Who tunes their B strings flat?

jjaaam

Member
Messages
1,408
The B string can be a PITA as far as tuning and intonation goes. EVH used to tune it flat where you could play a 7th fret-position E barre chord and it would be in tune. This would mean having to compensate by slightly bending it up when playing an open D chord.

How many in TGP land do the same? I’m debating starting to tune that way but I’m wondering how hard it’ll be to adjust to after 40-plus years of even tempered tuning. Would I clash with my keyboard player?
 

doninoakland

Member
Messages
389
I've been playing piano 55 years - my undergrad was in music and piano was my primary instrument. So, my ear is totally attuned to even tempered tuning.

And I've been playing guitar a while, although not as long. My ears are hyper sensitive to the strings being the slightest bit out of tune - specifically, out of even tempered tuning. I hear intonation when I fret strings. I think my hands automatically and unconsciously adjust pressure to compensate as needed.

I've suspected that most professional fretted instrument players do the same thing - although there is nothing scientific to my assumptions here.

If it's true, then I would suggest you NOT change your approach to tuning, even though I'm guessing you would probably adjust for it fairly quickly.

I'll be curious to see what others have to say.
 

ross1shark

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
728
It's my understanding that Ed's tech would tune his guitars flat because Ed had an iron grip and hit the strings very hard, therefore the initial attack of the note would be sharper and in tune. (Light gauge strings - often tuned 1/2 step down - factor in here, too.) I don't think tuning flat like that would be effective for most players with a less aggressive playing style.
Guitar World just had an article about it here:
 

greySky

Member
Messages
221
Seems to me that you're just trading which section of the guitar gets to be more in tune. I play synths as well, and wow are guitars permanently and always out of tune compared to actual perfect tuning.

But it's not a problem, as long as the intonation is set correctly, we're all way more in tune than so many bands were in the past. Listening to certain Bowie tracks is painful.
 

prototype

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,175
I've been playing piano 55 years - my undergrad was in music and piano was my primary instrument. So, my ear is totally attuned to even tempered tuning.

And I've been playing guitar a while, although not as long. My ears are hyper sensitive to the strings being the slightest bit out of tune - specifically, out of even tempered tuning. I hear intonation when I fret strings. I think my hands automatically and unconsciously adjust pressure to compensate as needed.

I've suspected that most professional fretted instrument players do the same thing - although there is nothing scientific to my assumptions here.

If it's true, then I would suggest you NOT change your approach to tuning, even though I'm guessing you would probably adjust for it fairly quickly.

I'll be curious to see what others have to say.

i remember there was a vid with Jeff Beck's guitar tech doing his rig rundown and the interviewer asked "with all the whammy bar usage, how does Beck's guitar stay in tune?" and he just looked at the camera and said basically "it doesn't."

Good players play in tune. Especially single note stuff. with chords its trickier, but that is what has given to the rise of sweetened tunings and people tuning to specific chords that they use often.
 

cram

Member
Messages
14,166
Listen to how out of tune EHV was in "The Full Bug", and you wont want to tune your B flat!
This year I've been riffing on this one; I turned it into a nice sounding blues pedal type acoustic version here at home. I love it.
On tuning - matching the recorded slightly lower, but not quite Eb sucked to tune to each time.
I also had something bothering me; I couldn't ever match it and I wonder if that one string (dominant throughout the verse and main riff).

On OP - only ever for recording and not that often. Live or for normal play, the variety of fingering in chords has never made it worth the change for my usage.

I've noticed it get flattened while using the bar - I have it tuned to a half step when fully pulled back and when you do it catches flat on the nut and you can get that barred triad harmonization between the g & b strings.
 

noisebloom

Member
Messages
1,609
On my Frankies I always tune the B string a few cents flat. I read some years ago that it should be around 4 cents flat to get close to the way EVH would have done it, although I wouldn't be able to cite a source to confirm that. Nothing scientific, I just eyeball it on the tuner so it's a little below the note.
 

DownByLaw

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,279
The B string can be a PITA as far as tuning and intonation goes. EVH used to tune it flat where you could play a 7th fret-position E barre chord and it would be in tune. This would mean having to compensate by slightly bending it up when playing an open D chord.

How many in TGP land do the same? I’m debating starting to tune that way but I’m wondering how hard it’ll be to adjust to after 40-plus years of even tempered tuning. Would I clash with my keyboard player?
Interesting topic. I happen to think that EVH tuned his B flat because he tuned to harmonics. Prove me wrong!

Patrick
 

Riffi

Courtney DIDN’T Kill Kurt!
Silver Supporting Member
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10,577
Neil is Neil Young!

Q : In this high-tech era, why would you want to to use a Bigsby vibrato?

NEIL : It works. It's expressive. The vibratos they make nowadays aren't expressive. They're too hard, too rigid. You can go down to the low notes back up to the highs as fast as you can doing metal bends, and you always stay in tune. Fantastic! Stay in tune! Brilliant! You were in tune before...it makes no sense to stay in tune! I go out of tune in every song, because my vibrato won't stay in tune. But when you don't stop playing and play around the melody, you never know whether you're in tune or not. The control is in the fingers. And if you use an echoplex, and use the Bigsby very carefully, the tone rises and falls, but reproduces very faithfully what you play. It's as if you had two guitars that had not only two different attacks, but also different sustains. It's a huge sound. My Bigsby is practically attached to my right hand, and it couldn't be otherwise.
 

Riffi

Courtney DIDN’T Kill Kurt!
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,577
LOL, I'm going to say it again, that sounds like hot garbage! Around 3:00 it sounds like he's in a completely different key. Is that for real?
Yep it’s real forgot the real reason I think the e keyboard track was played back in the wrong key or Ed’s guitar went out of tune for some reason? I don’t Remember the actual reason I know it’s been discussed on here before
 




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