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How It Works How It Works Features How To Identify A BFTS Guitar Tuning With The BFTS Tuning By Ear F.A.Q. Frequently Asked Questions
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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 intonation.
  • 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 Authorized Retrofitters.
  • 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 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 Authorized Retrofitter.
  • 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.