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View Full Version : Strobe tuner to set intonation ?


Dr. Tweedbucket
02-27-2007, 11:59 AM
I've always done it with a regular tuner but it seems like a strobe would be more accurate. What is a good strobe tuner to get?

GuitslingerTim
02-27-2007, 01:44 PM
A real strobe tuner costs big bucks, but the digital Peterson models are pretty good. The VSII is the model to get unless you want the stompbox version.

justonwo
02-27-2007, 03:58 PM
I'd get the stomp box version of the Peterson Virtual Strobe. It has the same accuracy for intonation but added usefulness as a stomp box.

walterw
02-27-2007, 08:22 PM
i'm evangelizing for the sonic research turbo-tuner! its cheaper than the peterson stuff, and in certain ways is more accurate, because it's an analog, not virtual, strobe tuner.

blueguitar
02-27-2007, 09:55 PM
For serious intonation work you need a real strobe tuner not the virtual ones. Why? Because with a real strobe tuner your eye is going to be the judge of when the guitar is in tune. With all other digital, virtual or whatever there still must be a decision made by the circuitry to say "in tune" or not. Even the needle types are divided so finely on their scale it would be hard to have great precsicion. Most of these digital tuners are only accurate within +/- 3 cents (hundreths of a semitone). A real strobe tuner is accurate to within .1 cent. I purchased a Peterson 490 last year and started using a real strobe tuner after thinking for years that a good digital one was accurate enough. Boy was I wrong.

GuitslingerTim
02-27-2007, 11:20 PM
Most of these digital tuners are only accurate within +/- 3 cents (hundreths of a semitone). A real strobe tuner is accurate to within .1 cent. I purchased a Peterson 490 last year and started using a real strobe tuner after thinking for years that a good digital one was accurate enough. Boy was I wrong.

The Peterson digital strobetuners are also accurate within .1 cent. My only complaint about the VS1 is the display jumps around so much sometimes that its hard to be sure if the string is intonated properly.

Zelmo
02-28-2007, 08:51 AM
The human ear cannot distinguish absolute pitch differences of < a couple of cents, so I'm not so sure that having 0.1 cent accuracy is such a critical issue. And yes, I'd agree that the digital strobe tuners are considerably better than +/- 3 cents.

blueguitar
02-28-2007, 03:54 PM
The Peterson digital strobetuners are also accurate within .1 cent. My only complaint about the VS1 is the display jumps around so much sometimes that its hard to be sure if the string is intonated properly.

That's my point is that there is still a digital function trying to make a decision as to what is in tune and what is not. Not so with analog whirling disc and lights. Whether the ear is that good or not my customers seem to appreciate it and notice the difference.

EADGBE
02-28-2007, 07:47 PM
I love my Peterson VS-1.

patpark
02-28-2007, 08:36 PM
i never have problems with my vs-1 needle jumping around. open or fretted notes. on electric i try to use neck pickup and roll the tone knob all the way off. once you go strobe you can't go back to a regular tuner. regular tuning gets better.

intonation can't do it without a strobe tuner.

Luke V
03-04-2007, 07:32 AM
I've been using the Strobostomp for setting intonation. It works very well for me. That is one of the main reasons I bought it.

illinimax
03-05-2007, 10:06 AM
The Peterson stuff is great, but I've found that using my ears works the best when setting intonation. Using some heavy distortion to bring out the harmonics gets me where I want to be. Doesn't need to be that loud actually.

For a Gibson scale guitar, the fretted note at the 12th position should equal the pitch of the 5th fret harmonic. For a Fender scale guitar the harmonic and fretted note at the 7th fret should be in agreement. After that, tuning with the Strobostomp gives great results.

As always, YMMV

Fishin'Musician
03-06-2007, 10:17 PM
I had problems with my Strobostomp "jumping around" while trying to set the intonation on certain guitars, until I realized my pickups were too close to the strings and were causing this. I lowered them whilst setting the intonation then it dawned on me it's probably best to leave them lowered, since having them so close to the strings was obviously affecting the vibration in a negative way. I love me my Strobostomp.

Serious Poo
03-06-2007, 10:25 PM
I've been using the Strobostomp for setting intonation. It works very well for me. That is one of the main reasons I bought it.

+1 Same for me

gtrmaker
03-08-2007, 09:38 AM
I recently tried out the Turbo Tuner ST-122 (www.turbo-tuner.com (http://www.turbo-tuner.com)) and this is the tuner to use. I had a VSII, but the display was just too unstable, especially on acoustic guitars, so I tried out the ST-122 because of their no-risk guarantee.

With the Turbo Tuner, not only can I get a precise measurement of the note, I can see if there are problems with the harmonics, because it's a real strobe tuner. The Peterson virtual tuners filter out everything except the fundamental. A lot of times, intonation problems are caused by bad strings that have excessive inharmonicity. This is where the partials are not harmonic - they are usually somewhat sharp. This can fool your ear when setting intonation by ear, or with a tuner that filters out all the partials.

