Hearing my Guitar Flat in pitch at gigs???

Hi All
I need some serious help – sorry for a long post but I want to explain the problem clearly.

I recently bought an AC30 TB/6 – Absolutely awesome sound – best I ever had in 25 years – the soundstage it produces is also huge – none of the directional sound I got from my Marshall 1936 cab (with JMP-1 and 8008 amp).

We play Punk and classic rock covers and play at a fair volume – to get the AC 30 singing I run it up full and then use a THD hot plate to bring the volume down to the level of our loud drummer and his Ludwig kit – I run the Hotplate on 8dB attenuation.

BUT – and here is the problem

Playing at gigs I hear my guitar flat – this is a huge problem of course – when the singer (also Bass) starts playing and singing, my guitar sounds really flat in pitch. We are a 3 piece and the Bass and drummer says I was spot on and they were hearing it ok, except for some of the bent notes which were sharp (obviously) – I realized this was likely so I tried to do all my bends so I heard them flat. I also sing as well and it’s really off putting of course – although I have managed to get on pitch vocally up to now – of course it curbs my enjoyment as it sounds awful all together.
WE have just retuned to Eb for all our songs and I thought the Bassman had forgotten – but he hadn’t.

So for the last Gig (on Sat) I bought a set of In Ear monitors (Trantec S400 and a pair of Shre E3C headphones) I also had the amp on a stand behind me pointing at my head. All seemed ok in sound check (at playing volumes). But once we sparked up – I was hearing my guitar flat again – the Bass Drums and Vocals were coming through the In ears perfectly – but the guitar was coming through flat. I control the mixer on stage so I kept tweaking my monitor levels but couldn’t get it so I could hear the guitar on pitch. On the last but one song I got annoyed and ripped out one of the earplugs – after the initial shock of the volume increase (cos the shures are great sound isolators) I started to hear my amp on pitch and the vocals in my other ear piece.

You may think I’ve solved the problem – and unless I get a better idea, I’ll use this at the next gig. But in the interests Of protecting my hearing I’d like to use the in ears.

Has anyone ever come up against this before?? One interesting part of the set is where I swap guitars with the Bass player - I also stand on his side of the stage – and I heard my guitar sound OK (as I remember).

So is there any technical reason for this? Could it be some sort of phase cancellation or is it more likely I’m overloading my ears?? I tried normal ear plugs to attenuate the sounds at a previous gig but still hear it flat – so maybe I’m not overloading

So I have used it at 3 gigs now and had problems at all of them.

Please help??

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Sounds like one for the X-Files, ive never heard anything like it, and if it were april 1st i would not take it seriously, volume can have no effect on pitch, do you check your tuning during gigs to see if the guitar remains in pitch? when you say it sounds flat is it flat acording to your tuner?

I agree with your observations on the Vox AC30, awsome amp, what speakers are you using?

Yep it is certainly strange - I check my tuning regularly and am pretty much spot on. My Les Paul and 335 stay pretty much in tune all night. But I always check every couple of songs.

BTW I'm using Greenbacks, the Amp is an Ex Korg Demo from around 2002 - would prefer Alnico's but they are damn expensive.

I used to play bass for a guy who would occasionally reach over and tune me slightly flat as I tended to bend both the strings and the neck of my bass when I got excited...I can't imagine you bending the neck of a guitar forward all the time tho, so I'll shut up now.


Actually, Tim has a point - especially as you're doing punk and classic rock. It may be a bass thing. Something similar has happened to me once. Our band does our own songs and there was this number in a sort of Led Zepp style. We always played without monitors; the singer was classically trained and never lost pitch, the guitarist and I were happy with onstage sound.

We did some recording in an 8-track studio and we just whizzed down all main instruments in one go with a mule vocal, then recorded vox and any lead line afterwards. Quick, dirty but fine with us. Anyhoo, once we went upstairs to master it down, I couldn't believe what I was hearing on this particular song. The guitar on the chorus sounded awful.

Not only the recording engineer, but our live soundman were sitting in the room. I was pretty brassed off with the pair of them. Listening again and again, I think I worked it out. At that point, I was hitting the bass strings pretty hard and, although in the studio, we were playing it much as we would live. There was enough flobble in the E-string to momentarily waver in pitch. Not enough, during all the excitement, for me to notice standing by my own cab with the guitarist's over yonder. On the mixdown, though, it had the effect of making the guitar sound flat and, once I mentioned it, everybody could suddenly REALLY hear it.

I don't know if it explains your prob, but there were enough sims to make me post this up.

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