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Thread: Are You Really In Tune?

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booli View Post
    maybe you are hearing the 'beats' of the notes when they are not enharmonic to a perfect fifth (or fourth)?

    My whole life before the ukule when playing guitar, I had a tuning fork that was pitched to the high E of the guitar (yes NOT A-440), and I'd tune the thinnest string to that and then using the 5th and 7th fret harmonics to tune the strings relative to each other. You could hear the 'beats' if the notes were not unisons.

    (if I was in a band situation or loud room, I'd have to excuse myself to a quiet place so I could hear and tune, and then others in the group would do the same, all tuning to the tuning fork, never had an issue being in tune with the group) I never in my life used an electronic tuner before the ukulele.

    I'd then strum an E chord in 1st position, on most of my guitars, 9 times out of 10, everything would be fine, but on other guitars, It would be off. I'd then strum a G chord and a C chord and if they also sounded off, I'd then start 'sweetening' the tuning using octaves and unisons in the first 5 frets to adjust the tuning. Way back then, in those dark days, I was completely ignorant of this 'new' thing that haunts me on ukulele called intonation. Now I am cursed that if the intonation, and resultant tuning is off by more than five cents, I CAN HEAR IT, and I cannot play until it is fixed, either by 'sweetening' the tuning with octaves and unisons, or getting out a file and compensating the saddle, nut or both if needed. This is most severe when the ukes were each new to me, but once 'modified' for proper intonation, it's no longer an issue.

    When I see a YouTube video and the uke is obviously out of tune, I simply cannot bear to listen to it. It hurts my brain and I have to shut it off.

    If your hearing perception is not acute enough to hear the difference, consider that maybe ignorance is bliss, and just play!!!

    OldePhart warned me of this, but I did not heed his warning!!!
    I can hear the beats of the notes. I am getting annoyed with tuning my uke.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booli View Post

    When I see a YouTube video and the uke is obviously out of tune, I simply cannot bear to listen to it. It hurts my brain and I have to shut it off.

    If your hearing perception is not acute enough to hear the difference, consider that maybe ignorance is bliss, and just play!!!

    OldePhart warned me of this, but I did not heed his warning!!!
    And that right there could be the thing with me. I do however hear many videos that I think are out of tune, but I guess I've always thought that it was the acoustics in the room where the video was being recorded, or even the quality of the recording equipment. I've seen amateur videos of professional performances that sound out of tune, and I know that they sounded great when I was there.
    Last edited by Rllink; 01-25-2015 at 04:01 AM.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

  3. #63
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    CeeJay

    " I thought Ukeing was meant to be fun, it was back in the 60s...."

    You remember the 60's? I remember some of it and especially a comment I've heard a couple of years back, that if you remember the 60's you didn't live it...

    CeeJay as I am sure you would agree back then things were simpler, no electronic tuners, ukuleles were viewed as toys in spite of the God of the Ukulele and snappy dresser Tiny Tim and his predecessor in the 50's Arthur Godfrey.

    tinytim.jpg

    arthur-godfrey-uke-ad.jpg Hey this ukulele came with a uke "player" just push a button for the chord and "self tuner" no need for this thread at all. Best of all "Only $4.95!

    My Dad would tune his Arthur Godfrey ukulele using the "my dog has fleas" method when we were kid and I had no idea that it may not have been properly tuned...but we sure had fun...I remember that because it was in the 50's...lol

    I do not know if this gentleman's cigar box is correctly tuned, but I bet he "lived" the 60's and I would also wager that he had that In the Godda Da Vida drum solo down pat. I know I did when I would perform it on the steering wheel of my '63 MG Midget while listening to my Iron Butterfly 4 track stereo tape and knew exactly when to hit that button to switch the tape to the second track not missing a beat!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBBOymHPozY

    I have come to realize that this site has ukulele players....and those like me ukulele play-at-ers and I love both of these groups and try to learn from both.

