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Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem

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Bev and Jerry 13 Jun 03 - 11:30 PM
Sorcha 14 Jun 03 - 12:44 AM
Clinton Hammond 14 Jun 03 - 01:20 PM
JohnInKansas 14 Jun 03 - 04:36 PM
Clinton Hammond 14 Jun 03 - 04:40 PM
Bev and Jerry 16 Jun 03 - 11:41 AM
DonMeixner 16 Jun 03 - 12:18 PM
JohnInKansas 16 Jun 03 - 09:46 PM
Mooh 16 Jun 03 - 11:52 PM
Kaleea 17 Jun 03 - 01:27 AM
Bev and Jerry 17 Jun 03 - 05:16 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Jun 03 - 06:18 PM
Bev and Jerry 17 Jun 03 - 06:31 PM
CraigS 17 Jun 03 - 06:45 PM
JohnInKansas 17 Jun 03 - 07:17 PM
Walking Eagle 17 Jun 03 - 08:38 PM
Dave Bryant 18 Jun 03 - 06:04 AM
Pied Piper 18 Jun 03 - 08:14 AM
Bev and Jerry 18 Jun 03 - 03:12 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Jun 03 - 03:50 PM
Bill D 18 Jun 03 - 06:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Jun 03 - 08:06 PM
GUEST 18 Jun 03 - 10:38 PM
JohnInKansas 18 Jun 03 - 11:56 PM
JohnInKansas 19 Jun 03 - 12:02 AM
GUEST,John, Dublin. 19 Jun 03 - 09:16 PM
Bev and Jerry 20 Jun 03 - 11:19 PM
Gypsy 20 Jun 03 - 11:42 PM
JohnInKansas 21 Jun 03 - 02:36 AM
wysiwyg 21 Jun 03 - 07:53 AM
JohnInKansas 21 Jun 03 - 01:08 PM
Richard Bridge 27 Jun 03 - 05:27 PM
JohnInKansas 27 Jun 03 - 07:34 PM
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Subject: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 13 Jun 03 - 11:30 PM

We bought a Korg model CA-30 chromatic tuner and we're having a problem with it.

Using it's built in microphone, it seems to work pretty well when tuning guitars, banjos, dulcimers and autoharps. Unfortunately, we perform in schools a lot and we often have to tune in a noisy room. So, we have always used a Matrix tuner pickup which clips on to any instrument and plugs into the tuner, disabling it's internal microphone in the process.

We have done this for years using a Seiko tuner with no problems. When we tried it with the Korg tuner it seemed to work very well on the guitar - we just clipped the pickup onto one of the tuning pegs. It also worked well on the dulcimer. On the banjo it was a little fussier but seemed OK if we clipped it onto the fifth string peg. But, on the autoharp the tuner consistently read about 15 to 20 cents sharper than it did using it's internal microphone no matter where we clipped it on.

This is a major problem for us since we often have to tune one or more autoharps in noisy conditions. The Korg tuner seems to be much more sensitive to ambient noise than the Seiko when using it's internal microphone.

Has anyone else had this experience? Does anyone have any suggestions before we return the Korg tuner to the shop?

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: Sorcha
Date: 14 Jun 03 - 12:44 AM

Nope, but love my Korg. Use it for fiddle only. Clip on bridge. Don't know what to say. Number of strings might be an issue? No clue. I do know that the clips tend to give out sooner than the tuner.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 14 Jun 03 - 01:20 PM

I was unable to find a pic of the Korg CA-30... but it sounds like a problem that'd be fixed by trading it in for an Intellitouch Chromatic Tuner! They work pretty o.k. in a noisy setting... not great in my book, but then, I've never found a stick-on or a clamp-on tuner that did work as well as I wanted it to in such a place...

