Originally Posted by DJStrat
Brand new Neal Schon custom Les Paul. Floyd Rose etc..
Basically, tune the guitar but some notes play out of tune. Play an E and its fine. Play a G and its off; mainly the B string. Tune so the G chord is fine and the E is way off. Any ideas? Use a Boss Tuning pedal - and all of my other guitars are perfectly in tune with it.
I have had all sorts of strange tuning issues over the years from temperature related ones to my sitting position...so here are some of the things I have learned about tuning in general then I will describe one way to tune after I give you some background. I hope this stuff helps!
Many things affect tuning and it is important to know that with piano tuning as they tune the keys the higher up they go register wise they start to tune the keys slightly sharper and sharper. I am not a physics theory expert but I try and mix stuff that I learn with common sense and apply it to the guitar.
Now I think the reason they do this is because with higher notes the over tones create harmonic differences in such a way that if you were to tune a piano exact it would sound out of tune. I have noticed that this applies to the guitar and have discovered that the best way to tune is to first tune with a tuner bang on (Making sure first that your intonation is good and that your locking nut
and wammi are all working correctly) then you need to adjust your tuning by ear and part of this ear tuning is based on my piano explanation. The E string always needs to be about 10 cents flat to sound in tune (LowE) and the G string and the B are also problimatic and need to be adjusted slightly. I will give you more detail after I explain a couple more things.
If you tune a guitar with a tuner bang on after the strings are stretched out etc and stand up and lean forward tipping your guitar 90 degrees and hit a note with you tuner plugged in you will notice that the guitar will be out several cents in most cases. Although with neck through body construction the effect will be less. I believe this is a common mistake...guitar players for example sit down to tune then stand up to play. Try it sometime especially with a strat and you may find when you stand up or sit down after tuning which ever the case may be that your tuner will read very differently. So therefor if you are looking for perfect tuning try and tune in the postion that you will be playing in for that particular session.
Another problem is that guitarists will tune with a light grip then bare down on there strings when playing and wonder why there guitar sounds out of tune. So if you are a hard or soft player try and tune the way you play. Tuning with just harmonics is not thorough enough.
The most extreme tuning issue I have ever seen was when I was rehearsing in a small garage heated with space heaters that when I would lean over the heater to warm up...... my guitar would go so out of tune it would sound like a wammi dive literally. lol So consistant room temperature and humidity helps although in a real world these things vary so we can only do our best.
Also when tuning for a studio track everybody uses the same tuner usually and gets there instrument bang on. This is not always the best way and here is an example of why. Say that your bass player is tuning to your guitar and every open string is bang on whether with a tuner or by ear and his intonation is bang on and so is yours this does not mean that if you hit an A note on your E string and he hits the same note on his G string that you two will be in tune. In a perfect world yes but just like with the piano example you may find that with the difference in string thickness and the difference in octaives you end up with harmonic overtones or whatever it is called that makes the two of you sound grossly out of tune. So in conclusion what I do is tune my guitar the way I will describe at the end then adjust my guitar tuning for that particuar song (when in the studio) EG. because if I am playing a song with a lot of open C chords and no E chords for example I can tune the C chord bang on and not worry about how the E will sound. Then I take a hard look at what parts we both will be playing and then tune the bass to the guitar taking into consideration all that I have just mentioned. So for example if there is a decending unison run on the bass on the G string that is identical to the guitar part on the E string I will tune the bass G string at the beginning note of that run to the Guitar E string at the beginning note of the same run. This makes for some really nice tuning at times.
Compression can also make a bass or guitar climb in pitch as the compression kicks in sometimes just because it is bringing the normally quiet not so pleasant overtones of the instrument up to the same level as the main signal or closer to it and can make for some very odd out of tune sounds that are confusing to understand.
Have you ever noticed the incidental notes that occur when bending one string and leaving the other one the same. I am sure you have played this lick! Putting your smallest finger on the B string at the 15th fret and then bending with your second to smallest finger on the G string at the 14th fret you will notice when listening closely a third note going down. So you will have the D holding constant and the A bending up but u will also hear a full bassy sounding note bending down. This is another Finomina that helps me to see all the little strange interactions with various notes in different octaives and postions creating potential tuning issues.
MY WAY OF TUNING lol
Most importantly never waste your time tuning one string perfectly when the others are way off. Try this sometime....when you first put your strings on and they are all way out of tune...tune one string perfectly stretched out and all ...then tune the rest and go back to the first string and it will be way off. This is because the neck will bend as you add tension and effect your tuning and this applies to fairly minor adjustments as well. So I bring my strings all up close as quickly as possible then I fine tune them all quickly once then go back and get picky. As you know with a floyd etc this effect is even worse. lol
Now I tune with a tuner using the 12th fret harmonics and get them as close as possible stretching my strings with each test. If you are a hard player you may want to tune with notes as well. Once I have the guitar bang on tuner wise I switch to using my ears. The next step for me is the 7th fret open E (which is neither minor or major because there is nothing but 2 notes played in octaives throughout that chord and there is no note to imply Major or Minor). I do not know how to read tab so I will just describe the chord. 7th fret standard bar chord playing the E chord with the A string being fretted at the 7th fret and the D and G string fretted at the 9th Fret...the rest of the strings are open. I have found this chord to be the most neutral of them all. If this one is on you are close. So now make slight adjustments to make that chord ring true. Remembering to drop the Low E a little and likely the B. This is where you need to use your ears. After this I try my open chords alternating between all the Major ones. I then sometimes have to make other slight adjustments.
In the end it is always a comprimise between the various open chords because even with perfect intonation a guitar is inherently a little off and us humans have to comensate the best we can.
I hope this helps you and if you already knew the stuff I have told you then I apologize for wasting your time lol. Please excuse my spelling Thanks Ron Horton
PS If you want to here me play check out this link................
A final tip is to tune the way I have described then plug into your tuner and see where each string is and take notes. This way you can get back to that point without all the struggles. This can apply for a studio situation where you are doing bed tracks and will be switching songs then coming back to the first one later on. This will get you back where you left off. Also recording open strings at the beginning of a song is another good idea.