4 (+ Stickup modded to fit as alternating pickup to the PASV4 blocks). Fractal Audio AxeFx-II http://www.perboysen.com
Sun Feb 12, 2017 3:36 pm
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:21 pm Posts: 28
Re: Tuning Out Loud
Im happy to say that I have "spotty" perfect pitch..For A=440, I can hear a perfect G, A, D, and E in my head and Im most certainly in the neighborhood with F, F#, and C ......B and most of the other non-natural notes Im hit-n-miss with as far as picking them out of my head without a reference note .......... I probably developed this from playing decades in working Top 40 bands that always tuned Standard
Still, for speed and convenience sake, I have a Snark on my Stick
Michael, for me as well..there was no electronic tuners when I started playing....perhaps a blessing. It taught me to tune naturally which is actually quite easy if one can understand "beat frequency " which I assume most of us can. Then came the interwebs, and that made a lot of things easier with regard to learning tunes, etc. Remember the times when you had to back the needle on an LP or rewind tape to "get those notes"?.....
Not dissing the advent of cool interweb tech.....it has connected us all together and perhaps made learning a new instrument easier.....there's a ton of resources out there to help us all learn and I feel I'm a product of that....(I steal everything,...but I can still tune an instrument by ear)..
Ps. I recommend the istrobosoft Peterson tuner for your iPhone......I use it to tune my gear in conjunction with an irig cable......all the beauty of the Peterson strobe tuner at a fraction of the price....
The Super Snark has been a welcome addition to the live rig. I had used a Boss TU-12h, but the Snark just make more sense given the portability. I also have a tuner in the sy-300 as well as the (soon to arrive) Zoom 60B. Yay for contingency.
Nothing beats the dependability of a tuning fork, which is what I learned on. These days one could liken that being able to read a map or write beautiful calligraphy. I should pick one up, juuuuuuust in case.
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