Don't let the title be misleading. We all know the basic concept of how to tune, my question is this: when tuning and checking the accuracy of the note, are you checking right where the needle is at the first initial "spank" right after picking, or do you let it sustain and base more off what the sustained note reads?
Reason I ask is I used to let the note ring whether it was open string or 12th fret harmonic and tune/intonate that way, everything sounded alright except my low b (or A if drop tuned) always sounded way sharp. I just finished experimenting with only tuning to that initial note "spank" right after picking and not tuning off the sustained note, and the results are night and day. Everything sounds much more in tune now and intonation is much more accurate and everything sounds right.
I've probably just been the dumb ass using the wrong tuning technique the entire time, I'm just curious if anybody else has had a revelation like this or what method you use.
Its a good question.
I tune to the attack for faster material, the sustain for slower, and somewhere in between for somewhere in between.
Bottom line is sounds good = tuned well. When chords are ringing out full and clear, with minimal harshness from clashing overtones, youre good to go. This may or may not happen with a guitar that registers as perfectly tuned on a tuner.
This is because in addition to the guitars basic intonation problems and excursion of the string making attack sharp, overtones are always out of tune. They are sharp. This is because the overtones are vibrating on a shorter proportion of the string, but because the strings have thickness, there is a section thats not moving, so the overtone is actually happening on a shorter portion of the string than you think theoretically, so as you go up overtones they get gradually sharper.
So, again, chords sound in tune, clear, full, not harsh = win. What it looks like on a tuner doesnt matter that much, its more complicated than that.