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Why didn't Frusciante tune his guitar?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
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vincentvangogo's Avatar
 

Why didn't Frusciante tune his guitar?

I know this has been discussed before, but this is quite an interesting explanation of the issues involved with equal temperament.

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Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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vincentvangogo's Avatar
 

And btw, the answer is not "to match Anthony Kiedis' voice."
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Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vincentvangogo View Post
And btw, the answer is not "to match Anthony Kiedis' voice."
Welp I’m out then
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Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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enorbet2's Avatar
For a similar "ear secret" regarding the "tuning" of intervals please FFWD to 18:18



The full vid is also a fairly non-technical tutorial on essential guitar setup.
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Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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Moonwhistle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet2 View Post
For a similar "ear secret" regarding the "tuning" of intervals please FFWD to 18:18



The full vid is also a fairly non-technical tutorial on essential guitar setup.
All about the open strings.

So many people play this one in the wrong position...


A crash course on Page techniques.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by vincentvangogo View Post
I know this has been discussed before, but this is quite an interesting explanation of the issues involved with equal temperament.

Fascinating topic, of course. I've heard more thorough explanations of the basic 'problem,' but it's a lot of info to try to get across quickly and, for those just realizing that 12TET is a harmonic compromise -- but one that offers enormously valuable tradeoffs for modern music -- a lot of head-wrapping-around to do on some moderately tricky concepts. (Especially for those sleeping during math class.)


The 'trick' of tuning for a specific riff or chord is, of course, an old one and, in the studio, can make a 'subtle' but ultimately perhaps crucial difference when a lot of sonic/arrangement weight falls on a give melodic guitar figure.

No doubt many slide or other open tuning afficianadi have had the experience of tuning to a more-or-less dead-perfect open major chord -- only to then try playing some fretted minor chords or other inversions and realize that the 12TET spacing on the frets REALLY turns that 'perfect' tuning inside out.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
I would assume that he didn't tune his guitar because it was his guitar tech's job.
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Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
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enorbet2's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
I would assume that he didn't tune his guitar because it was his guitar tech's job.
John it sounds like you didn't review the video. I know you're not fond of internet audio (nor am I for anything actually diagnostic) but that guy has a very decent vlog and that video is worth watching.
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Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet2 View Post
John it sounds like you didn't review the video. I know you're not fond of internet audio (nor am I for anything actually diagnostic) but that guy has a very decent vlog and that video is worth watching.
It was supposed to be a joke.

And considering that the video was done by a third party who doesn't actually know who tuned his guitar, I'd say that my half-serious joke still stands - it was his guitar tech.

Note that I didn't say why his tech might have done it that way. I'm inclined to go with Blue's explanation.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
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enorbet2's Avatar
Sorry John I can be rather dense about jokes. However while I don't know any of the members of RHCP I do know that the only valid reason for having someone tune a musicians guitars is for live shows where the need often arises to switch guitars. Perhaps if one commonly uses a variety of guitars in the studio the tech may line those up and have them ready to play but Frusciante doesn't strike me as your run-of-the-mill prima donna and he also has experimented with lots of open and alternate tunings so I am betting he fine tuned the few cents off from 12TET because he is an "ear guy".
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet2 View Post
Sorry John I can be rather dense about jokes. However while I don't know any of the members of RHCP I do know that the only valid reason for having someone tune a musicians guitars is for live shows where the need often arises to switch guitars. Perhaps if one commonly uses a variety of guitars in the studio the tech may line those up and have them ready to play but Frusciante doesn't strike me as your run-of-the-mill prima donna and he also has experimented with lots of open and alternate tunings so I am betting he fine tuned the few cents off from 12TET because he is an "ear guy".
Sometimes musicians switch guitars because they need tuning. And in the studio quite often the guitar tech does at least most of the tuning. I know I sure did when I was a touring tech. Tuning, changing strings at least once or twice a day, checking the setup to make sure that nothing slipped, etc, etc.
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Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
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audioforce's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
No doubt many slide or other open tuning afficianadi have had the experience of tuning to a more-or-less dead-perfect open major chord only to then try playing some fretted minor chords or other inversions and realize that the 12TET spacing on the frets REALLY turns that 'perfect' tuning inside out.
It actually doesn’t. What can cause issues is the fact that the action is jacked up super high for slide, so fretting some of the notes throws intonation off. It’s not a tempered tuning problem. Tempered tuning does not turn tuning “inside out”.

