Troubleshooting FATpick for Guitar and Bass


If this troubleshooting guide doesn't help you resolve your technical issues, please contact FATpick support for assistance.


My guitar is tuned and my timing is more than adequate, but my playing isn't being recognized. FATpick keeps telling me I've missed notes that I'm sure I've hit.

Pitch and timing detection problems can be frustrating, but don't despair. Most of the time one of the following suggestions will fix the problem.

Is FATpick hearing you at all?

Make sure your microphone or audio input is connected and enabled both in FATpick and within your operating system.

Open FATpick's Audio Settings and make sure that the correct input device is selected, and that the input volume isn't set too low. Play a few notes on your guitar. You should see the volume meter respond to your playing.

If FATpick still isn't getting any audio signal, open your operating system's audio or sound controls and make sure the input device is enabled and that the input volume isn't set too low.

If your computer's operating system isn't detecting any audio either and you are using an external microphone or audio interface, make sure everything is properly connected, powered-on, and set to an appropriate volume. If you can, test an alternative microphone or device to rule out problems with the device you are using.

Is FATpick getting a clean signal?

Problems detecting the accuracy of your guitar playing are often caused by environmental conditions.

  • Make sure the volume is neither too low nor too high. If the volume of your guitar, amplifier or pedal chain is too loud the input signal may be too distorted (or clipped) for FATpick to recognize the notes you are playing.

  • Disable any effects on your guitar, amplifier or pedal chain. Also try to remove any line-noise or buzz. For the best results use as clear of an audio signal as you can.

  • Try to minimize any background noise. This includes noise from the application itself. Make sure the playback volume isn't too high, or use headphones so that the microphone is picking up your playing in isolation.

  • Make sure you are mic'd properly.

    • If you are playing an acoustic guitar make sure you stay close enough to the microphone (or your laptop, if you using the built-in microphone).
    • If you are not playing an acoustic guitar, try using an amplifier. FATpick can sometimes recognize your playing on an unamplified electric guitar, but you will have better results if you use the appropriate set-up for your guitar.
    • If you are playing through an amplifier make sure the microphone is at an appropriate distance from the amp's speakers to pick up the sound.
    • If you are using a dongle-style digital interface and have the option, you may want to try using your computer's default microphone (or an external one). FATpick is designed to work without any special cables or equipment. You may have better luck using a microphone than any sort of guitar-to-USB cable.
  • Make sure your guitar is in tune. Use the in-application feedback to confirm; sometimes different tuners behave slightly differently, especially when there is a difference in the microphone, audio input or overall signal processing being used by each tuner.

  • Make sure your guitar is in the right tune. Some songs in FATpick's library, and any songs that you or others import can be written for a non-standard tuning. You will find the proper tuning indicated in the description of each track on the track-selection screen. Double-check that you are using the tuning the song is written for.

Is FATpick calibrated for the latency of your current set-up?

All the components of your set-up — your computer, pedals, mixers, amplifiers, microphones, even cables — whether analog or digital, will introduce a tiny bit of delay to the audio signal. In particular, there will always be a small but measurable delay between the time at which the sounds coming out of your guitar hit the microphone and the time at which that sound is delivered to FATpick as a digital signal that can be analyzed. Because of this, FATpick will always "hear" your playing a tiny bit later than when you struck the note. This delay is sometimes known as "latency".

Since there is no way to eliminate this delay, FATpick takes latency into account when evaluating your timing. But the tricky thing is that the latency is determined by the specific details of your set-up. Everyone's latency will be slightly different. Your latency will even be slightly different if you make changes to your set-up.

Because everyone's latency value is unique, FATpick must measure the latency of your setup, in a process known as "calibration". If the latency is not properly calibrated FATpick won't be able to evaluate your timing correctly. And since timing is one of the factors FATpick takes into account when determining if a given note was hit or missed, if the latency calibration is off FATpick won't be able to recognize the notes you are playing correctly either.

Make sure that FATpick is calibrated accurately. The process just takes a few seconds; just select Calibrate Latency from the Settings menu and follow the on-screen instructions.

Is FATpick's pitch detector configured properly?

When "Advanced Options" are enabled, FATpick exposes several "knobs" that change parameters of the note detection algorithm. These can sometimes help address stubborn issues with getting FATpick to recognize your playing accurately. Of course, it is also easy to break the note detection algorithm by configuring these parameters sub-optimally.

To make sure this hasn't happened to you:

  • If you have Advanced Options enabled, choose Audio Analysis from the Settings menu and use the "Restore Default Analysis Settings" button to go back to the original settings.

  • If you don't have the advanced options enabled you can restore all settings (including the audio analysis) to their original values by choosing General from the Settings menu and tapping the "Restore Factory Settings" button.

  • (If you would like to enable the advanced options, go to the General Settings screen and toggle the "Show Advanced Options" switch.)

Still having problems?

If none of these suggestions has helped, we might be able to tweak some of the parameters of the note-detection algorithm for your specific situation.

You can play with these options yourself via the Audio Analysis settings. To expose the Audio Analysis settings, go the General settings screen and toggle the "Show Advanced Options" switch to turn the features on. This will add a new Audio Analysis option to the main Settings menu.

The Audio Analysis settings are complicated and interact with one another in complex ways. You are welcome to experiment with different settings, but note that the default configuration is not arbitrary. If you change these parameters from their default values you are likely to make the algorithm perform worse.

But don't worry, you can't do any permanent damage this way. You can always restore the default settings with the click of a button. If you choose to experiment with these settings you can use the monitor at the bottom of the form to evaluate your changes.

That said, there is one feature of the analysis settings that may be easy to apply successfully: the audio filter. This will modify the audio signal before the analysis algorithm is applied and can sometimes improve results by filtering out background noise.

For guitar, you should enable the "High Pass" filter. This will filter out sounds that are below the range of a guitar.

For bass guitar, you should enable the "Low Pass" filter. This will filter out sounds that are above the range of a bass guitar.

In both cases, it is probably best to leave Frequency, Q-Factor and Gain settings on their default values.

We're here to help

FATpick is still a work-in-progress. This is a "beta" release that we're still improving and field-testing. For this reason, we'd love to help you overcome the problems you are having trying to get FATpick to recognize your playing accurately. Don't hesitate to contact us about any problems, questions or feedback.


 
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