Truth_David Posted January 15, 2007 Report Share Posted January 15, 2007 Hi all, I spend most of my time on the electronics forum, so I was not sure where to post this question. I have been in touch with my luthiers regarding this issue, and they state categorically that any benefit derived from the Buzz Feiton and Earvana systems is lost as soon as you play a fretted note. This was my reply, which they made no attempt to address, but instead directed me to a very interesting website, where the subject of intonation and the problems with the equal-temperament system are discussed at some length, although without going too much into the actual mathematics involved: http://www.acousticfingerstyle.com/gtartuning.htm Here is what I wrote: Thank you Simon, If I read between the lines regarding the BF, Earvana and similar systems, what you are really saying is that they are marketing products based on sales hype, rather than scientific fact, is that correct? But I have to say that I watched a video of the earvana system and its subsequent effect upon tuning, with a side by side comparison of the fretted notes at position 1 - 4 compared with the open string on a 'normal' guitar and those obtained from a guitar fitted with the different intonation of the earvana system. Of course, things can be manipulated so that they can fool one into believing that a certain effect is being produced. Without being able to reproduce the same conditions, using the same equipment, it is difficult to know for sure. But the methodology does make sense, when compared to the way a piano for example is tuned. And I must say that it is becoming increasingly obvious to me that there is a problem with the concept of having the possibility of pressing a note out of tune accidentally at any fret position of the instrument. The same as having a scalloped fingerboard, but to a lesser degree. This has been further brought home to me recently by the fact that one of my friends was tuning his instrument to pitch, but whenever he played chords, everything was totally out of tune. Upon examining the guitar, I realized that the setup had been done poorly, and that the nut slots were not filed deeply enough. This, combined with his poor technique, and pressing down too hard on the strings (believing that it was necessary to press the string down to the fretboard in order to produce the correct note) resulted in his chords being completely out of tune. I then started to pay much closer attention to my own instrument and found that in fact even on the best set up guitar I own and use every day, the same thing was the case - that there is always a certain distance between the fretted note and the fingerboard. When using light strings, as I do, the slightest extra pressure on the string can actually force it too far towards the fingerboard, which will not produce the correct tone, it will be slightly (or very) sharp. On a classical guitar this is even more pronounced. I am aware that the best musicians unconsciously make minute adjustments in terms of bending or pushing the string so as to produce a correctly pitched note, and am to a certain extent aware of doing so myself. Now, none of this is so noticeable until you start to play complex chords comprising of a mixture of open and fretted notes, especially with intentional dissonances, such as a m7+5 (take Bm7+5/E - E-B-F#-G-D-E, could be Em9-5 played at the second fret position, with the G and top and bottom E open, or take a derivative of that chord A-F#-G-D-E, a sort of Gmaj13/A or D11/A) and the bad notes become immediately apparent. This should be a beautiful resonant textural chord which can substitute for a Bm or Em, but instead sounds out of tune. Now, given that as I said previously, I am presently experimenting with adding further notes to these chords with the right hand, whilst simultaneously picking or strumming the open notes with my other two fingers, the dissonances start to become really marked, especially when amplified (and on an electric with a vibrato bridge, the subsequent bridge movement makes the situation even worse). Quite honestly, the present equal tempered method of tuning is very imprecise, and is at best a compromise, the same as is the case for the piano. This is why for someone who makes similar demands of their instrument, there will be interest in these alternative intonation methods. This makes me inclined to go the route of experimenting with a fretless instrument, or a graduated fretting design - but one then needs to be able to afford the luxury of several instruments upon which to experiment, whereas I have to sell one instrument in order to afford another. But I feel that the onus is upon the designers and manufacturers like yourselves to come up with a viable solution. We as musicians should not have to worry about such things, so we can just get on with making music with correct tonality, and not have to worry about dissonance between instruments like the piano etc. I might add that I am meticulous about tuning, using at least three ways to cross check, yet more often than not, once I play chords, I find that they are not in tune, and to my ears the bass E and high B are never in tune. Kind regards, David I hope this will pique someone's interest here, and if it is not a suitable place for this query, then perhaps someone could suggest an alternative forum or another part of this forum. Thanks, God bless Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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