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Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con

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GUEST,Peter T. 09 Jun 00 - 10:59 AM
Midchuck 09 Jun 00 - 11:09 AM
Gypsy 09 Jun 00 - 11:11 AM
catspaw49 09 Jun 00 - 11:11 AM
Sean Belt 09 Jun 00 - 11:18 AM
Bert 09 Jun 00 - 11:20 AM
Clinton Hammond2 09 Jun 00 - 11:22 AM
Whistle Stop 09 Jun 00 - 11:25 AM
Rick Fielding 09 Jun 00 - 11:38 AM
Lady McMoo 09 Jun 00 - 11:41 AM
sledge 09 Jun 00 - 11:41 AM
catspaw49 09 Jun 00 - 11:45 AM
GUEST,April790 09 Jun 00 - 11:47 AM
jeffp 09 Jun 00 - 12:00 PM
Jed at Work 09 Jun 00 - 12:09 PM
catspaw49 09 Jun 00 - 12:21 PM
Jim the Bart 09 Jun 00 - 12:28 PM
Clinton Hammond2 09 Jun 00 - 12:31 PM
GUEST,Paul G. 09 Jun 00 - 12:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Jun 00 - 12:50 PM
Mooh 09 Jun 00 - 12:54 PM
sophocleese 09 Jun 00 - 12:58 PM
Pinetop Slim 09 Jun 00 - 01:12 PM
Clinton Hammond2 09 Jun 00 - 01:15 PM
black walnut 09 Jun 00 - 01:35 PM
BlueJay 09 Jun 00 - 02:07 PM
Whistle Stop 09 Jun 00 - 02:19 PM
Jon Freeman 09 Jun 00 - 03:05 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Jun 00 - 06:33 PM
Gypsy 09 Jun 00 - 10:03 PM
Rick Fielding 09 Jun 00 - 10:09 PM
Jon Freeman 09 Jun 00 - 10:17 PM
sophocleese 09 Jun 00 - 10:54 PM
Jon Freeman 09 Jun 00 - 11:05 PM
Terry K 10 Jun 00 - 01:28 AM
john c 10 Jun 00 - 01:30 AM
alison 10 Jun 00 - 03:03 AM
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Subject: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: GUEST,Peter T.
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 10:59 AM

I went away on a holiday, and just before I went I purchased an electronic tuner for my guitar. I wanted to try out a whole range of open tunings, and the tuner I bought let me do this, as well as standard. The whole experience was terrific. I realized that one of the things that has been holding me back has been the great difficulty I have in tuning my guitar -- I have tapes and tuning forks and the rest, but I can never get it to sound the way my teacher can make it sound in 15 seconds -- and the fear that if I get out of standard tuning I will never get back again. I launched out into open D and DADGAD and the rest, just for fun. I would never have done that without this tuner. I deeply appreciate the need to be able to tune by ear, and the need to internally tune the guitar, and not totally rely on a tuner -- and I intend to keep tuning by ear so as train myself better and not to get totally reliant on this thing -- but it was really a great experience.

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: Midchuck
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 11:09 AM

The Pro's: Exactly as Peter T. says above; plus in jams, you avoid arguing about who is in correct tune (and the hammered dulcimer or autoharp player can't demand that everyone tune to him/her); and you can wander from one jam to another and usually not have to retune.

The Cons: 1) An acoustic guitar is never in completely correct tune - you could build one to be completely correct in one particular key, but then it would be further off in all the others - and the tuner is too stupid to make the necessary adjustments, so you always need to mess with one or two strings after the tuner says everything's fine.

2) Using one tends to cause your ability to tune without one to atrophy (this is only a concern if you ever had any such ability, so it doesn't bother me too much).

I'm a believer.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: Gypsy
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 11:11 AM

Another pro: I can tune my 16/15 hammered dulcimer in about 20 minutes. Try doing that by ear! I'de rather play than tune.


