Help! Guitar out of tune!

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omoroca
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Help! Guitar out of tune!

Unread post by omoroca » Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:31 pm

Hi everyone!

A friend of mine recorded some guitar chords for one of my songs, and the guitar is slightly sharp. First question: How is that possible? He tuned his guitar using the "smartChord" Android app, and my SY77 is set to "Fine Tuning = +0". Shouldn't that be a perfect match?

However, I want to use the recording anyway and tried to adjust the pitch of the guitar to fit my other voices. After several try&error loops I ended up with 100.35% of the original recording (in Adobe Audition, greater than 100 means lower pitch, strangely enough!), but I'm still not 100% sure whether this is absolutely correct. Which leads me to the second question: Is there are technical solution for this issue or do I have to trust my ears and stomach?
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Re: Help! Guitar out of tune!

Unread post by Derek » Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:03 pm

Hi.

Re the guitar tuning there could be several things at play, possibly all three of them :)

1) How accurate is "smartChord" for Android? Would you trust it as a tuning reference compared to one where the guitar is plugged directly into a tuner (assuming smartchord is using the phone's mic?)? If I feed my Roland GR55 pedal into my Line6 Helix pedal the tuners give different results. I feel the Line6 Tuner is more accurate.
2) What is the tuning reference? E.g. standard tuning is usually A440, but was the smartChord tuning reference something else?
3) Is the guitar intonation correct? Just because it is tuned correctly on open strings, does not mean it stays in tune as you play up the fretboard... Other guitar experts may correct me, but most intonation problems I have seen usually make the guitar go sharp as you go up the board.

Out of all the three issues, #3 is probably the most likely cause. You can check it by tuning the guitar as per normal on open strings and then play the same note on the 12th fret on each string and see if its sharp or flat relative to the open string. DANGER ALERT: I am not a guitar expert, so I may be corrected by somebody more knowledgeable - in that case go with their judgement :)

Onto your second question about whether or not your pitch correction is correct. If it sounds OK to your ears then it is correct for the song. You could always get a non musical friend to listen and see if they comment. The human ear is very sensitive to pitch even for people who are not musicians.

If it sounds right but is wrong, does it matter? You'd be amazed how many classic recordings have errors or anomalies in them. Phil Collins' "Face Values" is mainly home studio takes with Fridges clicking in, phones ringing in the background, but they never captured the original atmosphere in the studio when they tried to re-record, so went with the home demo recordings as the foundations for the the tracks, glitches and all.

Think of the iconic Beatles tracks. Perfect takes? Never! There is a whole website devoted to the "features" of those recordings, including examples of where people starting singing harmony line a semitone flat, but it fitted.

http://wgo.signal11.org.uk/wgo.htm

I.e. if you feel it is right in the context, then it is right. Trust your judgement.
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Re: Help! Guitar out of tune!

Unread post by omoroca » Wed Aug 23, 2017 10:39 pm

Hi Derek!

What do you mean by "open" strings? I'm using the acoustic guitar together with SY77's "Obie Strgs" (P2-B06). That's where it sounds the worst. Is that what you mean?
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Re: Help! Guitar out of tune!

Unread post by Derek » Wed Aug 23, 2017 10:55 pm

When you are tuning a guitar you do not fret a note, so the string is open and playing the root note you tune to. E.g standard tuning is EBGDAE. At the 12th fret if the guitar is setup correctly in its intonation, you should also get EBGDAE but an octave higher, but if intonation is poor as you play up the fretboard it can start going out of tune.

So how does it sound against another SY patch. There is also the chance that the sample loop tuning on the SY is band (note when a sample is looped, the length of the loop can affect the playback pitch and the SY does not have loop tuning adjustment)
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Re: Help! Guitar out of tune!

Unread post by parametric » Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:36 pm

Good points there from Derek . . . .

Correcting it "by numbers" will be difficult if you DON'T know what the original pitch of the guitar was.

Most DAWs (I only know Reaper) can modify an audio item as regards tuning, by pitch adjustment that does not stretch or shrink

the item's LENGTH . . .

This adjustment is by semitones or cents (1/100th of a semitone) - so obviously you need to know what the error IS,

to apply the appropriate correction IYSWIM . . .Else, you trust to YOUR EARS - which are actually INCREDIBLY Precise . . . .

The "Open Strings" Derek mentions simply means strings NOT pressed to a fret with a finger. The fret shortens the string to

produce the required note.

It should be noted, that the act of fretting a string ALSO increases the tension (microscopically) which changes the

pitch (microscopically) IN ADDITION to the effect of the selected fret . . . .

Though the audible effect is small, it may be noticeable - but is usually not significant enough to be uncomfortable . . . .

Just be aware that it is there . . .

I would suggest that the lower the action of the guitar, the smaller THIS problem will be?

