1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Buzz Feiten Tuning System - I don't understand.

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by t77mackie, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. t77mackie


    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA
    I don't understand the point of moving your nut a little closer to your first fret and having some sort of magical bridge saddle mojo or whatever they do.

    Please explain to me as though I was an imbecile.

    Thanx in advance.
    joebar likes this.
  2. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Simple, it extracts money from your wallet and then forces you, out of embarrassment of being an imbecile for believing the hype, into climbing on the bandwagon and waving the flag. Oh, sorry you wanted to know how it works. It compensates for the minute inaccuracy of the pitch along the fret board in relation to both a single string and string to string from being truly-really impossible to hear to being truly-truly-really-really impossible to hear. Cool huh?
    Garret Graves, JLS and BassKick like this.
  3. t77mackie


    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA
    ^That's what I thought too, but my guitar player.... never mind.
  4. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    I can't say I really, really understand - and I've got it. It wasn't something I actively sought out, just a 'feature' of the bass.
  5. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Oh, now I get it! I always thought it was "Buzz Fighting" and kept your strings from rattling on the frets and a bunch of TBers would benefit from that.

    I do know the tempered system is employed by Mr. Tobias and printed on the back of each headstock. I think my Peterson tuner even has a preset.

  6. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    Yep, MTD Kingston owner here. I got a Planet Waves tru-strobe pedal tuner with the Buzz Feiten preset - I figured that if there was any difference, particularly when getting into the minutiae of setting intonation, I may as well get a tuner with the right settings.

    Can I say I notice a difference, and that I'd only ever buy Feitenized instruments from now on? Umm.... no.
  7. cthomas5200


    Jun 27, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    This may be my favorite post EVER!
  8. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Unfortunately, it is unable to compensate for varying pressure being applied to the string during the course of fretting the instrument. If you squeeze a string harder it will drive it sharp. To be truly accurate the tuning system must adjust on the fly to varying conditions. In that regard, and electronically controlled nut just might be the answer. I hear Intel is working on the chip set..... ;)
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  9. boynamedsuse

    boynamedsuse Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    I've heard things like this on guitar forums and maybe here a time or two previously. I can hear the difference between an instrument using BFTS and one that doesn't. It is easiest to hear with a guitar because a variety of chords demonstrate tuning problems more clearly than single notes. Guitar tuning is also easier to discern because its higher frequencies make it easier for the human ear to determine pitch. To deny that there is an intonation problem between different strings as they go up and down the fretboard in stringed instruments naive. It has been documented for decades. A variety of tempering systems have been developed to compensate for this. Buzz Feiten's is one of them. It's cheap if it's built into the original instrument and more costly to add later.
    Winoman and Garret Graves like this.
  10. t77mackie


    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA
    OK, if one has this which moves the nut closer to the first and all other frets aren't you just trading six of one for a half dozen of another? Meaning you make some inaccuracies better but you'll then move the good ones out of whack a bit?
  11. mikeddd


    Nov 12, 2009
    San Antonio, TX
    Well said. As someone who played guitar for almost 20 years and then discovered he was playing the wrong instrument, I can agree with what he wrote. The BFTS works, but works BEST on 6-string guitar. I have a "cheap" ($400) Washburn acoustic steel string guitar that has the BFTS and it DOES make a difference, but ONLY b/c of what boynamedsuse stated. The human ear is more sensitive in that freq range, etc. Also, IMO, with my imperfect ears, chords sound much better on the BFTS equipped Washburn than on most other acoustics. But there are so many variables here. For example: Maybe your $2K Martin has a bad neck and dead strings. 6-string guitars are such fickle instruments.

    Finally: Assuming you set the intonation of your bass via strobe tuner which is way more accurate than your ear, you don't need anything "better" than that. MHO. YMMV.

    Winoman likes this.
  12. boynamedsuse

    boynamedsuse Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    It is a compromise. Standard tuning works like this (a paraphrase):

    Tune so the open string is on pitch and adjust the intonation at the saddle so the 12th fret harmonic is the same (but a higher octave). The issue is that the first fret will be sharp when you fret it because you are stretching the string, the second fret is less so because the stretching is less and so forth.

    Buzz Feiten tuning works like this (a paraphrase):

    The first fret is "shortened" by moving the nut so worst-offending first fret is not as sharp. In addition, BFTS uses non-standard tuning (you need a special tuner). The tuning is adjusted by a few cents (a small enough amount that most people would not notice it) such that on average the pitch of all fretted notes are closer to their theoretical correct pitch than when using standard tuning.

    This is reminiscent of the tempered tuning used in a piano.

    Is it worth it? For bass, I would say it is nice to have but not necessary. Personally, I would be willing to pay an extra $50-75 to have BFTS on any bass or guitar, which is a likely price or value on a new instrument that includes it. Unfortunately, to do it aftermarket the price is something like $200+. :(
    Winoman likes this.
  13. wong99


    Jun 6, 2012
    As P.T. Barnum said, "There's a sucker born every minute."
  14. t77mackie


    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA
    Forgive my ignorance, but if the frets are in the right place then why should any of the notes on the fretboard be anything but perfect? Isn't that why they are where they are on the fretboard?

    I'm missing something here... Is it because of the height of the nut isn't taken into account in the distance between open string and the first fret? If so why don't they factor that in a bit?

  15. Three of the best guitar and bass techs in Denver agree.
  16. ^^ this

  17. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Fret placement isn't perfect; it's a compromise so that pitch is within a cent or two at any given fret. We aim for perfect pitch at the 12th and open, the rest will be close enough. It has been noted before in this forum that a properly tuned piano will actually get sharper as you move up the scale, so even to try to achieve absolute perfection with a bass is unnecessary. Others will disagree and say they can hear a difference but back to the time honored art of piano tuning, they are simply wrong that perfection is desirable

    When a pitch is far out enough that we can hear it, we hear it and we tune up . Slight variances between instruments adds flavor and depth to music, just as a piano sounds best when the higher octaves are tuned slightly sharp. Google it.
    knumbskull likes this.
  18. grendle


    Mar 4, 2011
    Central FL
    The placement of frets is mathematicaly flawed on almost all fretted instruments. The system takes this into account and adjusts the bridge and nut to compensate. A wast of time on a bass, you'll hear a Definate / pretty drastic difference when playing chords on a guitar though. When in tune , chords on a guitar are out of tune in different positions on the neck. The buzz system fixes this.
    knumbskull likes this.
  19. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Yes, so all the best popular music in history is actually out of tune and sounds fantastic. All future music will be in perfect pitch and hence sound dull and lifeless; kind of how digital synthesizers sound compared to old analog synths.
  20. boynamedsuse

    boynamedsuse Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    You have a point in that it doesn't sound out of tune, because we are used to the sound of a guitar. Until it was popularized by Andrés Segovia, the guitar was pretty much unused with serious music. No one cared if it was in tune with itself or not.

Share This Page