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: catspaw49
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 11:11 AM

The times we've talked about this before, the general concensus (yeah,right) has been the value of electronic tuners have been great and an aid to ear tuning; very helpful in groups too. If you're working with autoharps, dulcimers and the like, they are so much more accurate and faster that I think "invaluable" is not too strong a word. Yes, the instrument should be in tune with itself, but as a help to getting more pleasure out of your instrument, as you have now done Peter, they're worth the few bucks you spend.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: Sean Belt
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 11:18 AM

For years I had a bias against electronic tuners, thinking, "Real musicians don't need no steenking tuners." Then I bought one as a gift for a friend who was just learning. I started playing around with it and was hooked. I've now bought one for myself and one for my partner's hammered dulcimer. It's not caused my ear to atrophy yet, but does help a lot with being able to tune up at a jam session. As long as tuners are used as a tool and not a crutch, I think they're brilliant.

- Sean


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: Bert
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 11:20 AM

Midchuck, Your second 'con' is not true for everyone. My tin ear has improved considerably since I bought a tuner.


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: Clinton Hammond2
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 11:22 AM

Sabine makes a wonderful little beast that I've found I can't (more like won't) live without... It's a tiney wee tuner about the size of ummm... the meat of yer thumb?? The neat thing about it is, it sticks to the body of the instrument like a post-it note... Totally chromatic... a wonderful beast...

And until I started using electronic tuners, I was HOPELESS when it came to tuning... couldn't hear a damn thing.. over the past few years I've noticed that I can now get pertty close by ear, and I use the tuner for zeroing in on the tone...

Oh and Gypsy? Rather play than tune? Of course But I'd rather hear ya play in tune!! LOL!!!! I have no problem at all, say at a show listening to the patter while the performer insures that their axe is ready to go...

Usually hears some good stories then too eh!!

LOL!!!!!

{~`


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 11:25 AM

Another advantage, for those of us who spend part of our musical life playing with loud bands in loud bars, is that you can tune without being able to hear your instrument. [Yes, I know this is the Mudcat, but lots of us have a wide range of musical interests that go beyond the quiet folkie acoustic thing.] As others have said, usually some final tweaking is still needed, but in some of the situations I play in routinely, you wouldn't be able to get anywhere close without the electronic assist. I tune by ear in the relative quiet of my own home, but in the bars, the electronic tuner can make all the difference.


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 11:38 AM

On the most simplistic level, I always figured: look, I trained my ear, my sense of pitch is really good...I've payed my dues....NOW LEMME USE A DAMN TUNER!

Actually there are lots of really valid reasons to use (some types of) tuners.

Midchuck's right about guitars never being perfectly in tune. The tuner helps you learn where you have to compensate. If you've got 10 minutes, try this: Tune the guitar open, now try each string on each fret with the tuner. I guarantee you there will be variances.

The autoharp. 'nuff said.

Hammer dulcimer. more than enuff said.

Once again, as 'chuck said, in a jam session it's a great arbiter.

I like the old fashioned dial type as opposed to the LED styles. I like to see that old needle heading to the middle. My favourite for accuracy is the SEIKO. Korg, as well. The really cheap ones that only have "guitar" notes on them aren't that good of a buy, 'cause folks with other types of instruments who are playing with you, can't use 'em. A chromatic seems the way to go.

I'm pretty 'hard ass' about folks being in tune, but I'm told that in Texas they'll string ya up for using a tuner!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: Lady McMoo
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 11:41 AM

I generally like to tune by ear and usually do so very quickly in the quiet at home but have found the electronic tuner very useful at noisy gigs where, with the background noise and fellow musicians also tuning and doing warm-up licks and so on, it can be difficult to hear to tune by ear.

For "proper" tuning, what Midchuck has said is absolutely true, some final tweaking will always be necessary as the guitar (or any fretted instrument for that matter) is out of necessity a compromise when it comes to tuning.

