Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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Trevor Gore
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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by Trevor Gore » Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:35 pm

hillguitar wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 7:14 pm
With individual string compensation of the nut it most directly affects the intonation of the notes at the first fret compared to the open string...
The main use for nut compensation is to help correct intonation problems on the low frets. However, to do that, it has to be used correctly in conjunction with saddle compensation. Nut compensation used alone affects the frequency of notes on all frets equally. Think of it like this: Move the nut 1mm toward the first fret and the string will go ~3 cents sharp. That’s because the distance to the first fret is typically ~33mm and one fret distance is a semitone which equals 100 cents. So it’s simple proportion. However, the open string is normally tuned true, so the tension on the string is released to bring the open string tuning down by 3 cents to make it true, which makes the notes on all the other frets 3 cents flatter. So the net result of 1mm nut compensation towards the first fret is to flatten all the notes except the open string by ~3 cents.
hillguitar wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 7:14 pm
Individual string compensation of the bridge can certainly make the 12th fret octaves perfect, all of which seems like a good thing. These refinements would affect intervals and harmonies all over the fingerboard to some varying extent, though maybe not as comprehensively...
String compensation at the saddle alters each fretted note differently. A change in position of the saddle has much more pitch effect on the high frets than it does on the low frets.

Using these separate effects of nut and saddle compensation, together with a bit of scale length alteration (altering the string length compared to the scale length used to determine the fret positions) means that the typical errors on most guitars of the low frets playing sharp can be totally eliminated, so that accurate ET can be achieved. The fret positions do not have to move at all. Modelled results for a steel string guitar below. Classical strings give an even flatter chart. All the modeling, testing and maths are in the book.

Typical modeled intonation errors for a conventional saddle-only compensated steel string guitar:

Standard.jpg

Modeled results of full nut and saddle compensation, same guitar as above:

Full nut and saddle comp.jpg

That’s the theory and in practice it works pretty well. What players think about this system has been volunteered in this comment on the effectiveness of nut and saddle compensation and also this one here.

However, the real world can be cruel to us. For example, most nylon strings will play sharp by ~ 3 cents just due to the heating effect caused by your finger on the string before you actually fret a note. Which means perhaps you should tune to fretted notes rather than open strings. Fluorocarbon strings are better behaved in this respect. Further, body resonances will also couple with the string vibrations to shift the frequency of the played note. This one can be serious with shifts of ~20 cents being commonplace for notes very close to body resonances. They are fixable, but not via fretboard geometry. That’s part of what modal tuning is about. Get all these various challenges sorted and you will have a guitar that plays accurate equal temperament. For a responsive guitar it takes more than just work on the fretboard geometry. It’s certainly worth it when it’s done right; like Fiji water compared to LA tap water, to paraphrase Kenny.
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amezcua
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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by amezcua » Sun Feb 25, 2018 8:14 pm

One interesting question ocurred to me . What happens when you use a Capo and there is an unequal temperament fitted ? Will it be a new type of Mode to explore ? Do modes work in ET ?
Well I just checked out the Classic FM guide to Modes and they give plenty of examples from Pop to Classical music . So who was playing these "modes". A few photos show players at Grand Pianos . So have they tuned them in ET? If so why? What`s the point if the semitones are all the same .You might get a partial musical effect but not the genuine article . Life is too short to put up with pale imitations .

Rasputin
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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by Rasputin » Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:10 pm

The capo wouldn't make any difference, you would still get the key you were playing in as it would normally sound on that fretboard.

Yes, modes work in ET. This is not a new dimension in the debate - the issue is the same as for keys, which are just modes in which the 7 chord on the dominant is naturally very powerful, or has been altered to be very powerful.

amezcua
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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by amezcua » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:24 am

Here is a practical solution to fitting wiggly frets when the standard fretboard has straight slots . The wiggly frets are pretty close to the ET slots so a metal fabrication firm would easily make the wiggle shapes at the top and the slot shape at the bottom . Just make sure they are inserted in the correct order and right way round . The offset notes will have a strong enough connection with the slotted sections That`s not expensive . Any luthier would be able to do that .
The True Temperament site has a Patent number for their system. But what is patented exactly ? You can`t patent a historical temperament . It`s never possible to patent something that has already been in print anywhere . Lou Harrison made wiggly frets in the 60s . At least 16 different ones . Routing can`t be patented .
In the continuing debate about ET The commonest argument is ,modern composer`s works sound best in ET and do not work in historical temperaments. So they should not use ET for anything composed before 1900 . The samw logic has to apply .
The rule about Modes says any scale with evenly spaced semitones cannot produce the genuine Mode sounds .
( Tongue in cheek ; Altered or modified ET is not ET . It`s something else . It`s probably out of tune . Perfect ET is in 100 % in tune . Any modification is out of tune .)
Since this wiggly frets topic is related to whether we all want ET or not I have a ridiculous statement seen yesterday . It said "Modern Orchestras are Tuned to Equal Temperament ". Not the violins. Not the Violas . Not the Cellos or the Basses . And not the Woodwind or Brass . Is there much left of a modern orchestra after they all drop out ?

