Food for thought

Do you know what in tune or out of tune means? Watched this Rick Beato video today and was wondering are you like Rick or his wife when it comes to being in tune or even knowing what it is. My biggest pet peeve is people who play out of tune.


Well yeah I think most of us would.

I think people in general can tell if something is out of tune with itself.

Whole thing? Nah most people couldn’t tell

I’m with both Rick, and Rick, on this one.
We are used to hearing certain sound ‘relationships’.
ie intervals ; regardless of whether we’ve heard the song before.
If they are out of whack, then yeah it generally becomes obvious. More finely tuned as your ear becomes better trained.
Never understood a guitar player who can play a song and not hear that it’s out of tune. But it happens - alot.

Cheers, Shane

Good share Rick. The first thing I do when I pick up is check the tuning - getting to the point I can do this by ear - then check again after a few minutes playing. An out of tune string stands out and playing a chord over it audibly sucks. So yes I totally get “out of tune with itself”.

But when it comes to “complete” songs its hard to tell, especially back in the day when tape reels were used extensively for recording and sound mixer deliberately slowed or sped things up. The only time this stood out if you heard the song live and the vox for example sounded a little out of whack to the vinyl. All very different since the digital age started.

Anyway, guess I am saying, rule one tune up at the start of each session and again after the guitar has settled. Especially if you are going to be playing with others. Being “out of tune” but in tune with your self maybe ok when playing solo but will suck with the rest of the band or jammers who are 7 cents sharp or flat and you’re the odd one out !!


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Being out of tune is terrible, that’s why I often find it so difficult to listen back to myself because due to a lack of technique I often press a string too hard and I always hear it with fingerstyle pieces in the first few months… With others I accept it a little more, but if the same singers who sing out of tune keep posting without any improvement, I have to stop listening… I just can’t.
If everything is tuned a half or full step lower/higher, you will only hear that if you have perfect pitch… it was not entirely clear to me whether that was also a question…

Make sure your guitar is in tune or throw it in the fireplace :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

As long as your guitar is in tune with itself and any other music you are playing with, it is fine to tune to whatever you want, A440, A432, half or whole step down. It’s all good if all music played together is at the same starting point. The hard part would be playing backing tracks or along with songs. I tend to tune to A432 (not for mystical reasons) and if I want to play along a backing track I will need to retune I suppose.

I found that from the beginning, with a poor musical ear and no training or experience whatsoever, I notice when the guitar is off (from itself) even a tiny bit. I’ll strum and think something isn’t quite right and when I check the tune it may be that only the b string is a few cents off.

If they were all off the same amount, I probably wouldn’t have a clue until there was something to compare to. Unless it was off a lot. I think I could tell a guitar tuned a step down was at least not tuned in the usual way. Maybe…

There may be a whiff of snobbery here :thinking:
Most of us can train our ears to pick up increasingly finer pitch differences. People who spend much of their time listening to, and playing music are obviously more likely to pick up finer differences. Beginners are going to be ‘out of tune’ a lot. That doesn’t make it bad.
It’s a bit like training your palate to detect the nuances of finer wines. You can put in the time money and effort (and appreciate it), but the overall enjoyment of drinking wine usually remains the same and you run the risk of not being able to enjoy a cheap rough Rioja any more.
I’m guessing that very few of us here listen to exclusively solo guitar music (where it becomes more noticeable). It’s usually one instrument in a group performance. The overall result (incl. composition, lyrics, performance, visuals etc) is the important bit.
I enjoy listening to that atonal lady sincerely belting out hymns at my church, and not look down upon her because she only occasionally hits the ‘right’ note.

I thank you for making exceptions :rofl:


I watched this yesterday, a really funny video :joy: I understand what he means but my ear isn’t (yet) as sensitive as his. I’m less likely to detect if a note is a little sharp or flat than Rick is. I’m not someone who transcribes music so I’m rarely listening closely enough to pick up on anything that this is slightly out of tune.
The thing is I also get why people who don’t play musical instruments would answer that way. If you’re not aware of scales and/or tuning an instrument then I think the answer is entirely understandable. Someone like Rick who has been into music for so long is just out of touch with “normal” people (I say normal people just because there’s more people in the world who don’t regularly play an instrument than do I would say)

He’s not crazy. ::grin:


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Really interesting point Rick, and the vid was great, made me laugh.

I’m with most other comments, firstly I always check my tuning with an electronic tuner, however I’m a bit in awe of the people that seem to be able to pick up a guitar strum a chord and not only hear it’s out of tune but quickly identify where and adjust it purely by ear (although I’ve yet to test them with the tuner :rofl:). And when I say out of tune I mean subtly out of tune not way out of whack.

Great vid tho’ :+1:

I did a study vinologist (2 years ) and then started to enjoy (better) wines much much more… :smiley: and never appreciate a cheap Rioja :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: …Thanks to my guitar training here, I started to enjoy lesser guitar players much much much more :sweat_smile:… simply because I now knows how hard it is to work to get good music out of it … :grimacing: :blush:
Oh, but if something is out of tune, it remains very difficult to listen to several times, especially if I am the cause…

But I think the difference for me between wine and making music is funny to note. :smiley:

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I have three tuners … A Snark clip on, a Korg DT-10, and a Peterson. I have a couple of tuning forks somewhere, too, but haven’t used them in a while.

