pitch change while changing chords or scales


devy99
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Joined: 02/03/18
Posts: 6
devy99
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Joined: 02/03/18
Posts: 6
09/15/2020 1:45 pm

Hello. I have been learning to play guitar for about a year and finally decided to go to guitar tricks. I must admit that my progress is doing better since then. My question pertains more with my electric Ephiphone 335 but somewhat with my acoustic on which both I am learning on.

It seems that whenever I change between some chords, particularily when say for example I am playing half notes, that there is a noticeable change in pitch of the strings. This is more evident with some chords such as the open d or b minor for example. So for example I will downstrum for a half bar, then change and second strum for the last half. . As for my scales, going up is no problem as I am adding fingers to ones already placed down on the string until I change strings or when I descend the scales where I have no fingers already covering. It seems more evident with electric guitar . Because of thinner strings and amp? How can I get rid of this change of pitch sound? [br]Thanks


# 1
ChristopherSchlegel
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Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,405
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,405
09/15/2020 2:44 pm

Hey & welcome to GT!

Originally Posted by: devy99

It seems that whenever I change between some chords, particularily when say for example I am playing half notes, that there is a noticeable change in pitch of the strings.[/quote][p]Is this pitch change up or down. I'm assuming up, but asking for clarification.

Slight pitch changes up are usually from one of 2 possible sources:

1. String height.

2. Fretting too hard.

If your strings are set too high (high action) then normal fretting can cause the strings to sound sharp (too high in pitch). Even if you strings have good action, sometimes beginners tend to press the strings too hard when fretting notes & that causes the notes to be a little sharp.

But the odd thing here is that you mention it happens when you strum. So, that leave the 3 option.

3. Strumming too hard.

If you dig in too much with the pick it's possible to pull the string sharp.

Try a lighter fretting & strumming technique to see if this corrects the problem. You want aim for using only enough pressure to make the note sound when you fret. Too much is wasted effort & can make the notes sharp.

Same with strumming. You want to just graze the strings. Don't dig in too much. and it helps if you angle the pick in order to graze the strings.

Originally Posted by: devy99This is more evident with some chords such as the open d or b minor for example. So for example I will downstrum for a half bar, then change and second strum for the last half.

Are you saying the second strum is an UP strum motion? If so, then this might be due to digging in too far when strumming.

[quote=devy99]As for my scales, going up is no problem as I am adding fingers to ones already placed down on the string until I change strings or when I descend the scales where I have no fingers already covering. It seems more evident with electric guitar . Because of thinner strings and amp? How can I get rid of this change of pitch sound?

That sounds like too high action or fretting too hard.

Can you post a short audio or video example?

Hope that helps!


Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

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# 2
devy99
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Posts: 6
devy99
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Posts: 6
09/16/2020 1:50 pm

Thanks Chris for getting back to me. unfortunately I cannot provide an audio or video at this time. I will use an example to explain better.

When for example I begin playing a d chord. I strum it downwards hold the chord then change to for example a g chord. While playing the d the chord sound good and in tune but but I release it to go to the g, I notice that the pitch flattens. This is more noticeable with chords where I have to fret more thinner strings. It's not noticeable with barre chords. Perhaps fretting too hard?. I don't believe so but I will experiment lessoning off my fretting pressure. Action of my electric? I have it adjusted . If I lower it too much, I find that I get string buzz. I will try lowering my action down a bit at a time and see how far I can go. Thanks again. Perhaps another suggestion by you?


# 3
ChristopherSchlegel
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Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,405
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,405
09/16/2020 2:48 pm
Originally Posted by: devy99When for example I begin playing a d chord. I strum it downwards hold the chord then change to for example a g chord. While playing the d the chord sound good and in tune but but I release it to go to the g, I notice that the pitch flattens.[/quote]

I'm assuming you mean the D chord sounds flat in pitch right before you release it. If so, then . . .

[quote=devy99]This is more noticeable with chords where I have to fret more thinner strings. It's not noticeable with barre chords. Perhaps fretting too hard?

Maybe. If you are pressing too hard, then release pressure, then the string will go down slightly in pitch.

But here's the rub: why doesn't it sound sharp when you are playing the chord in the first place?

A guitar that is set up properly will sound in tune if you apply just enough pressure to fret the note. Any more pressure will usually make the string sound sharp. Because you are pressing too hard & pushing the string into the space between the frets into the fingerboard.

If you release pressure, then the chord stops ringing. You need to get off of those strings, mute with your strumming hand if necessary, then fret the next chord.

And how long are you holding on to the notes of that D chord before you make the move to the G chord?

One other thought, I've seen an occasional student press or pull so hard on the body or neck of the guitar that it goes up in pitch. Then when they release pressure to change chords they release the leverage or pressure they are applying to the body (with their strumming arm) and, or the neck (with their fretting arm), the strings go slightly flat for a brief moment.

But again, this makes the chord noticable sharp in the first place. Make sense?


Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory
# 4

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