My ears or just guitars in general??

sanders4617

Member
Messages
264
I don't know what the deal is.. but here lately (past 6 months or so) I have had the hardest time keeping a guitar to stay in tune. The odd thing, is that the tuner says its in tune, but my ears hear otherwise. I am using a Boss TU-2 now.. was using a cheap Fender tuner for a while. Its mostly the B and G strings though. Like I can tune them but they still sound a little off. The intonation is fine. Is this common? Or are my ears playin tricks on me? It seems like its the problem with every single guitar I play.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
40,652
if you're looking for pure intervals with absolutely no "warble", you're going to be disappointed.

western music and its equal temperament 12-note scale just won't give you that. it's the tradeoff for having a system that works equally well in every key. anytime you make one interval or chord absolutely perfect, all the other chords will be way off.

that said, the tu-2 has a +/- 3 cent window of what it calls "in tune" (a deliberate design choice for speedy on-stage tuning). a more accurate tuner will get you closer to correct, but remember, "correct" still does not mean "perfect".
 

phoenix 7

Member
Messages
25,732
I don't know what the deal is.. but here lately (past 6 months or so) I have had the hardest time keeping a guitar to stay in tune. The odd thing, is that the tuner says its in tune, but my ears hear otherwise. I am using a Boss TU-2 now.. was using a cheap Fender tuner for a while. Its mostly the B and G strings though. Like I can tune them but they still sound a little off. The intonation is fine. Is this common? Or are my ears playin tricks on me? It seems like its the problem with every single guitar I play.

It's true that no guitar plays perfectly in tune. But do you use extra light strings? Are your fingers bending the strings further out of tune?
 

rob2001

Member
Messages
16,927
It's true that no guitar plays perfectly in tune. But do you use extra light strings? Are your fingers bending the strings further out of tune?


I played for 20 some years avoiding certain chords because I thought the guitars were crap and just wouldn't stay in tune when using certain chords.....

It wasn't until my band was hired as a backing band for a pop project when I discovered my fretting hand was applying uneven pressure in certain chord patterns. I developed a style of playing that avoided some of the most basic stuff and this album was full of stuff I usually avoided....

I woodshedded for a while and discovered it wasn't the guitars. I was digging in too hard with my ring finger.

Go figure.... here I thought I was fairly accomplished but found out I was fretting the cowboy chords bad! That small lesson is one I wouldn't trade for anything.

The nut matters big time too when you do those first position chords on frets 1-4. Many of those chords use open strings and if the nut is cut to high it's really easy to pull a string sharp. So a well set up guitar helps a lot.
 

jeffwith1f

Member
Messages
3,823
I as well noticed that as time went on, the harder it seemed to get to truely tune a guitar. It's possible that your ear is getting more refined, becasuse as alluded to above, the guitar as an instrument has issues with being purely "in tune" across every possible note and chord formation.

They recommend in the studio when you have the time, to relative tune to the song that you are recording so it sounds best on tape. In live situations that level of nuance is lost on the audience typically, however, tuning can float around even more, what with temperature changes as well as changes in your finger pressure caused by excitement.
 

bluesjuke

Disrespected Elder
Messages
24,175
Try loading this on your computer and tuning to it;

http://www.aptuner.com/cgi-bin/aptuner/apmain.html

aptunerMain.jpg
 

sanders4617

Member
Messages
264
Thanks guys. Yeah I thought about finger pressure as well.. I think that affects it some.. but sometimes its just the way the G and B strings sound when I pluck them by themselves. Its like its got its on frequency compared to other strings which causes it to sound off. I use 10s for the person asking.

I'll try that tuner out.
 

buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,688
It's time to go to the next level and learn the tricks to always make it sound like your guitar is in tune. You want to fret certain strings/intervals harder than others or bend certain strings so that your guitar sounds in tune.
 

sanders4617

Member
Messages
264
Haha I hear ya. When I am doing lead work... it all sounds fine. Just the chords... I've got the intonation as good as I can get it.