Happy hunting eh!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 14 Jun 03 - 04:36 PM

Clinton -

Just for reference: Korg CA30

I can't think of a reason why the pickup and microphone should show a difference in pitch. One thing to check is that the "calibration" setting hasn't been changed. You can change the "base" pitch from the normal A = 440 Hz, it says, in 1 Hz increments, and when you turn it on it will "remember" the setting from the last time you used it - unless you reset it. Most other "low-cost" tuners come on at A = 440 and you have to change them each time if you want something different.

If your calibration "accidentally" got changed to A = 439 it would give approximately(?) the "error" you've indicated.

Not to state the obvious - if the microphone and pickup readings truly are different, it by no means is assured that the microphone reading is the "correct" one. Comparison with someone else's tuner(s) would give a quick-check.

The Korg site doesn't give a "tolerance" on the front page for this tuner - but similar ones generally are in the 2-cent to 5-cent "basic accuracy" range. Korg generally is about as good as any competing products in a given price range - and better than some, but these little guys aren't "laboratory standard" tools.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 14 Jun 03 - 04:40 PM

"Matrix tuner pickup which clips on to any instrument and plugs into the tuner"

I'd missed that important piece of information... sorry for the clutter...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 16 Jun 03 - 11:41 AM

With our old Seiko tuner we always get the same reading whether we use the Matrix pickup or not but the tuner needs to be replaced because the input connector is dying.

With the Korg tuner we get the same reading whether we use the pickup or not on most instruments but on the autoharp the readings are different.

It's a real puzzle for us.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: DonMeixner
Date: 16 Jun 03 - 12:18 PM

I ahve a Korg T-2 trainer and a Boss floor model. Both have direct input from the pick ups on my instruments. The Boss is more finicky by a few cents either way but the the end result is always acceptable.
I have had Korgs for years and they are always good for me.

Don


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 16 Jun 03 - 09:46 PM

While there are differences between tuners, the really interesting part of the problem is probably the autoharp.

Although we usually speak of a note a having a particular "pitch," mother nature is a pretty messy soul, and there really isn't often a sound that has a single frequency component. The tuner must, somehow, pick a "dominant" frequency from whatever sample it gets; and different tuners will use slightly different methods of determining which sound components are important, and which to discard.

Under any circumstances, a "typical" tuner would have a hard time separating two tones 5 cents apart in frequency, so it would likely just take whichever one was "loudest" and would show that as the "pitch" of the sound.

When you tune using the built-in microphone, you're obviously enough using the sound that's transmitted most strongly through the air, and - based on your description - that agrees with "what you hear." When you tune using the Matrix pickup, you're using the sound that's transmitted most strongly as a vibration of the part you clip onto, and that may not be the "note" that's most strongly transmitted out of the instrument.

The autoharp has multiple strings, and each string is a separate "resonant system." When two "resonant systems" are "coupled" or mixed, through a nonlinear connection you always get the frequency of each of the systems, and also a "note" at the frequency that is the difference between the two systems (and one at the sum frequency, as well). If, for example, you have an "A" string at 440 Hz, but there is an "a" string at 881 Hz that can rattle in sympathy with the A, the contact mike may pick up 440, 881, and (881-440) = 441 Hz. The tuner will have a very difficult time determining whether you want it to tell you about the 440 or the 441 Hz "pitch" that it's seeing. The "vagrant" 441 Hz noise that's rattling around inside the autoharp may never make it to the outside world - except via the Matrix pickup - but it may very definitely be there.

Everybody take a deep breath and say "HUH?" now.

Given the acoustic complexity of an autoharp, it's difficult to say whether you might be able to pick an attachment point for the pickup that might be less sensitive to the internal "shake-rattle-and-roll" that goes on, on the inside of the harp - so that the tuner can tell which is the "airborne acoustic output" pitch that you're looking for.

