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Almost OT: James Taylor on intentionally tuning flat #2682129
10/14/17 02:58 PM
10/14/17 02:58 PM
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Posts: 722
Atlanta, GA
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Jake Jackson Offline OP
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Mr. Taylor argues that the pitch intervals on strings on a guitar should be changed to, from low to high:

E -12 cents
A -10
D -8
G -4
B -6
E -3

So he's actually widening the double octave and most of the other intervals, creating more stretch, despite lowering the low E so much, since the other notes are detuned less?

Here's his video, from his free site, discussing his methods. He argues that moving up the neck of the guiter makes this adjustment necessary, apparently regardless of the intonation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2xnXArjPts

Another video from someone else that demonstrates the difference in the sound, with side by side comparisons:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2xnXArjPts

I do like the sound that he gets, and obviously, Mr. Taylor knows a few things about guitars. Not sure what the result is for the intervals, however, and if playing strings hard changes their pitch that much--the second partial on bass strings rings louder on hard strikes? That would make sense, but I'm not sure about the other strings.

EDIT: I just discovered that Mr. Taylor's tuning is the source for the "sweetened" guitar tuning on Peterson strobe tuners. Apparently this tuning has become widely accepted and liked. See: https://www.petersontuners.com/beyond/?p=1046



Last edited by Jake Jackson; 10/14/17 04:23 PM.
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Re: Almost OT: James Taylor on intentionally tuning flat [Re: Jake Jackson] #2682253
10/15/17 12:21 AM
10/15/17 12:21 AM
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Cool stuff! I posted something similar a couple years ago:

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...t-a-regular-expert-tune.html#Post2500927

He's put together a lot of good stuff on youTube. smile


"If it sounds good, it is good." - Duke Ellington
P E R F O R M A N C E over p r o v e n a n c e

Re: Almost OT: James Taylor on intentionally tuning flat [Re: Jake Jackson] #2682256
10/15/17 01:02 AM
10/15/17 01:02 AM
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huaidongxi Offline
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Johnny Cash preferred to sing with pianos tuned to a well temperament of his specification, not an equal temperament.

Re: Almost OT: James Taylor on intentionally tuning flat [Re: Jake Jackson] #2682259
10/15/17 01:53 AM
10/15/17 01:53 AM
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Jake Jackson Offline OP
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Trying to understand what he does, I'm not sure what to consider the temperament range on a guitar. From the E on the 2nd fret of the D string to the E on the 5th fret of the B string? Or the open A to the A at the second fret of the G string? It seems to make sense to set the temperament in a middle octave, at least.

The second choice seems to make it more logical: If I consider the open A as the start of the temperament, that would mean that he's using a 6 cent widening on the octave at A on the G string, with the double octave from the low E to the highest E is 12 cents, so he's keeping it regular.

But problems seem to abound, partly because I don't know the usual span for the initial temperament on a guitar, and partly because of the way guitars work--to widen a 4 is to automatically widen everything else on the scale on that string. And I wonder if his tuning is specific to his usual keys, which are D and A. (He talks about not liking the sound of a C chord and the associated chords in the video.) One side of me suspects that he wants that open D string to sound right against other notes, and is thus basically tuning the guitar for the key of D, but a guitar won't quite let him do that, since all of the interals are widened when the 4th is widened on a guitar.

Or does it even make sense to describe what he is doing as creating a temperament, given the way that each string leaps a 4th, and raising each 4th's pitch raises the other intervals by the same degree? It's more just a general widening of all of the intervals? And it means that nothing is at A=440.


Last edited by Jake Jackson; 10/15/17 01:57 AM.
Re: Almost OT: James Taylor on intentionally tuning flat [Re: huaidongxi] #2682260
10/15/17 02:01 AM
10/15/17 02:01 AM
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Originally Posted by huaidongxi
Johnny Cash preferred to sing with pianos tuned to a well temperament of his specification, not an equal temperament.



If he did, I can say from experience that he did not pass that down to his daughter. Do you have a source for that?