The Korg is stored away and sees little use, but it’s a great backup, just in case. The Peterson … it’s a Peterson … perfect for tuning and dialling intonation in if I’m setting up or tweaking.

The Snark … not so much. However … I use it on every one of my guitars at home, whenever I play. I like low ratio tuners, cos once strings are up to pitch and stretched in, resolution is more useful than being able to wind a string up quicker. Over the years of using them, though, I can tell you wiithout a doubt that they don’t dial in perfectly. They shine for getting a string’s pitch to light up that little arrow dead centre on the top of the display, but if you pay extra attention to the dial while you tweak the tuner just a tiny touch more, you’ll see that the display doesn’t register it.

Now … The Peterson especially will look right at you and ask you wtf you’re doing … as will the Korg. When I tune up with the Snark, though … my ears know … so I always give it that last, final tweak so my ears are happy right across the fretboard. Sooner or later, your ears will start to pick up the ‘wrongness’ from a string or strings while your playing chords, too … and more often than not, you’ll check it and find you’re right.

I don’t put to much into it if I’m watching to a YouTube video of someone jamming in their living room … It’s a live, physical dynamic that’s a lot less important than the fact that they’re enjoying themselves and have the confidence to actually have a go.

Sometimes, though … If I’m in a pub listening … I do wonder if their designated sound guy, or indeed the audience, is a little tone deaf (or flat drunk). The trick is, I think, to not get too hung up about the little things and be a little more forgiving.

It’s bloody awful when you hear players / vocalists that have been established for 20 years, with 20 grand’s worth of gear on stage doing it, though. They should know better.

The whole “out of tune” thing is interesting. If you understand 12 tone equal temperament (12 TET) then you know, that except for the octaves, the whole system is a tuning compromise. If A is 440 then a perfect fifth should be 660Hz. We use 659Hz. A major third should be 5:4 times or 550Hz but we use 554 which is a fair way off. So a chord played on your in tune guitar will sound out of tune compared to a chord that is using just intonation. You can see it and hear it in the video below. 12TET has a fuzziness or slight dissonance about it. So in a way, I’m already listening to music that’s out of tune.

Hear is another comparing pianos using different tuning systems. I suspect that equal temperament sounds best to my ears because I have learnt that it’s normal, not because its more “in tune” than the others. Some Chinese tunings are more like just intonation. To someone brought up on those tunings it’s possible that western equal temperament will sound off.


Here is the song “Rattlesnake” off the album Flying Microtonal Banana by King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard. It sounds out of tune. and compared to equal temperament it is. The band is using microtones. I like it, it sounds more and more normal the longer you listen to it.

I usually tune up before playing, but slight imperfections don’t bother me during practice sessions. I’m more focused on technique rather than perfect pitch. If I’m playing with others or playing along to a song then I will check my tuning.

Also, I think his son and wife were possibly confused as to his meaning. You can sing a song using the wrong notes and it will sound wrong to someone who knows the melody. Perhaps the son was thinking about “the tune” instead of the chords played being “in tune”.


Maybe I should have done a winetasting course like you. Then I’d only have bought lesser amounts of high-end nectar and not overindulged in barrel-loads of affordable high-octane Shiraz, (resulting in self-preservatory abstinence) :rofl:

Hehe, not to my ears :open_mouth:
Not sure if it’s because my lugs are less well developed or because I’ve always enjoyed a bit of ‘dissonance’ in my music :laughing:

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Cough…uhh…where is it written that I didn’t indulge in tons of that cheap nectar :roll_eyes: :roll_eyes: :roll_eyes::see_no_evil: :see_no_evil: :see_no_evil:

:beverage_box: cheers :sunglasses:

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I feel a song coming on… :wink:

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We (most of us in this community) can tell because we play guitar - someone who’s never played an instrument or had singing lessons maybe isn’t as attuned (see what I did there?) as a player because their ears haven’t been trained to hear it?


YouTube algorithms certainly know something. :thinking:

Apparently, when you can play at that level it’s not even necessary to tune.

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I dig what you are laying down, sir. I also believe that music is a magical gift, maybe one of the purest forms of creativity that humans can exercise. For better or worse for you the listener, I sometimes just pick up a guitar and play/record. If it sounds good, it is good right (and yes I will be the judge of that). My acoustics tend to detune over time equally, so they do stay in tune to themselves.

If you allow your thought processes and musical inspiration to extend beyond accepted norms or ritualistic exercises, your playing may become more inspired and a lot less conventional. A guitar being perfectly in tune is the last thing on my mind. Yeah, I tune my guitars but I don’t freak out about it. Live your best lives, friends! :heart_hands:

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If I got this right, I think in the process of trying to make a point, he’s bullying his own son.