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Eddie Van Halen's B String

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  • Eddie Van Halen's B String

    Does anyone know how much Eddie flattens his B string by to get it perfectly in tune with the rest of the guitar. I saw a youtube video where Jeff Kollman talks about detuning his B string also.
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  • #2
    I don't know but eddie has a hell of a G string
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    • #3
      I'm guessing a half step... so that the fifth fret is E.. not the fourth.

      It would make sense to me because I tune in fifths which is the seventh fret to each adjacent open string all the way across and play semi-vanhalen-ish riffs. It translates nicely in tone and feel so I can see that maybe his 1/2 step flat starts with the B and continues down the strings so maybe his High E and low E aren't the same (like my high and low strings are off by a half step as well)
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      • #4
        I think it's only very slightly... it's an intonation issue I think, he really doesn't change the pitch that much.

        Be aware that EVH does that so he's more in tune with the chords he uses, which are small 2 and 3 string chords for the most part. If you play a lot of full chords (5 and 6 strings used) you might not want to do this.

        Basically the idea is that a guitar can never be perfectly "in tune" so you can make slight adjustments to suit your needs.

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        • #5
          He's simply tuning the major third between those strings as a 'just' third (like from Just Temperament) and not the standard equal temperament third.

          Equal temperament makes every note equidistant, so some intervals are more out of tune than others. The major third suffers the worst, and is actually about 10 cents sharp from its just counterpart.

          So, to tune the guitar like EVH, just drop the B string about 9 or 10 cents. Alternatively, you can just tune it by ear by playing the G and B strings together until you don't hear the beats between the notes anymore. That's what a just interval is: an interval tune to a purer ratio, and thus there are less dissonant beats between the notes.
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          • #6
            Anyone try the Feiten tuning system guitars that are out there?

            They purport to have a more correct intonation.

            I actually tried a Washburn solidbody this week with that system and
            it did seem to be much more in tune than the rest of the guitars in the
            shop, particularly on 3rds, 5ths, 7ths and 11ths.

            The store clerk had no clue what a Feiten tuning system even was,
            I had to show it to him.....

            But yes, on some guitars detuning the B slightly can help if the
            intonation is as good as it can get and you're not close enough.
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            • #7
              Anyone try the Feiten tuning system guitars that are out there?

              They purport to have a more correct intonation.

              I actually tried a Washburn solidbody this week with that system and
              it did seem to be much more in tune than the rest of the guitars in the
              shop, particularly on 3rds, 5ths, 7ths and 11ths.

              The store clerk had no clue what a Feiten tuning system even was,
              I had to show it to him.....

              But yes, on some guitars detuning the B slightly can help if the
              intonation is as good as it can get and you're not close enough.


              I have 2 Suhrs that have the Feiten system....They are definitely better intonated than the rest of my guitars...
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              • #8
                This is interesting, thanks for all the input guys. I'm gonna try a flatten the B a little and see what kind of difference is makes. Although, if you did do this, would single notes played on the B string not sound out of tune?
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