Peace

mcmoo


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: sledge
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 11:41 AM

As some one new to learning an instrument, I find that a tuner is invaluable and wouldn't be without it. Practice on my bazouki is bad enough, but to have it out of tune without a good ear to help set things right can be bloody painful even to me.


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: catspaw49
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 11:45 AM

Yeah, if we're talking types, I like the dial needle type too. They're a lot easier for me to use and I can "see" better as the note comes in. Mine is about 8 or 9 years old and still works great. Then again, I don't wear a digital readout watch either.......

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: GUEST,April790
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 11:47 AM

My brother-in-law and I have always had perfect pitch, but since we're both getting older, our "hearing" isn't as good as it used to be. So, out comes the digital tuner! Even a good ear may not be able to tune as well as a tuner. Enjoy it.


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: jeffp
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 12:00 PM

I love my Seiko tuner. It has both a needle and the LEDs. The LEDs are great in a low-light situation, but you can't beat the needle for showing you just how far off you are.

Now, a question. The tuner I have is great for guitar or fiddle, but it is not chromatic. I will be getting a harp in about six weeks and will be needing a chromatic. How about suggestions for a good, inexpensive Chromatic Tuner? Does that combination exist? Thanks in advance for the advice.

jeffp


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: Jed at Work
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 12:09 PM

I like dial tuners, but they don't seem to be practical for on-stage use - I use a Boss pedal (chromatic). It sits on the floor and passed the signal stright through except when I turn it on (by stomping the foot switch) - then the tuner turns on, and kills the signal to the board. This means when I tune the audience hears nothing. The LED arrangement it uses approximates the moevement of a needle. It sucks up batteries, but so does my pre-amp. I always carry batteries, just like I always carry strings.

In Texas they have tuners, too - but they are frequently ignored at jam sessions. When I go, I used to tune up precisely before joining the session, but I found I would always give up, and 'sweeten' my tuning to the prevailing pitch of the room! I never did win the arguement about who was right, and who was wrong! Performance, of course is differnet story; even Texans tune to concert pitch before playing on stage. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: catspaw49
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 12:21 PM

Hey jeff.......Elderly has several that meet your wants from 15 to 89 bucks. I have a "Zen-On Chromatina 331" that they don't carry, but is very popular with the dulcimer/autoharp set. It goes for about 90 bucks or so nowadays. Tough and sensitive little tuner.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 12:28 PM

Most musicians who consider themselves "Pros" (And I don't even want to get into that debate)pride themselves on their ear for pitch but still use tuners when playing with other people. And after umpteen years playing country music in the honky tonks I found that the electronic tuners eliminated the most annoying words in the English language: "What do you mean? I am in tune!"

Unfortunately I also learned there are musicians whose idea of an "electonic tuning device" is the jukebox. Oy!


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: Clinton Hammond2
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 12:31 PM

Bart...

Funny you should mention, because most, if not all, the 'pro' folkies I've ever seen on stage have had a tuner out there with them...

Just observing...


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: GUEST,Paul G.
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 12:46 PM

I had an Allegro needle type tuner that I loved -- and recently lost...haven't yet found a satisfactory replacement amonth the plethora of LED "fake" needle tuners. A lot of folks I know are now using the new "clip on the headstock" tuner and saying its the greatest thing since...whatever.

When I perform solo, tuning by ear works just fine, but when on stage with the band a good, high visibility tuner is essential in order to keep the whole gang together. We're all "tune it or die" types.

pg


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 12:50 PM

"The quiet folkie acoustic thing" - it can sound pretty loud at times. Ever sat in between a hurdy-gurdy and a set of bagpipes? Or even guitars and fiddles and suchlike.

My ear for bum notes has got better since I started using a tuner. Wouldn't live without one - think of the arguments it saves.

And if you want to play with instruments that can't be readily retuned, like squeezeboxes and such, with most tuners it's easy enough to adjust the tuner so that it matches the pitch of the instrument you want to tune to.


