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Author Topic:  Are sweetened tuning offsets wrt equal temperament?
Robert Fawcett

 

From:
United Kingdom
Post  Posted 30 Jul 2020 1:56 am    
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I'm new to this and experimenting with sweetened tunings.
I guess that sweetened tuning offsets are specified wrt equal temperament?
I can’t believe sweetened tuning offsets are specified wrt just intonation, because tuners do not all offer it, although part of my brain feels that would strictly make the most sense.
Thank you!
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 30 Jul 2020 4:16 am    
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Yes. A tuning that indicates " -7 cents " is referencing the " 0 " of Equal Temperament.

" 7 cents flat of straight-up " is another wording of the same.
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Michael Douchette


From:
Gallatin, TN
Post  Posted 30 Jul 2020 4:18 am    
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And 7 cents flat is just plain flat. Period.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 30 Jul 2020 9:12 am    
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Michael Douchette wrote:
And 7 cents flat is just plain flat. Period.

No, it's relative. In just intonation a lot of notes are flat relative to equal temperament, but they sound in tune.

Equal temperament is just a way of distributing discord fairly.
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Mike Vallandigham

 

From:
Martinez, CA
Post  Posted 30 Jul 2020 12:16 pm    
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I'v never really had a problem with steel sounding out of tune when tuned straight up, but I always drop the G# strings 3-4 cents. Seems to make it better.
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Dan Kelly


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 30 Jul 2020 12:36 pm    
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Oh Boy! Here we go again!!! Smile
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Robert Fawcett

 

From:
United Kingdom
Post  Posted 30 Jul 2020 1:58 pm    
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Thank you folks!
I tried the Newman tuning and preferred it to unsweetened in many chords but found a few nasty dissonances (as I perceived them) - especially the 4th string in BC pedal (root 7 string) minor chords & in some harmonies involving the F pedal. I'm not assuming other folks don’t do way better than I!
I then tried the 'compromise' sweetened tuning rounded to 5 cent increments which has been advocated here and, based on just a few hours playing, it's a keeper: no imperfection sour enough to bug me and, well, overall very much sweeter than unsweetened Smile
[url] https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=334580[/url]
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Pat Moore


From:
Virginia USA
Post  Posted 30 Jul 2020 2:08 pm    
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Mike Vallandigham wrote:
I'v never really had a problem with steel sounding out of tune when tuned straight up, but I always drop the G# strings 3-4 cents. Seems to make it better.

What Mike said! Just like on a 6 string guitar, ya gotta back off the G string just a hair! Many pros have told me this, & after trying all the sweets, this IS the best I've found.
My 2 cents.
Thx, Pat
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 30 Jul 2020 2:26 pm     Re: Are sweetened tuning offsets wrt equal temperament?
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Robert Fawcett wrote:
I'm new to this and experimenting with sweetened tunings.
I guess that sweetened tuning offsets are specified wrt equal temperament?

I’ve read through a lot of discussions here on preferred tuning methods, but have never seen “wrt” mentioned before. Pardon my ignorance, but what is it?
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Andrew Frost


From:
Toronto, Ontario
Post  Posted 30 Jul 2020 2:56 pm    
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Robert, the F# note ( and related chords) presents a unique tuning challenge on E9.
Every player has a different way of dealing with it and there is no right or wrong way about it.

In pure tuning systems based on natural overtones, some notes of the scale sit a little flatter or sharper than others, when compared to ET.


In a nutshell, the Maj 6 of any key sits quite low, while a 9th will be on the sharp side.
Our dilemma is that in an E chord/scale and in an A chord/scale, that F# has 2 totally different functions.
F# wants to sit lower in A (pedals down) as a 6th but sounds better tuned sharper against the E chord as a 9th.
So consequently, tuning the F#m w BC pedals will become a challenge because those F# notes have to be in agreement, so to speak.
If one of the F#s is tuned to the A6 chord tonality but another F# is tuned to the E chord, the F#m chord you speak of will be out of tune.
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Jim Fiegen


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 30 Jul 2020 3:10 pm    
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There is nothing "sweet" about playing out of tune, When you tune a note flat it's FLAT......ask your piano player...
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Donny Hinson

 

From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 30 Jul 2020 3:24 pm     Re: Are sweetened tuning offsets wrt equal temperament?
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Fred Treece wrote:

I’ve read through a lot of discussions here on preferred tuning methods, but have never seen “wrt” mentioned before. Pardon my ignorance, but what is it?


