Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by tonezoneonline, Apr 19, 2005.
Who's tried it and how do you feel about it?There's some pretty heavy hitters using it.
I have not used any tuning apparatus that is based upon Buzz Feiten, but I have used the procedure described on his site in which, for electric guitar, you tune everything off of the high E and B. I find I get a more uniform tuning using that mechanism. So if I'm in a place I can tune by ear, I tune the high E to a reference, tune the B off the E, then tune the remaining off of the E and B as described. If there's too much ambient sound going on to tune by ear and have to tune by site, I use my standard cheap tuner, but tune everything off of B and E as described in the procedure. In either case, I get excellent results.
anyone have a link to this system? i'm sure i remember reading it before, but i've lost it...
wow, this looks incredible... anyone know if there's someone in Scotland who's equipped for it?
IMO, the BFTS is not a requirement for every guitar or guitarist. And I say this as a BFTS retrofitter.
The BFTS employs shortened string lengths via an "overhang shelf" nut that is tailored to your guitar's scale length, and fret crown width, and G string type and gauge - in addition to very specific individual string mathematical intonation offsets. This has nothing to do with other "overhang shelf" nuts such as the Earvana. This is a patented and very precise adaptation of Werkmeister's well tempered tuning system, as originally employed on pianos.
Yes, you could do all of the above on yer own, without spending the $150 to get yer axe BFTS retrofitted. However, most folks wouldn't have a clue where to start or have the skills to maek it all happen.
If you are amongst those few folks that have the proverbial "perfect pitch", or if you have exhausted all avenues for getting a particular guitar to produce "good sounding" chord arpeggios in all positions, or you have a guitar that absolutely requires some manner of additional intonation tweaking, you will probably appreciate the BFTS - else, don't even bother.
In summary: the BFTS does exactly what it sez it'll do. You can never get a deflected string instrument perfectly in tune - you can only get a compromised "well tuning" at best. YMMV.
Thanks for yur assessment. How do results compare to just using an Earvana nut?
Both the BFTS and Earvana use the same shelf overhang principal, but Buzz takes it to a far higher and better level, IMO. Again, none of this stuff is mandatory for anyone, IMO.
I've been reading so many posts about Buzz's system and Earvana's system and I don't really see the point. Most professional guitarists don't use this system and no one has any trouble listening to their music. People try to get perfect pitch when it's virtually impossibal to achieve this. You've got to think of the expansion/contraction of the strings, match exactly how hard you pick every time, tune perfectly every time ....it get's to be too much. Bottom line is the guitar is not a perfect instrument, so no matter what you do I don't think anyone will get it tuned perfectly ever. All the classic rock music never had a guitarist use a shelf nut and there was no problem, so why fix something that isn't broke. A regular nut is a lot cheaper and is all I will ever use.
Perfection is pretty hard to achieve.
It may not be for everyone but you can hear a difference. I was a skeptic until I tried it. I like the BFTS. To each his own but if you A/B against or with another guitar without the shelf nut, you'll hear the difference. IMHO
As with all thing guitar, and many other facets of life, it's all subjective stuff ...
There are many piano pieces written in very many different temperaments.
When this music is played on modern equal temperament tuned piano, it doesn't sound quite right. Same goes for Feiten. Thats why some players will feel some music sounds strange played on an Earvana or Feiten guitar.
Contrarily, if the music is composed for a Feiten instrument, then it is as desired by the composer.
There is a certain tension, angst, resolve, ect ect in ,modern guitar music composition, that is due in part to the equal temperament tuning system.
And also don't forget, lots of players tend to compensate in thier own ways, some are aware of it , while others are not. IMHO,it becomes a significant part of thier signature style and sound.
The tuning in general: Nothing and nobody is perfect.
If you think, all these professionals don't need any special tuning let me tell you this: Hours and hours of fiddeling and screwing and adjusting which you cannot hear on CD's or shall we say on the results of musicians work probably take the biggest amount of time in production.
Can you imagine yourselves sat there in an expensive studio environment with a freaking out producer who's got no time or space for your little tweaky problems like uuh...I can't get it in tune. "PLAY OR GO HOME !!" - that's the job of being a guitarist.
Hardly anyone tells you how much effort in time he or she spends on getting their gear sorted out. The ones who do it though, are the ones with JOBS.
I'm just a guitar-tech and I sort out a hell of a lot of guitarists-tweaky-problems. A (seemingly) hardly never ending story.
The BFTS solves two things at once: 1. The player gets more interested in his tuning and gear. 2. The parameters for even and predictable reactions of the guitars i.e. string gauge etc. come to a narrow field.
At the end of the day the result counts. We're just here to help you.
I haven't used the BF system, but I've recently tried the Earvana and was dissappointed...
The nut material was not as hard as bone IMO and sucked tone like crazy...
I did a search on the internet for an alternative and found "Enut".
It's just a "zero-fret" kind of thing with tuning offsets...
It takes about a half hr to install and its cheap 20-something dollars..
I found it to work great...my short-scale hollowbody HATES cowboy chords and is very picky about tuning but this was the cure...
If you're thinking about this kind of thing; give it a try....you can always return your guitar to stock as this isn't a permanent mod...
And then there's this:-
Any comments on this system from the more knowledgable here ?
I haven't tried this system out yet, but do be aware that any deflected string fretted instrument can never be perfectly intonated, ever. At best, it'll always be a compromise of sorts.
Any of these compensated tuning systems should be intalled by a competent craftsman - you really can screw up an instrument if you don't know what yer doing and/or you don't have craftsman skills.
IMO, most guitarists really don't need more intonation comensation than what they've already got with their guitar - the only instance I know of where a built-in guitar compensated intonation helps is when playing with a keyboardist.
As always, YMMV.
I would agree. Although I have retrofitted 6 of my guitars to the Buzz Feiten system. I tried one at first. Once I got used to it I must admit that My other guitars just frustrated me in the studio from that moment on. These guitars all had good intonation too.
I was very resistent to it at first but once I decided that the guys telling me that i was cheating and that all of the greats didn't need it were just ignorant, and could not even explain what the Buzz system was all about, I gave in. The great players might have used it if they had the option. In fact many guitar techs have been tempering the guitar setups for great players for years. Now many great players are using it.
That said I love it but I respect the notion that not everyone likes it for whatever reason. Also I don't think I would convert a real collector guitar to the system even though it is now 100% reversible due to the shelf nut system Buzz came out with.
My 1999 Am Std Strat has the Buzz Feiten system. I'm happy with it. It plays much more in tune than my 1979 Strat.
I put the 1999 Strat together from parts and the neck that I found was missing the nut. I thought that I might just as well try the Buzz Feiten system since I would have to get a new nut made anyway. According to Juha Ruokangas who did the retrofitting, my strat was an ideal candidate for the system. Many newer designs including his own guitars already have nuts that are much closer to the BF system than a strat does. The Wilkinson bridge on my strat also made the intonation easier to set up. I'm thinking about getting my older Strat converted as well.
I did my 78 Tele and managed to keep the 3 compensated saddles. It sounds awesome and now plays in tune. Normally Buzz specifies individual saddles but some feel on the tele the 3 saddle system sounds better. It is just different but I think it sounds better and the tech did great work (Truetone Music in Santa Monica, Ca.).
They also did my 1990 ultra strat with that funky roller nut. I can't stand those things. Now it has a Buzz nut in it's place
I love the BFTS...
I have it on my Baker without the shelf nut...I think it's great..