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: Mooh
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 12:54 PM

I have used electronic tuners for years and wouldn't do without one. My ear is much better on account of it too, because now I'm more used to proper pitches and my ear is less tolerant of bad tuning.

Currently I'm using a Yamaha tuner which sits on my music stand and I carry it everywhere. I'd like to get the better Boss tuner with the needle because it's more visible in outdoor venues (which ruin the use of LED units, btw). My live rig has a Danelectro floor pedal tuner wired so I can use it for every guitar without plugging out and plugging in all the time.

Obviously I'm sold on the value of a good tuner, but maybe the best part is the time saved when jamming/practicing with others. I wish I could pursuade all my students to get one.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: sophocleese
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 12:58 PM

I have Seiko 747 chromatic tuner which is very helpful. A couple of my recorders seem to be always a shade flat no matter what I do. The tuner gives me the option of tuning A at anywhere between 435 and 446. So I can find out where the recorder is and tune the guitar to that A. Its so much nicer. I am using it also to help me train my ear as I try and tune by ear first and then check with the tuner. Slowly, oh so slowly, I'm getting better.


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: Pinetop Slim
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 01:12 PM

My electronic tuner (yes, it's dolphin safe) makes life easier, but on the con side: Garnet Rogers at a performance Saturday told the story about "getting together with some friends, who were still into recreational drugs, and we spent an hour calibrating our tuners so they'd match."


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: Clinton Hammond2
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 01:15 PM

LOL!!!!

Garnet still telling that joke!!! LOL!!!!

He was using that one last year when I saw him last...

But it's a good one I guess...

{~`


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: black walnut
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 01:35 PM

jeffp, I use an electronic tuner for my 36 string Celtic harp, my fretted dulcimer, and my guitar. I won't tell you what kind of tuner I use (it's so old, there must be a lot of better ones out there), but I do suggest that you buy one of those clip on attachments so that your tuner can be linked to one of the soundholes at the back. Clip it on, and you'll be able to tune with other instruments and voice talking or singing in the background. Otherwise, it's too hard to get the tuner to register the sound properly, accurately or quickly. Before I got this device, I would have to arrive at song circles way in advance to try to tune my harp without the chatter and tuning of others in the room. Now, I can tune so quickly, and, as others have said above, enjoy the music.

~black walnut


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: BlueJay
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 02:07 PM

I bought a Korg auto-chromatic tuner about for the sole purpose of tuning my autoharp. It's a beauty. It cost me 140 dollars fifteen years ago. I have since been using it on my guitars as well when needed, as when it's noisy. I can tune the guitar by ear just fine at home (when it's quiet). But I don't think my hearing is quite what it was when I was young. It is a mild difference which many people experience to some extent as they age. IMHO, rather than a crutch which will destroy your tuning ability, it is a tool to enhance it, and may become more useful as I age.
I recently bought a cheap, (30 bucks), digital chromatic tuner, so I could have a tuner in both my guitar cases. I won't mention the brand. I don't like the display, (as others mention), and it is nowhere near as sensitive as the old Korg. Even in a quiet room, with it plugged into the pickup it takes twice as long for me to get in tune. You get what you pay for.

McGrath of Harlow- I agree completely about the misnomer of "quiet folk music". I recently spent some time trying to follow Bill Sables on the melodion. I had a hard enough time trying to figure out where the key changes were before he went back to the original key! I don't think I could have tuned with harmonics.

For myself,sometimes I have to decide whether I want to play in tune, or "just play regular". BlueJay


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 02:19 PM

As for the "quiet acoustic folkie thing," that was my characterization, and you're right, it's not exactly accurate. Although I'll bet you my five-piece electric band gets louder than any of your folkie ensembles, bagpipes or no.

Mooh, I'm glad you mentioned the frustration of trying to rely on an LED readout at an outdoor gig. I've had to deal with that on numerous occasions, and it isn't just tuners that use LEDs -- there are lots of preamps, stomp boxes, effects units, etc. that rely on LEDs to indicate on/off status, levels, etc. Out in broad daylight you just can't see the damn things.


