Questions tagged [tuning]

The system of pitches used by an instrument or in a piece of music, or the practice of adjusting the pitches that instruments or voices produce to be in accordance with the chosen system. When relevant, please also include the tag of your instruments, e.g. [guitar] or [violin].

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65
votes
5answers
14k views

What's the difference between a G♭ and an F#?

I've heard it said that, whilst on most instruments these notes are played with the same fingerings/technique/etc., there is a subtle difference. This isn't specific to this particular note ...
153
votes
12answers
46k views

Why is the guitar tuned like it is?

Why is there that funny tuning kink between the G and B string on a guitar in standard tuning? I.E. the gap (interval) between the rest of the adjoining strings is 5 frets (or a perfect fourth), but ...
63
votes
20answers
49k views

Why Is Just Intonation Impractical?

I've read about the debate of "just intonation" vs 12-tone equal temperament. And nowhere it was clearly stated why just intonation is impractical. Here are my assumptions. Please let me know if I am ...
22
votes
12answers
22k views

How do I properly stretch my newly strung strings?

I came across this string stretcher device. It's called The Stretcha. It claims to properly and evenly stretch new strings and maintain tuning. I never really made a point to properly stretch ...
23
votes
2answers
101k views

What do the terms E2 A2 D3 G3 B3 E4 actually mean?

I am attempting to learn guitar, and I keep coming across this notation in various apps that I've downloaded. I know that E2 A2 D3 G3 B3 E4 are something to do with tuning, but I'm not exactly sure ...
23
votes
5answers
8k views

When tuning a guitar, how should I strike the strings?

When tuning a guitar, what is the best way to strike a string to get it as close to pitch as possible? I'd like to get it as close to the right pitch as I possibly can. I've noticed with my tuner (it'...
9
votes
11answers
11k views

How do you tune your guitar?

I'd like to hear about the different techniques of tuning a guitar with standard tuning, and why you use them.
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Exact pitch of blues scale notes

Wikipedia gives multiple candidate definitions for the blues scale. A musician showed me how to play blues e.g. in C by smudging say Eb and E. The actual note lies somewhere between. But where? ...
50
votes
5answers
40k views

Why are pianos traditionally tuned "out of tune" at the extremes?

My understanding is that the vast majority of western music uses equal temperament, i.e. all semitones have a frequency ratio of the 12th root of 2. However I can hear in my piano that the notes at ...
33
votes
3answers
11k views

Why is A4 the standard pitch reference for tuning?

Why do musicians use concert A, the A above middle C, as the standard pitch reference for tuning? Various national and international standards define the frequency of this note. For example, ISO 16 ...
13
votes
4answers
3k views

How does the harmonic series affect consonance?

NOTE: for the purpose of this question, assume we are talking about 12-TET and assume that references to overtones in the harmonic series are being referred to in relationship to the 12-TET note that ...
41
votes
4answers
32k views

Why is my guitar's saddle at an angle?

Most acoustic guitars I've seen, including my own, have an angled saddle (the white strip holding up the strings): This makes the bass strings longer than the treble strings. Why is this? ...
17
votes
10answers
6k views

What are the various methods of tuning the guitar?

This is not a question as much as it is a discussion. I am curious to know what are the different techniques to tune the guitar (using standard tuning) given you know that one string is in tune. I ...
29
votes
4answers
13k views

What is the practical reason for reentrant tuning on ukulele and similar instruments?

I'm intruiged by the fact that some stringed instruments, like the ukulele, are traditionally tuned in the way of reentrant tuning where the strings are not ordered from the lowest to the highest ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

How did musicians do "absolute" tuning in the Middle Ages?

There are essentially two ways to tune an instrument (that is tuneable): you can assume that one of the pitches it makes is in tune and then tune the rest of the instrument to the pitch that is in ...
7
votes
3answers
18k views

Which strings should I use for DADGAD tuning on my acoustic guitar?

I have recently switched to DADGAD tuning, before that I was using light tension strings ( 12 16 24 32 42 53 ). But because of DADGAD, to compensate for the lack of tension on the neck, I wanted to ...
7
votes
3answers
7k views

Why tune the guitar other than standard?