One possible solution would be to substitute a small, preferably directional, microphone for the Matrix pickup when tuning the autoharp. In other words, put a layer of air between the pickup and the instrument, so that you don't tune the "buzz" instead of the strings. Most tuners work quite well with the piezo "contact" pickups like the Matrix, with built in instrument pickups, or with most kinds of microphones, as their input. Although I've not had very good luck with them elsewhere, it's possible that one of the "suction cup" models (I believe Matrix makes one) would couple differently, and the softer cup connection might help discard the spurious frequencies.

Most piano tuners tune one or two strings and then "beat" the others to the tuned ones. I suspect that, even though it looks like it would be simpler just to use the tuner on all of the strings, it is probably the difficulty of discriminating the "note" from the "spurious beats" that makes it more efficient to tune that way.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: Mooh
Date: 16 Jun 03 - 11:52 PM

On my autoharp, as on other instruments with many strings including my 12 string guitar, I find that many tuners will get confused by strong octave notes and/or other strong frequencies. Whether or not this is a contributing factor in your case I don't know, but start by muting as many of the strings as possible which you aren't tuning.

(Btw, my Intellitouch won't clip anywhere useful on the autoharp so I use either a Digitech or a Boss.)

Good luck!

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: Kaleea
Date: 17 Jun 03 - 01:27 AM

I recently got the tuner you are using, & have found it to be quite good & accurate. I also play a wide variety of instruments, as well as Autoharp! I have also gone back & forth between using the clamp on tuner mic & the internal mic--especially on the Autoharp! Mine being a Fladmark, is extra resonant, with a big voice! As a result of having carpal tunnel in both wrists & wearing long wrist splints on both, it was hard to hold up my hands above the strings, & I got into the habit of placing the tuner on top of the strings beginning at one end--I usually have the 'harp sideways in front of me & begin at the top, with the basses, & resting my forearm on the strings as I tune them. I began to realise that this caused the other strings to NOT resonate or vibrate as I plucked the one I was tuning, as the other strings were vibrating & causing lots of headaches in trying to tune with the needle going all over the place & the tuner registering incorrect pitches. I also have found that the fastest way (about 20 minutes nowadays) for me to tune is to find a somewhat quiet spot--which admittedly is not always easy--I also have to often tune in noisy environments!--& place the tuner directly on the strings without the clamp on mic--usually over or close to the sound hole, & have my forearms, or even a piece of cloth resting on the strings keeping the strings dampened as I get them tuned. The background noise sometimes causes the strings to vibrate. I also am careful to not sharply pluck each string, but to gently pluck with a pick for the most accurate results. Sometimes the tuners do not register on the basses, but if I pluck the next string & then go back to the first one, it will register on the tuner. Many 'harpers have discovered that not all tuners are good for all instruments, & I also have about 4 different tuners--including the Intellitouch which is terrific for the guitar, mandolin, and a couple of other instruments I have, I have even clamped it onto a penny whistle to check tuning, but not my Autoharp. And, of course, I change out batteries in all my tuners once a year before going to my favorite festival--The Walnut Valley Music Festival held every September in Winfield, Kansas.
And yes, there is an Autoharp contest, too! Good luck!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 17 Jun 03 - 05:16 PM

One of us is a recovering electronics engineer so we're familiar with the phenomenon John is describing (commonly known as heterodyning). We also liked what Kaleea had to say about other strings vibrating.

So, we did some more thorough testing. Both tuners appear to work perfectly on the autoharp using their internal microphones and they agree with each other (more or less). When the Matrix pickup is plugged in to the Seiko tuner it also works well and agrees. When the pickup is plugged in to the Korg, it works and agrees on 22 of the strings but reads consistently sharp on 15 of the 37 strings (that's right, 37 - this is a Dolgeville Model 73 built in 1898!). Most of the errors are concentrated in the region where the tuning pins change direction, that is, near the top of the lowest octave. We tried very carefully damping each and every string simultaneously except the one being tuned and there was no difference.

