Fretless 6-String Guitar Technique – Tim Donahue
Like the violin family, the fretless guitar must be tuned without fretting of the strings. Tuning is critical because an out of tune fretless guitar causes headaches in left hand placement. The method described here works well for fretted and fretless guitars.
Assuming the 5th string a is tuned to pitch 110 Hz (a=440):
1. Tune the harmonic at the 5th fret, 6th string to the harmonic at the 7th fret, 5th string.
2. Tune the harmonic at the 7th fret, 4th string to the harmonic at the 5th fret, 5th string.
3. Tune the harmonic at the 7th fret, 3rd string to the harmonic at the 5th fret, 4th string.
4. Tune open 2nd string to the 7th fret harmonic on the 6th string.
5. Tune the open 1st string to either the 7th fret, 5th string harmonic or the 5th fret, 6th string harmonic.
One should eventually get used to tuning by listening to only the open strings played one at a time and letting them ring. Playing each string’s 12th fret harmonic one at a time and letting ring can eliminate some unwanted overtones and also speed the tuning process.
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