I have a question. How does tuning come into play in guitar songs? See, I can find the tab of a song in the guitar by ear and I was taught that in tuning standard the fifth fret of the low e string is ...
27
votes
3answers
21k views

What is concert pitch?

I was watching a song video lesson earlier today and it mentioned that the guitar should be tuned to concert pitch. What does that mean? Is it different from the normal EADGBE tuning?
49
votes
9answers
26k views

Why are orchestras tuned differently?

In 1936 American Standards Association (and the International Organization for Standardization in 1955) accepted that A would be tuned at 440 Hz (or cycles per second). Yet despite the fact that a ...
22
votes
8answers
47k views

How can I minimize going out of tune when using the whammy bar?

Perhaps my selection of musicians is biased, but usually when I see a whammy bar used, it's usually with a locking tremolo bridge like a Floyd Rose. Everybody else seems to take the whammy bar out and ...
15
votes
3answers
81k views

Guitar fret out of tune? [duplicate]

I'm a newbie with an inexpensive guitar. It tunes up well and holds its tune well, however, on the low E string, the further up the fingerboard I go, the more the frets seem to be out of tune. I have ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the reason for pitch inflation?

There's this phenomenon among instrumentalists to constantly raise the pitch of the concert A. This generally occurs among string players, since the range of tunings for woodwinds, for example, is ...
11
votes
7answers
7k views

Why is the last string on a guitar called the first string and the first string called the sixth string?

I learned early in my guitar playing journey that what I would naturally assume would be the first string (the fattest string) is actually known in proper guitar anatomy parlance as the sixth string. ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Is there any support for microtonality and temperaments in (or beyond) the MIDI specification?

The number of tones (or notes) per 8ve is just one of many potentially customisable aspects of any instrument. Standard midi, however, is pretty much clamped to western 12-tone equal temperament. ...
3
votes
3answers
374 views

How to Choose the Best Alternate Tuning

This is essentially a generalized version of this question for fingerstyle guitar, and I'm surprised I can't find it on this website: how do I find the most optimal alternate tuning for a guitar/bass(/...
1
vote
2answers
219 views

Why do I hear characters to keys in equal temperament? [closed]

I know, I'm not the only one who hears key characters. But I have heard time and time again that equal temperament means that all keys are equal and thus there aren't any characters to it beyond Major ...
9
votes
5answers
4k views

Why does my guitar go out of tune after I play it a while?

This might be an obvious question, but it would be good to know what factors cause guitars to go out of tune.
8
votes
6answers
40k views

Useful tuning for 7 or 8 string guitars

So, I'm looking to add an Ibanez 7 or 8 string to my guitar zoo, but although I have looked into various standard tunings I am trying to figure out practical tunings so I can rapidly add the new ...
7
votes
9answers
9k views

Alternate tunings on a 12 string guitar

I'm wondering if you can tune the second string of a double stringed guitar to something else than the regular octave. You would have to keep the open strings to C Major I guess, so that your barre ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Absolute pitch - has it varied through the centuries?

At the moment, absolute pitch seems to be using 12et, with A=440 Hz. Would this have been the case, say, in the Baroque period, when A=quite a bit less than 440 Hz? With some orchestras using 442 Hz, ...
6
votes
5answers
288 views

How does temperature affect tuning?

Off the back of comments on one of the answers to this question: How do room layouts affect tuning? So, I know the short answer is "It depends on the instrument", but ideally I'd like to ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

How to tell if a song is tuned a half-step down?

This song, for example: I've tried the notes in the intro on both standard tuning and half-step down, and they both match pretty closely. (How) Can one determine by ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Tritone or Minor 2nd as the most dissonant interval?

I'm trying to establish which interval is more dissonant, the tritone or the minor 2nd. Both are obviously very dissonant intervals. Math seems to prove that a minor 2nd should sound more consonant ...
22
votes
4answers
7k views

Software for microtonal MIDI? [closed]

I'm looking to make some microtonal music (19/22 tone equal temperament). I want to produce it with midi. Timidity++ used to be able to produce a WAV file from a microtonal tuned .MID file, but it is ...
18
votes
5answers
4k views

Trumpet low C♯ and D

Most trumpets' low C♯ and D are too high, and need correcting by pulling the 1st of 3rd valve. My first understanding was that the distance between tones in the lower register is larger than between ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

B-string on guitar more easily out of tune?

