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Senior Member
Username: darkstar01

Post Number: 458
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 12:24 pm:   Edit Post

Anybody else read this article? Pretty intense/informative stuff.
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 3345
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 4:04 pm:   Edit Post

Just read it. A right riveting read.

Senior Member
Username: slawie

Post Number: 475
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 6:12 pm:   Edit Post

Boy I've just discovered I have been doing it all wrong.
I have learned to trust a machine more than my ears.
Great atricle Austin.
Thanks for sharing

Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 1961
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 1:11 am:   Edit Post

Aside from this article, after working in music stores for a quite a while, recently-sold guitars and basses would come back with some variation of the 'I can't get this thing to stay in tune' rant. 95% of the time they were strung incorrectly.

Open the case, and sure enough, there were the 'gee, I never cut the ends off, I LIKE those loops, it SOUNDS better'. Really unfortunate when this is done on a bass, it looks like a combination of a Warn winch and spagetti on a fork, minus the marinara. Had a favorite, wound 3-on-a-side keys to the OUTSIDE of the posts and wound backwards: He didn't like turning the keys the 'other' direction. But he didn't bring it in 'till the high E sawed the balance of the the nut to the outside off. . . . .

For basses, puh-leeze cut your strings roughly two peg spaces past the post you're fixing to string up (maybe a bit more for G's and C's). Stick the end thru the hole, make one loop over it, and wind the balance down the shaft to the face of the head: If you got it just right, the last wrap will come off the bottom of the shaft right above the face of the peghead. Repeat for as many strings as your axe has. You never want string-wraps around the post laying on top of each other, it should look like nice straight rows. Alembics and other basses with pitch-down pegheads ensure downforce on the nut, but for parallel-to-the-fingerboard pegheads like Fenders, this is really important for E's and G's which aren't always fitted with string trees like the A and D.

Tune UP to rough pitch. Hook a finger under each string where the neck meets the body, and pull up/away from the fingerboard, the bass should begin to rise off the table a bit. You should feel a little give or slipping sensation inside the string. It's stretching RIGHT NOW instead of on the gig later.

ReTune UP to pitch. Done. In the old days with crummier tuners, I'd tune by the harmonic at the twelfth fret. These days, they all read even Open B, so I tune by neck pickup (he's right about that) to the open strings, and on just-installed strings I go across twice after the stretching exercise. You may see just the least bit of creep after this, but if everything is mechanically solid, it won't be much, if any.

And just like a piano tuner, ALWAYS tune UP: This 'sets' the keys against tension; tune down, it may slip past where you needed to be.

I've used this for bass forever.

Another thing: Lots of guys somehow take it as an affront to their ego in feeling they need to use a tuner, as if 'Real Men Tune by Ear'. Well believe me, IF you could, you'd be booked for the next year with a list of Steinways and Bosendorfers. Grow Up. Some guys really can hear it, but most can't. Invest in a good tuner, remember, that -50 or +50 you see is 1/2 of a 1/2 step, so we're really splitting hairs pitch-wise. My ears aren't that fine.

J o e y
Intermediate Member
Username: alembickoa

Post Number: 136
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 12:59 pm:   Edit Post

I haven't found a completely accurate tuner yet. The closest I have found is the old Conn strobe jobber, which is a tad unwieldy. They get my instruments in tune with themselves, and that is the start.

I have noticed that a couple of important things were missed. We have, for example, not mentioned the fact that when you do cut strings, cut them at an angle. The first time you are on a gig and have to replace a string, cut it improperly, and the windings unravel, there ain't no winding it back on. If you don't have a second spare string, well, you figure that one out. I had to. 8^)

Another thing, carry a tuning fork. Don't know about anyone else, but an A440 fork was my first tuner. Bad solders, dead batteries...no sweat.

To augment Joey's advice on length, here's a tip. 2 1/2 peg spaces is perfect on pretty much any electric instrument.

Always keep tension on the string as you wind it!!! If you use the "quick" system of winding on strings, this, of course, is irrelevant. Keeping tension on the string assures you that all of the tension of the string is not concentrated on to one or two wraps.

Learn to maintain your own instrument!!! Alembic instruments, irregardless and above and beyond all of the love and quality components they entail, are tougher than a two dollar steak. They also need care. Your regular string changing routine should include examination and maintenance of your instrument. Inspection, repair, and adjustment of the integral parts of the stringing system, such as your nut and bridge, should be inspected for anything that will cut into the strings. Tuners should be inspected and maintained.

Joey has great advice here...I just wanted to add a couple of things that have helped me through the years.

Love n blessings...Steve
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 5419
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 3:01 pm:   Edit Post

After all these years, this article taught me something new about tuning - striking the strings at the 12th fret. It really works! The resulting image on my strobe tuner is MUCH more stable.

Steve: Have you tried the relatively new Peterson Sroboclip? A great marriage of accuracy and convenience.

Bill, tgo
Senior Member
Username: edwin

Post Number: 1515
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 6:52 pm:   Edit Post

I've been through this whole tuning debacle. I had all kinds of tuners and it would drive me nuts because I'd tune up with them and still be out of tune. I then discovered the Peterson tuners, first the Strobostomp, then the Strobosoft and then Stroboclip. Well, I lost the Strobostomp, and the misplaced the clip. I was looking for a temporary replacement (the iStrobosoft for iTunes might just be the best deal in apps) and I discovered the Sonic Research Turbo Tuner. It's almost an order of magnitude more accurate than the Petersons and because it's actually set up with a strobe mechanism instead of a strobe simulation, it's really quick for the bass. I love Peterson stuff and it's great but this is finally a tuner that gets me really in tune.

All that said, the instrument has to be in tune. I've spent hours intonating instruments with varying degrees of success. Without a doubt, the Series I Shorty I had and sold to Pierre-Yves was the most in tune bass I've ever played. It just felt like the wood itself resonated in tune. It's pretty spectacular to play chords on an instrument like that.

OK, this is a good inspiration to take another whack at the intonation on my Starfire.
Username: artswork99

Post Number: 1843
Registered: 7-2007
Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 7:45 pm:   Edit Post

  old faithful
Senior Member
Username: edwin

Post Number: 1516
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 8:01 pm:   Edit Post

Love it!
Senior Member
Username: cozmik_cowboy

Post Number: 1460
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 8:31 pm:   Edit Post

Edwin: OK, now I'm bummed you didn't play the Shorty when I saw you :-)
Art: ST-11 - yes, yes YES!!!! Made my living with one for several years; the BEST tuner, period, full stop, bar none!

Peter (Who misses being a roadie with every fiber of his being except his back)
Username: artswork99

Post Number: 1844
Registered: 7-2007
Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 8:44 pm:   Edit Post

I'm still running two of these here ;)
Username: artswork99

Post Number: 1845
Registered: 7-2007
Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 9:01 pm:   Edit Post

I've been fortunate while keeping the Conn ST-11 in running order. The synchronous motors can get quite wonky. I find that I can get to an intonation sweet spot fairly quickly with this tuner, like no other.
Senior Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 607
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 10:01 pm:   Edit Post

The old Conn tube powered tuner is a thing of beauty! I have had one for 30 years now and still use it to strobe all my guitars and basses. You can even get a read on drum heads with it using the mic.
Senior Member
Username: rustyg61

Post Number: 828
Registered: 2-2011
Posted on Thursday, April 25, 2013 - 1:56 am:   Edit Post

I have a Korg DT-1 Pro tuner in my rack but when I'm not using my rig I use a Peterson Strobo Soft app on my iPhone. It works great & is amazingly accurate! My son is a band director & he uses the app to tune his band.


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