In this case, probably short for "in regards to...".

And sometimes, "Want to respond to..."

Lots of others, but these are the biggies on BB sites.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 30 Jul 2020 3:30 pm    
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I took wrt to mean with respect to

Pat Moore wrote:
My 2 cents

Is that how much you back off that G string?
Smile
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 30 Jul 2020 4:08 pm     Re: Are sweetened tuning offsets wrt equal temperament?
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Donny Hinson wrote:
Fred Treece wrote:

I’ve read through a lot of discussions here on preferred tuning methods, but have never seen “wrt” mentioned before. Pardon my ignorance, but what is it?

In this case, probably short for "in regards to...".
And sometimes, "Want to respond to..."
Lots of others, but these are the biggies on BB sites.

Ah. Text shorthand. Well, that’s disappointingly dull! I thought it was abbreviation for something alien, like Wavelength Range Threshhold.
Thank you for clarifying anyway, Donny.
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Dave Mudgett


From:
Central Pennsylvania
Post  Posted 30 Jul 2020 5:11 pm    
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OK, I'm gonna avoid the obvious flame bait here.

To the original poster's question:
Quote:
I guess that sweetened tuning offsets are specified wrt equal temperament?

Yes. And of course, wrt is generally an abbreviation for "with respect to".

Quote:
I tried the Newman tuning and preferred it to unsweetened in many chords but found a few nasty dissonances (as I perceived them)

Yup, if you sweeten some intervals and don't have any way to add compensation to sweeten up other string/pedal/lever combinations, then some of those other combinations will sound out. But the pedal steel is kind of unusual in that it is, in principle, possible to add mechanical compensators to bring those different combinations back into tune.

Hey - if you wanna tune to an equal temperament, great. I tune Spanish guitars that way (mostly). But pedal steel is a different animal, IMO. I find the beats produced by long-sustained purely equally-tempered intervals too much. Pianos are a totally different world. Again, IMO.
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GaryL

 

From:
Medina, OH USA
Post  Posted 30 Jul 2020 5:34 pm     Sweetened tunings
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Friends, have it your own ways: I've never stopped to ask who was using what tuning method. Good playing is good playing. All of this for audiences that largely can't tell what neck you are on? Hair splitting for the sake of hair splitting. My 2 cents.....
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Robert Fawcett

 

From:
United Kingdom
Post  Posted 31 Jul 2020 5:29 am     Re: Sweetened tunings
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GaryL wrote:
Friends, have it your own ways: I've never stopped to ask who was using what tuning method. Good playing is good playing. All of this for audiences that largely can't tell what neck you are on? Hair splitting for the sake of hair splitting. My 2 cents.....


Sure, Gary, I had no interest myself until certain specific chords started really ticking me off, not with any regard to what anyone else might think but just because I didn’t like the dissonance. The problem came first, only after a long while of frustration did I turn to sweetened tuning to fix it. Now I have found a compromise tuning I like I’ll likely not give it another thought: problem solved.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 31 Jul 2020 6:28 am    
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Dave Mudgett wrote:
I find the beats produced by long-sustained purely equally-tempered intervals too much. Pianos are a totally different world.

Absolutely. The pain inflicted by the piano subsides fairly quickly, but if you're going to screw the maximum sustain out of a chord, it needs to have a sonority worth fighting for.

In my other job as a trombone player I am used to beatless chords, which is why I favour JI on the steel.
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John Goux

 

From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 31 Jul 2020 10:02 pm    
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I tune my F# strings straight up, same as my E and B strings. I like the sound of the 2nd degree in E, and the 6th degree in A, when tuned this way. At 441.

Since Str 7 drops 7-8 cents in the BC F#mi chord(on all steels), I tune my C pedal in that combination, the F# and C# beatless to match, usually -7.

The F#min is such a ubiquitous chord in traditional pedal steel. Most players prefer to have the minor chord with the minor 3rd higher than the roots. That’s why they de tune the F# strings. They like the A note higher in relation to F#.

I used to tune like that. I never liked the C pedal being so flat in E or A.
It was just a matter of priorities for me. I like E and A being in tune more than I like the harmonious JI minor chord.

Maybe if I had tuning compensators I would use them to get a more harmonious F#minor or F#mi7 chord.
Till then, I like this, and it sounds much better with well tuned ET tracks.
John


Last edited by John Goux on 2 Aug 2020 4:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Andrew Frost


From:
Toronto, Ontario
Post  Posted 31 Jul 2020 10:29 pm    
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Interesting point John. It's funny to me that there's always so much talk about major 3rds in pure tuning discussions but rarely do people mention the sharpness of minor 3rds and flat 7s.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 31 Jul 2020 11:15 pm    
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Compensation is vital on a uni where the F# string does double duty.
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Jeremiah Wade

 

From:
Bladenboro, NC
Post  Posted 1 Aug 2020 2:28 am    
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If your guitar is capable, I highly recommend adding string one and seven micro-lowers to pedals A and B (Emmons setup). I tune my open F# to my open B. I tune my string 1 and 7 lowering comps as thirds to my string 9 with AB pedals engaged one at a time, to tune both micro lowers individually.I tune my C pedal string 4 whole tone raise with BC engaged to match the string 1 and 7 micro lower. I then tune the c pedal 5th string whole tone raise with bc engaged so the two minor chord is in tune. This gives you two F# notes and more harmonious chord positions i.e. chords with their root on string 9. There is also a need for two F notes. My E to F lever is tuned doubly sweetened to be used with A pedal- which is already sweetened once. The E to F change ends up flat when used alone for diminished 7th or 13b9 chords. An extra lever that lowers strings 1 2 and 7 tuned to be in tune with the diminished chord found on string 10 9 7 6, 9 7 6 5, 7652, 6521, 5321. That lever could also be split with the lever that raises strings 127 for an effective string 1 and 2 half tone raise. You can also get and in tune diminished chord an an all pull guitar capable of splits. The string 10 and 5 half tone lower lever combined with AB pedals and the E lower will land you a sweet sounding diminished chord as well. An all pull with splits and tuning compensators does not have to make compromises in the Just System.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 1 Aug 2020 5:24 am    
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My setup is simpler. If I depress either the A or the C pedal, the 7th string lowers slightly.

This gives a perfect fourth or fifth with string 5.

I specified this on both my Williams and my Excel, but it should be easy to add on any guitar.
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Pat Moore


From:
Virginia USA
Post  Posted 1 Aug 2020 5:51 am    
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Ian Rae wrote:
I took wrt to mean with respect to

Pat Moore wrote:
My 2 cents

Is that how much you back off that G string?
Smile


No, not tuning at 2 cents, that just meant my opinion.

The thing that's missed is using your EARS, and not just a tuner on that G#. Reckon we all need to keep our ears tuned in as well as looking at a tuner all the time. Really helps in all aspects of tuning. The early days guys that I worked with, used a tuning fork, then tuned up the rest using harmonics by ear.
But nothing is written in stone. Use what you need to get on with playing!🎼🎶👍
Just my 2 cents😁
Thx, Pat
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Donny Hinson

 

From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 1 Aug 2020 6:42 am    
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If there's a chord that doesn't sound right, I usually choose to play something else, maybe just one or two notes of that chord. Or, maybe a just different chord. Musicians (especially steelers) do this all the time, they play alternatives and often simplify things to make them sound better.

As to the "beats" of tempered tunings, some choose to accept them, and others prefer to play those beautiful, pure, "dead-on" intervals and chords. Our western music-adapted ears actually prefer and gravitate towards the pure intervals, and the instruments that can accomplish them. Given the choice, who would play "out" on purpose?

"Close" is fine for some, but I personally strive for fewer (or sparser) chords that are dead-on.
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