Buzz Feiten method - Real Deal or Snake Oil?

Fireal402

Eyeballs! OH MY GOD EYES
There was a guitar shop near my house that used to push this. They installed it, and claimed it fixed up a lot of guitars with poor intonation. I never played any with it, but I'd imagine it does something. I've had some guitar with great intonation and nothing like that, so I think it's probably better on cheaper guitars with "unfixable" intonation problems.
 

TheDewd

New member
Light said:
Snake oil.



Light

"Cowards can never be moral."
M.K. Gandhi
The Buzz Feiten method works dude.
It just doesn't make wonders, but it helps enormously on the frets 5 and under.

If it was snake oil, then why do TOP manufacturers would fit all their guitars with it?
I'm talking about Anderson, Suhr, etc....GREAT guitars!
 

Light

New member
TheDewd said:
If it was snake oil, then why do TOP manufacturers would fit all their guitars with it?
I'm talking about Anderson, Suhr, etc....GREAT guitars!



Because people like you buy into it and will buy guitars because of it.


I've listened to them, and it is snake oil.


It is not so much that what he is doing isn't based on some degree of truth, it is the idea that what he is selling is IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM NEW OR UNIQUE.


What is his big thing? The nut is in the wrong place. Well, that would depend on how the guitar is made, but in MOST guitars the compensation he "discovered" is built in as a natural and ineveitable part of making the guitar. Every guitar I've ever built has the nut in the "right" place (acording to his "system"), and I did it without even thinking about it.

So what then; it needs to be tuned slightly off of "legal" pitch, right? Well, that is a natural thing when you are tuning by ear. It is only when people try and tune to a electronic tuner that they run into the "problem" he is supposedly fixing. PLUS, it only works if you play certain voicings. For the chords I play, it makes the guitar sound awful. And for anyone else who has a unique or personal style of playing chords, it just doesn't work. Ever. And many other things will throw you out of tune as well, such as playing hard, or higher action. If you want to get your guitar to play in tune for YOUR style (as opposed to Buzz Fietein's style, which if you've ever heard him play is pretty fucking dull), then you need to learn to tune by ear. THEN you can worry about what adjustments you need to make to your tuner to get yourself in tune with one.


Basically, it is a solution without a problem, being sold for about 2000 times its value. THAT is the definition of snake oil, if you ask me.



Light

"Cowards can never be moral."
M.K. Gandhi
 

GONZO-X

Well-known member
another thing to consider would be the Earvana nut....
it's a compensated nut, tries to accomplish the same thing with a simple nut replacement......
it DOES make some difference....
 

Codmate

New member
Light said:
Because people like you buy into it and will buy guitars because of it.


I've listened to them, and it is snake oil.


It is not so much that what he is doing isn't based on some degree of truth, it is the idea that what he is selling is IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM NEW OR UNIQUE.


What is his big thing? The nut is in the wrong place.
That's not actually Buzz's 'big thing'.
The 'big thing' is the ratio he's worked out to compensate for the extra pressure you have to use when you're not pressing on the center point of the string. This extra pressure can make the note go sharp.
Well, that would depend on how the guitar is made, but in MOST guitars the compensation he "discovered" is built in as a natural and ineveitable part of making the guitar. Every guitar I've ever built has the nut in the "right" place (acording to his "system"), and I did it without even thinking about it.
So, if my guitar hasn't been built by you, are you saying it could it benefit from having the BF system installed?
So what then; it needs to be tuned slightly off of "legal" pitch, right? Well, that is a natural thing when you are tuning by ear.
Not for everybody or in every situation. From what I understand he's turend it into a science rather than guesswork.
It is only when people try and tune to a electronic tuner that they run into the "problem" he is supposedly fixing.
Not necessarily. How about electronic tuners such as the ones that support the BF system?
PLUS, it only works if you play certain voicings. For the chords I play, it makes the guitar sound awful. And for anyone else who has a unique or personal style of playing chords, it just doesn't work. Ever.
Why are so many people using it these days then? I thought the entire point was that you could play any voicing anywhere on the guitar and it would sound pleasing? I've only heard one guitar with the system installed, but it sounded good to me. The guy was playing Django style gypsy jazz, using a wide variety of chords and voicings.
And many other things will throw you out of tune as well, such as playing hard, or higher action.
But isn't this the type of thing the BF system compensates for?
If you want to get your guitar to play in tune for YOUR style (as opposed to Buzz Fietein's style, which if you've ever heard him play is pretty fucking dull), then you need to learn to tune by ear.
Even if I tune by ear, and really take my time, the first three frets of the B string will be off - especially on my acoustic. Every guitar I've ever played has this problem. If I know I'm going to be playing an open A chord for instance I tune appropriatly, so that the C# doesn't sound sharp. I would much rather not have to do this.
THEN you can worry about what adjustments you need to make to your tuner to get yourself in tune with one.


