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Tech: inexpensive tuner

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GUEST,novice 08 Feb 03 - 01:12 AM
Bob Bolton 08 Feb 03 - 01:31 AM
Mr Happy 08 Feb 03 - 02:37 AM
Mudlark 08 Feb 03 - 02:45 AM
Pied Piper 08 Feb 03 - 06:22 AM
Bob Bolton 08 Feb 03 - 07:31 AM
GUEST,Q 08 Feb 03 - 01:27 PM
Mr Happy 08 Feb 03 - 01:39 PM
John MacKenzie 08 Feb 03 - 04:56 PM
Murray MacLeod 08 Feb 03 - 05:16 PM
JohnInKansas 08 Feb 03 - 08:33 PM
Bob Bolton 09 Feb 03 - 12:21 AM
Mr Happy 09 Feb 03 - 05:12 AM
Ed. 09 Feb 03 - 05:20 AM
Bob Bolton 09 Feb 03 - 06:33 AM
Bob Bolton 09 Feb 03 - 09:52 PM
GUEST,novice 10 Feb 03 - 12:35 AM
Gurney 10 Feb 03 - 04:42 AM
JohnInKansas 11 Feb 03 - 12:57 AM
Bob Bolton 11 Feb 03 - 03:29 AM
JohnInKansas 11 Feb 03 - 04:05 AM
Gurney 11 Feb 03 - 05:11 AM
Bob Bolton 11 Feb 03 - 07:38 AM
GUEST,frenchy 18 Feb 03 - 12:32 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Feb 03 - 12:47 PM
Jim Colbert 19 Feb 03 - 10:58 AM
JohnInKansas 19 Feb 03 - 03:33 PM
Bob Bolton 19 Feb 03 - 10:20 PM
Bill D 19 Feb 03 - 11:09 PM
JohnInKansas 20 Feb 03 - 03:57 AM
Pied Piper 20 Feb 03 - 08:36 AM
Jim Colbert 20 Feb 03 - 12:32 PM
JohnInKansas 20 Feb 03 - 02:27 PM
53 20 Feb 03 - 03:15 PM
John in Brisbane 20 Feb 03 - 07:30 PM
Bob Bolton 20 Feb 03 - 08:36 PM
JohnInKansas 20 Feb 03 - 08:54 PM
Bob Bolton 20 Feb 03 - 10:19 PM
John in Brisbane 21 Feb 03 - 02:26 AM
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Subject: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: GUEST,novice
Date: 08 Feb 03 - 01:12 AM

Hi there,

I was wondering if anyone here would have a tip or anything for a beginning dulcimer player for a good inexpensive and easy to use electric tuner. That way I can keep it in tune in the week in between lessons. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 08 Feb 03 - 01:31 AM

G'day Novice,

I use a little electronic Korg Chromatic Tuner CA-20. I just switch it on - hit it with a note - and it tells me which note I am nearest to ... and an LCD version of a needle dial shows how far out, and in which direction.

I cost me just under Aust$50 ... about US$28 (?) and is small enough for a shirt pocket. Its greatest fault is that, as well as being small, it is black plastic on top and dark grey below ... and it's very easy to lose ... Find something like this - in flourescent red or orange - and you'll never lose it!

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: Mr Happy
Date: 08 Feb 03 - 02:37 AM

keep it attached to your instrument, then you won't lose it & it'll always be at hand.


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: Mudlark
Date: 08 Feb 03 - 02:45 AM

Novice...I've not used this tuner but the folks who make these dulcimers and guitars are the tops...to see the tuner they feature ($20 US) go to http://www.bluelioninstruments.com/Accessories-4.html


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: Pied Piper
Date: 08 Feb 03 - 06:22 AM

I use a Korg CA-20 and it cost £18.
I've been using it regularly for 3 years and it's still got the same batteries in it.
Also it allows you to select a pitch standard other than A-440Hz

All the best PP


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 08 Feb 03 - 07:31 AM

G'day Mr Happy,

"keep it attached to your instrument"

To which of the 15 or 20 odd instruments (accordions, concertinas, mouth organs, whistles, &) likely to be on me, at any given time, did you propose I attach it? Especially given that I mostly use it on my voice - to determine my "natural key" for a song ...

