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Help: Feiten system, anyone?

22 Jan 02 - 09:57 PM (#633476)
Subject: Feiten system, anyone?
From: michaelr

Rick Turner, luthier extraordinaire, writes in Acoustic Guitar magazine, Dec. 2001, re the Feiten intonation system:

"In compensating the nut, you are doing three things. First, you may be simply compensating for improperly high nut action... Second, IF YOU USE A CAPO, THE NUT ADJUSTMENTS WILL HAVE NO BEARING ONCE THE CAPO IS IN PLACE. And third, you're compromising equal temperament; the guitar WILL NOW FAVOR CERTAIN KEYS OVER OTHERS... The few players I know who swear by the Feiten system tend to play in guitar-friendly keys...BUT CAPOS AND FLAT OR SHARP KEY SIGNATURES ARE OUT OF THE QUESTION."

Comments, Feiten system users?


22 Jan 02 - 10:29 PM (#633490)
Subject: RE: Help: Feiten system, anyone?
From: Steve in Idaho

Haven't experienced this problem.


23 Jan 02 - 06:57 AM (#633661)
Subject: RE: Help: Feiten system, anyone?
From: Murray MacLeod

Ah, the ongoing debate on my favorite subject. Try this thread Do Your Nuts Require Surgery? .

Rick Turner is indeed an eminent luthier and most of what he says most of the time is solid good sense.

I have always felt that he was off beam on this question, however. He does not accept that no matter how well adjusted the action is, it requires more force to fret the string at the nut than it does in the center of the string, and that that is what causes intonation problems in the basic chords (no matter how accurately the frets are placed.)

At the end of the day the proof of the pudding is in the eating of it. I have never read of any player who was dissatisfied after having the Feiten system applied to their guitar.

byw, I do not understand why Rick would say that "capos are out of the question" .....? There is absolutely no reason why you wouldn't use a capo on a "Feitenized" guitar.


23 Jan 02 - 09:47 AM (#633765)
Subject: RE: Help: Feiten system, anyone?
From: Steve in Idaho

Murry's link is one in which we talked about this. I had the Feiten tuning done to my guitar precisely due to the fact that it would require retuning every time I put the capo on it. And as far as "guitar friendly" keys - I don't understand that one. All keys are friendly on the guitar to me. And the nut adjustment is one of generally shortening the neck - not raising or lowering it. Mine was shortened about .015. This procedure really woke my old guitar up.


23 Jan 02 - 08:32 PM (#634167)
Subject: RE: Help: Feiten system, anyone?
From: michaelr

OK - a bit more from Rick Turner's article:
"You're compromising equal temperament; the guitar will now favor certain keys over others. This is fine as long as you know what you are doing and have another guitar available when you want to play in Bb!...A system that changes the harmonics of open strings and the tuning of open strings also creates a bias towards certain keys" (I suppose these would be the guitar-friendly keys, maybe G, D and E) "and against others." (guitar-unfriendly keys like Eb?)

I had the Feiten system installed on my Lowden two years ago and have been very happy. However, the fiddler and accordionist I play with keep telling me that the guitar goes sharp when I capo up, and tuner checks bear this out. The B and low E strings sharpen more than the others.

I'll call Rick Turner's shop and see if he'd like to participate in this discussion. Meanwhile, has anyone out ther bought a new Washburn or Tom Anderson guitar? I'd like to hear from other users.

24 Jan 02 - 12:50 PM (#634709)
Subject: RE: Help: Feiten system, anyone?
From: Murray MacLeod

Michael, when you tune your guitar, do you tune it according to Buzz Feiten's recommendations ? I know that to get the full bebefit of the system you have to tune slightly off the theoretical pitch, and that you have to have an electronic tuner with a needle and cent markings to do this.

But I still don't understand why your guitar plays sharp unless
A. Your action is too high, or
B the capo is exerting too much clamping pressure on the strings. I cannot believe that the problem is caused by the installation of the Feiten system.

Good luck with getting RT to participate here, but don't hold your breath !


25 Jan 02 - 10:38 AM (#635261)
Subject: RE: Help: Feiten system, anyone?
From: Steve in Idaho

I've e-mailed John Bolin and he will pass this on to Buzz - I've invited Buzz into this discussion.


22 Jun 04 - 03:05 PM (#1212326)
Subject: RE: Help: Feiten system, anyone?
From: Mark Clark

I ran across a great article by Paul Guy about the Buzz Feiten Tuning System®. Paul really explains what it is and does. Paul Guy's whole site is really great, especially his Guitar Handbook.

This information also ties in with some other threads on the subject including:As others have noted, the Buzz Feiten Tuning System® (BFTS) isn't only about the distance from the nut to the first fret, it also includes a slight stretching of the scale meaning very slightly different pitches for the strings in standard tuning. And as mentioned in other threads, the Korg DT7 tuner has a BFTS mode so the tuning compensation can exactly suit the new temprament.

I was over at Stars Guitars the other day and got to play a couple of their McPherson Guitars built with BFTS and they sounded truly great. I loved a McPherson 5.0 XP w/ Redwood top especially, a beautiful warm tone that sounded wonderful played in a Kentucky Thumbpicking style.

Oops… sorry for drooling. <g>

      - Mark

22 Jun 04 - 03:27 PM (#1212337)
Subject: RE: Help: Feiten system, anyone?
From: C-flat

I remember posting to a thread on this same topic a couple of years ago where I mentioned the Fret-Wave system.
Whilst it seemed a reasonable approach to this tuning problem, it certainly wouldn't help if you are using a capo.
Maybe that's why I haven't heard of Fret-Wave since!
I keep promising myself to try the Fieten system on one of my guitars and, one day, I'm sure I will. I've only heard good reports.

24 Jun 11 - 02:26 PM (#3175864)
Subject: RE: Help: Feiten system, anyone?
From: GUEST,its1110


But our whole tuning system in these modren days is a compromise. It was designed for piano, in the main, to "play the same in all keys".

Ever since, there has been the thorn of the equal temperament not being pleasing to folks playing instruments that produce notes truly, solidly built on the instrument's natural harmonics... woodwinds, brass, what have you.

You've got it a bit more flexible on the guitar (and others) ... you can bend your notes... a piano player can't do that. When you've got a keyboard in the combo then everything is tied to that fixed-pitch instrument.

It is not unheard of for multiple piano's, with different tunings, being supplied for classical concerts where music from different periods in different keys will be played; so as to reproduce the composers original intent accurately.

All a compromise so that the piano could play "the same" in any key w/ only 12 notes defines every piece of (standard) music today.   ....

In the days before our modren temperament was settled upon each key _did_ sound different and have a different feel. Certain keys being "friendly" to certain instruments has to do with squeezing them to match the piano. (And of course that some keys are just a pain for certain instruments due to their harmonic series.)