We conclude that both tuners and the pickup are working fine but, for some reason, the Matrix pickup is not compatible with the Korg tuner. So, we ordered a new pickup made by Korg, Model CM-100 which, they claim, is designed to work with the CA-30. It looks very similar to the Matrix pickup but we think it has wider "jaws". We should have it in a few days and we'll let ya'll know what happens.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Jun 03 - 06:18 PM

Strange beasts electronic tuners. Temperamental sometimes.

Saturday I was in a noisy pub, and my tuner was working perfectly with my guitar, in spite of all the background of people and instruments playing. I passed it across to a friend to tune his tenor banjo, and it wouldn't pick up a thing. Tried his mandola and it was fine, but the banjo, it just didn't want to know.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 17 Jun 03 - 06:31 PM

There have been occasions when we didn't want to hear the banjo either!

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: CraigS
Date: 17 Jun 03 - 06:45 PM

Me, I agree mainly with all of the above - but I think you might just get by if you adjust the resonance of the clip-on by dobbing blu-tak on or around it - Cheap solution if it works, if a trifle ugly.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 17 Jun 03 - 07:17 PM

A string only has a certain amount of energy, and how loud you are depends on how fast the energy gets dumped into the air. Banjo dumps very fast (dumpster banjo effect?).

Most tuners "select" what the note is, from all the crud and corruption, by ignoring anything that doesn't last longer than a certain "filter interval." The banjo "plunk" may just not hold a steady pitch long enough for the tuner to realize it's a "note." Almost any instrument has more "sustain" than a banjo, and tuners work better on sustained, steady tones.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: Walking Eagle
Date: 17 Jun 03 - 08:38 PM

I have a Korg and an IntelliTouch. I find that plucking the strings differently can give a different reading. I use a pick to tune with. I don't know if that makes any difference or not. I use my cord plug in on my dulcimers as my peg heads are not suitable for my clip on.

Do you tune before you go to your gigs? That may help. Pick the tuner you like and then take it with you.

I always remember one thing. If both players are equally 'out of tune' then it really makes no difference to the audience! Most audiences can't tell the difference.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 18 Jun 03 - 06:04 AM

"With our old Seiko tuner we always get the same reading whether we use the Matrix pickup or not but the tuner needs to be replaced because the input connector is dying" - might be worth trying to put a new socket in it or failing that solder in a lead with an inline socket on it. I assume it's a standard 1/4" jack ?

McGrath: It's probably because your tuner has it's pride and refuses to have anything to do with Derek Brown's banjo !


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: Pied Piper
Date: 18 Jun 03 - 08:14 AM

I have a CA-30 and use it regularly. I think all of the salient points have been made.
I also have a Korg Metronome, which can produce a tuning tone output. Any note can be selected and it has the same range of A tunings as the CA-30.
Some years ago I had the idea of making a stroboscopic tuner for use in noisy environments. The idea is that you take the output of tone emitting tuner, divide the output frequency down to an appropriate rate, say by 10 so that the trigger frequency of the stroboscope is 44Hz for A. By shining the light of the discharge tube onto the string, it could be tuned to produce a stationary wave.

All the best PP


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 18 Jun 03 - 03:12 PM

Dave:

We have thought about repairing the Seiko and that's our fallback plan if nothing else works. It is a standard 1/4" jack which has a switch built into it which disables the internal microphone when something's plugged in to it. The reason it's the fallback plan is that we're pretty clumsy at soldering and could destroy the tuner in the process!

PP:

Stroboscopic tuners have been on the market and may still be. Our favorite was one we saw which slid under the strings. You set it to E for example and tune the E string until it appears to stand still. Works in noisy environments and even in the dark.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Jun 03 - 03:50 PM

I have tried to tune an autoharp with (actually a Seiko). Did you try a stick-on pickup or one like bottletop, and put it on with say blu-tak onteh soundboard of the autoharp? I found it worked best for me that way.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Jun 03 - 06:46 PM

strange stuff! My Korg (clipped onto the strap post) works just fine on the 'harp...(I do get a # reading on the initial pluck, but it settles in to steady reading after a moment, and I tune after that pause.

