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Guitars Retrofitted with BFTS
- How is my guitar Retrofitted with the Buzz
Feiten Tuning System?
The Buzz Feiten Tuning System® Authorized Retrofit involves two steps:
Step 1: The nut is moved closer to the first fret to eliminate
sharpness at the first three frets caused by end tension. This step employs
our exclusive Shelf Nut which is machined from high quality bone.
Installation of this part is non-invasive to your instrument. Your Authorized
Retrofitter removes the original nut and installs our Shelf Nut according
to our patented formulas for your guitar based on its scale length, string
gauge and fret width.
Step 2: Your guitar is intonated according to our patented
pitch offset formulas. This step uses the existing adjustable bridge saddles
on your guitar bringing each string into pleasing intonation with every
other string at every fret across the entire fingerboard.
- Will having the Buzz Feiten Tuning System installed
on my guitar affect the way I play?
No. Just play as you normally would and enjoy playing in tune across every
string, every fret, everywhere on the neck. The beauty of having a guitar
that is truly in tune and properly intonated with the Buzz Feiten Tuning
System is that you can focus on your technique and expression rather than
being distracted by the tuning inconsistencies inherent with standard
- Will there be any visual difference
after the tuning system is on my guitar?
The only visual difference will be a very slight overhang of
the BFTS Shelf Nut. This is nearly imperceptible and has absolutely
no effect on fingering at the first fret. The beauty of the system
is that it is totally non-invasive on electric guitars and basses
since it uses your existing adjustable bridge saddles for setting
the intonation. Acoustic guitars require additional modification
to the bridge and saddle because acoustics employ a fixed saddle;
that is, they do not have individually adjustable bridge saddles.
Other than that, your guitar will play and sound exactly the
same...except beautifully in tune. Every string, every fret,
everywhere on the fingerboard.
- How can I tell if the Buzz Feiten Tuning
System is installed on a guitar?
Check the back of the headstock for our BFTS Logo Sticker on
guitars that have the system included by the manufacturer and
the BFTS Serial Numbered Logo Sticker on guitars that have been
retrofitted with the system. If it doesn’t have the sticker,
it doesn’t have the system. In some cases, a retrofit customer
may not wish to have the sticker fixed to the back of the headstock.
In this case, the sticker should be included with the guitar
to prove that the system was properly retrofitted by one of our
- What about playing in alternate tunings?
The Buzz Feiten Tuning System works great with any alternate
tunings. You can even tune a whole step down. In other words,
if the guitar is normally played in standard tuning and ocasionally
tuned to alternate tunings, your BFTS retrofitted guitar will
retain pleasing intonation. The reason for this is that our tuning
system balances the guitar string-to-string, so, even when you
use alternate tunings, the string-to-string balancing of the
Buzz Feiten Tuning System remains intact.
If you drop your guitar down a whole step for all strings
you may need minor setup adjustments (truss rod, etc) to
compensate for the different string tension. As described
above, the string-to-string balance of the BFTS will still maintain pleasing intonation
even when tuned lower without having to re-intonate. Check
with your Authorized Retrofitter if you feel you need further assistance.
If you have a guitar that is setup and played in one specific
tuning always, then we recommend that it is tuned and intonated
with the appropriate tuning model of the Buzz Feiten Tuning System.
Your Authorized Retrofitter will help you in determining this.
The only concern is if you drop down to a low A on a shorter
scale guitar like a Les Paul-style instrument, you will
need to put on heavier strings than when you are at standard
pitch. A standard 10-46 gauge set of strings will work fine with
standard or Drop D tuning, but to try and tune lower than
that without increasing the string gauge and making any necessary truss
rod adjustments will result in strings that are too loose
to deliver correctly intonated notes. Make sure you consult with your
Authorized Retrofitter for the best course of action and
to perform the necessary adjustments.
If you want to check your guitar's intonation yourself,
you can use the Peterson StroboStomp and Korg DT-7 Tuner, which
have the Buzz Feiten Tuning System Mode for tuning and intonation
and the Peterson VSII and Peterson 490 which can be programmed
with the Buzz Feiten Tuning System for tuning and intonation.
Check out details on "How to Use the Korg DT-7 Tuner" by
accessing the link button on the Home Page of this site. Check
out Peterson's website www.petersontuners.com for details on
using their tuners.
- Is the tuning system compatible with
my Bigsby/Floyd Rose/Kahler bridge and Locking Nut?
Yes. The Buzz Feiten Tuning System is implemented by the movement
of the nut and adjustment of the bridge saddles. Trem systems
and locking nuts perform the same as stock nuts and saddles when
retrofitted to our specifications. As with any retrofit, your
Authorized Retrofitter is expertly trained to handle such installations.
- I use a capo on my guitar, will the
BFTS help and doesn't the capo eliminate the need for the nut
to be moved?
The positive effect created by nut movement in the Buzz Feiten
Tuning System is the elimination of sharp notes at the first
three frets. This is due to the fact that guitar strings exhibit
greater tension at the point of attachment to the nut than they
do further up the fingerboard. This phenomenon, called 'end tension',
causes strings to play sharper in pitch near the point of attachment
to the nut - typically the first three frets. The movement of
the nut slightly changes the scale length (the distance from
the nut to the bridge) of the strings according to our formulas
based on the original scale length, string gauge and fret width
of the guitar. When your guitar is retrofitted with the system,
your Authorized Retrofitter uses our exclusive Shelf Nut that
slightly hangs over the fingerboard so that the end of the fingerboard
does not need to be cut to reposition the nut. The entire process
is non-intrusive to your instrument making it perfectly acceptable
for any guitar including vintage instruments. Your Authorized
Retrofitter will grind the front of the Shelf Nut so that the
'shelf' protrudes over the top of the fingerboard the exact amount
needed to eliminate sharp notes for your particular guitar. This
effect is then integrated into the formulas for the tempering
process (adjustment of the bridge saddles) of the Buzz Feiten
Tuning System. The two steps, nut movement and tempering, are
what balance all the strings across the entire fingerboard in
our system. A capo doesn't replace our nut movement, just as
playing a barre chord doesn't. A capo only has the same effect
as playing a barre chord. Please note that when applying the
capo, use only enough pressure to hold the string down, the same
as you would when playing a barre chord.
- There are no retrofitters located near me, what should I do?
Authorized Retrofitters typically accept work shipped to
them. Refer to the Retrofitter page on this site and contact
your nearest retrofitter for details. Even better, if you
have a favorite repair tech, encourage them to become an
- Can the tuning system be installed on fretted stringed
instrument with a zero fret (like the Mobius, MTD Basses,
or selected models of Warr Guitars) ?
Yes. In these cases, the zero fret is positioned exactly
the same as the BFTS Shelf Nut in accordance with the BFTS
specifications for a particular guitar; the repositioning
of the zero fret produces the exact same effect as the
installation of our Shelf Nut. In addition, with the zero
fret performing the specific purpose of nut repositioning,
the BFTS Shelf Nut can still be used behind the zero fret
for string spacing (you still need a nut for this) and
to display the BFTS Logo.
- Can the tuning system be installed on my mandolin, classical
nylon string guitar, or any other stringed instrument?
Yes! Any fretted, stringed instrument can be retrofited
with the Buzz Feiten Tuning System. In addition to electric
and acoustic guitars and basses, we’ve retrofitted
the system on mandolins, banjos and 'touch-style' instruments.
Classical, nylon-string guitars are notoriously problematic
with regards to the tuning inconsistencies of standard
intonation. Classical guitars retrofitted with the Buzz
Feiten Tuning System are some of the most dramatic examples
of how well the system works.