Semipro Tech
Re: Almost OT: James Taylor on intentionally tuning flat [Re: Retsacnal] #2682261
10/15/17 02:03 AM
10/15/17 02:03 AM
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Atlanta, GA
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Jake Jackson Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Cool stuff! I posted something similar a couple years ago:

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...t-a-regular-expert-tune.html#Post2500927

He's put together a lot of good stuff on youTube. smile


I apologize for not seeing your ealier post. I really haven't really run across many discussions of guitar temperaments. There are of course many discussions of open tunings, but they assume a pitch of A440 and retune each string so that it is in unison with another, instead of trying to work out where stretch is needed and the widths of 4th's and 5ths, etc.

Re: Almost OT: James Taylor on intentionally tuning flat [Re: Jake Jackson] #2682281
10/15/17 04:29 AM
10/15/17 04:29 AM
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huaidongxi Offline
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Johnny Cash requested a non equal temperament from a technician named Edward Foote. there are other anecdotal accounts of his expressed preferences with temperament for his pianos.

http://www.nashvillescene.com/arts-culture/article/13007995/blinded-by-science

Re: Almost OT: James Taylor on intentionally tuning flat [Re: Jake Jackson] #2682286
10/15/17 04:53 AM
10/15/17 04:53 AM
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Hi Jake,

Thanks a lot for posting. The second link and the first one, in your OP, are the same. Would you be able to find the side-by-side comparison again?

I have always loved James Taylor.

Cheers


alfredo
Re: Almost OT: James Taylor on intentionally tuning flat [Re: alfredo capurso] #2682411
10/15/17 05:34 PM
10/15/17 05:34 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
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Atlanta, GA
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Jake Jackson Offline OP
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Originally Posted by alfredo capurso

Hi Jake,

Thanks a lot for posting. The second link and the first one, in your OP, are the same. Would you be able to find the side-by-side comparison again?

I have always loved James Taylor.

Cheers



My apologies. Here is the video with the side-by-side comparison: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvthw9XZrmw&list=PLshARasCoWzGoB-9Ub9YMz3qQgBdsBy85

Re: Almost OT: James Taylor on intentionally tuning flat [Re: Jake Jackson] #2682426
10/15/17 07:13 PM
10/15/17 07:13 PM
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 5,669
Hobart, Australia
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ando Online content
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Well I tried it on 3 of my guitars just now and I have to say it was a big failure.

I think this works on his guitars because:
a) He has a particular gauge of strings,
b) He plays with a particular touch which affects the degree of pulling sharp at different dynamics,
c) H has the action set at a certain height which pulls fretted notes sharp to a unique degree.
d) And, the intonation set on the instrument in the first place.
e) He plays in particular keys and chord grips that work with this tuning.

Not only that, but guitar strings are incredibly unstable in their pitch in terms of how long you let them ring, and the way they change as you play. There's no way you are going to keep your tuning to this degree of precision.

There are far too many variables in guitars and setups for this to be widely applicable. Unless you own one of James Taylor's guitars (and probably the same ETD he uses).

So sorry, James, this is a bust. Even a side by side comparison is meaningless because he's essentially correcting some of the inherent errors on his own guitar - you can't apply that to somebody else's guitar because it will have errors in different places and at different magnitudes.

Re: Almost OT: James Taylor on intentionally tuning flat [Re: ando] #2682488
10/16/17 01:58 AM
10/16/17 01:58 AM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 722
Atlanta, GA
J
Jake Jackson Offline OP
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Jake Jackson  Offline OP
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Joined: Feb 2009
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Originally Posted by ando
Well I tried it on 3 of my guitars just now and I have to say it was a big failure.

I think this works on his guitars because:
a) He has a particular gauge of strings,
b) He plays with a particular touch which affects the degree of pulling sharp at different dynamics,
c) H has the action set at a certain height which pulls fretted notes sharp to a unique degree.
d) And, the intonation set on the instrument in the first place.
e) He plays in particular keys and chord grips that work with this tuning.

Not only that, but guitar strings are incredibly unstable in their pitch in terms of how long you let them ring, and the way they change as you play. There's no way you are going to keep your tuning to this degree of precision.

There are far too many variables in guitars and setups for this to be widely applicable. Unless you own one of James Taylor's guitars (and probably the same ETD he uses).

