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yvonne

Just tuned guitar and it sounds way off

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Hi all.  I am a newbie to this forum and guitar playing!  I have a korg chromatic tuner I use with tuning my electric guitar.  It has been doing a good job of tuning up my guitar.  However, I just tuned it up and the notes all sound off.  When I play chords they sound bad and the open G sounds really awful. I put new batteries in it but it isn't any better.  Any hints as to what may be going on? 

 

The tuner is also jumping all over the place.  It flashes from B, C to E to G.  Its going wacky

 

Another question, I noticed when reading the manual that one can calibrate the Hz.  Would that affect it?  What should it be?  It is currently set to 444hz

 

Really appreciate any input.

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Sounds maybe that a new tuner is needed? I once was given a Korg & it was always unreliable and difficult to use. I ditched it and bought a Fender Tuner which I've had for years & it still works perfectly and is easy to use with a moving needle and scale.  

 

I'm sure there are a lot of tuners available to choose from. Why not check out a few different tuners at a guitar store & see if getting a new tuner might solve your problem.

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Read your manual from the beginning again.  Most chromatic tuners have variable settings which allow a user to tune to "other than" standard tuning.  

 

Since "The Guitar" is tuned in equal temper (https://www.google.com/search?q=guitar+equal+temper&rlz=1CAACAY_enUS752&oq=guitar+equal+temper&aqs=chrome..69i57.5781j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8), many players prefer to tune slightly sharp on one or more strings.  This may be referred to as a "sweetened tuning" in your Korg manual.  You probably do not want to use any tuning other than standard as a newbie but read the material to understand what is involved.  It is a setting, and you need to familiarize yourself with the functions and the settings of the tuner.  

 

Similarly, many people may tune to other than "A = 440Hz", which is the current concert standard.  That standard has moved around over the centuries and in various countries over time but go for now with A = 440Hz .    

 

https://www.google.com/search?q=history+of+A+%3D+440hz&rlz=1CAACAY_enUS752&oq=history+of+A+%3D+440hz&aqs=chrome..69i57.8618j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#q=history+of+A+%3D+440+hz

 

This is somewhat a matter of taste as long as you are playing solo.  Which tuning pleases you the most (432Hz?) is up to you.  However, once you play with another instrument, you all have to agree upon one standard for tuning all instruments.  Pianos and horns, along with woodwinds and any electronic devices, will typically go with the 440Hz standard and you would find playing with a video difficult if you are not also set to 440Hz.    So it's generally best to go with "440" unless you have some reason to do otherwise.  

 

Tuners do jump around a bit if you are bringing a string several steps up to tuning though it should settle on one frequency/note once you have the string properly tuned.  If you've just installed new strings and you're tuning for the first time, then the tuner may be reading a string which is tuned too low.  

 

Finally, many of the Korg chromatic tuners have the ability to pick up from either a mic or a line input.  You don't mention whether you are tuning an acoustic or an electric guitar but the "jumping around" could simply be a reflection of the tuner being moved around while you are trying to get a reading.  

 

If reading the manual and following the instructions provided doesn't help, take the tuner to a music shop - preferably the same shop that sold you the tuner - and ask for assistance.  It's not out of the question the tuner may be defective but chances are about one in one thousand digital tuners are not correct.  In the meantime, learn to tune your guitar by ear and you'll have less need for a tuner; https://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+tune+a+guitar+without+a+digital+tuner&rlz=1CAACAY_enUS752&oq=how+to+tune+a+guitar+without+a+digital+tuner&aqs=chrome..69i57.10707j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8  

 

If you decide to buy another tuner, try the Snark.  It has become the industry favorite IMO.  

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440 is much more common than other references to an "A."  How old are the strings?  Old worn out strings are near impossible to tune.

 

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Thanks for everyone's replies.  I did change the batteries, I am using the input channel rather than the mic, I am tuning an electric guitar and the strings could be old - Not sure if I had them changed.  It would have been a year ago if I did.

 

The korg "manual" is all of a one page pamphlet.  I did push the calibration buttons and the manual sound button and the A tone happened.  I can stop that tone but it feels like I'm having a hard time getting out of that mode.   That is when it start flashing from the note I'm trying to tune back to the A.  However, even before this happened, The guitar sounded awful after I tuned it up - and the tuner wasn't flashing or doing anything weird at that point.  I had tuned it up about a month before and it seemed to work good that time.

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Is the guitar now in tune?  

 

If not, tune by ear since it's not that difficult.  Tune the guitar to itself if you have no reference for correct tuning on any string.  