I'm very sensitive to out-of-tune notes which make my skin crawl and may ruin my enjoyment of otherwise perfectly fine gigs. At first I thought something was wrong with my ears, since other people ...
16
votes
8answers
12k views

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an all-fourths guitar tuning?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an all-fourths guitar tuning being E, A, D, G, C, F (the high E and B strings being raised a half-step from standard tuning). One reason to do this is ...
5
votes
7answers
9k views

What is the point in different guitar tunings? [duplicate]

I don't get it quite yet, since it seems to me like you can play most everything in standard tuning with a bit of practice. Or can you? What are some parameters to look for in a specific guitar tuning ...
20
votes
3answers
14k views

Why do wind bands use a concert Bb for tuning?

Back when I was part of my school's wind band, we used to always tune to a concert Bb. Why do wind bands tune to a Bb rather than an A (as discussed here)? I recall our director once vaguely ...
14
votes
6answers
13k views

Does piano tuning software actually work?

I would like to tune a piano that is in a remote place. Usually I would call a tuner but since there are none around it will just be too expensive. I found out recently that there is software that ...
10
votes
6answers
13k views

When tuning a guitar, why is it only in tune for a moment?

I am still very new to learning guitar (specifically, Classical fingerstyle). While this is the first time I am doing this "seriously", I HAVE tried to learn guitar before, just very badly (and ...
6
votes
5answers
3k views

Tuning Acoustic from Drop D to Standard Repeatedly

There are a few songs I play where Drop D tuning is required to get some nice, bass-heavy, open 6th string notes. It also facilitates many of the chords in the song in addition to adding a full tone. ...
6
votes
3answers
7k views

How can I determine the diameter of my piano's tuning pins?

I have an upright Baldwin 88-key piano ("Style No. 2056A") that was made in 1991. How can I determine the diameter of the tuning pins (so I can use the corresponding tuning tip)? I took photos of ...
4
votes
4answers
4k views

On Tuning: What's in a Temperament? (Well-Temperament vs. Equal Temperament)

I just had my whole world shattered this morning when I was unwise enough to do a "quick" Google search on what exactly "equal temperament" means before I had started my work. Of course, the loudest ...
4
votes
4answers
28k views

Short scale guitar tuning to A

I recently picked up a short-scale electric guitar for my son. While I am in no way a guitarist I can tune a standard guitar to standard tuning, including using the fifth fret method when I know what ...
22
votes
3answers
5k views

Poor quality guitars that don't tune

So since I got it at a discount price, I noticed this Yamaha I have won't tune properly. Specifically if I tune the strings to a perfect EADGBE (using a good digital tuner), then I cross check the ...
10
votes
2answers
679 views

How did Pythagoras and Ptolemy measure the relative pitch of musical notes?

Both Pythagoras and Ptolemy believed that the intervals between notes in music should be ratios of small integer numbers. This is known as Just Intonation. Pythagoras liked them to derived from ...
8
votes
4answers
20k views

Should guitar be de-tuned when not in use...?

I bought a GB&A guitar almost an year ago. I play guitar mostly on the weekends. Recently I noted that my guitar bridge has got lifted off the body a bit. So I took it to the Guitar Shop. The ...
6
votes
3answers
7k views

Why is A=442 the common tuning for percussion instruments?

When looking at percussion instruments, I noticed that the default tuning for most companies is A=442 for tuned percussion (vibes, marimba, tubular bells, etc…). I wonder if there is a reason for ...
5
votes
2answers
100 views

Two tunings included with Scala: "Tau-On-Side Opposite" and "Upside Down Wedding Cake"

Scala comes with a very large collection of tunings. Many of these are mysterious to me. Specifically, I'm seeking information about these two: pyramid_down.scl 12 Upside-Down Wedding ...