amezcua
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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by amezcua » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:13 am

I think the focus in this topic needs to be on the Bradley Lehman temperament rather than guessing whether the photo is really ET.
Lehman`s site is called Larips which is a reverse spelling of Spiral . Do I get a bonus point for that ?
The squiggly decoration on the Bach manuscript was Lehman`s inspiration to test Bach`s method of tuning keyboards. That`s a small step in itself , but the other Lehmans (Larips ) pages show just how extensively he tested the theory with Bach`s own music.
He discovered by testing all the intervals he could find in Bach`s music which sounded most beautiful . These intervals when slightly altered to the wrong frequencies became harsh and ugly .That is the acid test surely . That explains why Kenny Hill found the TT guitar such a pleasure to play . The temperament has been thoroughly tested the way Bach would have understood . Not with numbers or graphs but "How does it sound ?"

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petermc61
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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by petermc61 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:45 am

Maybe I missed it, when did we establish that Kenny Hill is using Bradley Lehman temperament?

Rob
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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by Rob » Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:10 pm

In answer to amezcua's question about what is patented: The True Temperament US patent 7,728,210 describes their improvement as providing a short straight section of the fret at each string/fret crossing. The benefit is said to be that when the player plays a fretted note the string can be displaced a bit to either side of perfectly vertical without changing the tone of that note.

amezcua
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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by amezcua » Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:55 am

UK Steve on 13th of August just 5 posts below the photo mentiond True Temperament .That is not an identical layout but it made me believe there was a connection . Lets just say it`s not a million miles away from the True Temperament fretboard . There is no direct mention of who made the Kenny Hill model . ##### See below .
I tried and failed to find the patent on that same number but I am unfamiliar with their filing system .
The TT video about fitting the cast metal frets seemed a bit fussy . There was a lot of levelling needed and filing with a steel file (it looked ) rather than a diamond file. Diamond files can work if you move them sideways which is a better method on frets .
I read again the comments that the wiggly frets would only work in one key . That is not correct . Temperaments that work in all keys have been used since at least 1720 . Many temperaments include the personal preferences of the individual creators of the temperaments . If you are happy to play in one very accurate (Pure ) key then visit the Lute sites .
Also the comment that it would only work with one make or type of strings. That would apply to ET as well .
It might be interesting to see what lute players make of the Lehman /Bach wiggles . Steam coming out of their ears no doubt .
Maybe a new exclusive , diy , wiggly guitar / lute site section is needed . No gut frets allowed ! Gut frets how ridiculous ( joke , laugh here ).
#### 20th December hillguitar I just found the post and the maker tells us clearly the fretboard was made by True Temperament . Have a look .

amezcua
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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by amezcua » Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:55 pm

There is a video with Kenny Hill holding one of his guitars with a True Temperament fretboard. One wrong headline shows the "search for perfect Amplification on a guitar" which should read "prefect Intonation " . Nit pickers will tell you there is no such thing as "perfect" intonation but they ignore how much intonation can be improved from what we hear nowadays . Nature has made sure there is no "perfect" intonation . We just Search and try to get as close as we can .

Brian M
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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by Brian M » Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:10 am

I found this video, which shows what it sounds like.



I have a hard time believing that it's really just doing compensation within equal temperament. Take for example the interval between G and G# on the third string. The first fret is moved relatively substantially up toward the nut, making that interval narrower than it would be otherwise. But the interval between G# and A, the second fret is moved slightly down toward the bridge, making that interval wider by the combination of the opposite displacement of the two frets. As I look at it, it looks like *all* G to G# are "short", everywhere on the fretboard, as are all D to D#.

So it looks to me like it's some kind of different temperament Maybe a compromise temperament to split the difference between the usual guitar keys while throwing the likes of Ab under the bus (where it belongs!)

Looking at the fretboard, it seems obvious to me that if you played a piece in e.g. C, then capoed up one fret and played that same piece, that it would sound *very* different.

And if you're playing with a pianist who for some incomprehensible pianistic reason *likes* her key of Ab, there's no way you're going to sound good.

amezcua
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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by amezcua » Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:43 am

for Brian M You need to read the Larips sites where Bradley Lehman explains how he developed this temperament . The recording sounds quite harsh but near the end you can tell it is playing in tune . You may still be stuck in the ET rut. It takes a while to grow out of that . Lehman analysed most of Bach`s music to get this right . It`s just a bit odd how a fretted instrument looks. You need to catch up on stuff that was learned about 300 years ago .