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 03:05 PM

I like a good old fashioned dial too but I am a clumsy sort of person and this type of tuner has not fared to well in my hands.

The tuner I have (Seiko ST743) offers a good solution for me. It has an LCD display which simulates the dial and I find it very easy to read except in poor light. I also had a Koeg which lasted me for years which had a ring of small LED's to simulate the dial.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 06:33 PM

"Although I'll bet you my five-piece electric band gets louder than any of your folkie ensembles, bagpipes or no."

Sounds like a John Henry type of challenge there for some piper there:

"And before I let your 'lectrics beat me down,
I'll die with me chanter in me hand..."


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: Gypsy
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 10:03 PM

Ouch! Clinton, I DO play in tune, just don't like the "romance" of taking two hours to tune, hence electronic tuner. Currently using the clip on Intellitouch, it works off of vibration, so you can tune in a crowd easily. Not terribly expensive, and gets the top and bottom notes on dulcimer. Not all of them do. Anyone else out there playing one of these deluxe cheese slicers, check out the tuner on your instrument before buying. I have two others that don't encompass the entire instrument.


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 10:09 PM

Don't forget the old (cause I've told it before) "phone trick". Pick up ANY phone.....the dial tone is "F". Not sure about Britain or Oz.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 10:17 PM

Slight correction, my tuner is a Seiko ST747 not 743.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: sophocleese
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 10:54 PM

Looks like we've got the same taste in tuners there Jon. When I first started trying guitar I could get really frustrated (read furious). I broke one cheap tuner by throwing it against the wall and then gutting it. The Seiko cost too much for me to break so I still have it and my ear is improving and so is my temper.


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 11:05 PM

Yea well sophoclese, you are talking to somebody with an absolutetly foul temper which took me a long time to learn how to control and unfortunately still gets the better of me once in a while. Instrument wise, I have snapped the neck of a tenor banjo and thrown a concertina into the sea in fits of temper.

Regarding the cost of the tuner, the owner of the local music shop is a friend of mine and I got it at trade. I can't remember now but I think I paid just under 20 for it - I was very happy with the deal anyway.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: Terry K
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 01:28 AM

With piano you simply have it tuned every now and again and get on with playing the thing. It always pisses me off the amount of time guitarists spend tuning their instruments - as if this is some essential part of the performance itself rather than simply the need to play in tune. Last time I saw Martin Carthy he couldn't stop fiddling with his bloody guitar - it was totally distracting and spoilt his show.

I've just started learning guitar and all the advice tells me to tune the thing every time I pick it up. I really don't want to spend my life tuning it so I use an electronic tuner and only check it from time to time. The surprise is that whenever I check it, I find that it is still in tune.

Cheers, Terry


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: john c
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 01:30 AM

Id been playing guitar quite happily without a tuner for the last 30 years or so and really prided myself on having a pretty good ear. The turning point came in the recording studio when it became all too obvious that that wasnt really the case at all. So I went out and bought myself an LED chromatic tuner, came back, tuned to perfection, and what did I get to hear as a result?
"Are you sure that Bs really in tune?"
And "Maybe the Ds still a bit flat (or sharp - usually both)!
Anyway, after lots twiddling and swearing, we finally got the recordings finished - and the tuner has been sitting on the shelf, unused ever since!!
Ciao,
J.


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Subject: RE: Electronic Tuners:Pro - and Con
From: alison
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 03:03 AM

I can get most of my instruments in tune reasonably well by ear, all apart from my wooden flute..... which I simply cannot do for some reason.....

I use a lovely little Korg chromatic tuner ($50 AUS)... and it is WONDERFUL!!...... brilliant for tuning the harp quickly too.... and great for the bass guitar.. which always registered too low for my last tuner (a Quicktune) to pick up....

slainte

alison


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