One more question.. My Low E string. I actually have to tune it below standard or it is out of tune compared to the rest of the strings. When I tune it to perfect pitch (says the tu-2 and the one i just downloaded), then its actually sharp when I play chords. And I am not sure whats causing it to come through on the tuner that way because if I play the open high E string and tune it it, it sounds good, but stil comes in Flat on the tuner. Just got this guitar used.. so I have been trying to set it up. It came in awful.. and I have gotten it better.. Just the Low E which is giving me this problem. My other guitars tune fine to pitch on Low E

I've checked pickup height to make sure no magnetic forces were causing the tuner some problems... Not sure what it could be. I might just have to go pay some $$ to get it completely set up. I can do simple stuff like truss rod and action.. but never messed with the nut.
 

buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,688
Maybe it's high at the nut, that makes the first few frets even more sharp. There's Earvana and Feiten and all kinds of stuff. But everything has pros and cons I guess.
 

sanders4617

Member
Messages
264
Not sure... I tune it openly to E.. and even when its in correct pitch open.. when I compare it to the open high E, its sharp.. and also compared to the rest of strings... it doesnt want to tune correctly when I hit it open
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
37,172
Not sure... I tune it openly to E.. and even when its in correct pitch open.. when I compare it to the open high E, its sharp.. and also compared to the rest of strings... it doesnt want to tune correctly when I hit it open

The pick attack causes the string to sound sharp because it forces it to move, stretching it further, especially on the low E as it gets struck first, with a firm downstroke.
I have more trouble with the high E and B strings deviating as I play up the neck. Somehow the timbral differences emphasize the mistuning in the open positions. Embrace the dissonance!:messedup
 

rob2001

Member
Messages
16,927
Haha I hear ya. When I am doing lead work... it all sounds fine. Just the chords... I've got the intonation as good as I can get it.

One more question.. My Low E string. I actually have to tune it below standard or it is out of tune compared to the rest of the strings. When I tune it to perfect pitch (says the tu-2 and the one i just downloaded), then its actually sharp when I play chords. And I am not sure whats causing it to come through on the tuner that way because if I play the open high E string and tune it it, it sounds good, but stil comes in Flat on the tuner. Just got this guitar used.. so I have been trying to set it up. It came in awful.. and I have gotten it better.. Just the Low E which is giving me this problem. My other guitars tune fine to pitch on Low E

I've checked pickup height to make sure no magnetic forces were causing the tuner some problems... Not sure what it could be. I might just have to go pay some $$ to get it completely set up. I can do simple stuff like truss rod and action.. but never messed with the nut.


The nut is the first thing that comes to my mind with that low E issue. Otherwise it would be fretting pressure pulling it sharp or intonation.
 

sanders4617

Member
Messages
264
Hmm.. its odd to say the least.

Gonna try to explain it better:
I'm tuning... and I get to the low E string.
I tune it to pitch.. the tuner says its in tune.
I compare with high E string, and I am sharp.
So I go back and tune the high E string (which was still in perfect tune)
And go back and tune the low E
Same thing... Low E is sharp.
So then I just do it by ear, and get the low E in tune.
Then go back to the tuner, and the low E (while in tune on my guitar), is flat on the tuner.

Its crazy
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
37,172
Hmm.. its odd to say the least.

Gonna try to explain it better:
I'm tuning... and I get to the low E string.
I tune it to pitch.. the tuner says its in tune.
I compare with high E string, and I am sharp.
So I go back and tune the high E string (which was still in perfect tune)
And go back and tune the low E
Same thing... Low E is sharp.
So then I just do it by ear, and get the low E in tune.
Then go back to the tuner, and the low E (while in tune on my guitar), is flat on the tuner.

Its crazy

Try this.
Assuming you have a good meter or have downloaded a good s/w tuner.
Try to locate where the error is occurring by checking the pitch at various frets on ALL the strings. Start with the low E, compare its octave (12th fret) to the pitch at the 2nd fret D string (i.e. the same pitch) and so on, cross-checking. There a chance that a bad string is introducing some wonkiness.

BTW-ears over tuners.
 

101Volts

Member
Messages
611
I've been noticing this lately too, Even if I tune it with the tuner it doesn't sound right. For me, It only happens after pulling the strings up in pitch with the vibrato or by pulling the neck backwards. The best thing to do when this happens is to tune your guitar by ear.
 

Pietro

2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy
Messages
16,481
BFTS solves this for me. So does the compensated nut on my PRS.
 

kldonegan

Member
Messages
731
I've been noticing this lately too, Even if I tune it with the tuner it doesn't sound right. It only happens after pulling the strings up in pitch with the vibrato or by pulling the neck backwards. The best thing to do when this happens is to tune your guitar by ear.

This sounds like a nut issue. You've got some binding going on if the string is not returning to pitch.
 




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