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Tech: Headstock tuners

Les in Chorlton 08 Dec 09 - 01:24 PM
Dave Hanson 08 Dec 09 - 01:32 PM
Les from Hull 08 Dec 09 - 01:42 PM
Ian Hendrie 08 Dec 09 - 02:19 PM
alex s 08 Dec 09 - 04:57 PM
Les in Chorlton 09 Dec 09 - 04:52 AM
Lox 09 Dec 09 - 05:29 AM
theleveller 09 Dec 09 - 05:31 AM
Ian Hendrie 09 Dec 09 - 07:19 AM
Gedi 09 Dec 09 - 08:02 AM
Howard Jones 09 Dec 09 - 08:09 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 09 Dec 09 - 08:55 AM
Uncle Phil 09 Dec 09 - 10:00 AM
Les in Chorlton 09 Dec 09 - 10:09 AM
Backwoodsman 09 Dec 09 - 12:03 PM
Banjo-Flower 09 Dec 09 - 05:07 PM
Uncle Phil 09 Dec 09 - 10:19 PM
Backwoodsman 10 Dec 09 - 09:32 AM
Banjo-Flower 10 Dec 09 - 09:52 AM
Backwoodsman 10 Dec 09 - 11:04 AM
Banjo-Flower 10 Dec 09 - 11:27 AM
GUEST,Songbob 10 Dec 09 - 01:32 PM
DebC 10 Dec 09 - 01:34 PM
Les in Chorlton 11 Dec 09 - 05:37 AM
Backwoodsman 11 Dec 09 - 06:26 AM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Dec 09 - 03:57 PM
Paul Davenport 12 Dec 09 - 04:00 AM
Les in Chorlton 29 Jan 10 - 12:17 PM
Leadfingers 29 Jan 10 - 12:35 PM
Les in Chorlton 29 Jan 10 - 01:03 PM
Dave Hanson 30 Jan 10 - 03:35 AM
Les in Chorlton 31 Jan 10 - 04:42 AM
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Subject: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 08 Dec 09 - 01:24 PM

I currently have a Intelli IMT 500 tuner. It's the kind that picks up the vibes through the instrument rather than through the air.

It seemed to work well at first but after a while it is slow to respond or fails to respond especially to low notes.

Can anybody recommend a better tuner of this type - though the instrument not through the air - so to speak

L in C


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 08 Dec 09 - 01:32 PM

You probably need a new battery Les, this is usually the case if they are slow to respond or the light dims, I've also got one called, FZONE FMT-007 it's got a lot more features including a metronome, and it's cheaper but it's untested yet.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Les from Hull
Date: 08 Dec 09 - 01:42 PM

I can recommend the TGI-23 (under 10 quid through Amazon). It works better than the Intellitouch, which always had problems with lower frequencies. Even the backlight changes colour for low high or correct tuning. I bought it when I misplaced my Intellitouch and now use it in preference.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 08 Dec 09 - 02:19 PM

I too have an Intelli IMT 500 tuner but it's consigned to a guitar case somewhere as it's not too good with the low notes. I favour the Farida HT 75 which I got from Dawsons Music. It has no problems with any notes and the blue and red display is much easier to see in poor lighting conditions. It was also cheaper!
Ian from Stockport


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: alex s
Date: 08 Dec 09 - 04:57 PM

I tune the lower strings using the octave harmonics and that seems to work well (right, Austin?!)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 04:52 AM

Thanks to all above I will go and bother shops. I believe, in the non-biblical sense that people have been known to use the human ear as an aid to tuning but I find the banjo a bit of a challenge. Is that forever slightly out of tune sound the utter joy and charm of the tenor banjo, am I failing to tune it or is it a crap banjo?

Cheers

L in C


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Lox
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 05:29 AM

WAIT ... LES ...

Reread alex's post first.

I have the same one as you, and found it unrealiable on the low notes until I started tuning from the octave harmonic.

You know, just gently touch the string at the octave when you pluck it and you get the same pure tone an octave up?

Anyway - that does the job.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: theleveller
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 05:31 AM

Yes, I fell out with the Intellitouch as it wouldn't fit on the Lowden, which has a curved top edge on the headstock, and it didn't work on the cittern. I now use a Guitarman GM11(under a tenner) on the cittern, which is a bastard to tune. This is extremely good and simple, but I still prefer to tune the guitar by ear except in noisy situations.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 07:19 AM

Some are lucky enough to be able to tune by ear - others have problems. I gave up playing the guitar for nearly twenty years because I couldn't tune it properly. In retrospect, was someone having a joke selling me a set of pitch-pipes?

If they'd invented electronic tuners a few decades earlier I might have been a guitar virtuoso by now . . . or perhaps not.

It's too late now, but how do you educate your ear?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Gedi
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 08:02 AM

I know what you mean about pitch pipes Ian - absolutely useless imho.

I used to tune my guitar at the 5th fret and always struggled a little, until I learned the harmonic tuning method (5th to 7th fret for first 4 stings) which takes the hard work out of it as you are not listening for the note itself but for the 'beat' which disappears as it comes into tune. Much more reliable - more reliable even than the electronic tuners discussed above. Also, once you have lightly touched the string to create the harmonic you dont have to fret it so your left hand is then free to change the tuning head whilst the note still sounds.

Ged


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Howard Jones
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 08:09 AM

You educate your ear through practice. I'm not keen on the use of electronic tuners, except in noisy situations, because they make your ear lazy. You should be able to tell whether your instrument is in tune, identify where it's out and put it right.

Tuning using harmonics can help because it is a purer tone, especially if you're using a tuning fork which makes a very similar tone.

