Buzz Feiten Tuning System

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RAM, Oct 24, 2001.

  1. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I really don't know if this should go under "Basses" or somewhere else, so I apologize if the category is wrong...

    Anyway, I've read about the Buzz Feiten Tuning System, but still don't quite understand it. I've seen it on MTDs. Can someone explain exactly what this is, what it does, and maybe even how it works?

    Here's the link I've found, if this helps anyone didn't help me...
  2. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    <img src="">
    ....until MTD.:)

    I really don't know what it means or how it really works. I've played a few USA Washburns & they were really nice but I didn't say to my self, "WOW, the Buzz Feiten made a real difference." :)
  3. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    The key to the Feiten tuning system is that it has to be tuned with a digital tuner that is set to work with the Feiten tuning system. Otherwise, it's not going to work right. One of the guitar players I play with has a couple of Suhr guitars that utilize the system, and I can definitely tell a difference when he plays chords high on the neck.

    I think it's more applicable to guitars than to bass, but the basses that I have tried--that have also been set up properly, and tuned properly have been very nice and have better intonation than most basses without it. That said, I have no problem playing 5 note chords on my USA Curbow anywhere on the neck.

    So, while it does, in fact, work, I don't think it's the be-all, end-all for basses. But, M Tobias seems to like it, and he sure knows a helluva lot more about the science behind them than I do.
  4. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    It's no secret. The patent's a public document, so just go to and search for "Howard Feiten". Hee hee.

    Basically, it consists of moving the nut forward by a few millimeters and intonating the strings a couple of cents above and below zero at the twelfth fret. Like even tempering a piano, this puts the guitar more-or-less equally out of tune in all keys. The average listener probably couldn't care less.
  5. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Think this would work with my Korg DTR-1?
  6. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Yes, provided it can read +/- 1 cent. Just print out the patent and follow the chart in the specification. The BFTS-equipped Korg tuners have that "chart" built-in to them, so that you don't look like a nerd.
  7. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Cool!:cool: More cool, unnecessary toys for me to play with:D
  8. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    Korg makes a special tuner thats for the Buzz Feiten tuning system. I think its like $40.

    Ill stick with my regular tuning, thank you very much! :D
  9. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I am not sure if this one should go here or not. So I will just leave it here, since it is talking about basses to a certain extent.

    I dunno...............:confused:
  10. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Come to think of it, this probably does belong in setup. Intonation, and all.... :D
  11. It is a pretty darn cool thing for guitar, as the B string is never quite right versus the other perfect intervals. A 12 tone tempered tuning system (like piano) makes everything a bit out of tune (except the octaves) which makes all the keys sound consistenly tuned. Like others have said, on bass is makes much less of a difference. If it could only help my fretless playing... :)

  12. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Inactive

    Dec 11, 1999
    the special tuner such as the korg dt7 is only needed for setup and not for regular tuning of the bass - this is from the mouth of Michael Tobias.

    Mike Dimin
  13. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Lest anyone get confused, guitar and basses already use 12-tone equal temperament tuning. This is the one where all of the intervals are tweaked somewhat so that music in any of the keys sounds equivalent. You can tell this by playing major thirds fairly high-up on the neck. Make sure that each individual is in tune, then play them both together. When I do this, it sounds warbly. If I stretch the lower string (bringing the interval down from an equal-tempered M3 to a "classical" M3), it sounds much better.

    From what I've heard, the BF system addresses the fact that *intonation*, not tuning, is different in different places on the guitar. This is a specific artifact of the way that guitar strings stretch as soon as you play a note. Even if the 12th fret is intoned by adjusting the bridge, there will be places in between that arent (according to BF). I think the first fret is typically sharp, for instance.
  14. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    RAM, solve all of your intonation problems. Get a fretless.;)
  15. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    One day I will.;) I love playing them when I walk into my local "boutique"...They have a fantastic Rob Allen that I drool over every time I walk in.

    But, for now, I'd say a fretless isn't on the top of my list. But, neither is a bass with more than 5 strings, for that matter:eek:
  16. Hate to bump up such an ancient thread, but since this one has thus far been the most useful for me in my search for Buzz Feiten info, it gets the honor :D

    After reading part of the BFTS patent, this is what I've gathered about intonating a bass tuned BEADG (without using a tuner specifically designed for BFTS...not a chance I'm buying another tuner just for that :spit: ) ... tune each open string to pitch, adjust saddle so the 12th fret is X cents different from open, according to the following:
    G -1
    D -1
    A +1
    E +1
    B +1

    Now, my question is, is that it? Finding a straight answer on this has been really tough, so somebody please confirm that I don't have to do anything else out of the ordinary. Thanks :hyper:


    Nov 24, 2001
    New York,NY
    I have an MTD635 with the BF deal. The intonation on the B string is a little weird after the 12-14th fret BUT on the higher strings it's perfect? I've used the DT7 tuner & practically driven myself nuts with the intonation. I don't use taper-wounds & I always use Fodera stainless strings which I also use on my Zon, which, incidently, has better intonation on the higher frets on lower strings AND great intonation on the higher strings & notes...go figure...


    PS: I have very little relief on both basses & the action is low to med/low.
  18. natebass


    Sep 6, 2001
    Bremerton, WA
    The thing to remember is that, unless you can hear 1 cent discrepancies, you could use a tuner set to normal pitch and get away with it, no problem. What the BF system does is make SLIGHT allowances for the setting of frets (which are never in tune with all strings in all positions - one area is really in tune while others are vastly out of tune). What I'm trying to say is, Yes all you would need to do would be tune normally, most people won't notice that much of a difference.


    Nov 24, 2001
    New York,NY



    PS: I love your shirt idea!