Rasputin
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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by Rasputin » Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:49 am

Brian M wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:10 am
Looking at the fretboard, it seems obvious to me that if you played a piece in e.g. C, then capoed up one fret and played that same piece, that it would sound *very* different.
Well if this one is not ET, then sure it would sound different - I think it is ET but either way it is clear that you can get ET versions. Maybe I misunderstood the capo thing when it was first raised. [Edit: misremembering...
amezcua wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 8:14 pm
One interesting question ocurred to me . What happens when you use a Capo and there is an unequal temperament fitted ? Will it be a new type of Mode to explore ? Do modes work in ET ?
It's not a new type of mode or a different colour - a given key or mode will sound the same whether or not you use a capo to get there, so it's not really the capo that's making the difference and it makes mores sense to me to think in terms of keys...]
And if you're playing with a pianist who for some incomprehensible pianistic reason *likes* her key of Ab, there's no way you're going to sound good.
If you choose a non-ET version then you do run that risk (how common is it to play with a pianist though?) If you choose an ET version then the wiggly frets are bringing you closer to the common standard. I think it's a bit more complicated than that because the piano is not bang on the standard itself - it has stretched octaves, and for all I know other tuning idiosyncrasies besides. What you are doing is taking the guitar's idiosyncrasies out of the equation. There is a section about potential clashes with other instruments on the TT website.
amezcua wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:43 am
for Brian M You need to read the Larips sites where Bradley Lehman explains how he developed this temperament . The recording sounds quite harsh but near the end you can tell it is playing in tune . You may still be stuck in the ET rut. It takes a while to grow out of that . Lehman analysed most of Bach`s music to get this right . It`s just a bit odd how a fretted instrument looks. You need to catch up on stuff that was learned about 300 years ago .
It's still a mystery to me why you are linking TT boards to the Lehman temperament. Reading the site it is clear they will make you one in that temperament if you are prepared to stump up, but you are talking as though that is the standard product and I don't understand why.

amezcua
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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by amezcua » Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:32 pm

The TT site tells you it`s the Lehman /Bach 1722 temperament. I can only tell you what they wrote . Look it up .Why is it a mystery if they put it on the internet in clear English?
Ask any piano tuner why they prefer ET and they will tell you it`s easier to tune. (true or not I don`t know ) .Straight guitar frets have a separate history but like a standardised piano tuning system it`s easier for manufacturing . If you like straight frets then stay as you are. Nobody will bang on your door and demand to remove your straight fret guitars . It`s hard to believe that wiggly frets are for ET . Lehman tells us the temperament is not far off ET but that`s ok . He`s not trying to pull a fast one .

amezcua
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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by amezcua » Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:15 pm

For Rasputin please see pdf

www.truetemperament.com/site/gfx/docume ... rament.pdf.

The final paragraph says " We are proud to bring the emotional expressiveness of Bach`s temper (they shortened that word ) to the guitar."
"We have adapted Dr Lehman`s "New" Bach Temperament to Die Wohltemerierte Gitarre ".
This basically is what Paul Guy brought to True Temperament . Paul Guy and Anders Thidell have adapted the Lehman temperament . That is why the temperament works in All Keys .
Hope that helps .

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Re: Kenny Hill's new performance intonation "wiggly" fretting

Post by Rasputin » Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:23 pm

amezcua wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:32 pm
The TT site tells you it`s the Lehman /Bach 1722 temperament. I can only tell you what they wrote . Look it up .Why is it a mystery if they put it on the internet in clear English?
The website says they make TT for different temperaments and refers to their ET versions and their well-tempered versions. The pdf mentions that they are many varieties of well-temperament but says that they have adapted the Lehman temperament for guitar - I think they call their version Thidell Formula 1. What I don't understand is why you take that to mean that TT boards are Lehman, full stop.
It`s hard to believe that wiggly frets are for ET
You do end up with wiggly frets if you stick with ET but compensate the frets individually - the reasons for that have been set out in this thread and are given in more detail in the article linked to by Trevor Gore. Whether or not individual fret compensation is really necessary is another matter - the proof is in the playing.

The wiggly frets on the well-tempered version would seem to be for Thidell Formula 1, which is based on Lehman (that means of course that it is not the same as Lehman). Which version is being demoed in the video we don't really know - how many of each TT put out, we certainly don't know. Maybe they are practically all well-tempered, but it doesn't say so on the site - you are just guessing there, and anyway that would make them Thidell Formula 1 rather than Lehman, and we don't know how different the two are.

I think it's a great shame if people think that wiggly frets automatically mean some kind of unorthodox temperament, because it will make it much harder for this kind of system to break into the mainstream. It's not that I dislike alternative temperaments - in fact I suggested that a new one could be devised that worked better for guitar music, bearing in mind that it does not tend to use the full range of keys. Maybe that is what what TT have already done in "adapting" Lehman for guitar - I don't know. The point is though that practically everybody is potentially interested in better intonation, but only a handful of us will ever be interested in alternative temperaments - so as I say I think it's a shame if the two things get mixed up.

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