 

You could start by selecting the first string and tuning to "E" as best you can (careful not to break the string).  Don't worry about accuracy at this point, just find what you feel is "E" and tune the rest of the guitar to that string.  Sixth and first are both tuned to "E" so you can start there.  Fourth string at the second fret is another "E".  I have included a link to instruct you on the proper procedure(s) for tuning by ear.  It's good practice and worth while knowing how to do.

 

Then download a guitar tuner app for your phone or digital device and check your accuracy; https://www.google.com/search?q=guitar+tuner+apps&rlz=1CAACAJ_enUS705US705&oq=guitar+tuner+apps&aqs=chrome..69i57.3370j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

 

 

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Thanks for the link.  Not sure if I am quite able to tune by ear.  I know if something is really off when I'm playing one of the songs that I'm used to playing for my exercises, but not at all sure what it should sound like on its own.  I will give it a try tho - thanks

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You really should include some "ear training" in your practice schedule. Learning scales is, IMO, much simpler when you can clearly hear the whole and half steps created in each scale form.  Begin training your ears - your mind's perceptions, actually - with the practice of tuning your guitar by ear.  After you've tuned by ear, check your accuracy with your digital tuner or tuner app.   Always begin each practice session by checking for proper tuning.  Make it a habit to always check tuning before you begin to play.  You'll sound better which means you'll learn more with each session.     

 

If you have two adjacent strings in tune, then you can go to the fifth fret or the seventh fret to check their tuning*.  Let's say you have the first and second strings in tune.  Fret the second string at the fifth fret and play both strings simultaneously.  There should be the clear sound of an "E" from both strings.  The notes are identical though not exactly similar due to the difference in strings.  By fretting at the fifth fret, you have changed the relative "scale length" of the second string which means the notes are playing at the same "E" pitch though the sound is not exactly similar on each string.  This is a lesson you will apply to your future playing as you begin to find notes up the neck.  

 

Now, fret the first string at the seventh fret and strike both strings.  Now both notes are a "B" but they are one octave apart.  They should sound as two notes with the pitch doubled on the higher note.  Once again, this is a lesson you need to learn and ear training is your starting point.  

 

Now that you know both strings sound "alike", take only one string slightly out of tune.  Repeat the fretting sequence and listen to the "warbling" note which occurs when two pitches are not quite related.  Take the string further out of tune and listen as the similarity drifts further from being correct.  Then tune back to proper tuning and listen as the warble goes away.  It may be difficult at first to hear the differences but you should work on this to prepare you for future playing.  

 

Once the strings are back in proper tuning, play some octaves to hear how well your guitar intonates: https://www.google.com/search?q=guitar+intonation&rlz=1CAACAY_enUS752&oq=guitar+intonation&aqs=chrome..69i57.5386j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#q=intonation

 

Play an open string and then fret the same string at the 12th fret and strike the string once again.  You should hear the same note separated by one octave.  If the notes do not sound alike, make sure you are fretting straight down on the string as any sideways movement caused by your fretting finger will change the actual note the string plays.

 

Your 12th fret note played by fretting the string should sound identical to the 12th fret harmonic;  https://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+play+harmonics+on+a+guitar&rlz=1CAACAY_enUS752&oq=how+to+play+harmonics+on+a+guitar&aqs=chrome..69i57.9978j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8            

 

 

 

Play an open "E" (first or sixth string) and then as the note sounds out fret the fourth string at the second fret.  Strike both strings again and listen for the sound of the same note one octave apart.  Do the same with other notes; "A" on the fifth and third string and "G" on the open third string and the fretted first and sixth string, etc.  This sort of "ear training" trains your ears and your fingers to work together to; 1) fret cleanly,  2) how to tune your guitar without a tuner assist and, 3) to begin hearing how notes across and up and down the fretboard are related.  

 

This is the "muscle memory" you will use in your future playing to play clean notes and great sounding chords and it all begins with ear training.  

 

These are, IMO, all important lessons you should begin to experience as soon as possible.  If you are working with an instructor, ask them to show you how to do these tuning exercises and what to listen for.  

 

*  The exception to this fifth and seventh fret tuning is when you check the second and the third string.  Due to the "standard tuning" of your guitar, you fret at the fourth and the eight frets.  Read the links I've provided to see how this is done.      

 

 

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I ended up getting new strings put on my guitar and all is well.  It sounds and feels so much better!  I also had the tuner tested and they said it was fine.  Thanks for all of your advice. 

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