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How to train one's ear?

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IceWolf 07 May 01 - 12:56 PM
nutty 07 May 01 - 01:46 PM
Jim the Bart 07 May 01 - 02:38 PM
Kim C 07 May 01 - 03:41 PM
GUEST,Bluebelle 07 May 01 - 03:59 PM
Ruthie A 07 May 01 - 04:06 PM
GUEST,Bluebelle 07 May 01 - 04:32 PM
Mark Clark 07 May 01 - 05:05 PM
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Subject: How to train one's ear?
From: IceWolf
Date: 07 May 01 - 12:56 PM

To my intense embarrassment, I cannot tune my guitar "by ear"; I use one of those little black boxes with a display that tells me when each string is "right". Does anyone have suggestions for training my ear so that I can tune my guitar without the aforementioned black box?
IceWolf


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Subject: RE: Help: How to train one's ear?
From: nutty
Date: 07 May 01 - 01:46 PM

Ice Wolf - you have to learn the sound of the note sequence and hear it in your head

Always tune your guitar the same way and learn how the notes sound in sequence (just like learning a tune or song)
You will probably need a pitch-pipe to give you the first note (few people have such perfect pitch) but after that just sing each note in your head. It will take time but if you can learn tunes easily you will achieve this eventually


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Subject: RE: Help: How to train one's ear?
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 07 May 01 - 02:38 PM

Once you have found a true pitch on one string (either from a tuning fork, pitch pipe, fixed pitch instrument such as a keyboard or - for you honky tonk heroes - the jukebox), the note at the 5th fret should match the note on the next highest string open; the note at the 7th fret should match the next lowest string open.

So, if you have your A (5th) string tuned to pitch (440), and if your guitar is set up correctly, the note at the 5th fret on the A (5th) string is a true D (open 4th string) and the 7th fret is a true E (open 6th string).

This works until you want to tune the B (2nd) string. The fourth fret on the G(3rd) string is your B (open 2nd string); The 8th fret on the B (2nd) string is your G (open 3rd string).

I find that I hear the tones better if I use harmonics. Play the harmonic at the 5th fret; this should match the harmonic on the 7th fret on the next highest string; again, it changes for the B.

I also check my tuning by playing a note on an open string and the same note at the 2nd fret two strings higher (or 3rd fret, on the B string). The 2nd fret on the D (4th) string matches the E (open 6th), the 2nd on the G (3rd) matches the A (open 5th), etc.

Ear training is a great idea, but there is no shame in using the box, particularly when you can't find a quiet place to tune.

Apologies, in advance, if I mis-stated anything here. I wanted to see if I could explain it, without having access to a guitar. I think it's right, but . . .


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Subject: RE: Help: How to train one's ear?
From: Kim C
Date: 07 May 01 - 03:41 PM

My ear is pretty good ---- except when it comes to tuning! I have to use the black box too. When I think I'm in tune, I go to play something, and voila, Not in Tune! Maybe I need to practice this tuning business more. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Help: How to train one's ear?
From: GUEST,Bluebelle
Date: 07 May 01 - 03:59 PM

Digital tuners are great, especially when you're at a jam, but should be used as a starting point. You still need to be able to tweak your tuning by ear. It takes time, but it will come, eventually, if you play all the time. I tune my bass and treble E strings to the tuner and tune the rest of the strings to the E strings. Used to be, there wasn't a choice. You tuned by ear or with a fork and you got good at it.


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Subject: RE: Help: How to train one's ear?
From: Ruthie A
Date: 07 May 01 - 04:06 PM

How long have you been playing? Even though I'm used to the sound of arpeggios on piano, it took a good few months for me to be able to hear 5ths clearly enough in my head to tune my fiddle.

It makes you feel silly, but sitting and singing the tuned strings really helps.

Ruthie


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Subject: RE: Help: How to train one's ear?
From: GUEST,Bluebelle
Date: 07 May 01 - 04:32 PM

Ruthie: I've been playing a while. I don't think singing the strings sounds at all silly.


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Subject: RE: Help: How to train one's ear?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 07 May 01 - 05:05 PM

IceWolf, I once posted a tuning tome that may be helpful. What I don't think I included there is that you can learn to hear a "beat" (Doppler effect?) created by the interference of two tones that are close but not exactly the same. Two adjacent guitar strings aren't the same pitch but overtones of one will match the pitch of the next. You can learn to hear the pulsing "beat" when two adjacent strings are played and when that beat slows down to the range of zero to two beats per second, you're there. With practice you can learn to do this very quickly. Don't use harmonics, as that will produce a less satisfactory result, just pluck adjacent strings pretty hard using a flatpick somewhere between the bridge and the sound hole. You'll quickly find the right spot to produce the most productive overtones.

Tune your A string to a good quality fork then tune the E, D, G and treble E using the technique. Finally tune the B using the treble E rather than the G. After a little practice, you'll look like the guy with perfect pitch.

      - Mark


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