[linux-audio-user] in tune - stupid thread

Lee Revell rlrevell at joe-job.com
Mon Dec 20 01:26:10 EST 2004

On Mon, 2004-12-20 at 00:52 -0500, Dave Robillard wrote:
> On Mon, 2004-20-12 at 01:16 +0100, Christoph Eckert wrote:
> > > I think this is called "well tempered tuning".
> > 
> > I know what well tempered tuning is, where it comes from, why 
> > we need it and that most popular instruments are tuned in 
> > this way.
> > 
> > But what I do not know: Do guitarists tune the six strings in 
> > pure tuning, or do they add some aberration to make them 
> > tempered?
> Well.. there really is no "pure tuning" - it's something of a trade-off.
> You can tune your guitar so certain things sounds right, and others not.
> If you tune the B string to be exactly in tune with the B on the second
> fret of the A string, then tune the high E to the B string, the high E
> will be quite a bit sharp of the low E string and things will sound like
> garbage.  There just isn't a "perfect" tuning (which is kinda
> frustrating until you learn to deal with it)

Good guitarists compensate for this subconsciously by digging in a
little harder to make certain notes sharper.  You can play single note
lines in perfect tune anywhere on the neck this way, even with an out of
tune guitar.  Same way you can keep playing if one of your strings goes
flat during a solo, you just bend each note a little.

This does not work well for chords.  This is why you don't hear a lot of
guitar players hitting major chords and letting them sustain for a long
time.  It might works for open chords but then further up the neck it
will sound weird.  The few rock players that use major chords with lots
of distortion (think AC/DC) either don't let them ring out too long
and/or intonate the guitar so they all sound OK in one position.  But I
guarantee you those same chords on the 5th fret will sound weird.


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