Tuning. What's your reference?

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by Arranger, Feb 18, 2002.

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  1. Arranger

    Arranger Active Member

    Feb 2, 2002
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    Stage managers/Producers,

    I can get a guitar to sound great by itself. Really, almost any stringed instrument in workable condition can be tweaked or adjusted to tune in a proper manner. A truss rod or bridge adjustment, string height or gauge change can do wonders. Intonation is an art. I do it all the time. But these oscillating keyboards, synths, stage pianos are dogs, aren't they? Let's face it, frequency distribution of a real piano is far different from an electronic keyboard. So there's the rub....

    Is there a way to get around tuning to the keyboards? I hate the way a guitar sounds that has been tuned to the keys if the keys are are not playing. I find that the guitar usually has to tune flat in the lower register and gently rise to pitch in the upper register to get along. A bass definately has to go flat in the low E or below to not sound sharp.

    Lately it seems that it's simpler to lift the keyboard tuning a couple cents to keep the tuning consistent with most average guitarists and their tuners. Perhaps that's because I tend to use my keys for frilly, trebley stuff and not foundation bass.

    Cursed ear. Any thoughts?
  2. Ted Nightshade

    Ted Nightshade Active Member

    Dec 9, 2001
    Some keyboards let you do stretch tuning like a piano. My trouble is a got a nice vibraphone without thinking that it would not be 440. It's 442. So everything gets tuned to it. It has such an authority about it as far as pitch that it will never sound out of tune- it's very convincing. If anything the other instruments sound wrong.
    Stretch tuning may be what you're after. I agree that straight equal temperament in all octaves sounds off in the very lows and very highs.
    Tuning makes such a difference in tone and dynamics, it's amazing.
  3. drundall

    drundall Guest

    Welcome to the curse, my friend. Wait 'till you are around a bunch of guys and you're the only one who notices the rub! ;)
  4. Tom Hicks

    Tom Hicks Guest

    I'm QC supervisor for Rhythm Band Instruments and tune a LOT of instruments,from soprano ukuleles to bass metallophones.Almost any stringed instrument can be effectively stretch tuned.Use a good strobe tuner like a Peterson (about $500) or a software tuner like tunelab.
    Frankly though,most string instruments won't stay in tune long enough to hear the benefit much.
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