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Buzz Feiten Tuning System

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by CJK84, Jan 7, 2005.


  1. CJK84

    CJK84

    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    Who's had experience with a Michael Tobias, or other, bass with a Feiten tuning system?

    I really like the look and specs on the MTD Kingston (passive, single-pup 4), but I'm worried that the Feiten tuning system might require periodic adjustments - when changing strings for example - that I'll be unable to make on my own.

    I live nearly two hours from the nearest Ohio MTD dealer, so having to take the bass back to the dealer even once a year would be a little inconvenient.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Memphis
    Just get a tuner that has BF presets (Korg DT-7) or is accurate enough to tune to the actual measured offsets (Peterson Strobostomp).
     
  3. CJK84

    CJK84

    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    But what if I replace the MTD strings with lighter strings?

    Might that not require a change in set-up that only a Feiten-authorized guy could do?

    There's where I am afraid that I'd run into problems.
     
  4. Tim__x

    Tim__x

    Aug 13, 2002
    Alberta, Canada
    From what I've read, you can tune such a bass with any tuner, but you require, as Lyle Caldwell said, "a tuner that has BF presets or is accurate enough to tune to the actual measured offsets", to intonate.
    In other words, buy the proper tuner and you can do it yourself.
     
  5. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Note the BF offsets in such a tuner are only for intonation adjustment, not for tuning open strings. An E is an E is an E when tuning, but when setting the intonation, the desired result at the 12fr harmonic on that E isn't an exact E pitch when using BFTS - the tuner with the offsets will get you to the pitch BFTS wants, whereas a straight tuner would just tune your harmonic to a higher E.

    PS - anybody else think that Buzz Feiten is awfully convenient a name for a guy who apparently invented a guitar tuning scheme? "Buzz-fighting" would surely be a great characteristic in any neck/setup theory.
     
  6. Well the system works great. Especially if you do alot of work on high frets on your bass. But it also makes the whole bass more in harmony with itself.
     
  7. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Atlanta, GA!
    Thanks man, that actually answered a question I have had for a long time.


    ps... or he could be a veterinarian and his name be Fuzz Beiten. :D
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher

    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I read the patent which covers the BFTS. The guy's real name is Howard.
     
  9. jgsbass

    jgsbass

    May 28, 2003
    Floral Park, NY
    I hope you guys are kidding. Buzz was and probably still is an amazingly fine guitarist. I personally witnessed him breaking in with The Paul Butterfield Band when he replaced michael Bloomfield. And the kid was 15! Check out his work with the Larsen-Feiten Band.
     
  10. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Atlanta, GA!
    I was j/k, my godfather's name was Buzz.



    I know that this is pushing stuff off topic, but was The Paul Butterfield Band after the Kooper/Bloomfield group(supersessions album)? If so, was Feiten replacing Bloomfield due to his OD and passing?
     
  11. Em....I don't know...I think i have them on my washburn mb-40, don't think I make a big differnce. Or just that I didn't notice.
     
  12. geshel

    geshel

    Oct 2, 2001
    Seattle
    Minor correction -- should be "the desired result at the 12th fret when fretted isn't an exact E pitch when using BFTS".

    If the open-string pitch is an exact E, then the 12th-fret harmonic will be an exact E. Adjusting the intonation will have no effect on the relationship between those two (open string pitch and harmonic pitches).
     
  13. Bardolph

    Bardolph

    Jul 28, 2002
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Why would you want a fretted high E not to be in tune? I thought the nature of harmonics was that the higher they are, the flatter they are in pitch.
     
  14. geshel

    geshel

    Oct 2, 2001
    Seattle
    I don't know exactly, but that's the basis of the BFTS.

    For harmonics, the 2nd harmonic should be exact to within the resolution of a tuner. Higher ones do get affected by the stiffness of the strings, yeah.
     
  15. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    Can someone please explain the BFTS in depth, or link me to somewhere that explains it?
     
  16. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Thanks, I certainly misspoke (mistyped?) there.

    =0)
     
  17. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Memphis
    Govithoy,

    In a nutshell, it's a different way of tempering the tuning. It takes into account the different tensions at different parts of the neck (ie, it takes more pressure to fret a string on the first three frets than it does in the middle of the neck, so the lower positions tend to be sharper than others) and to generally "spread out" tuning discrepencies all over the neck.

    On guitar, it is really difficult to play major thirds in some areas and have them sound remotely in tune. This is especially difficult when playing "E shaped barres" with the major 3rd on the G string. Even on a well set up and intonated guitar using the traditional tuning methods, that 3rd is noticeably (and often painfully) sharp. The Feiten system gets those thirds to sound pleasing.

    Also note that the ear is more forgiving of flat notes than of sharp notes. Combine this with the fact that the act of fretting a note often makes notes a tiny bit sharp when played in the middle portions of the neck (the area that Feiten makes a tiny bit flat), and the result is a more in tune playing neck.

    Google awaits if you need more.
     
  18. ezstep

    ezstep

    Nov 25, 2004
    north Louisiana
    I asked MTD about the BF tuning system and Mike Tobias himself talked to me for about 10 minutes! I was impressed that he would take the time to talk to a regular guy.

    Anyway, on a piano, A=440, and, theoretically, the A one octave down would be exactly 220, and then exactly 110, then exactly 55, etc. In theory. However, 220 is off a few cents. 110 is off a few cents more. Same for 880, 1760, etc. The only "true" pitch is in the center of the keyboard and all others change flat or sharp a few cents in either direction.

    Now add a bass playing with the piano. When the piano plays above or below center, then the bass is no longer "in tune" with the piano, although it is probably in tune with itself.

    The BF system works out the turning so that the piano and the bass are in perfect tune with each other.

    Now add a guitar. . . etc.
     
  19. jgsbass

    jgsbass

    May 28, 2003
    Floral Park, NY
    Mike was with Paul Butterfield
    before the Kooper/Bloomfield Supersessions
     
  20. geshel

    geshel

    Oct 2, 2001
    Seattle
    This is what a regular intonation adjustment accounts for. I can intonate my bass so that every single note from the 1st fret to the 24th fret is almost exactly in tune according to the 12-tone equal tempered scale (12tet).

    It's important to note that the BFTS does not make each note position more exactly in tune to the absolute 12-tone equal temperament. It purposely tweaks some positions away from the absolute to make various chords sound more pleasing -- because 12tet is itself a tweak. However, for the BFTS to make some chords sound better, it has to make others sound worse. This is because 12tet is the "middle" -- it's not perfect, but any deviations away from it will make some intervals more perfect and others less perfect.

    Not quite, actually 220Hz is not "off a few cents". It is exactly one octave lower than 440Hz. Piano tuners intentionally spread the tuning out so that the octave lower is slightly flat from 220Hz, and the octave up is slightly sharper than 880Hz, and likewise for all the other notes. They do this because the harmonics of the piano strings vibrating do not yield the most pleasing results when the piano exactly follows a 12-tone e.t. tuning (the tension on, and stiffness of, piano strings is so high that it causes the harmonics to be sharper the higher they go).