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Buzz Feiten ?'s


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Double check your scale length before replacing with a standard nut - most of the OEM compensating nuts use a slightly shorter length between the nut and first fret so a standard nut will not work without modification.

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It really depends on your ear.

Dugg says he's a piano tech who doesn't like the Feiten system, but I'll bet if he's a half decent tuner he tempers the pianos he works on. Am I right, Dugg, or do you not tune pianos also. My tech is also an exceptional tuner and can do any temperment I want. Thinking about trying equal beating.

On a guitar you can't temper each note, so Feiten, Earvana, and others compensate as best they can at the nut and the bridge. I think Perry does.

Bottom line is some people like the Feiten system. Some like a compensated nut. Some like a zero fret. . . and some/most are fine with the straight old non-compensated nut.

I don't think the Feiten system is worth the price, but if you've got a guitar that's got the Buzz Feiten set up already, it seems very silly to give up on it because of a trashed nut, and my guess is you can duplicate your old nut fairly easily using a graphite blank

Todd

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I've looked at the Feiten nut and it seems to be just a straight nut. I don't know the details, but it seesm the nut is moved closer to the first fret, the intonation is altered and the tuing is altered a bit; everything is fuged a bit. As long as you replace the Feiten nut with a piece of material the same size and in the same place, I think you're back where you were. Anyone know if I'm wrong?

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The Feiten System was just that:

Move the nut, and adjust intonation following their specific instructions.

The nut itself has no compensation.

Not much of a major breakthrough, if you think about it...

The new True Temperant system, however, seems just brilliant.

In my opinion...

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The new True Temperant system, however, seems just brilliant.

In my opinion...

You ever read any articles by Bill Bremmer? He has come up with at least one temperment for playing a certain program with a piano.

Todd

Quick google search and . . .

"the guitar tuning I used is like the

Vallotti temperament. There was a lot of discussion about it which you

should be able to find in the archives. The American Society of Luthiers has

a website which has a document forbidding anyone to tune the guitar in any

way but ET. But just like with the piano, what happens in reality very often

is different from theory.

What I did was set the guitar's pitch to A440, then carefully tempered the

strings by ear. I rounded the results off and created a program in my SAT.

The following is the exact program of the way the guitar was tuned for The

Man of La Mancha in 1992.

All values are read on Octave 4

E2: -4.0 A2: 0.0 D3: 2.0 G3: 4.0 B3: -2.0 E4: 0.0

You can also use half these values and get a "Victorianized" version of it.

E2: -2.0 A2: 0.0 D3: 1.0 G3: 2.0 B3: -1.0 E4: 0.0

Once, I saw a classical guitarist from New York tune this very same way. He

took a lot of time on stage between numbers getting it exactly right. I

wouldn't hesitate to use either one of the above on any guitar. These are,

however, the ONLY two sets of deviations possible except if your tuning

skills and ETD are capable of halving the figures again."

From something Bill posted on piano tuners guilde.

http://users.adelphia.net/~cygnusx_1/equal_temperament.html

And I think this is the document he refers too. It basically says, don't temper your guitar to a specific piece, just suck it up. Wonder what they think of compensated nuts :D

Edited by ToddW
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ToddW, when you mention things like 'different temperments', you show that you aren't sufficiently educated in the subject. Bring something I can sink my teeth into and maybe I'll debate.

Was it my leaving out the "a" in temperaments, or do you simply not believe there's anything usefull besides "equal temperament"? (Dr. Owen

Jorgensen's book: Tuning: containing The Perfection of Eighteenth-Century Temperament, The Lost Art of Nineteenth century Temperament, and The Science of Equal Temperament, complete with instructions for Aural and Electronic Tuners)

My point was, you can stretch each note on a piano when you tune it, and nobody would consider not doing so. Clearly some piano tuners are better than others, and some will will even tune for specific performance. Bach's work for the well tempered clavier comes to mind. I don't believe he worked on a piano with "equal temperament", and the pieces sound different if the piano tuner is able to do a historic temperament.

You can't tune each note on a guitar, but you can try to compensate for the inherent shortcomings in it's design. That's what Feiten is trying to do. I think the alternative, if you're playing with a piano, is to try and work out a tuning on your guitar that works for a given piece of music based on the key and the particular piano. Bill Bremmer can do that, I can't.

But saying that what Feiten worked out is "snake oil" . . . is sort of like saying there's only one way to tune a piano.

