Recommended way to tune a very old guitar track?

Hello guys,
Best to all of you. So, I have some tunes I did back in 75’. Bass, drums, vox and 2 guitars.
One of the guitars is out of tune with the other. What would be a few options to “tune” the one guitar that’s out?

Thanks guys.

I think the best option is Celemony Melodyne (but you need a version that uses Direct note acess).

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Are we talking just a few notes, or is the whole guitar out of tune by a certain amount?

If the whole guitar is generally out by say, 20 cents, doe example, you can just pitch the entire audio file up or down to be closer to the other guitar.

If it is only a few notes, or a single string, you could try with Celemony Melodyne, or Spectralayers in Nuendo, or some other plug in that can separate notes from complex sounds. It won’t be perfect, but it can help.

A third option is to just re record that guitar anew. Do you have the recording notes for how that guitar was recorded?

I’d say a combination of the two methods suggested.

First tune the whole track with a pitch shift as close as possible. Automate if you need/can. (ZPlane elastique pitch is my go-to. They are supplying the pitch shifting algorithms to Steinberg (and Ableton) but they have a vst plugin wich is handy for automation.)

Then, if the guitar is out of tune with it self, bounce the track and use Melodyne.

Tuning the whole track sounds usually more natural then Melodyneing individual strings/notes.

Best regards

Thank you Johannes for the information. Very helpful.
However, I have never used Melodyne. I’ve heard it’s a very time consuming program to learn.


You are welcome!

Melodyne is not super hard to learn. But if you put in a lot of time you can learn to work really fast.

For tuning a piano or a guitar it’s more or less opening the file, do a poly detection and adjust the pitch correct knob. The hard part is using it just enough. The less you do the more natural it will sound.


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… which also means that it works best with manually optimized detection and manual corrections to individual “blobs”, although this is considerably more work than using its pitch-correction macro. :slight_smile:

Yeah, for sure. You can also focus along one specific note/frequency and apply to taste. But sometimes it’s hard to deal with overtones, esp on guitar and it will start sounding like a (bad? )synth pretty fast if you are heavy handed.

My process for this would be. (This is not an everyday thing for me)

  1. Tune the whole track with a general pitch shift. Using The best algorithm you can find.
  2. If still bad. Re-track or ask client for a new file if they can.
  3. Melodyne as tastefully as possible.

So my main tip is, if you need to do this. Don’t start with Melodyne, check if the over all tuning is good first.


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Plus, embrace imperfection. Fight the urge to tidy up too much.


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:smiley: … the discussion is as old as professional musicianship, I guess. Is “bad” the new “good”, or is “out of tune” still just - uhm - out of tune …?

The simplest way I believe is to just adjust the file a few cents up or down using the info line. No algorithms necessary. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Yes, you are right, by far the fastest way! (And the default algorithm that is used is elastique pro) :kissing_heart:


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Melodyne Polyphonic will do this. There may be side effects to the sound but you can try it

Yes, with Melodyne you can do it in exactly 30 seconds. The guitar may be completely out of tune. Mark everything and Melodyne automatically chromatically aligns every note. Then of course check everything.