So sorry, James, this is a bust. Even a side by side comparison is meaningless because he's essentially correcting some of the inherent errors on his own guitar - you can't apply that to somebody else's guitar because it will have errors in different places and at different magnitudes.


Well, did you watch the comparison video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvthw9XZrmw&list=PLshARasCoWzGoB-9Ub9YMz3qQgBdsBy85 (which I only posted today, after posting a duplicate of the J. Taylor video earlier) ? I do hear a difference and prefer the revised tuning. But, yes, it may be best for certain keys and on certain guitars. (Must make playing with other people difficult, however.)

Re: Almost OT: James Taylor on intentionally tuning flat [Re: Jake Jackson] #2682491
10/16/17 02:29 AM
10/16/17 02:29 AM
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 5,669
Hobart, Australia
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ando Online content
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ando  Online Content
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Joined: Nov 2010
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Hobart, Australia
Originally Posted by Jake Jackson
Originally Posted by ando
Well I tried it on 3 of my guitars just now and I have to say it was a big failure.

I think this works on his guitars because:
a) He has a particular gauge of strings,
b) He plays with a particular touch which affects the degree of pulling sharp at different dynamics,
c) H has the action set at a certain height which pulls fretted notes sharp to a unique degree.
d) And, the intonation set on the instrument in the first place.
e) He plays in particular keys and chord grips that work with this tuning.

Not only that, but guitar strings are incredibly unstable in their pitch in terms of how long you let them ring, and the way they change as you play. There's no way you are going to keep your tuning to this degree of precision.

There are far too many variables in guitars and setups for this to be widely applicable. Unless you own one of James Taylor's guitars (and probably the same ETD he uses).

So sorry, James, this is a bust. Even a side by side comparison is meaningless because he's essentially correcting some of the inherent errors on his own guitar - you can't apply that to somebody else's guitar because it will have errors in different places and at different magnitudes.


Well, did you watch the comparison video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvthw9XZrmw&list=PLshARasCoWzGoB-9Ub9YMz3qQgBdsBy85 (which I only posted today, after posting a duplicate of the J. Taylor video earlier) ? I do hear a difference and prefer the revised tuning. But, yes, it may be best for certain keys and on certain guitars. (Must make playing with other people difficult, however.)


Well, did you read what I wrote? This only works for his guitars and guitars set up in the same way with his style of playing, in the keys he plays in. I can confirm that it DOES NOT work on my guitars. The side by side comparison he gives is meaningless, for the reasons I outlined earlier. It's too specific to him to be useful as general advice. For your information, every experienced guitarist I know tunes their own guitars in their own way - the ones who don't just rely on ETDs, that is. There is nothing special about what James Taylor is doing - it's the product of his own experiments, not a treatise on guitar tuning.

Re: Almost OT: James Taylor on intentionally tuning flat [Re: Jake Jackson] #2682663
10/16/17 06:14 PM
10/16/17 06:14 PM
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ando,

I too used to play guitar a lot, J.T. and many other masters, and I agree with most of what you say, many factors may determine what sounds best on a guitar.

Having said that, I liked that comparison, the "ET version" was definitely more "sparkly" and brighter than the J.T version, which to my ears sounded "warmer" in a way, with a bit more compassion in it, though I'd better remark that there are various ET's, and that one was not my favorite for sure.

I too think that that tuning may reflect J.T's voice and tonality, I too may prefer an open string "sweeter" G-B (for that repertoire) and faintly wide fourths (always), but really, when I tune a guitar I check intervals with open strings, many other mixed positions up the neck and harmonics. Hard to say, J.T.'s is a bit of a simplification, as each individual guitar calls for its own (my word) "compromise" but, let me say, there is something "special" in all that, as you say, it is "the product" of what James Tailor has done.

Last night I revisited many pieces, had a very nice time. Thank you, Jake.

Last edited by alfredo capurso; 10/16/17 06:35 PM.

alfredo
Re: Almost OT: James Taylor on intentionally tuning flat [Re: Jake Jackson] #2682796
10/17/17 08:31 AM
10/17/17 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Jake Jackson
...