    Got to go now CeeJay and try tuning with the proper method and see how far my electronic tuner is off. Maybe that is the reason I can't seem to get James Hill Billie Jean down like he does.
    Last edited by Larry D.; 01-25-2015 at 06:24 AM.
    You don't have to be "touched" to play the ukulele....but it helps!

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry D. View Post
    CeeJay

    " I thought Ukeing was meant to be fun, it was back in the 60s...."

    You remember the 60's? I remember some of it and especially a comment I've heard a couple of years back, that if you remember the 60's you didn't live it...

    CeeJay as I am sure you would agree back then things were simpler, no electronic tuners, ukuleles were viewed as toys in spite of the God of the Ukulele Tiny Tim and his predecessor in the 50's Arthur Godfrey.

    arthur-godfrey-uke-ad.jpg

    My Dad would tune his Arthur Godfrey ukulele using the "my dog has fleas" method when we were kid and I had no idea that it may not have been properly tuned...but we sure had fun...I remember that because it was in the 50's...lol

    I do not know if this gentleman's cigar box is correctly tuned but I bet he lived in the 60's and I would also wager that he had that In the Godda Da Vida drum solo down pat like I would when I would perform it on the steering wheel of my '63 MG Midget listening to my 4 track stereo tape.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBBOymHPozY
    well I was only 10 in 1969 so I think my coke habit was mostly confined to Pepsi's rival soft drinks company.

    Though I have to put my hand up to a liking for 7 Up as well....

    Yes we used to tune to "My Bum Is Green" the schoolboy version of the canine version........(Not a hobo...the derriere ...). Troubador tuning. Well that is how it is referred to in the article that Tootler links to...very good it is as well..

    Our hero at school was George Formby ...Tiny Tim we never really got then ...appreciate him ..and R.Smeck, much more now.

    We just tuned to your own instrument, to each other's Uke or someones "real" instrument if handy .........


    I think I came across my first electronic tuner in about 1984.

    Made by Sony, it was the size of a small transistor radio and limited to EADGBE....so no use for a Uke either...and about 60.00 !!!! Which was like half a weeks wage back then...!! Extraordinary.
    Last edited by CeeJay; 01-25-2015 at 06:10 AM.

  5. #65
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    I think I came across my first electronic tuner in about 1984.

    Made by Sony, it was the size of a small transistor radio and limited to EADGBE....so no use for a Uke either...and about 60.00 !!!! Which was like half a weeks wage back then...!! Extraordinary.


    CeeJay, I remember my Grandmother bought a Sony 6 transistor portable radio in the early 60's and I think she paid over $100 for that little red radio....including a ear phone (for one ear of course) no such thing as stereo radio stations back then...AM only played the good music.

    Going to concerts there was often stronger things than Coke Cola, but like our Ex-President my friends and I never inhaled but some of that second hand smoke sure made us hungry...
    Last edited by Larry D.; 01-25-2015 at 07:10 AM.
    You don't have to be "touched" to play the ukulele....but it helps!

  6. #66
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    On the Mayflower we used a time machine to obtain an electronic tuner that came with sweetened tunings for all sorts of instruments. It was a long time ago but I seem to remember the name Peterson.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterbright View Post
    On the Mayflower we used a time machine to obtain an electronic tuner that came with sweetened tunings for all sorts of instruments. It was a long time ago but I seem to remember the name Peterson.
    Ah a Plymouth Bretheren Brother ....well met ......

