You are here

Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

For feedback and suggestions about the SOS magazine, app, web site or forums.

Moderator: Moderators

Re: Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

Postby Wonks » Tue Apr 27, 2021 3:42 pm

Having re-listened to it, it's hard to know quite what Sam means; as how do you tune for maybe lighter pressure when playing low down the neck and harder pressure up the neck? Adjusting the intonation is the main solution for consistent pressure, but that's not all of it. A lot of it does depend on the player having a consistent playing pressure No tuning or basic intonation is ever going to work for a guitarist who sometimes presses hard and sometimes softly at the same place on the neck.

The only solution for that is one of those mechanical EverTune bridge systems that automatically keeps the note in tune if it's not too far from the true pitch. https://www.evertune.com/shop/guitars.php

And if the guitarist only has Squier money, then that's out of their reach. And it's certainly not an option if it's an acoustic guitar (where intonation is always approximate at the best of times) .
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11607
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Correcting mistakes on the internet since 1853

Re: Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

Postby awjoe » Tue Apr 27, 2021 6:30 pm

FrankF wrote:No, he's talking about "playing sharp", not "drift": listen at 5:30.

Yes. My take on it was the engineer has to tell them the way they're playing is sharping the intonation, 'so tune down'.
User avatar
awjoe
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3037
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:00 am
Well, maybe I could take one for the team. But no pictures.

Re: Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

Postby Wonks » Tue Apr 27, 2021 6:57 pm

But regardless of what you tell them, simply altering the tuning isn't going to help be in tune all over the neck. If they are only playing in one position, then yes, it will do an awful lot to make things better, but if they are playing open strings and in all positions right up the dusty end, then it won't. Adjusting the intonation for their fretting pressure is required and doesn't take that long. It's what the intonation adjustment is there for. Obviously a more consistent technique would help as well, but that isn't going to come in a single recording session.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11607
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Correcting mistakes on the internet since 1853

Re: Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

Postby Murray B » Tue Apr 27, 2021 6:59 pm

I interpreted this as don't tune the open strings - but use a chromatic tuner on fretted notes, eg a B major with a seventh fret barre. Hopefully this would apply the correction for the extra string pressure.

If the intonation is out as well then all bets are off of course - easy to fix on an electric and you can always lend someone a properly set up acoustic (so long as they are careful with it :D )

Having been slowly training myself out of the death grip approach to playing the guitar over the last 20 years I have much empathy with guitarists who try to push the string through the fretboard :headbang:
User avatar
Murray B
Regular
Posts: 193
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:00 am
Location: Staffordshire

Re: Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

Postby Wonks » Tue Apr 27, 2021 7:15 pm

It only really fixes it for that particular chord position and surrounding notes. As you move away from that, then the tuning will start to drift off, and obviously the open strings will be out by whatever correction you make.

No guitar tuning will be exactly right, there will always be some compromises. You just need to get it close enough so that most people don't notice.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11607
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Correcting mistakes on the internet since 1853

Re: Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

Postby Sam Inglis » Tue Apr 27, 2021 8:05 pm

The Elf wrote:I recall the first time I encountered this 'playing sharp' phenomenon with a bass player. It baffled us for half an hour as we tuned, re-tuned, made test runs, then recorded a take. Every time the bass was rendered sharp...

It seemed that as soon as the bassist knew the red light was on he tensed up and squeezed the strings harder!

Sorry, I wasn't very clear, was I? This is exactly what I had in mind. It's not just the pressure with which the left hand frets the notes, it's also the force with which the right hand attacks the strings. So for example I will sometimes tune the low E string on a guitar slightly flat if the player is giving it some welly because otherwise it comes out sharp.

Of course there's no perfect fix but you can definitely make a difference, more so with bass than with guitar.
Sam Inglis
Moderator
Posts: 2734
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2000 1:00 am

Re: Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

Postby CS70 » Wed Apr 28, 2021 11:57 am

Yeah I do the same, in doubt, always tune a little bit below so I can micro-bend in tune as necessary. The actual tuning on the guitar is done by ear whether you know it or not :D
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 7799
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

Postby Arpangel » Wed Apr 28, 2021 1:50 pm

blinddrew wrote:My take on this was that with a less-than-perfectly set up instrument, and a less-than-experienced player, you can have people playing sharp because of the fretting of the notes. A high action and hard press could make for a sharp note, in which case checking the tuning as they play, and making that microtonal shift downwards can make the difference between most notes being in or out of tune.
It will depend on how much the open strings figure in the part though obviously.

Of course Sam may have been talking about something completely different... ;)

Some people play or sing out of tune, but they are so good it doesn’t matter, it’s actually part of the music/performance, it works.
Then there are others who sing out of tune and think that there’s absolutely nothing wrong and they can’t tell it’s just plain bad. These people often over-stretch themselves musically, or have a very distorted and arrogant view of their ability.
Being an engineer, or producer, is extremely difficult in these circumstances, and diplomatic skills are required in abundance, or, if you really don’t care, you just say "that’s f*****g crap, you should give up music forthwith and become a cab driver, that way you can bore people to death every day and get paid for it"

:)
User avatar
Arpangel
Jedi Poster
Posts: 7742
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am
That would be an ecumenical matter.

Re: Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

Postby dbfs » Wed Apr 28, 2021 3:09 pm

I love Sams videos. I think they address issues that come from experience and give young viewers an insight into real world studio based issues they will not find on the normal promo type content that abounds the internet.

Keep up the good work Sam.
dbfs
Regular
Posts: 218
Joined: Fri May 07, 2004 12:00 am
dbfs

Previous