EDIT: I just discovered that Mr. Taylor's tuning is the source for the "sweetened" guitar tuning on Peterson strobe tuners. Apparently this tuning has become widely accepted and liked. See: https://www.petersontuners.com/beyond/?p=1046


Huh! I have a handheld Petersen and once tuned a friend's guitar "sweetened" with it. We also tuned it with his off-the-shelf electronic tuner and finally by my ear with open strings tempered 4ths with a slightly wide E-E double octave. The sweetened was nice, but was obviously, to me, not really ET. It had some, er, conflicts to it. Of course I liked my own aural tuning best, but everybody thinks their own kid is the prettiest. wink


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Re: Almost OT: James Taylor on intentionally tuning flat [Re: ando] #2683217
10/18/17 11:54 PM
10/18/17 11:54 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 722
Atlanta, GA
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Jake Jackson Offline OP
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Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by Jake Jackson
Originally Posted by ando
Well I tried it on 3 of my guitars just now and I have to say it was a big failure.

I think this works on his guitars because:
a) He has a particular gauge of strings,
b) He plays with a particular touch which affects the degree of pulling sharp at different dynamics,
c) H has the action set at a certain height which pulls fretted notes sharp to a unique degree.
d) And, the intonation set on the instrument in the first place.
e) He plays in particular keys and chord grips that work with this tuning.

Not only that, but guitar strings are incredibly unstable in their pitch in terms of how long you let them ring, and the way they change as you play. There's no way you are going to keep your tuning to this degree of precision.

There are far too many variables in guitars and setups for this to be widely applicable. Unless you own one of James Taylor's guitars (and probably the same ETD he uses).

So sorry, James, this is a bust. Even a side by side comparison is meaningless because he's essentially correcting some of the inherent errors on his own guitar - you can't apply that to somebody else's guitar because it will have errors in different places and at different magnitudes.


Well, did you watch the comparison video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvthw9XZrmw&list=PLshARasCoWzGoB-9Ub9YMz3qQgBdsBy85 (which I only posted today, after posting a duplicate of the J. Taylor video earlier) ? I do hear a difference and prefer the revised tuning. But, yes, it may be best for certain keys and on certain guitars. (Must make playing with other people difficult, however.)


Well, did you read what I wrote? This only works for his guitars and guitars set up in the same way with his style of playing, in the keys he plays in. I can confirm that it DOES NOT work on my guitars. The side by side comparison he gives is meaningless, for the reasons I outlined earlier. It's too specific to him to be useful as general advice. For your information, every experienced guitarist I know tunes their own guitars in their own way - the ones who don't just rely on ETDs, that is. There is nothing special about what James Taylor is doing - it's the product of his own experiments, not a treatise on guitar tuning.


Ando,

I do understand that it didn't work on your guitar. I think you heard my "Well,.." in the wrong way. I wasn't saying that you were wrong. I was only trying to say that, in the second video, I do hear a difference that I like. It may be specific to the keys that Mr. Taylor prefers and it may be specific to his guitars. But to me, that is worth knowing.

Re: Almost OT: James Taylor on intentionally tuning flat [Re: Jake Jackson] #2683248
10/19/17 06:21 AM
10/19/17 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Jake Jackson

Ando,

I do understand that it didn't work on your guitar. I think you heard my "Well,.." in the wrong way. I wasn't saying that you were wrong. I was only trying to say that, in the second video, I do hear a difference that I like. It may be specific to the keys that Mr. Taylor prefers and it may be specific to his guitars. But to me, that is worth knowing.


I could establish some similar baselines for my various guitars if you are interested for comparison. I have a large range of very different guitars that I use. To my knowledge, James uses primarily steel string acoustic guitars. Maybe he uses others sometimes, but I've never heard it. The thing is, it's totally dependent of the intonation settings at the bridge. I could make adjustments on his guitar that improve the tuning across the neck, but he would have to adjust his tuning again to that intonation. There is also a nut-compensation procedure called the "Buzz Feiten Tuning system" which address pretty much all of James' concerns. It is very effective. I've tried it and it's the best system I've used short of individually bent frets.


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