The RHCP lick sounds a little out of tune, btw. : )


Best,

audioforce
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
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From the comments section

'Ok. I was John's guitar tech for his entire second tenure with the peppers (from around 98-08). When he rejoined the band, no-one was sure what was going to happen. We did a few shows, then they went in to write and record what became the Californication album. Since no-one was sure what was going to happen, I went to work for Ozzy and Korn, while the peppers worked on the album. The band's then drum tech Louie Mathieu took over all backline chores for the recording of the album. I can guarantee you that when the song Scar Tissue was recorded not nearly that much thought went into the tuning. The slightly off tuning was surely an accident. Although John may have noticed how it sounded, and approved of it.
I tuned John's guitars for every single time John played it live since then. And I tuned directly to what my Peterson strobe tuner told me to. A-440.
Beauty strat by the way!
Great video.'

My guess is he didn't give it much thought, but noticed it sounded flat and altered it until it sounded right. I've done it myself in the past without knowing the theory behind it.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
Gear Nut
just wanna point out with that original video. 5 limit just intonation is NOT harmonic series, period. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five-limit_tuning here is the specs for it. harmonic series can only be harmonic series. E.T. tuning, even though it's mathematically equal distance, it actually has a specific tuning as well; compared to the harmonic series. for instance, the 2nd is flatter, the 4th is flat enough that it's a different note altogether, the 6th is sharpened, the b7th is sharpened, and all sorts of stuff. ALSO, most tuners are not accurate enough to get the perfect E.T. numbers, but just accurate enough to still do E.T. properly.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
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Don't go there.





Temperately,


audioforce.
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Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Frusciante plays pretty hard on a lot of their records, and that's a good way to make an in-tune guitar sound like it's not. If it was a trade-off between intonation and intensity, I can see why he (or they) picked intensity.

On the Stadium Arcadium record, his touch is relatively gentle. He sounds more in tune and his recorded sound is a lot nicer than on the earlier records. In my opinion.

He had to be a tough guy to record, early on. The Billy Corgan of guitarists.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
It actually doesn’t. What can cause issues is the fact that the action is jacked up super high for slide, so fretting some of the notes throws intonation off. It’s not a tempered tuning problem. Tempered tuning does not turn tuning “inside out”.

The RHCP lick sounds a little out of tune, btw. : )


Best,

audioforce
I probably did a poor job of explaining that.

I was referring to the phenom of sweet-tuning an open chord to have only true harmonic relationships with the tonic (doesn't have to be slide, so could be on a conventionally set up guitar) -- so, no ~14 cents sharp on the major third, no ~2 cents flat on the fifth. It sounds sweet and pure when played open. But THEN, if you fret something (beside as simple, barred open chord) from there, the fretted chord will be 'out' by the amount you had to adjust away from 12TET to bring the open chord into Just harmony.

Hope I did better this time.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
I was referring to the phenom of sweet-tuning an open chord to have only true harmonic relationships with the tonic...
Phenomenal, in my limited experience, until you add a keyboard.
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Old 3 weeks ago
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Phenomenal, in my limited experience, until you add a keyboard.
Oh, yeah. The two thirds make a whole mess.


For those still head-wrapping on this: the specially sweet-tuned Just-intonated open major chord on a guitar fretted for 12TET sounds so sweet -- but then fretting a minor inversion... oh my... because you adjusted the major third up 13.69 cents to its Just pitch, the minor third (which would be 15.64 down from the ET value) will now be a total of about 29 cents out from Just intonation.

Last edited by theblue1; 3 weeks ago at 05:49 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #20
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audioforce's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
I probably did a poor job of explaining that.

I was referring to the phenom of sweet-tuning an open chord to have only true harmonic relationships with the tonic (doesn't have to be slide, so could be on a conventionally set up guitar) -- so, no ~14 cents sharp on the major third, no ~2 cents flat on the fifth. It sounds sweet and pure when played open. But THEN, if you fret something (beside as simple, barred open chord) from there, the fretted chord will be 'out' by the amount you had to adjust away from 12TET to bring the open chord into Just harmony.

Hope I did better this time.
Its all pointless, basically from a practical standpoint.



Best,

audioforce
Old 3 weeks ago
  #21
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audioforce's Avatar
 

Come on. This way.


Best,


audioforce
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Old 3 weeks ago
  #22
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Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
Its all pointless, basically from a practical standpoint.