IMO - if you play a nut chord of E, and then play a barre chord E at the twelfth Fret - and it sound "Sweet"/"Correct"

Then the guitar is in Tune . . .

The A440 thing is significant, as both the SY and the guitar should be tuning to the same value - else they will

NOT be in tune with each other.

Collaborating in this way can be problematic, but need not be. If you send the guitarist a rough mix of your song,

he should be able to adjust his guitar (if necessary) to be in tune with your Song, and THEN record . . . THAT would be one solution . . . .

If you BOTH use the same DAW - then you can probably send him the appropriate files to reconstruct the Song in HIS DAW,

and simple record a guitar track . . . .

Again, I only know Reaper . . .

Reaper can export all the tracks of a session (even as mp3 for compactness) so they can be dropped straight into ANY DAW

and will line up correctly to recreate the session.

The guitar can then be recorded @ 44.1 16bit (or whatever) for return to YOU, to drop in YOUR DAW for mixing/finishing . . .

Hope that helps

parametric
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Re: Help! Guitar out of tune!

Unread post by Derek » Thu Aug 24, 2017 5:52 am

Good point about fretting tension as if you press really hard you can make the pitch go noticeably sharp. A cheap,spring loaded CAPO will do the same as well.
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Re: Help! Guitar out of tune!

Unread post by omoroca » Thu Aug 24, 2017 5:52 pm

Now I got it. By "strings" you mean the guitar strings, not the instrument. English is not my native language, so I completely got this wrong.

Next time I'll try a spectral analysis of the guitar strings before recording. And for this recording, I'll keep on trying to find a good tuning and trust my ears.
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Re: Help! Guitar out of tune!

Unread post by Derek » Thu Aug 24, 2017 7:57 pm

Your English is very good. Far better than my German! :)

I would say spectral analysis is the wrong approach. The right approach is to make sure the guitar is correctly setup (intonation up the fretboard) and in tune using a reputable tuner. One thing to remember with guitars is that they are sensitive to room conditions (temperature and moisture). If recently moved (e.g. bringing one into a studio to record) allow them time to adjust to the conditions before tuning them.
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Re: Help! Guitar out of tune!

Unread post by parametric » Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:13 am

Derek - et al . . .

Re Guitar TUNING . . . . One thing that has always puzzled me, is what is regarded as the correct way to tune . . . .

in light of the pressure/tension/pitch issue I mentioned . .

By this, I mean depressing the strings to the frets when tuning - OR just touching the strings - as you would when playing

"harmonics" in the style of Steve Howe on the SECOND song on the YesSongs Video - the Acoustic solo - (dedicated to his son (I think?)

"A little boy called Dylan"?, he announces . . Perhaps you recall it Derek?

Right at the end of the songs he plays a series of harmonics, just touching (rather than fretting) strings . . . . THIS is what I am meaning . . .

Back when I was playing Guitar - we didn't have those electronic tuning Gismos. I "learned" the sound of the open tuning

EADGBE and just took an E (Bass E) and tuned by ear from there - tweaking until the E chord was perfect.

The more usual method was to tune the strings against each other (at the octave IIRC) . .

SO - fretting the E string to an A, and tuning the open A to it etc etc which was fine provided the bridge adjusters were set

for a perfect octave at the 12th Fret . . .

I have a mate who is a pro guitarist (plays a Strat mostly) who's main work is in the band at various London Theatres

currently, "The Book of Mormon" for instance - so I'll ask his opinion - and see what he says . . . .

I've always wondered about it . . .

parametric
Alesis Fusion 8SSD AND 6SSD - BOTH are 384Mb/120Gb SSD/Akai ADVANCE61/Yamaha MOXF6/1024Mb Flash Ram/Yamaha SY85/8.5mb vol/1024k non-vol/DX21/Roland MT32/Bachmann double overstrung Baby Grand Piano/Win10 Pro/Ubuntu MATE 15.0.4/iBook G4/Mac OS 10.4.6/ProTools 7.4/MBox2/M-Audio MicroTrack 24/96

NI Komplete11 Ultimate

Sector101 2x SYEMB06 / 4 x EXM-E3 128MB DRAM Module

BRAND NEW DSDD (720k) FLOPPY DISKS FOR SALE - http://www.yamahaforums.co.uk/forum/vie ... =22&t=9217

Watch out now! take care, BEWARE of the greedy leaders! They'll take you where you should not go - (George Harrison)

IT'S TRUE - "MONEY TALKS" - TO ME, IT MOSTLY SAYS "GOODBYE" ;-)
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Re: Help! Guitar out of tune!

Unread post by omoroca » Sat Aug 26, 2017 6:28 pm

So finally, after several tries, I found the correct tuning at a factor of 101.56%. Next time I will definitely make sure it doesn't sound odd *before* I start recording.

Now there's a new problem, maybe you can help:
viewtopic.php?f=54&t=9800
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