Inharmonicity shows up quite clearly on the Turbo Tuner's display, and you would be surprised by how many strings exhibit this phenomenon.

Fishin'Musician
03-10-2007, 11:17 PM
Will the Turbo Tuner do Feiten?

therealting
03-12-2007, 11:47 AM
I think the Turbo Tuner does customisable temperaments, so in theory you can program any temperament you want, BF included.

The_Whale
03-13-2007, 12:36 AM
Any tuner will be way more accurate than any guitar.

Any tuner will do. The skill of the intonater is much more important than the accuracy of the tuner....

walterw
03-13-2007, 11:53 PM
I recently tried out the Turbo Tuner ST-122 (www.turbo-tuner.com (http://www.turbo-tuner.com)) and this is the tuner to use. I had a VSII, but the display was just too unstable, especially on acoustic guitars, so I tried out the ST-122 because of their no-risk guarantee.

With the Turbo Tuner, not only can I get a precise measurement of the note, I can see if there are problems with the harmonics, because it's a real strobe tuner. The Peterson virtual tuners filter out everything except the fundamental. A lot of times, intonation problems are caused by bad strings that have excessive inharmonicity. This is where the partials are not harmonic - they are usually somewhat sharp. This can fool your ear when setting intonation by ear, or with a tuner that filters out all the partials.

Inharmonicity shows up quite clearly on the Turbo Tuner's display, and you would be surprised by how many strings exhibit this phenomenon.

yes! this problem really shows up when you try to intonate down-tuned guitars, as the upper harmonics can be significantly off from the fundamental. the turbo-tuner lets you see the string as a vibrating system, rather than one isolated pitch, just like a mechanical strobe.

you can also do true perfect-tempered open tunings on it by setting it to the tonic of the chord, as perfect thirds, fourths and fifths will show in the display.

it's also easy to program BuzzF offsets into it.

therealting
03-14-2007, 09:42 AM
Walter, what is the effect of the tuner on sound quality?

walterw
03-14-2007, 09:59 PM
i never run tuners in my signal path (with splitters, dual output pedals and AB boxes, why should i?) but i'm sure it's fine.

therealting
03-17-2007, 07:19 PM
Cool - well, I just ordered mine. Looking forward to receiving it and seeing what a difference it makes.

Do you know if the values used for the Peterson "sweetened" temperaments are in the public domain? I'd be interested in trying them out when I get the Turbo Tuner.

WhiteStrat
03-17-2007, 07:48 PM
Cool - well, I just ordered mine. Looking forward to receiving it and seeing what a difference it makes.

Do you know if the values used for the Peterson "sweetened" temperaments are in the public domain? I'd be interested in trying them out when I get the Turbo Tuner.


I was wondering about the sweetened tuning and true bypass also emailTurbo Will report back their response.

WhiteStrat
03-19-2007, 07:02 PM
Got a response tonight, found it quite interesting read on below:

The diagram below shows the equivalent circuit of the Turbo Tuner. Note that the input and output are hardwired directly together, so the signal passes straight through the tuner.

http://thegearpage.net/board/cid:16dd01c76a60$b11f4650$0200a8c0@SRI


The signal is fed to the tuner through a .01 uF capacitor connected to a buffer amplifier that represents a 1 Meg Ohm resistance to ground. We do not consider this to be true bypass, but some do.

For example, one of our competitors makes a large blue stomp box tuner, and advertises it as having "true bypass". We have found that when it's in true bypass mode, they switch in a 1 Meg Ohm resistor to ground. This is not shown in the circuit diagram they advertise, but it is there and some people claim they can hear a difference with the tuner in the signal path, even in "true bypass" mode.

As for sweetened tunings, we do not preprogram any "sweetened tunings" into the unit, but the tuner has the capability of storing up to 14 different temperaments, and is also the only tuner with user defined alternate tunings.

In alternate tunings mode, the tuner only responds to the notes that are programmed into it. Each note in the tuning can be offset by up to 50 cents in .1 cent increments. Each alternate tuning can have any number of strings, so it is useful for a wide variety of instruments.

One of the important uses of the user programmable alternate tunings is to create your own tunings for a particular instrument or a particular song. Once you have your instrument tuned exactly the way you want it, it's easy to capture the tuning and store it in the Turbo Tuner's memory. Custom tunings are accesses by the MODE key, and you can quickly recall any tuning you have saved, along with a number of standard alternate tunings that area already built in.

I hope this has answered your questions. If you would like to try the Turbo Tuner, we do offer a 30 day 100% no-risk return policy. If for any reason you decide not to keep the tuner, we will refund all your money, even the return shipping. (Offer applies to ground shipping only).

Thank you for your interest in our products, and if you have any further questions, please feel free to call or email us.

Distortion
03-19-2007, 09:26 PM
I bought one of these about 4 years ago.
My search for a Tuner ended the first day I used it...

http://img3.musiciansfriend.com/dbase/pics/products/2/8/7/241287.jpg

walterw
03-19-2007, 11:39 PM
as good as it gets, but maybe a bit big for the pedalboard

gtrmaker
03-21-2007, 12:29 PM
Cool - well, I just ordered mine. Looking forward to receiving it and seeing what a difference it makes.