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 08 Feb 03 - 01:27 PM

Given the current penchant for body piercing....


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: Mr Happy
Date: 08 Feb 03 - 01:39 PM

bob bloton, it wasn't you asking for initial advice & i wasn't offering any you you , only to GUEST,novice.

you can shove your tuner anywhere you like!


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 08 Feb 03 - 04:56 PM

A bum note I think


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 08 Feb 03 - 05:16 PM

If you are going to invest in a tuner you might as well buy one which
will last you for years without frustrating you.

I learned many years ago that buying cheap tools is a total waste of time and money, and a tuner is a tool, after all.

I would recommend as a minimum, the Korg AT-2 (mine cost around $65)
and steer clear of any tuner that doesn't have an actual needle, avoid the LCD gizmos like the plague.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 08 Feb 03 - 08:33 PM

I'd have to ask novice - Lap or Hammered dulcimer?

If you're talking about a lap or mountain dulcimer, something like the Korg CA-20 should be fine, and you should find them available in the $15 to $25 (US) price range. There are a few other brands and models, mostly very similar, and you should not have a problem with almost anything available in your area. I have a number of friends using the Korg CA-10 and CA-20.

There are a very few similar looking ones that tune only the "standard guitar" (or violin, etc) notes. I'd recommend you avoid them, and get something that will tune "any note," but if you're aware that they are out there, you shouldn't have a problem avoiding them.

The one mentioned above by Mudlark, at Blue Lion is a decent one, and at a very reasonable price if the shipping charges are acceptable.

If you're talking about a hammered dulcimer, I'd agree with Murray that you should consider getting a somewhat more "sophisticated" model. You've got a lot of strings to tune, and a larger display will help. You'll also find it easier to keep something a little larger "in place" while you're tuning an HD - and the extra bulk won't add much with an instrument this large.

In either case, I'd recommend getting a "clip-on" pickup, as the stronger signal makes any tuner easier to use. The one at Blue Lion is better constructed (based on the picture, at least) than what I've seen recently in my local shops, and is reasonably priced. You should also be able to find something similar in your area shops at about $9 to $25 (US). [You may also find the "vacuum cup" stick-ons, and they can be usable; but tend to fall off when you want them to stick, or stick too tenaciously when you try to take them off (an either-or thing). I avoid them.]

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 09 Feb 03 - 12:21 AM

G'day Mr Happy,

I was the one who commented on losing the tuner - novice hasn't got one yet ... and I was pointing out a bona fide consideration in choice. I might well have appreciated such advice at the time I bought my tuner ... if not your cheap shot!

Regard(les)s,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: Mr Happy
Date: 09 Feb 03 - 05:12 AM

bob,

why would you want to use a tuner for accordions, concertinas, mouth organs, whistles, etc?


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: Ed.
Date: 09 Feb 03 - 05:20 AM

Read the thread Mr Happy.

Bob says "that I mostly use it on my voice - to determine my "natural key" for a song "

and stop trying to be so bloody smart all the time. It doesn't become you.


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 09 Feb 03 - 06:33 AM

G'day Mr Happy,

And, I might add - to tune or adjust accordions and concertinas, to check if mouth organs have gone out of tune or just need cleaning ... and to make whistles and flutes. Some of us live in a world beyond single instruments made and maintained by others.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 09 Feb 03 - 09:52 PM

G'day again,

And, as I have been reminded in a thread on transferring tape to CD,
digital tuners are also useful in determining whether a taped rendition is slightly off pitch - due to the inaccuracies of various recorders ... especially cassettes.

Regardfully,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: GUEST,novice
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 12:35 AM

thank you everyone. I greatly appreciate the advice as to Joh in Kansas' question it is a lap dulcimer.

Thanks everyone again.


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: Gurney
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 04:42 AM

Dear novice, as you are a tyro, you will be playing mostly at home, I expect. You obviously have a computer,and are on the web, so you can download some good freeby tuners to use with your computer and a mike.
I like the Applied Phonics one best, (use a search engine) but most download sites have a couple. Mellow instrument.


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 12:57 AM

Gurney -

Sounds interesting, but any search with "Phonics" in it gets mostly stuff about how to teach(?) kids to read. I could probably invent some other ways to search, but it's not really that interesting.

I'd still recommend that novice - or anyone getting started on any instrument - get a decent "shirt-pocket" tuner. At about the price of a book of music, it's a great help in getting the tuning over with and getting on to the music.

We do have a few people that enjoy computer gadjets, though. Any other clues to what you're using?

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 03:29 AM

G'day John i K and Gurney,

I wholeheartedly agree with John. It's amazing how many uses I have found for this little tuner ... it would not be so with one living in the 'puter ... It didn't even happen with my old, large, needle movement Korg ... That was too bulky, delicate and battery-hungry to do all the great things this miniscule, LCD-reading marvel does.

(But I want another one ... in fluorescent shocking pink or day-glo orabge so that i can find it in a dark music bag!)

Regards,

bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 04:05 AM

BB

Maybe you could wrap it in that "Day-Glo" duct tape that's available at a few outlets?

I have seen some "prettified" tuners that might meet your need for garrishocity. One of the dulcimer dealers had a few at his booth at Winfield last year. They didn't glow in the dark, but there were some pretty glaring colors. Only problem is, they seemed all to be the "bare bones" type without adjustable pitch, and a few fixed notes only. Sorry I wasn't impressed enough to note a brand name.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: Gurney
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 05:11 AM

Sorry, I got the name wrong. It's
Audio Phonics at www.guitarwitch.com
and as the name now implies, the full chromatic version has gone. It is also only W95/W98. Not XP/Linux/Mac
However, the comment about download sites applies, and using Webferret as a multisearch engine is rewarding (that's how I found it again) and free. Copernic can pay dividends, too.
Hope I still have it on disk!


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 07:38 AM

G'day again John iK,

I have seen a few more colourful tuners about, lately - not quite flourescent Day-Glo Orange, however. I need to spend a bit of time in a music store, while discreetly steering SO in another direction.

If it doesn't glow enough ... I do have a roll of flourescing tape (yellowish-green), left over from my days as a wet-handed photographer (back in the dark-room ages). It's not likely to be used for its intended purpose ... so the tuner can have it!

G'day novice ... I think we are still keeping your needs in mind ... I still favour a free-standing device that can keep you honest, wherever, whenever!

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: buttonbox players
From: GUEST,frenchy
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 12:32 PM

I'm wondering if there are any button accordion players in the west central Florida area?

I just found this group by looking up "When We Go Rolling Home." I was really happy to find all the words because I can't quite make them all out from the CD (The Deighton Family "Rolling Home"). I love this tune and figured out how to play it on my old Hohner. Then I discovered a little Irish session at a Scots pub in Bradenton and when I played it there, no one was familiar with it. Is/was John Tams Scotch or Irish or British? What a wonder in the internet is!

So how about diatonic players in the Tampa area? I could use some lessons or just to share some tips with another enthusiast. Breton, Quebecois, musette, Morris styles - all wonderful.

frenchy


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 12:47 PM

"...as you are a tyro, you will be playing mostly at home" - that doesn't follow.

I use an Intellituner - very small, chromatic, and you can adjust the pitch if you like (say if you want to play along with some instrument that isn't quite in standard pitch); and one very handy thing about it is, it switches itself off, so it saves the battery if you forget to switch it off yourself.

In England it costs about £16.


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: Jim Colbert
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 10:58 AM

I gotta agree with the CA-20.

I have two of the Korg models that are higher up in the food chain, and find the CA to be only slightly less acurate (actually, just in it's ability to "extremely fine tune" since it doesn't have a true needle) BUT somewhat easier to use than the others. Murray, I think your advice is great but I would strongly recommend this particular tuner for the price. I paid $18 US on sale for mine- we liked it so much we bought a second for my wife's harp.

I absolutely don't think you can beat this model for the price. (And honestly, I'm something of a tuner freak! I'm embarrased to admit how many we have... )

jim


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 03:33 PM

I've seen quite a few Korg CA-10, CA-15, and CA-20 tuners in local shops recently, so any of these are probably available. The current model, according to the Korg site, is apparently the CA-30, which has similar features to any of the above.

It's difficult to tell what "list price" is, but a few sites now offer the CA-30 at about $18 (US), although you may have to add a little for shipping. You should be able to pick up one or the other of these at a local shop for "very reasonable."

There are a number of comparable tuners by other makers, and generally anything you find at a reputable dealer should be ok - but definitely know the CA-20/CA-30 specs when you compare, and get something comparable.

Strongly recommend a clip-on contact mike, even if you only intend to use your tuner sitting alone in your kitchen.

My personal tuner is a Korg DT-1, which was $125 (US) "on sale" at a festival a few years ago. Same size as the CA-20/CA-30 but does everything the "big-uns" do. As is usually the case with the good stuff I find, they discontinued this model within milliseconds of my purchase. It's currently not even listed in the "archives" at Korg.

The current "top of the line" in portables is probably the Korg OT-12 - and I'll have to have one someday (just before it's discontinued, probably), but it's not something that you want to invest in until you've worn out the novice stage with something more affordable. (And it's not nearly as portable.) List appears to be about $99 (US), with a few sites offering it at $75 (plus shipping), with a clip-on contact mike (recommended) for an additional $10 or so.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 10:20 PM

G'day JohnInKansas,

I had a look at two CA-30s in 'Venue Music', Sydney (Australia). There was a (silver-coloured) "Guitar Only" model for Aust$50 and a (black) full range (same as my CA-20) for Aust$55. These translate to a lot dearer than your US$18 (~ Aust$30.50) but that is the going rate in music shops. Why they would bother to make a model that only tuned 7 notes ... instead of the 12 that are, undoubtedly, on the chip ... I can't comprehend!

I think the OT-12 might be the flash-looking model, with the very large face, at the back of the case ... for Aust$198 ... ?

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: Bill D
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 11:09 PM

I have used a Korg AT-1 for many years for the autoharp...I keep it plugged into the AC as much as possible, but a D battery lasts a reasonable amount of time. I like its ability to sound the notes as well as having the needle and red LEDs...and I like being able to plug in clip-on pick-up so I can tune in a noisy room.


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 03:57 AM

Bob B

Don't know what to say about the prices. Numerous web sites show $19.99 to $24.00 US for the CA-30. One Australian shop, Melmusic: 50871 KORG CA30 SLIMLINE CHROMATIC TUNER $59.95EACH (Aus) pretty much confirms your price.

The CA-30 is supposed to be a fully chromatic tuner - with adjustable "A" freq. Since it's relatively new, I haven't had a close "hands-on" look at it, but the older CA-20 would tune to any note you wanted, and I'd expect the CA-30 to do the same. The spec sheet at the Korg site says:
Tuning: 12 note equal-tempered
Detection range: C1 (32.70Hz) - C8 (4186.01Hz)
Reference tone: C4 (261.33Hz) - C5 (523.25Hz), One octave (Built-in Speaker)
Tuning modes: Meter (auto), Sound (manual)
Calibration: 410 - 480Hz (1Hz steps)
Tuning accuracy: +/-1cent
Sound accuracy: +/-1.5cent
Connection jack: Input jack (1/4" mono)
Power supply: Two AAA batteries 3V
Battery life: Approximately 100 hours
Dimensions: 4.1"(104mm) Wide x 2.52"(64mm) Deep x 0.6(15mm) High
Weight: 2.86 oz (81g) (Including the batteries)
Included items: Owner's Manual, (2) AAA batteries

The OT-12 is new, and pretty flashy - also somewhat larger. One of the many "cute" modes mentioned on the Korg site is - you can set it to "sound" the nearest note to what you play into it, for easy tweaking by ear. The $99(US) typical web price on it would make it pretty precious if the Australian markup is comparable to what's on the CA-30.

The OT-12 looks to be a silver-metal colored case in the Korg pic. There is an older large (black) case AT-120 that was somewhat more expensive; but I haven't checked price on it recently.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: Pied Piper
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 08:36 AM

The CA-30 is about £20 in the UK, and the sound output is very useful.
PP


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: Jim Colbert
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 12:32 PM

re: the guitar only CA-model enerally, the chromatic models are CA-prefix and the guitar only models are GA- prefix.

jpc


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 02:27 PM

About the only thing missing on the CA-30 is an output jack. If you have pickups on an instrument, they'll give you a better signal than the "clip-on" contact mike, and it's occasionally handy to be able just to run through the tuner and leave it hooked up.

