Vanhalen tuining info,cool!!!!

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Vanhalen tuining info,cool!!!!

Postby Guest » Tue Nov 22, 2005 2:34 pm

cool info on EVH tuning..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Van_Halen


Though rarely discussed, one of the most distinctive aspects of Van Halen's sound was Eddie Van Halen's tuning of the guitar. Before Van Halen, most distorted, metal-oriented rock consciously avoided the use of the major third interval in guitar chords, creating instead the signature power chord of the genre. When run through a distorted amplifier, the rapid beating of the major third on a conventionally tuned guitar is distracting and somewhat dissonant. Van Halen developed a technique of flatting his B string slightly so that the interval between the open G and B is a perfect, beatless third. This consonant third was almost unheard of in distorted-guitar rock, and allowed Van Halen to use major chords in a way that mixed classic hard rock power with "happy" pop. The effect is pronounced on songs such as "Runnin' With the Devil", "Unchained", and "Where Have All the Good Times Gone?".

With the B string flatted the correct amount, chords in some positions on the guitar have perfect thirds, but in other positions the flat B string creates terribly out of tune intervals. Van Halen is quoted as saying, "...the guitar... is just theoretically built wrong. Because every string — the intervals are fourths, except for from G to B, which is a third, and it's always that damn B string that fucks it up. So I always tune it a little bit flat, and then when I need it in tune, I just bend it up. Because once it's sharp, you can't make it flat! Over the years, you know, it's just a feel thing, you develop a feel for when you hit a certain chord, you know how to manipulate the string to make it in tune."

Despite his wording above, Van Halen does not flat the B string for everything. "The B string is always [difficult] to keep in tune all the time! So I have to retune for certain songs. And when I use the Floyd onstage, I have to unclamp it and do it real quick. But with a standard-vibrato guitar, I can tune it while I'm playing." (Here he was referring to an early version of the Floyd Rose system, which had no fine tuners on the bridge.)
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Postby 5150loveeddie » Tue Nov 22, 2005 2:55 pm

Very well said.............I do too
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Postby Billy Batz » Tue Nov 22, 2005 3:00 pm

Yeah I thought everyone does that. Otherwise your a barr chords are out. I guess it depends which chords you like to be in tune most. Open E, D or A. Or if you just do whateevr the tuner says :)
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Postby VelvetGeorge » Tue Nov 22, 2005 6:10 pm

I think everyone does, whether they realize it or not.

I got one of those Peterson strobo stomp pedals a whila back and it has a great tempered tuning for guitars. I can actually play open chords, barre chords and little two note patterns up the neck now.


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Postby NY Chief » Tue Nov 22, 2005 6:28 pm

Doesn't the Feiten system address exactly that? Anybody use one? An LA studio friend swears by the Buzz Feiten system (supposed to be a great guitar player, too)
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Postby Billy Batz » Tue Nov 22, 2005 7:37 pm

I dont know that Im that into the feiten thing. My worries about them are confirmed by a lot of reviews Ive heard. Its only tempered its not really in tune, actually it gaurentees everything is out of tune so that nothing will be that far off like the G and B strings, for instance, when an open E or G is perfectly in tune theyre far off. That works with pianos or even clean or slightly driven guitars but any decent amount of drive and you can hear a slight off pitch between two tones.
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Postby NY Chief » Tue Nov 22, 2005 9:03 pm

Billy Batz wrote:I dont know that Im that into the feiten thing. My worries about them are confirmed by a lot of reviews Ive heard. Its only tempered its not really in tune, actually it gaurentees everything is out of tune so that nothing will be that far off like the G and B strings, for instance, when an open E or G is perfectly in tune theyre far off. That works with pianos or even clean or slightly driven guitars but any decent amount of drive and you can hear a slight off pitch between two tones.


First I heard that. I thought it was THE shit. Interesting.
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Postby Billy Batz » Tue Nov 22, 2005 10:16 pm

I guess like anythign it depends on your rig, your sound, and what you find acceptible. Tempered tuning itself doesnt mean perfect tuning. Only a perfect compromise.
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Postby VelvetGeorge » Wed Nov 23, 2005 1:06 am

With my ears, fine tuning is like archeology with hand grenades. So I guess tempering is fine.


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Postby texwest » Wed Nov 23, 2005 3:41 am

That is a very interesting quote from Van Halen. I had no idea he ever said anything about this, but I knew he did it on Runnin with the Devil. For years, I have alway very quickly tuned my b string down to a perfectly tuned chord whenever I play Runnin with the Devil. It just doesn't sound right unless the chord is perfectly consonant. Its part of the smooth distortion sound of that song. It really sounds quite harsh if you leave it tuned the way your tuner wants to tune your guitar. Of course once you tune one chord perfectly, other chord shapes will then sound like crap. The octave of the D chord will be flat. The fifth of an E will be flat and out of tune compared to the other fifth in the chord. So I'm not sure I believe that he did this all the time. He always seems to take pleasure at leading people astray. When I was a kid, I got the Guitar Player when he was on the cover around 1980. And he told us he turned the variac up rather than down. I do believe that he did consciously retune his guitar to make certain chord patterns sound more consonant. You can definitley hear that.

The Equal Temperament system is great, but the perfectly tuned chords that you get in Just Intonation really sound better. The old classical musicians used to alway tune their harpsichords perfectly, but they had to retune the harpsichord if they wanted to play in a different key. And they couldn't modulate to a key that had a wildly different bunch of notes. So they were limited to modulating to the dominant key. Apparently Bach could retune his whole harpsichord very quickly in order to play in a different key. But he must have gotten tired of it because he became the prime exponent of Equal Temperament.

I often lament how nothing sounds perfectly intune in equal temperament. Clean guitar tones don't seem to be too much of a problem, but a screaming marshall seems to especially highlight the subtle tuning problems inherent to equal temperament. I'm sure this is the reason VH tweaked his tuning when he needed to.

Gosh forgive my dissertation,but I was a music theory grad student in college. In 1987 I was doing grad work in music thoery at U of M. Funny enough there was another guy besides me in an ethnomusicology class who also played rock guitar too.He was working on his doctorate in theory. We all had to do a transcription of some cultures folk music. He transcribed eruption and played it for the class. I'll never forget the looks on the faces of all those serious uptight classical musicians. It was really funny and all their transcriptions seemed pretty lame by comparison.

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Postby Billy Batz » Wed Nov 23, 2005 12:37 pm

VelvetGeorge wrote:With my ears, fine tuning is like archeology with hand grenades. So I guess tempering is fine.


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I think we all can agree perfect tuning is impossible. Just tuning as perfectly as possible to a chord or key vs tempered. Im with wes when I tune I do it as perfectly as possible for a certain chord but I may change the tunning quickly between songs. Say start out with an in tune open E. Then if Im playing something like 'Unchained' (to stay in topic :) ) Ill retune that B.
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Postby Necrovore » Wed Nov 23, 2005 12:49 pm

Can someone explain what EVH is talking about in practice?

My music theory knowledge is shot. I am getting that his b string when tuned normally will result in the b string being OOT sightly when fretting a chord, so he frets the string within a chord and brings it into tune this way?
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Postby Billy Batz » Wed Nov 23, 2005 1:23 pm

He means that he tunes the B string a little flat so that A string barr chords sound in tune. With the B srting flat other chords arent as in tune then but in that case he can just bend the B string a bit to sharpen it.
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Postby NY Chief » Wed Nov 23, 2005 1:45 pm

Yeah and of course if you don't set your intoantion it don't mean dick.
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Postby Necrovore » Wed Nov 23, 2005 2:46 pm

Thanks Billy.
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