Do you know if the values used for the Peterson "sweetened" temperaments are in the public domain? I'd be interested in trying them out when I get the Turbo Tuner.

I have measured the offsets for the GTR "sweetened temperament" in my Peterson StroboFlip. Here they are in cents offset from the equal temperament:

E 1st string -2.3 cents
B 2nd string -2.1 cents
G 3rd string -0.4 cents
D 4th string 0
A 5th string 0
E 6th string -2.3 cents

This improves the interval of the 5th on the 5th and 6th strings, but makes other intervals worse. Two note power chords on the 5th and 6th strings will sound better, but just about everything else sounds worse.

For example, if you plan an E chord in the first position, the interval for the 3rd from the 6th string to the 3rd string (E to G#) has now widened to 15.6 cents from a pure tone. (In the equal temperament this interval is off by 13.7 cents from a pure interval). And, the E on the 4th string is off by 2.3 cents from the E notes on the 1st and 6th string.

It does not sound sweet to my ears, it sounds a lot worse than playing in the equal temperament, except for 2-note power chords on the two bass strings.

I think it's more of a marketing gimmick than anything else.

Soapbarstrat
03-21-2007, 07:20 PM
I have a hell of a time setting intonation with my Peterson VS-2.
I set it just right, then re-check it again an hour later and get different readings showing it's no longer intonated. And I'm not even playing the guitar much, if at all, within that hour. Of course I tune the open strings perfectly before checking the intonation. This has happened on several guitars.
I also often have a lot of trouble getting a reading on the high E (on many guitars). I use all the "tricks" : keeping the volume knob down low (sometimes having to turn it up more), plucking the string with edge of my thumb (sometimes use a pick to see if that helps).
Sometimes it will be reading the E, with it almost being right in tune, then all of a sudden a different note appears on the screen and takes several seconds before it's reading E again.

PanamaCZ
03-21-2007, 09:38 PM
Soapbarstrat,

I don't know if this will help, but I have had the same experience. One thing I do to verify the pitch (open and at the 12th) is to toggle back and forth between the pitch I'm after and one above or below it (it really doesn't matter, any other pitch will do).

Presuming there are no other issues (have left it in the case for a while and it's now "normalizing to room conditions), I also expect the 11th fret note to be slightly flat and the 13th fret note to be slightly sharp compared to the 12th fret note in most cases.

I've also had one string that just wouldn't intonate (D), but I changed the offending string and that solved the problem.

Ultimately, I switched to a Peterson 590 and noticed some of the issues were reduced. However, I keep my guitars in cases when they're not played, so some of your issues (and my issues) still persist to some degree (tuning stability, not intonation).

Hope this helps,

Mike

therealting
03-21-2007, 10:27 PM
I have been told that the best way to set your intonation is by using the 2nd and 14th frets as your reference points, rather than open and 12th.

dbx
03-22-2007, 12:29 AM
i'm evangelizing for the sonic research turbo-tuner! its cheaper than the peterson stuff, and in certain ways is more accurate, because it's an analog, not virtual, strobe tuner.

OK...very interesting:

http://www.turbo-tuner.com/images/wip/DSCN1589c-500w.jpg

It looks very compact and would fit in nicely on a board, something I never really enjoyed about the Strobostomp v1. Can you do silent tuning with it or do you need an A/B box for that? How is the construction quality: sturdiness of jacks, display, case? I guess I could contact Turbo-tune but preach on... ;)

dbx
03-22-2007, 01:12 AM
Talk about fast response, I dropped them a question just a few minutes ago ^^^, just got a reply:

"...The Turbo Tuner does not have a mute function, so you cannot do silent tuning without an external switch box. The case is made of polycarbonate and is very durable and can withstand repeated drops onto concrete from 4 to 5 feet. The input / output jacks are the type normally found on a non-stompbox type tuner, such as the BOSS TU-15, Korg OT-120, Peterson StrobFlip and so on. They are not the heavy duty metal type that bolt to the side of the case as you will find on something like a BOSS TU-2..."

The jack durability shouldn't be too bad since it's not being stepped on...when's the altar call Brother Walt? ;)

Stringrazor
03-22-2007, 04:39 PM
I've been using Peterson StroboSoft virtual strobe and find it much more accurate than other cheap tuners I've used. The "strobe" display does jump around a bit but it works well enough and there are other display options that will display a +/- numerical cent indicator which I find the most useful.

Of course, StroboSoft is a studio tool unless you already tote a laptop to gigs.

therealting
04-04-2007, 08:17 PM
Having had mine for about a week now, I have to say the Turbo Tuner is by a LONG shot the best tuner that I have ever used. It reacts quicker than the Peterson, and is much easier to use. I restrung one of my electrics and used it to intonate the saddles (which turned out to be very easy to do), and I don't think I've ever heard the guitar sound so good!