Follow Us On Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Watch us on YouTube
Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    ambuj's Avatar
    ambuj is offline Pro Tabber
    Join Date
    Jul 2004

    Tuning Your Guitar Using "Beats"

    Ok guys, I discovered this cool method to fine tune your acoustic guitar accurately in the absence of tuners and such. Your guitar may not be in the standard E tuning, but it surely will be tuned once you are done.

    Ok, first a little something about beats. No, I'm not talking about drum beats... these are the beats that you'll find in any XII standard physics text book. By definition, it is the alternate waxing and waning of intensity of sound when two waves of nearly equal amplitudes and frequencies traveling in opposite directions in a medium interfere. The frequency of beats (i.e. no. of beats per second) is equal to the difference in the frequencies of the interfering waves. Make any sense? Wait, it will soon....

    Now, to employ this method to tune you guitar, you must have a good ear, and you should be very sensitive to the vibrations made by your guitar.

    First, tune your guitar by any conventional method using your ear, with help of a keyboard, or a software like guitar pro 4(which I use). Though you would get a fairly good tuning, it is near impossible to get the exact perfect tuning. This is where beats come in.

    You must be knowing that the frequency of an open string matches with the frequency of the string above it when a certain fret is pressed.
    The fifth fret of the 2nd string has the same frequency as that of the open 1st string.
    The fourth fret of the 3rd string has the same frequency as that of the open 2nd string.
    The fifth fret of the 4th string has the same frequency as that of the open 3rd string.
    The fifth fret of the 5th string has the same frequency as that of the open 4th string.
    The fifth fret of the 6th string has the same frequency as that of the open 5th string.

    Press the fifth fret of your 6th string and strike the 6th and the 5th strings together. If there is a slight difference in their frequencies, you should be able to make out the alternate waxing and waning of sound, i.e. the intensity of sound would reach a peak, then it would go down to a minimum alternately. Itís a bit difficult to explain, it is something like as if someone was changing the volume of your guitar continuously between a maximum and a minimum. These are called beats. If you do get beats, it means that your guitar is imperfectly tuned, but only slightly.
    Detecting beats could be troublesome. You should be in an absolutely quite room. Also hold your guitar close to yourself, so that you can feel the alternating vibrations.

    Now comes the difficult part. How do we know whether the 5th string is at a lower frequency than the correct one or at a higher frequency? It can be done by two methods. The first is trial and error. First, tighten your 5th string a little. If the number of beats per second increases, it means you should loosen it. If the number of beats decreases, it means you should tighten it further till you hear no more beats. Remember to tighten/loosen your string only slightly.
    The second method is that if you have an excellent ear, you would be able to make out the difference yourself, and then tightening or loosening the string as required. Saves a lot of trouble.

    Now repeat this procedure with the rest of the strings, and you have a perfectly tuned guitar!
    However, it is a bit difficult to detect beats in the thin strings (the 1st and 2nd strings). It is relatively much easier in the fat strings.

    This method takes some practice. However, it is quite a good method to achieve perfect tuning for you acoustic.

  2. #2
    nadish's Avatar
    nadish is offline IGTIAN
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Karachi, Pakistani
    Ya I always use this method to tune my guitar... Ne ways its gud that u've shared this method with others also...
    Domain Discussion Board

    DDBoard - An independent domain name forum to talk about the domain registration business and internet related technologies. Earn free domains as a member of the board.
    CBSE - Crack the Code:
    Get Examination papers, Tips, NTSE Prepration, Self-Evaluation papers to help you ace the boards!

  3. #3
    koops is offline Newbie
    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    Cool Careful though...

    I am currently researching our perception of consonance and dissonance which is related to your suggestion that we should use 'beats' to achieve perfect tuning.

    The tuning system you are suggesting is known as 'just' temperament, which will result in ideal perfect intervals (4th's and 5th's). However, while it may sound perfect when strumming an E chord, you'll find that every other chord doesn't, and that scales will sound terrible!

    As western harmony has evolved our ears have become conditioned to accept 'Equal' temperament. Today, this is the ideal temperament. The chromatic scale generated by equal tempered tuning consists of equally spaced intervals to allow for various musical devices (e.g. transposition, modulation).

    So, be warey of using the elimination of beating when tuning. The best method is to use octave based tuning, using whatever key your song is in as the octave-tuned pitch, and remember that there needs to be slight beating (a few cents lower than 'just') to get good, musically balanced tuning.


  4. #4
    ananth222's Avatar
    ananth222 is offline Beginner
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Good observation koops, but I must disagree on equal temperament being "good and musically balanced". even many great musicians consider equal temperament to be the bane of western music. just temperament is the good and musically balanced tuning.
    However, the guitar cannot be tuned in just temperament. It can only be tuned in equal temperament. heres a link for equal temperament tuning:
    Aadalaam Vaa, Paadalaam Vaa, Kondaadalaam Vaa
    Engum Endrum Pongidudhe Inbam, Inbam Pozhiyude

  5. #5
    koops is offline Newbie
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Yeah, I can see why people do think that. In my opinion though, equal tempered tuning is an important musical evolution on a theoretical and practical level.

    I suppose at the end of the day it comes down to the composer's or performer's preference. There is nothing to stop the composer creating a piece for which each chord is tuned individually, so all chords would indeed sound pure in form.

    Thanks for the link, Koops.

  6. #6
    DrSaurabh's Avatar
    DrSaurabh is offline Wh@+s Up D0C
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    interestin reading ananth.....dint get half of it tho
    ve been using beats too
    Bjr - The best jokes are the ones that backfire
    guitarangela - Eggs are evil

    < B l a s p h e m y . i s . R e l i g i o n >

    Heard on FM: Tomorrow we have in our studios, india's biggest rock star, Himesh Reshamiya.
    I splutered Coffee through my nose.

  7. #7
    koops is offline Newbie
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    And another thing...

    If you are in the process of tuning, you'd do best to tune at the same level you will be performing at because our perception of pitch changes according to volume. This is evident when comparing direct sound from a source within a large reverberant room to the delayed reflections.

  8. #8
    Rey1970 is offline Guitarist
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Isn't this process called the RELATIVE TUNING METHOD, this is what musicians used long before we ever thought about music !!!!! this is what i use then check it against my tuner or keyboard, I was taught this way at first its a good ear training!!!!



Similar Threads

  1. Chords of "dil ne tumko" - jhankar beats.
    By shimpy in forum Hindi Guitar Tabs - Submit or Request
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 06-06-2008, 11:22 AM
  2. Chords: "Suno Naa" - Jhankaar Beats ... 98.3% correct !!!
    By paranoid13rohan in forum Hindi Guitar Tabs - Submit or Request
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 02-03-2008, 05:59 PM
  3. Lyrics REQ: "Agar Tum Saath Ho" ~ Jhankaar Beats
    By paranoid13rohan in forum Hindi Lyrics - Submit or Request
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-16-2007, 04:19 PM
  4. my instrumental "i like hardcore" with beats (it will make u rock)
    By Mohsin shahid in forum IGT Soundtrack - Your Band, Your Gig, Your Music
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 02-08-2006, 05:10 AM
  5. Tuning the Acoustic Guitar Using "Beats"
    By ambuj in forum Beginner's Q&A Forum
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-18-2005, 09:33 AM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO