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Tuning up gypsy style?

BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
edited July 2007 in Technique Posts: 1,378
Hi I don´t know if this belongs here but I have a question regarding tuning.
Has anyone seen a gypsy tune his guitar? which method (harmonics, open strings, fifth fret, electronic tuner) did he use?
I have noticed and some teachers have pointed out that different methods of tuning up a guitar give different results, not better or worse just different. I personally use the seventh and fifth frets harmonics but I wonder which method Django used.
Anybody knows?
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Comments

  • stublastubla Prodigy Godefroy Maruejouls
    Posts: 386
    Hi I don´t know if this belongs here but I have a question regarding tuning.
    Has anyone seen a gypsy tune his guitar? which method (harmonics, open strings, fifth fret, electronic tuner) did he use?
    I have noticed and some teachers have pointed out that different methods of tuning up a guitar give different results, not better or worse just different. I personally use the seventh and fifth frets harmonics but I wonder which method Django used.
    Anybody knows?


    According to U.S jazz guitarist Jimmy Gourley,who lived in Paris,Django's ears were so amazing that he could tune the guitar perfectly in seconds!
    Tchavolo makes a joke of tuning his guitar in the middle of a tune--usually in G major--Tchavolos fave key:-)
    Stu
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,378
    Stubla wrote:
    According to U.S jazz guitarist Jimmy Gourley,who lived in Paris,Django's ears were so amazing that he could tune the guitar perfectly in seconds!
    Yes I´ve heard that one 8) but do you know by which method? what about other gypsies?
    I know one of the fastest is tuning up the open strings without any fretted notes or harmonics but the end result is different than with other ways. Some classical guitarrists tune up a different way depending on the key of the piece they are going to play next!
    Tchavolo makes a joke of tuning his guitar in the middle of a tune--usually in G major--Tchavolos fave key
    I heard him do it at the end of "Sweet Georgia Brown" (there´s a clip on this site) so cool!
  • stublastubla Prodigy Godefroy Maruejouls
    Posts: 386
    Stubla wrote:
    Tchavolo makes a joke of tuning his guitar in the middle of a tune--usually in G major--Tchavolos fave key

    I heard him do it at the end of "Sweet Georgia Brown" (there´s a clip on this site) so cool!

    BTW
    that great solo on Sweet Georgia Brown by Tchavolo is required learning by many young gypsy players
    i've seen Yourgui reproduce it note for note!
    Anyone who thinks tchavolo can't play should listen to that solo!
    Stu
  • marcieromarciero Southern MaineNew
    Posts: 120
    The question of tuning is very interesting (to me at least). There are many ways to divide up the octave. With "tempered tuning", the ratios of the frequencies of any two adjacent notes are all the same- 2^(1/12). (We define this to be 100 "cents" for convenience). Dividing the octave evenly this way seems like an obvious thing to do, but it was a practical compromise to overcome problems with Pythagorean, just, and meantone tunings, which do not have semitones of equal ratio. These tunings were built up in various ways from intervals of an octave, a third, and a fifth. Tempered tuning has its own set of problems. For example, the ratio 4:5:6 (that is, a ratio of 4/5 followed by a ratio 5/6) represents a major triad in just tuning. It arises in a natural way and is particularly nice-sounding. The major triad ratios in tempered tuning differ from these ratios by 14 and 16 cents, respectively. So this is why your Stratocaster always sounded out of tune!

    I would guess that many of us have our own ways of tuning to deal with shortcomings of tempered tuning, as well as our personal style. Folk guitarists might tune "in between" a decent open D and an open E. I have always tuned the b-string slightly flat on all my guitars. Also, with the guitar, the way you play has huge impact. It is also possible to adjust intonation with the way you fret notes. You have to do this to play in tune.

    Some classical guitarrists tune up a different way depending on the key of the piece they are going to play next!

    The main advantage of tempered tuning is that you can play in different keys, and they are all intonated the same, albeit sub-optimal, way. So this makes total sense, since you can improve the intonation in one key by compromising that of other keys that are not used in a given tune.

    Mike A
  • mmaslanmmaslan Santa Barbara, CANew
    Posts: 87
    When I saw Bireli Lagrene he tuned his guitar by harmonics--and frequently. But he also changed pitch on the low E by ear while soloing, taking it down as low as an A and then tightening it back up again. The guy knows no bounds.
  • joefjoef Wales, U.K.New
    Posts: 35
    If you use harmonics to tune, only the octave ( ie one or two octaves higher than the open string )ones are accurate. Use these and unisons eg get your top e string in tune and then play e's on all the others. Then check the octave harmonics on the open strings with fretted positions on other strings.
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,378
    Sorry i didnt came back to this before
    If you use harmonics to tune, only the octave ( ie one or two octaves higher than the open string )ones are accurate. Use these and unisons eg get your top e string in tune and then play e's on all the others. Then check the octave harmonics on the open strings with fretted positions on other strings.
    Thanks, your method is a good one, but I was asking about the specific way gypsies tune up, not any reliable sistem. As i mentioned before there are various ways to do it, all good but different (in terms of the result), some will give you a better tuning for certain keys but wont sound as good in others, another will let you play roughly in tune in all keys but wont sound as sweet.
    I found the next one matches the opening chord of Django´s "Improvisation #1" pretty good.
    Tune the A string to about 444, then with the 7th fret harm. tune the 5th fret harm of the low E string, the open first string and the fretted E note on the 3rd string. Now tune the B string so it sounds a fourth with the first string and tune the 5th fret harm of the 4th string to the 7th harm of the 3rd string.
    Gives a result very close to an electronic tuner but kind of sweeter and I believe its closer to Django´s guitar. You can also try tuning up all the open strings and match the chord he´s playing, since its just that, all the open strings!
    Anybody else has more advice?
    Of course im being very picky about it, but I just wanted to know. :D
  • trumbologytrumbology San FranciscoNew
    Posts: 124
    Harry of the bat-sensitive ears ;)

    He makes a very good point about different methods revealing different results. I feel good when I can get any old method close enough that I don't wince two chords into a song.
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,040
    almost every gypsy i've been with tune this way:

    from the high strings to the low strings in pairs, from the high e they'll play an upstroke and get the high e and b, and tune that way, all the way down in pairs until they tune all strings..

    i have no clue why they do it like that
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,378
    Thanks! that is what I was looking for!
    Just a question Do they tune to open strings or the unisons(5th and 4th frets)?
    ...Another one...They use an upstroke to catch both strings? Wow thats a new one
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