Phil Hartley Guitar Repairs - Buzz Feiten

Buzz Feiten

Nuts about Intonation Nut Compensation Explained!

The Problem – Your guitar doesn’t play in tune

The Buzz Feiten Tuning System is one solution… or you could have a Funky Nut installed! The Funky Nut Tune an E chord at the first fret so it sounds in tune with itself. Now play the A and D chords and at least one or two notes are sharp or flat. No matter how carefully you tune your guitar, you can’t compensate for this ‘brick wall’ in intonation. So you play around the bad notes or avoid certain notes and chords altogether. Besides cramping your technique, it’s a constant annoyance when performing or recording.

The Reason – Standard intonation is not pleasing to the ear

Guitars are designed and built using a standard formula for intonation and nut placement. Each string is intonated only to itself resulting in an attempt to create perfect, mathematical intervals. Piano tuners abandoned this use of perfect mathematical intervals over 400 years ago because it is simply not pleasing to the ear. Instead, piano strings are ‘stretch tuned’ so that the intonation is pleasing anywhere on the keyboard. The resulting ‘tempered tuning’ is superbly musical and most important, in tune with the ear at all intervals. A properly tuned piano provides the absolute pitch reference for all instruments.

The Solution – The Buzz Feiten Tuning System

Inspired by the piano’s tempered tuning, the Buzz Feiten Tuning System is a revolutionary model for guitar that intonates each string not only to itself, but also to every other string. Furthermore, to eliminate sharpness in the first three frets, the nut is moved a prescribed distance closer to the bridge. The result – play any note, any chord, anywhere on the neck and you’ll be in tune. And, it doesn’t change the way your guitar feels to play.

The Buzz Feiten Tuning System retrofit involve two steps

  • Step 1: Install Shelf Nut – The nut is moved closer to the first fret to avoid sharpness at the first three frets caused by end tension. The original nut is removed and the Shelf Nut is installed according to patented formulas based on scale length, fret width and string gauge. The Shelf Nut is branded with the Buzz Feiten lightning bolt logo for authenticity. The Shelf Nut is machined from only the finest, natural bone for the absolute best in tone transfer. Each installation comes with a serial numbered Buzz Feiten Guitar Decal for verification.
  • Step 2: Intonation – Your guitar is intonated according to patented pitch offset formulas using a Peterson VSII strobe tuner (accurate to 1000th of a semitone!). These slight, but exacting adjustments to the bridge saddles bring your guitar into proper, balanced intonation across the entire fretboard. Your guitar’s original bridge is used, so there is no alteration in its look, feel or tone.

The cost of installation is £100 (£30 surcharge for PRS guitars) and includes a full set up (no fret work), the special shelf nut and strings of your choice. The Buzz Feiten equipped guitar can be tuned by ear, or with ANY electronic tuner.

Players who use the Buzz Feiten Tuning System include; Steve Vai, Robert Fripp, Larry Carlton, Robben Ford, Stu Hamm and many other top players. Some of the more forward thinking manufacturers fitting the system include; Tom Anderson, Suhr, Washburn and Garrison. At the present time, those NOT using the system include Gibson, Fender and PRS, which means most of the guitars you own!