Basically, it is a solution without a problem, being sold for about 2000 times its value. THAT is the definition of snake oil, if you ask me.

Well - maybe none of the guitars you come into contact with have the problems I encounter, to a greater or lesser extent, on a daily basis.

I haven't had this done to any of my instruments yet - but I'm very interested in trying it out. My friend who has a great ear (you can ping a glass and he'll tell you the frequency of the note) has noticed me pulling and pushing notes into tune (I generally tune the B string a little flat to get around some of the above-mentioned problems) and thinks the BF system would save me the extra effort and allow me to use shapes I currently avoid when playing in certain keys.

Has anybody on this board actually tried the system on one of their own instruments?
 

mshilarious

Banned
Codmate said:
Even if I tune by ear, and really take my time, the first three frets of the B string will be off - especially on my acoustic. Every guitar I've ever played has this problem. If I know I'm going to be playing an open A chord for instance I tune appropriatly, so that the C# doesn't sound sharp. I would much rather not have to do this.

I don't know much about the BF system, but that is a fact of life using an equal tempered scale. You are retuning because thirds are sharp in equal temperament. However I don't think any system could do anything different without flat out being a different temperament--for example, splitting the difference between the C octave being in pitch and the A-C# third being perfect. And there could be lots more compensations too--but then it simply isn't equal temperament anymore, and if you travel to a distant key, it would be quite noticeable.

As Light stated, I don't think you need a special compensated nut for that, you are already aware of the choice between retuning to play in C or A, or splitting the difference to be semi-in-tune all the time.

Having said that, I don't prefer equal temperament, and I've thought of building an instrument that is not equal tempered, but then the problem arises of what do I do about all my other instruments :confused: It's the system, man! Fight the power!
 

mshilarious

Banned
mx_mx said:
What the hell is snake oil?

Wot Down Under you just eat the snakes raw :p

Snake oil was one of many ingredients in phony elixirs sold by quack traveling doctors/salesmen in the 19th century, and is now a term that refers to any ineffective but expensive product.
 

Light

New member
Codmate said:
I don't have the time nor the desire to go through this point by point, but a lot of stuff was said.



I've tried guitars with the Buzz's system. Usually just as I was about to set the guitar up for someone who was complaining about it. It doesn't work.


No guitar will ever play perfectly in tune. That is just a fact of physics. Partially, this is because "perfectly in tune" is a plutonic ideal which doesn't exist in real life. Partially, it is because the "in-tune" note is highly dependent on the context (which direction the melody line is going in, or which chord you are playing, and even the key you are playing that chord in). "Compensating" the compensation is never going to get everything more in tune. It will help with SOME problems. but it will hurt others.

If you have a system in your head for retuning to get yourself more in tune for certain songs, you 1) have a better ear than 99% of people, because you are noticeing things which most others do not, and 2) are doing the best thing you are ever going to be able to do to fix the problems.

Buzz's thing substitutes one set of fixed pitches for a different one. The best that can do is improve certain voicings. Anything else is just advertising. But in order to play "in-tune," you would need to get rid of fixed pitches, and push or pull each individual note. It is not possible or worth your time.