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rllink View Post
    ...
    But also, yesterday I was messing around a with this, and first I tuned all the open strings with the tuner, just to see. Then I was going to tweak them to each other off the A string, but they didn't need tweaking. They were all spot on, at least below the fifth fret, where you do all this manual tuning. I don't know if my Makala is just that good, or if my ear is just that bad. But then I went through the scale with the tuner, and it showed them spot on too. So my question is this, why is it better to just tune the A string with the tuner, then to tune everything off of it, than it is to tune all the strings open with the tuner, then just check them between each other? Anyway, my conclusion is that my ear is no better than my tuner, so why not just do it the easy way?
    I tune all the strings with the tuner then check them by ear. That way I start with the strings almost in tune. Sometimes I need to tweak the tuning sometimes it's OK. I don't have an over sensitive ear but I can tell if it's not properly in tune and I do like to make sure I start properly in tune.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rllink View Post
    And that right there could be the thing with me. I do however hear many videos that I think are out of tune, but I guess I've always thought that it was the acoustics in the room where the video was being recorded, or even the quality of the recording equipment. I've seen amateur videos of professional performances that sound out of tune, and I know that they sounded great when I was there.
    Another problem, especially with cheap ukuleles is intonation. Unless the instrument has been properly set up, you can tune the instrument either by ear or with a tuner till the cows come but it will still be out of tune when you start playing it because the intonation is poor.

    You can test this quite easily. Tune with a tuner so all the open strings are in tune then try fretting at frets 1-3. Is it still in tune? The chances are with cheaper instruments the strings go sharp when you fret them at the first few frets. This is because the strings are too high at the nut. It's quite easily resolved by filing the nut slots very carefully with a fine file (I use a triangular needle file but you can buy special "nut files"). Do it bit by bit. Loosen the string, one or two gentle strokes with the file then retune and check. Repeat as necessary but be careful not to overdo it or the strings will buzz against the frets when you pluck or strum them. You can vastly improve intonation yourself this way.

    If you don't feel comfortable doing this, you can have it done professionally and they will check other things, such as the frets being level and the height of the strings at the bridge end. Poor setup means it's very difficult, if not impossible to get the instrument properly in tune. I suspect that that's the as much the problem with a lot of the "out of tune" ukuleles on You Tube as not tuning them properly.
    Geoff Walker

    I have several ukuleles in various sizes and am not planning on getting any more...

    at least, not yet.

    I also play some blowy things and a squeezy thing

    Internet:
    You Tube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/TootlinGeoff
    Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/tootlingeoff

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tootler View Post
    I tune all the strings with the tuner then check them by ear. That way I start with the strings almost in tune. Sometimes I need to tweak the tuning sometimes it's OK. I don't have an over sensitive ear but I can tell if it's not properly in tune and I do like to make sure I start properly in tune.



    Another problem, especially with cheap ukuleles is intonation. Unless the instrument has been properly set up, you can tune the instrument either by ear or with a tuner till the cows come but it will still be out of tune when you start playing it because the intonation is poor.

    You can test this quite easily. Tune with a tuner so all the open strings are in tune then try fretting at frets 1-3. Is it still in tune? The chances are with cheaper instruments the strings go sharp when you fret them at the first few frets. This is because the strings are too high at the nut. It's quite easily resolved by filing the nut slots very carefully with a fine file (I use a triangular needle file but you can buy special "nut files"). Do it bit by bit. Loosen the string, one or two gentle strokes with the file then retune and check. Repeat as necessary but be careful not to overdo it or the strings will buzz against the frets when you pluck or strum them. You can vastly improve intonation yourself this way.

    If you don't feel comfortable doing this, you can have it done professionally and they will check other things, such as the frets being level and the height of the strings at the bridge end. Poor setup means it's very difficult, if not impossible to get the instrument properly in tune. I suspect that that's the as much the problem with a lot of the "out of tune" ukuleles on You Tube as not tuning them properly.
    Actually, I was always good with just tuning the open strings and playing. Then I tried it manually, as suggested in the original post, and heard no difference, so now I'm back to just tuning the open strings. I've checked each string with the tuner to the twelfth fret, and intonation is spot on. So I'm quite happy with the tuning and the intonation of my cheap uke.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

  10. #70
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    Referring back to Jim's initial post.
    Jim, you say you tune your A string with the tuner and then the other 3 relative to this.
    Is there a reason you choose the A string?
    I tune my ukes as you suggest but by habit start on the lowest string ( either G or C depending).
    Does it make a difference.
    Thanks

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