View Full Version : Flatt & Scruggs

Slim Pickins
Mar-14-2005, 12:49pm
I play along with old Flat & Scruggs tapes & records. I suspect they tuned higher than standard. Anyone notice this or is it my cd and record players>

Mar-14-2005, 1:09pm
I believe that on many of their classic recordings, they tuned a 1/2 step sharp. I heard they thought that with the added tension the instruments sounded better. Or was it just louder??

Mar-14-2005, 4:49pm
mando-dude: There's nothing wrong with your ears ; yes, they did - many if not always - tune a fret off "standard" - I've forgotten whether up... or down. For reasons...!!http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif - Perhaps someone else on the CAFE can comment on this. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif

Scotti Adams
Mar-14-2005, 5:39pm
...they tuned a whole fret high...said it added a different timbre to their instruments...

Mar-14-2005, 7:17pm
I tune my mando sharp if i know im gonna be pickin a while. When i play it goes straight flat so i just tune it a little sharp so it stays in the range of what it is supposed to be. I have never noticed this with Flatt and Scruggs. But i guess i never really listened to the tuning anyway.

Mar-15-2005, 12:44pm
Well, they sure did get the job done!.., didn't they!! - Talk about the "classic" Bluegrass Boys"... ; How 'bout them "Foggys"!!! Lester, Earl, Josh, Curly.., Jake, Paul(early-on: Benny M.) - What wonderful music they created ; Thanks boys!! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Mar-15-2005, 1:46pm
I don't know if this has anything to do with it, or even if it's true; but Fred Newman (voice sound effects for A Prarie Home Companion) commented in an interview (http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/kuer/news/news.newsmain?action=article&ARTICLE_ID=747262) last week on the local NPR station that Earl Scruggs said he tuned his banjo to the 60 Hz hum of a fluorescent light. According to this chart (http://www.contrabass.com/pages/frequency.html), that would leave him a little sharp of B-flat or a little flat of B.


Mar-15-2005, 5:53pm
You sure said that right Moose!

Mar-16-2005, 12:59am
A lot of the old recordings are 1/2 to a whole step sharp...The explanation that I remember seeing most was that the higher pitch made the already fast bluegrass seem faster.

Mar-17-2005, 3:30am
Ok, so this makes me feel a whole lot better....
I was listening to the White bros on their album, live in stereo... and there salt creek (or saw creek as they call it) and they are in Bb on the recording... i really freeked out... but this makes a whole lot more sense. thanks ya'll

Mar-20-2005, 2:50pm
I have heard also that some producers/studios would speed up the recording after it was made, i.e. a group would play in G but in the process of getting that recording on to final consumer form, the pitch was raised a half step or two. I think this may have been more common at smaller record companies in the 50s.
There is plenty of evidence for the idea that Flatt and Scruggs tuned up. Earl mentions it in his banjo book. But for other lesser known groups in those years I think speeding up the original recording may have been more common.