(I had a discussion with Brian Bowers many years ago when the tuners were new..he refused to use one on the autoharps, because of the 'slight' differences in different keys/chords, and the fact that the higher notes need to be a teeny bit flat and the low ones a teeny bit sharp in order to 'feel' just right. I suggested that he tune the harp to suit himself, then READ the calibration off the Korg......but he saw no need to change his system. Wonder if he ever tried again?)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Jun 03 - 08:06 PM

"If both players are equally 'out of tune' then it really makes no difference to the audience." (Walking Eagle)

If players are in tune with each other, it seems to me they are in tune. The absolute pitch is just a convention that has varied from time to time. A bit like as if there was an agreed decision that a particular shade of yellow was the only one entitled to be called "yellow".


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jun 03 - 10:38 PM

Hi Bev and Jerry,

It may well be that the problem lies in the strings themselves. The old black body autoharps had the highest pitched full length strings of the wrong type for correct tone or intonation. There are too few wound strings and the lower plain steel strings just don't sound right.

I've had the same problem you describe on several instruments and they were cured with a bass string change. You can get custom strings from Autoharp Works. Make sure that you get wound string replacements for the lowest 3-5 plain strings.

If the instrument is structurally sound, increasing all the bass guages about a thousandth of an inch will improve both tone and ease of tuning.

Love ya,
Ray


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 Jun 03 - 11:56 PM

Bev and Jerry -

Replacing a phone jack, switchable or not, should not be that difficult, except that the jack used in the Seiko tuner may be a "special". A quick trip to a local Radio Shack, with tuner in hand, might tell you if it's a "standard" jack that can be replaced. If it's a matter of a loose leadwire, the one you have may be repairable.

If, as you say, you are not experienced with such repairs, it should be relatively easy to find someone who is; and if it would be comforting to you to have the Seiko working again, you should investigate getting it fixed. Doing it yourself should not be too difficult, but if you need to solder small wires in tight spaces you will need suitable sordering equipment - which may cost more than a new tuner.

If you have a "loose" jack on the Seiko, that may be the reason the Seiko didn't sense the different tone components that the new Korg is seeing with the contact pickup. When you push the plug into the jack, it is supposed to push a small "lever" so that it disconnects the microphone and connects the jack to the input circuit. This bar may have become worn, dirty, or bent so that it doesn't actually disconnect the mic completely. The additional "microphone" input would be effectively added to the contact pickup input - and might "push" the circuitry in the direction of choosing "the same pitch" the microphone hears - even though the contact pickup is hearing the additional tone that's coming in "through the wood."

"Failures" of the disconnect bar are probably much more common than "loose wires" when jacks start to perform poorly.

In other words, the reason the Seiko worked "better," may have been that it wasn't really working as intended - because of the sloppy jack.

It is most likely that the new tuner is more accurately showing you the "real" tones present. With the contact pickup, it is showing you the "real" tones present in the structure of the autoharp.

Reality isn't always good art though. The purpose of (almost) any instrument is to produce airborne sounds, and accurate tuning requires that you get the input from the air. The built-in microphones in most tuners are a real compromise between sensitivity, accuracy, and tiny size.

A plug-in microphone may improve the performance of any tuner - if you can avoid picking up noise from things other than your instrument. If you can find someone who has a "lapel mic" you can borrow, you might find it directional enough to use with your autoharp and new tuner. If so, you should be able to get one for about the same price as the contact pickup you have.

The contact pickup is actually more of an "accelerometer" than a microphone. It senses the mechanical vibration of the structure to which you attach it. It is only a GROSS assumption that the mechanical vibration of the instrument will contain (mainly) the same frequencies that the instrument broadcasts to the air. This is often a "good enough" compromise to permit tuning simple instruments in noisy environs; but, as you've seen, mechanics ain't necessarily acoustics - especially for the autoharp.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 19 Jun 03 - 12:02 AM

Anybody know a good remedial-typing instructor?

