The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #56563   Message #894778
Posted By: JohnInKansas
20-Feb-03 - 08:54 PM
Thread Name: Tech: inexpensive tuner
Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive tuner
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.

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.)