True Temperament Guitars

Last modified on August 9th, 2009

I stumbled across three interesting things tonight.

First, I purchased and installed ClearTune, which is a pretty kick ass guitar tuner for the iPhone. While a few people in reviews had issues with it, most of the individuals who got it working said it was the best tuner they’ve ever used. I have to say, it seems deadly accurate for me. It not only has a coarse scale, but it also has a fine scale, so you can see just how many cents you are off and adjust the string even further.

Second, since ClearTune supports a wide range of musical temperaments, I decided to do some research about guitar temperaments, which eventually led me to True Temperament, a company that makes custom fret boards such that every string is in tune at every fret position (all guitars nowadays are a massive compromise — the only position that each string is essentially in tune is when the guitar is played completely open, every other position is most likely out of tune slightly).

And third, I found this demonstration video by Steve Vai, one of the big advocates of the True Temperament designs. Apparently I need to practice a bit more.

2 responses to “True Temperament Guitars”

  1. There’s also the Buzz Feiten tuning system, which aims to achieve something similar.

  2. Duane Storey says:

    Cool.. Yah, the TT system is kind of neat, but I think it’s pretty clunky in general. And plus, the frets are only really tuned to the gauge and type of strings you are using.

    I wonder if someday we’ll have fully synthesized guitars, where you still have a string, but the output at the jack is constructed by analyzing the vibrations at the transducer and producing the wave forms. If that ever happens, you could simply pitch shift each note slightly via DSP such that the notes all are true tempered.

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