The contact pickup is actually more of an "accelerometer" than a microphone. It senses the mechanical vibration of the structure to which you attach it. It is only a GROSS assumption that the mechanical vibration of the instrument will contain (mainly) the same frequencies that the instrument broadcasts to the air. This is often a "good enough" compromise to permit tuning simple instruments in noisy environs; but, as you've seen, mechanics ain't necessarily acoustics - especially for the autoharp.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: GUEST,John, Dublin.
Date: 19 Jun 03 - 09:16 PM

Intellitouch. Picks up vibrations (only) of the instrument to which is is attached. Use your thumb instead of a plectrum when tuning.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 20 Jun 03 - 11:19 PM

Got the Korg CM-100 pickup today and it works fine with the Korg tuner. We get the same reading using the internal microphone and the pickup. We did see the exact phenomena described by Bill D above, to wit ..."(I do get a # reading on the initial pluck, but it settles in to steady reading after a moment, and I tune after that pause." So, apparently the Matrix pickup is not compatible with the Korg tuner. Maybe the reason will come to us in a dream some day.

Now, about the old Seiko tuner. We don't think the problem is that the lever in the jack that's supposed to disconnect the internal microphone is the problem. When we connect the pickup to the tuner, the usual result is no reading whatsoever. If we wiggle the plug and talk very nicely to it, it makes contact and the tuner works fine with the pickup until the next time we take it out or until we jostle the plug accidently. We tried using some of that magic elixir that cleans contacts and pots but it didn't help.

We took the Seiko apart for a preliminary inspection and found that the jack is soldered directly to the circuit board and one of the joints could be loose. But, the jack itself is very hard to access and we would have to remove the meter first which is also soldered to the board. Also, the jack is very small and plastic, not like any other jack we've ever seen for sale.

It is not that we're "not experienced with such repairs". On the contrary, we're quite experienced and many of the experiences have been bad ones! A new Korg tuner only costs about $20 so it's hardly worth fooling with the old one but when we have more time we'll probably try to fix the old Seiko even though there's considerable risk of destroying it. In the meantime we'll have a backup tuner.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: Gypsy
Date: 20 Jun 03 - 11:42 PM

I'm with John from Dublin..........i tune with the korg before people show, then switch to the intellitouch during the session. It helps ALOT if i dampen the surrounding strings of the one i am tuning......you think you got strings, i gots a hammer dulcimer. 78, all waiting to buzz..........


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 21 Jun 03 - 02:36 AM

I have been using an ancient Korg DT-1 that was about $125 when I got it. I would happily pay the same for another like it; but, of course, they discontinued that model about a week after (or maybe a month before) I got mine.

It has selectable "slow" or "instant" settings on the mode switch, and in the "instant" mode, it can be pretty erratic - so I just "always" use the "slow" mode.

The CA-30 is a "near the bottom of the barrel" tuner, meant for low price, portability and "good enough" tuning for the typical session musician. It probably has a relatively short "sample interval" setting that is likely a little slower than the "instant" option on the DT-1, but not as long as the DT-1 slow mode.

Both the built in microphone and the contact pickups likely use piezo-ceramic elements - probably barium titanate or the ever-popular PZT, which are essentially small capacitors that "generate" a charge proportional to applied pressure - or in the case of the pickup, to applied acceleration.

The dimensions chosen for the piezo element can have a significant effect on the output. A larger diameter may produce more "charge" but also has a higher capacitance. A thinner element usually is more sensitive to the applied pressure/acceleration - but again the higher output may be swamped in the increased C. While a sophisticated design would require consideration of many different compromises, the usual procedure in instruments of this kind is to pick a convenient (cheap) size and "adjust" in the circuitry.

