Harmonic Tunings


Christoph
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Christoph
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03/15/2001 6:27 pm

Does anyone know where I can find a tutorial for tuning with natural harmonics? For example, when you play a N.H. on the fat E string at the 12th fret it should sound the same as a N.H. on the A string 7th fret.

-Christoph
# 1


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03/16/2001 2:37 am
I believe it's as follows:
the harmonic on the fifth fret of a given string is the same as the harmonic on the seventh fret of the string above. But of course this doesn't hold true for the blessed third-to-second string.
# 2
Christoph
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Christoph
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03/16/2001 5:31 am

Well, specifically I was wondering if there was a better way to cross the dreaded 3rd to 2nd string boundary than playing a harmonic on the low E string at the 7th fret and comparing it with the harmonic at the 12 fret B string.

But alas! . . . I guess it will have to do.

-Christoph
# 3
trendkillah
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trendkillah
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03/16/2001 11:29 am
Tuning your guitar using harmonics like that will not give you an precise tuning. It's best to just use the 5th fret method in stead of the harmonics.

Just an advice though.


Greetz, TK
# 4
Christoph
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Christoph
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03/16/2001 6:44 pm

I've found that harmonic tuning is a lot more accurate than the ol' 5th fret thing. The 5th fret tuning is dependent on how hard your press your finger down, while harmonic tuning is dependent on your intonation.

So, they both have their trade-offs. Whatever works, I suppose . . .

-Christoph
# 5


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03/16/2001 8:01 pm
That's true, it does give a better sense of what's in tune. Another way that I find extremely usefull is to just play the two adjacent open strings and tune it it that way. It's harder to find the pitch vibrations, but once you can find it I think it not only is more accurate but saves time becuase you don't have to fret the string then move your hand to tune, etc.
# 6
Christoph
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Christoph
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03/17/2001 6:55 am

James, you mean you play the E and B strings together to tune? You've gotta have a really good ear for that to work. I think I'll stick to my harmonics.
# 7


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03/17/2001 2:28 pm
It's not as hard as you might think. Takes a bit of practice till you can distinguish the vibrations from the other sound, but it's worth it.
# 8
Willdridge
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Willdridge
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03/17/2001 3:22 pm

I use a compination of harmonics and fifth fret rule, usually whenever I'm not quite on pitch. Harmonics are useful because they're what's been called a "pure note", i.e. there's no possible thing to prevent them being the right pitch (aside from intotation...)

Whenever I tune with harmonics I tune the OPEN b string with the 7th fret harmonic of the E string. I find that's the easiest way. The only other option is to tune the top e and then tune the b to that. Just a few ideas, I'm sure there's a better way...Hope I helped though
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# 9
Raskolnikov
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Raskolnikov
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03/17/2001 4:52 pm
I usually tune with harmonics, especially since I play bass most of the time, and the only B string I deal with is a low B. When I do have to tune a guitar I usually tune the B by playing the 4th fret on the G string. I also usually check up on myself by playing some open-7th and "3rd string-3rd/4th fret" octaves. If I'm picking up a guitar that hasn't been played in a while, the octave checking is often a good way of seing what strings are in tune with eachother so you don't have to tune the whole thing.
Of course, if you're playing with other people this is all irrelivant.
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# 10
Lordathestrings
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Lordathestrings
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03/18/2001 10:36 pm
Any tuning technique will be useless unless your intonation is good. Tuning with 5th and 7th fret harmonics gives the best accuracy for most of the strings. The best way to check the G to B string is with chords. Single note runs don't provide the same opportunity to hear the dissonance that becomes obvious in a stroked chord.

Use the octave (12th fret) harmonic of the low E to bring in your high E. Tune the B to the high E using the 5th and 7th fret harmonics. Tune the G by alternately comparing the G to the B and then the D strings. Finally, play a D chord at the first position, and then a C. A bad 3-2 jump will stand out big time. When those chords sound good, move the D chord fingering up to the 7th fret and stroke them along with the open D string. If that holds up under scrutiny, try a few power chords, with heavy gain. The harmonics brought out by all that overdrive can really show up slight tuning errors.

By now, I think you can see why I get upset if someone even looks like they're thinling of tweaking my 12-string! To tune that baby, you have to do all of the above, and then apply a bit of 'octave stretch' to get just the right amount of warble.

Of course, by the third set of a bar gig, most of the audience is past noticing, or even caring, about such things, but we know the difference, don't we?



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# 11
Christoph
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Christoph
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03/19/2001 12:57 am

Thanks for all the feedback dudes!
# 12
iamthe_eggman
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iamthe_eggman
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03/23/2001 2:56 am
Here's how I was taught just recently to tune easily using harmonics:

Low E 5th fret harmonic = A string 7th fret harmonic
A string 5th fret harmonic = D string 7th fret harmonic
D string 5th fret harmonic = G string 7th fret harmonic
G string 9th fret harmonic = B string 5th fret harmonic
B string 5th fret harmonic = E string 7th fret harmonic

So, you see, the only variation is that the B string 5th fret harmonic is tuned to the G string 9th fret. I find that it is pretty easy to match up the notes.

Hope that helps.
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# 13
Mr. Vai
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Mr. Vai
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03/23/2001 3:40 pm
I usually just did the basic 5fret tunning since I usually just played around the house for my own pleasure
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# 14
Christoph
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Christoph
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03/23/2001 8:47 pm

Eggman, I'll have to try the 9th fret G to the 5th fret B. I never thought about that.
# 15

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