Best,

Todd

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Ok, I guess I'm obligated to 'splain a bit. The equal temperment system is not 'broken' as Buzz claims, nor can it correctly be called a comprimise. It is simply the only logical way of tuning any instrument, be it stringed, brass or wind so that it can play in all twelve keys and sound 'in tune' in all of them. To put it a different way, music itself is tempered, not instruments. In other words, even a non fretted string instrument or voice uses tempered intervals, though it is common for string players to insist that they don't. To produce an equal temperment, all you do is divide an octave into twelve equal distances. This was probably achieved first on early fretted stringed instruments since a geometric layout of the frets is easily done with a long low triangle and a compass. So, the guitar, rather than being a relic of older tuning methods, has been equally tempered for perhaps longer than any instrument around. Doing an equal temperment with geometry is obvious, but doing it 'by ear' took quite a bit longer to perfect. Around three hundred years ago J.S.B. wrote the 'well tempered clavier' to feature the relatively late emergence of equal temperment on keyboard instruments. But, even today there are piano tuners who do fairly decent octaves and unisons, but can't lay out a very accurate temperment. This is because it ain't easy by ear. Before you suggest that tuners buy twelve tuning forks, let me point out that it would not work. The reason is that a little problem called inharmonicity causes octave harmonics on strings to be sharper than a theoretical doubling of frequency. Since the upper string in an octave must be tuned to the lower strings octave harmonic, the distance of that octave varies from piano to piano. Does that help?

Edited by dugg
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Does that help? Not really. For one thing, some of us don't want every key on the piano to sound equal, so Equal Temperament is not the "only logical way to tune an instrument". Bach wrote the well tempered clavier pieces for a "Well" tempered piano, not one tuned to equal temperment. There's a huge difference, and in fact there are several Well temperings. (We can ignore that the modern piano in my home is nothing like what Bach was used to.)

Bach lived in the 17th and 18th centuries when "Well" Tempering was popular. They tuned the piano with essentially pure octaves, and while C and related keys had relatively pure 3rds and 5ths, the distant keys were less pure. So no keys sounded bad, ie. no major wolf tones, but they all sounded different. If you wanted a harsh sounding tuning, you didn't write your piece in C . . .

I don't mind you're "splaining" stuff, or acting like you know more than I do. I'm sure about many topics you do. However, I actually do find your saying Bach wrote those pieces for an equal temperament piano slightly offensive. Bach took advantage of the difference in the keys on the instrument he had. That's part of the magic. Your statement makes it seem like he was writing in different keys just to keep the fingerings easy and shows a true lack of appreciation of the genius behind the work. So if you want to talk down to me, that's fine, but at least know what you're talking about.

Getting back on topic, the different attempts to improve the guitar, I agree with a tiny bit of what you say. It's correct that spacing the frets on the guitar makes it seem to be an easy instrument to make for an equal temperament, but we all know it doesn't actually work out that way. You stretch the strings when you fret them, different gauges change different amounts, the action height isn't always the same down the fretboard, a given amount of stretch will have a different effect at different frets.... Since the biggest problems making a guitar sound "equal tempered" occur with the open strings, Feiten, Earvana, and others, try to "compensate" for that. The piano player doesn't have to, and in fact can go beyond equal temperament (If their tuner is really good).

So no, Bach didn't write in different keys to demonstrate the wonders of equal temperament, he'd probably hate what it does to his music, and while the guitar isn't broken, it also isn't perfect.

If you don't feel Feiten is an improvement, that's fair. I think it's a reasonable attempt to "compensate" for the shortcomings of a very nice instrument. Not one I'll pay for, but one I can appreciate.

:D

I'm going to add an edit here, because I'm not annoyed anymore. I want to make sure I state clearly that I don't know what Bach's piano temperament was. He tuned it himself, so I'm not sure anyone does. Did a search after I got a PM and apparently someone analyzed the curlycues at the top of the front page and it matches with a circular temperament. I have no idea how valid that analysis is. I also don't want to sound or act like I think I'm some expert on historic temperaments or Bach. I'm not, so if the above sounds arogant, snotty or rude, I apologize.

Edited by ToddW
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Sure you can.

It's called the True Temperament System.

Haven't heard it yet, but I hope to someday. And I did write them a letter last year asking about purchasing a classical fretboard, they said they hoped to be able to sell them in the near future. I'm still waiting.

Even so, you still tune each string, not each note.

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No argument from me, I think it's a great idea other than the problem with fret replacement. When they offer a classical fretboard, I'll seriously consider it because it'd be great to have the same temperment on a guitar and our piano. But I'll see what the Earvana sounds like with our current "equal" temperment tuning first.

Regard,

Todd

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