The new Korg pickup is more likely to have a charge/capacitance balance similar to what's in the Korg microphone (although there's no real guarantee of that, obviously the "time constants" when you use the Korg pickup are working better for you than when you used the Matrix pickup.) I'd suspect that the Korg pickup has a somewhat larger cross-section, and maybe thinner, "element," based on the response you've seen.

I haven't found a reference to a model number for your Seiko tuner; but it's rather academic, since Seiko apparently doesn't consider tuners to be a sufficiently significant "product line" to even acknowledtge them on any of their (several) product information web sites. If it's not a "better than average" product, repair is probably not really worthwhile. As I'm sure you're aware, unsoldering is a lot more difficult - and more likely to damage components - than soldering, so if you have to pull the display out to get to the connector, you're into risky territory.

There are "electrical cold solders" available, basically paint or epoxy with a lot of silver or other metal in them to make them conductive. Unfortunately they're not widely available, and it's even more difficult (unless you're a large volume industrial user) to get any useful specs on them. Since the piezo (microphone/pickup) part of the circuit is inherently very high impedance, a "resistive" connection is about as good as a gold-plated one, so you might be able to "paint" a connection if you can find a suitable material. Of course, after you get an electrical joint, you'd likely still need something additional to make it a solid mechanical joint.

It sounds as though the Korg pickup has solved the immediate problem. Good news is always nice to hear.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: wysiwyg
Date: 21 Jun 03 - 07:53 AM

Scuse me not reading the whole thread-- maybe this has been said...

The ringing range of autoharp strings is pretty wide, much wider than guitar.... Throughout the duration of the sounding of the string, there is a great difference in pitch as the sound waves travel. The older tuner we used for awhile showed this clearly, with the needle flashing past a center point as the string was rung. The more sensitive (expensive) tuners are jumping on what they hear first, at the extreme end of the ringing range. They lock onto that, whereas with the needle tuner, you can SEE the oscillations and see where the center point of the range is, and tune to that primary tone, moving the ringing range over to where the center is marked, instead of being skewed off to the sharp side or the flat side of the dial. You can plug those little pickup clippies into these tuners, too, just as with the newer digital models.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 21 Jun 03 - 01:08 PM

WYSIWYG -

Failure to read the entire thread is inexcusable; however, in this case it may be forgivable. You did express a little differently, and quite nicely, what's been mentioned before. Your description may be just what someone needs to understand some of the previous posts.

Actually, since I've read through the whole thread several times, I can attest that someone has been inserting things that weren't there on my prior readings. Not a clone thing – probably elves and pixies. Senility might be my best excuse, but I'll pretend that I was "rereading" to see if the prior posts supported later comments, so I wasn't really looking for details that became "important" in the context of subsequent ones.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Jun 03 - 05:27 PM

Curiously, I have tried intellitouches several times and I have never been happy that the result is (a) a guitar (or mandolin) in tune with itself or (b) an average of typical concert pitch. I wonder if this could be due to the difference mentioned here between mechanical vibration and airborne sound.

Anyone else unhapy with intellitouches?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner Problem
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 27 Jun 03 - 07:34 PM

The main complaint I've heard about them is that most of my friends who have one have one with a broken-off clamp. I do know of one or two who bought replacement Intellitouches, but most went back to something more conventional.

My own "put" has been that the tuner itself is no better than many cheaper ones, is not particularly "flexible" in use, and it's a lot of money to pay for a C-clamp.

Because of its size, the IT is usually clamped to the headstock, which is not the best place to pick up the tones you want to tune to. A smaller contact mic/pickup near the bridge, or even on the pick guard if it's raised, is more likely to get the "voice" you're looking for. Also because of its size, the "whole body" of the IT is succeptible to picking up the airborn "noise" from other instruments - which is the thing you're trying to avoid by using a pickup.

No argument with those who use one successfully, but I'm not that impressed with them. There are "stick-on" tuners small enough to be semi-permanently attached, that seem better suited to the job, if that's what you want.

John


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