But of course, this only applies to people who "play amped" who are usually performing and making the big bucks for it (joke?) - so they'll probably want a little more sophisticated tuner anyhow.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: 53
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 03:15 PM

boss tu-12


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 07:30 PM

So with so much expertise on line, how does one determine the accuracy of a particular tuner given the existence of tempered scales.

I'm happy with the couple of ancient Boss tuners I have (the lack of auto power save is a pain when others leave it on) and I know that I'll have to tweak guitar in particular to best suit the key I'm in. I don't know what they're called but that brand that 'sticks' to hlat surfaces and has the row of LEDs, never seems to give the accuracy of my Boss - I can easily hear that the fancy one is wrong. I don't even know if this type is still on the market.

But I'm not worried about which brands are better, rather the conundrum that any tuner can only ever be perfectly accurate in one key. Any clues please?

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 08:36 PM

G'day JohnInKansas,

The Melmusic price must be Melbourne ... $55 over the counter in Sydney!

The adjustment range is much higher: 30 Hz either side instead of the 10 Hz adjustment of the CA 20. If I want to get involved with archaic pitches, -10 to +10 is nowhere near enough. That range alone settles me on buying one - but I'll try the guitar strip along Parramatta Road to see if I can find a brighter coloured one!

I do suspect that they do "fully chromatic" in grey/black ... and "Guitar Only" in silver.

BTW: Jim Colbert - I may well have missed the little cross bar of a 'G' and read both as being CA 30. The Guitar model might well be GA 30.

John in Brisbane: None of us have anything at home that could check the claimed accuracies of these instruments (+/- 1 cent claimed above for the CA 30). I'll have a word to someone who does work with tone generators ... and does tune using these meters as well: Richard Evans, concertina maker/repairer these days ... and formerly a metrologist working for Sydney University. If there are any shortcomings, he would be the one to know about it!

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 08:54 PM

John in B

About all you can do reasonably is "go with the specs" on the lower cost tuners. Most of them at least claim to be within either 1 or 3 cents (or better) of "true," although I haven't seen any lab reports on any of them. Although frequencies (time intervals) are one of the easiest things to measure accurately in a good lab, it does generally require instruments you're not likely to find in the average music shop; and at least for the cheap tuners, there's probably no easily accessible adjustment.

You can safely assume that any "cheapie" tunes to the 12-tone equitempered scale. For most of us, this is sort of academic, since we tune the string and then the frets (or our ear) determine whether the other notes are in the right place.

If you want something other than equitempered "base notes," you'll need to go to one of the "premium" tuners. The OT-12 mentioned above claims:

As a convenience for transposing instruments, twelve keys including both sharps and flats are supported. The Multi Temperament function provides eight frequently-used historical temperaments, making the OT-12 the ideal choice for use with specific classical and other tunings.

Scale:
12 equal tempered, Pythagorean, Mean tone E flat/D sharp, Werckmeister III, Kirnberger III, Kellner, Vallotti, Young


I'd suppose that if you really have a use for other than equitempered scales, you probably know more than I do about which of the above might help you out.

Bob B -

The price difference seems outrageous. Is it exchange rate, tariffs, or transportation cost? (Not that it makes much dif to me, but if I were on your end of it I'd be curious.)

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 10:19 PM

G'day JohnInKansas,

The OT-12 sounds like the latest equivalent of the 'special' model, back in Korg's analog days, that even had specific scales for Japanese traditional instruments. Just a bit more than I can justify ... If I want to tune an instrument to a purer-interval scale (say a 20-key concertina to mean tone scale ... very nice harmonies ... as long as you can't get into any distant keys!) I would just use an adjustment table ... reading how far each note should be from tempered.

As regards the prices ... well, it's a long swim to a small market ... ?

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 02:26 AM

Thanks guys. Yes a road test of some of the models would be interesting - the test gear is pretty elementary, but not something I have access to these days. Perhaps I should recommend this for one of my son's Physics Pracs at High School.

Regards, John


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