"Tuning to the Jack plug" crescent tape tuning

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"Tuning to the Jack plug" crescent tape tuning

Postby Silva » Thu Nov 11, 2021 12:18 pm

I went to read the crescent chapter of Macey's book again and noticed something i didnt care about before.
The crescent saying "put your thumb on a jack plug and tune your A to that". I did it and its basically between a whole step down and a half step down, but its the tuning on the tape, it fits raindance and other songs really well.

You should try it, sounds really nice.
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Re: "Tuning to the Jack plug" crescent tape tuning

Postby Silva » Thu Nov 11, 2021 1:06 pm

Wow it gives exactly a half step down tuning in 432Hz according to my tuner! Lee was definitly onto something here. This whole frequency talk isnt so crazy afterall.
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Re: "Tuning to the Jack plug" crescent tape tuning

Postby Tony » Tue Nov 16, 2021 7:48 am

Yeah it was a big eureka moment for me when I realised...

All this background noise / electric hum / devices left on, its all the same note

Think it's a low A, almost a G

https://www.zmescience.com/other/featur ... -07112017/

The Crescent tape, I think the guitar there was in A432hz then tuned down. It really is Lee's tuning.

I can think of worse ways to tune your guitar than to the domineering sound around it. When I'm recording, I am very sensitive to sounds that don't fit, whereas I imagine the thumb-on-jack tuning approach is sort of the inverse: making your instrument one with the surroundings, to enhance the musicality. When even your accidents are musical.

Keys are basically artificial constructs, a bit like how a watch isn't time itself. You're battered with sound all the time. You can hear music in the strangest places. Birds don't sing in a key per se but pitches yet it's, intelligible probably isn't the word, pleasing and able to be followed by the human ear. There is a natural logic to it.

I sort of see this tuning as a low key, everything-is-settled tuning. Divorced from all hype, the fact for me is, it is lower, and suits my voice better (not everyone wants to be Thom Yorke). Sometimes I like to play half a step down for a certain feel. Nobody would blink at that. A432hz is just being, ironically, scientific about it. Of course it's not going to sound as tense, as you're loosening the strings. (I also like to use a capo with that tuning - takes some of the shrillness out of high fret capo use). You absolutely have to consider the pitch of the song. It's as valid as any other element. As all elements work in unison anyway.

Why neglect any element of music or prize one element above another? That's politics, that is. Lee's gift for melody and rhythm is well documented. His gift for pitch perhaps documented only by us pilgrims still hanging on.

Think it was in the 2001 reissue booklet? It said Lee tuned to feedback. One presumes from a guitar left standing by the amp, open. I don't get why that's mad. He's refining the tuning. It's strange now how easy it is to tune a guitar, but for me the La's sound is about unison, and most certainly about relative pitch. And of course you can use feedback musically. It has a note, it has a pitch.

I think with Lee a lot of his knowledge and understanding has been intuitive. He wasn't steeped in terminology like an academic. He was just hearing what there is to be heard.

I think overall tunings have to suit the sound you're after, but after recent experiments in A432hz I can't find any artist that works as well as the La's in it. Maybe that's because I'm hearing my favourite music in a different new way, or maybe I've invested it with mythical powers (I'd hardly be the only one)

But Lee tuning his guitar to his universe, what he is hearing around him.... It isn't a stupid idea. It's not even breaking any rules, and I'd argue any serious musician should at least see it as malleable to the purpose of the song. As This Is Your Brain on Music states,

pitch is a purely psychological construct, related both to the actual frequency of a particular tone and to its relative position in the musical scale. It provides the answer to the question “What note is that?”(“It’s a C-sharp.”)


Just a human label for a natural (to us) phenomenon:

pitch is vibration of a string, column of air, or other physical source. If a string is vibrating so that it moves back and forth sixty times in one second, we say that it has a frequency of sixty cycles per second. The unit of measurement, cycles per second, is often called Hertz (abbreviated Hz) after Heinrich Hertz, the German theoretical physicist who was the first to transmit radio waves (a dyed-in-the-wool theoretician, when asked what practical use radio waves might have, he reportedly shrugged, “None”). If you were to try to mimic the sound of a fire engine siren, your voice would sweep through different pitches, or frequencies (as the tension in your vocal folds changes), some “low” and some “high.”


And this passage, which in describing how pitch works sounds exactly like what an artist does: reinterprets and internalised the external world, how pitch is intrinsic in this context:

The word pitch refers to the mental representation an organism has of the fundamental frequency of a sound. That is, pitch is a purely psychological phenomenon related to the frequency of vibrating air molecules. By “psychological,” I mean that it is entirely in our heads, not in the world-out-there; it is the end product of a chain of mental events that gives rise to an entirely subjective, internal mental representation or quality.

We perceive color in a similar way.


We are wired to understand pitch - or imbue sounds with pitch - and interpret it as, well, a Feelin'. What is the most successful (I ain't talking business) music but music which gives rise to a representation of a quality, a feel?

Pitch is speed is tension is tone is time is everything. All interrelational.

Of course the genius musician thought about pitch. Any musician should. Any listener, even, if they want to truly hear.
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Re: "Tuning to the Jack plug" crescent tape tuning

Postby Silva » Wed Nov 17, 2021 3:44 pm

Well said. Pitch is a sea of mystery.

Just one question, how do you usually change the pitch on some of your youtube videos without damaging the audio quality?
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Re: "Tuning to the Jack plug" crescent tape tuning

Postby Silva » Wed Nov 17, 2021 7:33 pm

Another thing, Cast's Walkaway uses the same tuning. John must believe in it as well.
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Re: "Tuning to the Jack plug" crescent tape tuning

Postby Tony » Wed Nov 17, 2021 8:01 pm

I just tinker with it in my DAW. I tune it to my guitar, which is in A432hz if I suspect that was the tuning (you can often tell from audience shouts or comparing Lee's voice to other recordings)

There's no technical trick to me pitch shifting. It's just very, very minor, usually.
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