What's the deal with Guitar Tuners?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Redhouse-Blues, Jan 13, 2008.


  1. Redhouse-Blues

    Redhouse-Blues Member

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    I just got home from a Worship gig and something happened I never thought about before. I have been using just a Korg GA-30 for a very long time and it works and tends to agree with my ear. Well today, I got to plug into a Boss White pedal tuner and it kept saying the I was 1/8 of a step flat from being in tune, while the Korg said I was in tune. Then we grabbed a Fender stage tuner and it read that both other tuners were sharp by almost a 1/4 step. Has anyone else ever experienced this or compared tuners?

    Being the only guitar player this is not really a problem, but now playing with another Guitarist I want to make sure we are perfectly in tune. So I need a pedal based tuner, true bypass, easy to see in a dark room that's right on in tune.

    Any suggestions or thoughts on this one?
     
  2. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    something is calibrated wrong somewhere. even a cheap tuner will read 440 as exactly 440, just as a digital watch out of a gumball machine will still keep basically perfect time. the better the tuner is, the closer it can get you to 440, but the tuner's internal clock or crystal or whatever should be dead-on.
     
  3. Redhouse-Blues

    Redhouse-Blues Member

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    I know and that's what I thought it should be, but each tuner read something different and the way I posted. With a watch you can at least reset it when it gets off time. I would have never thought a tuner could be off like this, maybe it's possible over time they also can become off.
     
  4. thezeng

    thezeng Member

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    the planet waves one is supposed to be true bypass, but it isnt. kills the most high end out of all my pedals! It looks nice though. anyone know how to calibrate a tuner?
     
  5. pipedwho

    pipedwho Member

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    The worst case crystal accuracy of a digital tuner is well within 1 cent at 440 for even the lowest quality one out there. They do not drift in any appreciable way unless they are completely broken.

    Some tuners do a better job at detecting overtones and picking up the fundamental note. To assist this process, you should roll off the tone pot and optionally use the 12th fret harmonic.

    I have one capo, one lead and one tuner in each guitar case (all different brands of tuner), so I never forget to bring a tuner. All my tuners read the same (within the tolerance of the flickering of the needle/leds).
     
  6. Redhouse-Blues

    Redhouse-Blues Member

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    I don't know, all I know is all three tuners read something different on the same guitar, an American Vintage 62 Thin Skin. The Fender ST-1 tuner was the one most off. I googled "Guitar Tuner Comparison" and "How Reliable are Guitar Tuners" and with 33,000+ pages after looking through 30+ pages, I didn't find any testing on this. I'm surprised no one has tested different tuners to see how close they are, unless I missed a page.

    Anyway, I need a good floor tuner and I can't find anything from Boss that say's if it's true bypass or not.
     
  7. MagicNelson

    MagicNelson Member

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    Boss doesnt make true bypass pedals, but the buffer on the TU-2 doesnt suck tone from me. If you have OCD about being perfectly in tune, get a Strobostomp.
     
  8. pgissi

    pgissi Member

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    The Boss TU-2 is not true Bypass and is a buffering type of pedal in addition to having a 2nd DC Power distribution output jack which can be useful with a daisy chain. You could the Boss PSA adapter into the TU2 and a dasiy chain from there

    I use a Boss TU-2 as my 1st pedal for the convenience of having a tuner and the buffering and I find the buffering is very transparent.

    The accuracy (+- 1%) is slightly lower than some other non pedal type tuners by korg and boss etc and they are all dwarfed in accuracy by the Peterson Strobostomp which has an accuracy of +- .1 % and is a true bypass pedal type tuner


    Have never done a comparison but I would suggest replicating the test you described using more than 1 guitar to verify your results
     
  9. Ben C.

    Ben C. Member

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    The Boss TU-2 accuracy is something like +/- 3.0 cents, not "1%" as you have above. Korg DT-10 accuracy is +/- 1.0 cents (and has a great buffer to boot). Then the StroboStomp is, yes, accurate to +/- 0.1 cents.

    StroboStomp = 30x more accurate than the Boss, 10x more accurate than the Korg
    Korg = 3x more accurate than the Boss
    Boss = A favorite choice of guitarists everywhere :p
     
  10. AfterDarkMusic

    AfterDarkMusic Member

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    Old news.

    Different tuners feel differently about 'true pitch'. I would have to assume that the age of the battery would contribute as well.
     
  11. Redhouse-Blues

    Redhouse-Blues Member

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    Where do these numbers come from?

    The Boss tuner was plugged in and my Korg has fresh batteries, I don't know about the Fender. From the last few posts, it looks like different tuners do have a different take on being in tune and it could be that between the Korg and the Boss, two guitars can be in tune according to the tuners and still not be in tune with each other, new news to me a long time Korg user. This also explains an experience I had with the guitar teacher, Ted Hall this past summer. I was having a one on one lesson with him and swore I was out of tune and we checked with my tuner, the Korg and I was in tune, according to his ears and guitar I was slighty out.
     
  12. pipedwho

    pipedwho Member

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    Guitar teachers are notorious for not tuning between each student. His guitar may have not been in tune to concert pitch - he probably tuned it in the morning and kept fiddling with it throughout the day. By the time he gets to you, it's a little out from concert pitch.

    Also, even if you get your guitars perfectly in tune which each other, your guitar teacher's ear may be good enough to hear all your intonation problems - ie. if you squeeze your chords too hard, or strum too hard, the guitar will go sharp. If you tune with no string pressure, and then squeeze hard while you play, this will always be a problem. Of course, most people either can't tell, or just ignore the small difference.

    Also, battery level will make no difference to tuning accuracy. Although, for some tuners, dead or dying batteries may impair their ability to hear/track the notes - so they jump around a lot more.

    I have all the following tuners and they all read the same (within their given tolerances): Boss TU12, Korg GT-120, Korg CA30, Turbo Tuner, Fender LX12, the inbuilt tuner in my Zoom G2, a software based tuner on my Mac, and the onboard tuner on my Takamine guitar. They are all within a couple of cents, and that is only because the less accurate ones just don't have the resolution that the Turbo Tuner or Peterson tuners have.

    A quarter of a semitone is 25 cents, which is an enormous error - even an old crappy tuning fork should be better than that.
     
  13. gitpicker

    gitpicker Member

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    Many of these tuners allow you to calibrate them manually up or down. I suggest you check this out and make sure that they are all calibrated to 440. I have had this issue before, where I was not in tune with the other guitar player even after we had both just tuned up. The problem was that mine was set 2 or 3 cents sharp - I simply recalibrated and all was good. FWIW - I was using a Korg DT-10 and the other guitar player was using a Boss TU-2.
     
  14. Ben C.

    Ben C. Member

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    The manufacturers.
     
  15. pipedwho

    pipedwho Member

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    This is worth checking - I've seen this many times before!

    BTW, the difference between A440 and A441 is 4 cents. This is just enough out that most people would probably want to retune, but some would leave it alone. The guitar's intonation can be out by this much around the neck.
     
  16. soldano16

    soldano16 Member

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    Just get a Peterson.:BEER
     

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