Best,

audioforce
Apparently I didn't do much better explaining the point of my example that time, either.


I'm just saying that doing that (tuning an open major chord guitar to Just intervals -- and then playing a minor chord on the same guitar by fretting) should quickly offer folks who haven't compared the two intonation systems a quick, obvious practical example of why splitting the difference with 12TET is worthwhile in many/most cases (and, of course, always on a conventionally 12TET fretted guitar), per what I wrote in response to Brent H above.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #23
Gear Maniac
 

I would bet that he bends the string a little or has a light gauge. Or just tunes using the opening riff of the song before he plays the song. Sometimes I'll "tune to a song" by playing all the chords of the song and making sure they all sound satisfactory to me. Lots of guitarists do similar things.

Can sound better than equal temperament this way. But the fact of the matter is that many guitarists just sorta naturally bend the strings to get the intonation they want on parts that stand out as important to themselves.

However, I would not be surprised in the slightest if Frusciante didn't think about this at all.

This isn't a topic that deserves an eight minute video, imo, at least as it pertains to this specific riff/circumstance.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #24
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Wow, that tempered tuning sure sounds amazing!

Listen to all that music!

Thanks, tempered tuning, for rescuing all the great music that "just tuning" was screwing up down in the rabbit hole.

Tempered tuning, you’re the best!

Love,

audioforce
Old 3 weeks ago
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
I probably did a poor job of explaining that.
for anyone who actually watched the video, and learnt something, you did a perfectly fine job.

Whether the tuning on Scar Tissue was done deliberately, accidentally, instinctively, by Frusciante himself, his tech, or some post production trickery, is beside the point.

The point is that the note sounds better tuned a few cents flatter than "standard" guitar tuning because, no matter how perfect your intonation, fretting and tuning, the position of frets on a fingerboard is always a compromise, designed to allow us to play a wider range of chords and notes without re-tuning the instrument in the middle of a song.

I found the video fascinating and very clear - I did not know this before, and now have a greater understanding of my instrument.

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Old 3 weeks ago
  #26
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audioforce's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by grannis View Post
for anyone who actually watched the video, and learnt something, you did a perfectly fine job.

Whether the tuning on Scar Tissue was done deliberately, accidentally, instinctively, by Frusciante himself, his tech, or some post production trickery, is beside the point.

The point is that the note sounds better tuned a few cents flatter than "standard" guitar tuning because, no matter how perfect your intonation, fretting and tuning, the position of frets on a fingerboard is always a compromise, designed to allow us to play a wider range of chords and notes without re-tuning the instrument in the middle of a song.

I found the video fascinating and very clear - I did not know this before, and now have a greater understanding of my instrument.

I found the video amateurish and dumb. And I don't think the note sounds "better" detuned. You guys are making a mountain out of a mole hill in a rabbit hole, imo.

Tempered tuning sounds great.


Best,

audioforce
Old 3 weeks ago
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
Its all pointless, basically from a practical standpoint.



Best,

audioforce
Actually, its not. A lot of guys do it in the studio. Not so useful live.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #28
ET, Phone Home!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Actually, its not. A lot of guys do it in the studio. Not so useful live.



It must be Friday where John is!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
I found the video amateurish and dumb. And I don't think the note sounds "better" detuned. You guys are making a mountain out of a mole hill in a rabbit hole, imo.

Tempered tuning sounds great.


Best,

audioforce
The guitar (as we mostly know it) is designed to be a 12TET instrument, so it makes sense to approach it as one, generally speaking. Seems to me.

But that doesn't mean that there's not important value in understanding the 'disconnect' between the true harmony of Just Intonation and the approximated -- but flexible and convenient -- imperfect harmonies imposed by the confines of 12TET intonation.

Anyone who's ever been frustrated over the seeming 'impossibility' of tuning a guitar -- beat tones arising inexorably from their 'perfectly' intonated 12TET chords -- can benefit from at least an overview -- seems to me.

That said, I'm sure plenty of guitarists and keyboardists (and players of other 12TET instruments) have little knowledge or interest and get by just fine.


With regard to the quality of the video, I might have chosen to do some things differently but I thought he did a reasonable job of trying to explain the issues in practical terms. And grannis' testimonial certainly seems to suggest that he was able to get the info across to those heretofore unfamiliar with the issue. And, you know, kind of a fun accent...
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