Oh, and one final thing about the nut. It is not just me who automatically compensates the nut when building. It is an issue of the width of a saw kerf. It automatically moves the nut by about .011", which is just about exactly where it needs to be. There are builders who reversed compensated for this in the past, putting the nut in the "theoretical" but incorect place; but not anymore. We've all come to understand intonation a lot better since then, and we do the job right.

Think about it this way. I could make a fair bit of money by selling the Buzz Feiten System, but I don't. Why? Because my shop has a long standing and strong reputation for NOT selling people work they don't need. We've listened to it, and it is (as I've already said) a (bas) solution for a problem which doesn't exist.



Light

"Cowards can never be moral."
M.K. Gandhi
 

sk8bobby10

New member
Light said:
Because people like you buy into it and will buy guitars because of it.


I've listened to them, and it is snake oil.


It is not so much that what he is doing isn't based on some degree of truth, it is the idea that what he is selling is IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM NEW OR UNIQUE.


What is his big thing? The nut is in the wrong place. Well, that would depend on how the guitar is made, but in MOST guitars the compensation he "discovered" is built in as a natural and ineveitable part of making the guitar. Every guitar I've ever built has the nut in the "right" place (acording to his "system"), and I did it without even thinking about it.

So what then; it needs to be tuned slightly off of "legal" pitch, right? Well, that is a natural thing when you are tuning by ear. It is only when people try and tune to a electronic tuner that they run into the "problem" he is supposedly fixing. PLUS, it only works if you play certain voicings. For the chords I play, it makes the guitar sound awful. And for anyone else who has a unique or personal style of playing chords, it just doesn't work. Ever. And many other things will throw you out of tune as well, such as playing hard, or higher action. If you want to get your guitar to play in tune for YOUR style (as opposed to Buzz Fietein's style, which if you've ever heard him play is pretty fucking dull), then you need to learn to tune by ear. THEN you can worry about what adjustments you need to make to your tuner to get yourself in tune with one.


Basically, it is a solution without a problem, being sold for about 2000 times its value. THAT is the definition of snake oil, if you ask me.



Light

"Cowards can never be moral."
M.K. Gandhi

you talk alot
 

SBax

New member
But I thought the frets were skewed too? Angled one way near the nut and the opposite after the 12th fret. Can this only be done on a new guitar?
 

ggunn

Crystal Flavolian
SBax said:
But I thought the frets were skewed too? Angled one way near the nut and the opposite after the 12th fret. Can this only be done on a new guitar?


Those are fanned frets and something else entirely.
 

Light

New member
SBax said:
But I thought the frets were skewed too? Angled one way near the nut and the opposite after the 12th fret. Can this only be done on a new guitar?


That's Ralph Novax's fanned fret system, which is an ergomatic thing. THAT works. It makes a lot of chords easier to play, because it allows the left hand to remain more in line with the arm when playing barre chords. I have it on one of my guitars, and it is very comfortable.


It is pretty much necessary to do it on new guitars, though there are replacement necks that can go on to Strats and the like. They have less fan, however, than Ralph recommends (other wise the bridge could not compensate for all of the strings).


Light

"Cowards can never be moral."
M.K. Gandhi
 

Farview

Well-known member
I was just wondering: If you get the BF system and play in a band with other people who don't have it, wouldn't that kind of screw things up?

I was in a band where I was playing old Gibsons and the other guitar player was playing new (at the time) Jacksons. We could never get our guitars completely in tune with each other because the intonation across the neck wasn't close enough. It made playing harmony lines a pain.
 

B_rad

New member
Well I have to chime in hear. I have a washburn P3 with BF system. A custom shop one made in chicago in 1997. In my ear and over all feeling of the guitar, tells me the guitar sounds brighter and in tune on all frets. My other guitars sound better slightly flat on the G,B,and E strings. I would say it works if you want your axe to have a brighter overall tone and feel. To tell you the truth its one of the finest guitars i have played. Peace :)
 
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