If you can't tell whether two notes are the same listen for the "beats". These are caused by the sound waves at slightly different frequencies interfering with each other. When you've eliminated the beats, they're in tune.

I must admit I do use an electronic tuner but only for hammered dulcimer - with more than 100 strings to tune I think I have an excuse. I still rely on my ears for the final adjustments.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 08:55 AM

>>It's too late now, but how do you educate your ear?<<

1) tune up one string with your electronic tuner
2) tune the others to it by whatever method you prefer*
3) check them against the electronic tuner and see how close you got.

Do this every time you practice, and your ear will become educated.

*Many different ways of doing this have been recommended over the years. All have their own plusses and minusses, but this one works well for me, so you might like to try it.

1)Tune the 6th (low E string)with the e-tuner. (Like some prevous posters, I find this easier to do using the octave harmonic at the 12th fret rather than the open string.)

2) Match the 7th fret note on the 5th string to the 12th fret harmonic on the 6th string.

3)Match the 2nd fret note on the 4th string with the 12th fret harmonic on the 6th.

4)Match the open 1st string with the (double octave)5th fret harmonic on the 6th.

5)Match the 5th fret note on the 2nd string with the (double octave)5th fret harmonic on the 6th.

6)Match the 9th fret note on the 3rd string with the (double octave)5th fret harmonic on the 6th.

One advantage of this method may be that all those notes are "E" (albeit in different octaves)so your ear(or brain) gets used to that sound. Or it may be that using just one string to check all the others produces a more consistent result than going from string to string across the neck, as many of us were taught to do originally. anyhow, I find this one works better than any other method I've tried so far.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Uncle Phil
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 10:00 AM

Korg makes a clamp-on pickup on a long wire leading to a ¼ inch phone plug which can then be plugged into any tuner with a `1/4 inch jack. Here's a picture. I use this at home plugged into my old through-the-air chromatic Korg tuner. It works great at all frequencies, and is easily moved from one kind or instrument to another. The only downside is the long wire is a hassle in a jam so I rarely use other than at home. $10 American on Amazon.
- Phil


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 10:09 AM

Looks Ok for instruments with pick ups. I am wrestling with the general struggle - tuning of the tenor banjo

L in C


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 12:03 PM

"Yes, I fell out with the Intellitouch as it wouldn't fit on the Lowden, which has a curved top edge on the headstock"

Leveller, the answer is to clip it on where the little 'bite' is taken out of the headstock - either the bass or treble side will do (although I prefer the bass side 'bite'. If you clip it there, the effect of the 'curved edge' has virtually disappeared.

However, I'm currently using a Planet Waves headstock tuner, or the small Intellitouch one (PT-10??) both of which change from orange to green when you're in tune (great for dimmocks like me in dim places!).

Like someone else said above, I like to use the tuner to get one (usually the 'A') in tune, then use the tempered tuning method to do the other five by ear.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Banjo-Flower
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 05:07 PM

tuning/educating by ear does nt work after 40+years in a noisy Steel Mill

Gerry


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Uncle Phil
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 10:19 PM

Les, re the Korg CM-100L Tuner Clip: Sorry if I wasn't clear. The plug goes into a jack on an electronic tuner. There is a pickup in a rubberized clamp on the other end of the wire. The clamp attaches to your tenor banjo, guitar, trombone, kazoo or any other un-amplified instrument.
- Phil
(The Tuner Clip is only useful, of course, it you have an electronic tuner with a jack. Other than headstock tuners, the electronic tuners I've used all have a jack so one can plug an electric guitar into them)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 10 Dec 09 - 09:32 AM

You seem to manage alright Gerry! :-) :-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Banjo-Flower
Date: 10 Dec 09 - 09:52 AM

Did you say something John? speak up please

Gerry


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 10 Dec 09 - 11:04 AM

LOL!   :-)
Have a good Christmas was what I said. :-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Banjo-Flower
Date: 10 Dec 09 - 11:27 AM

Thanks John have good 'un yerself

Gerry


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: GUEST,Songbob
Date: 10 Dec 09 - 01:32 PM

"I find the banjo a bit of a challenge."

Welcome to the club. The problem with banjos comes from several factors:

Dynamic tension -- tuning one string much more strongly affects the others, since the head has more "give" than a guitar or fiddle top.

Movable bridge -- unlike a fiddle, where there are no frets to give you the "right" position, a bridge that's a tad off-position will make tuning essentially impossible, since fretted notes won't be the proper mathematical percentage of the open string length.

If your problem is that every time you tune a string, the adjacent string is now somehow out of tune, it's the dynamic tension problem. You usually have to tune several times, each time getting closer to true tension balance among the strings. If your problem is that the fretted string is not what it should be even though the open string is, then the bridge is improperly placed.

First, make sure of the bridge position -- the octave harmonic at the 12th fret should exactly match the fretted 12th fret. If the fretted note is sharp, move the bridge back (the bridge is too far forward). If the fretted 12th fret is flat of the harmonic, the bridge comes forward (being too far back). You may find that the 1st string is different from the 4th string in terms of bridge position, so many players end up with a slanted bridge (just like guitars -- most steel-strung guitars have a slanted bridge position, with the 1st string 1/4" or so forward of the 4th or 5th string. Some bluegrass players even use a compensated bridge with different length for each string, in order to get closer to pure tuning.

Once the bridge is in the correct position, make sure the head is tight enough (bluegrassers like 'em "1/4-turn before it breaks"), and then tune each string to the electronic tuner (I use one of the clamp-on tuners -- a Korg -- clamped onto the shell instead of the headstock), then check the first one you tuned to see if the changes you made to the others have affected that ones tuning. Do touch-up tuning till you have it right.

You may even want to use the electronic tuner to check that all the frets are properly placed; tune the open string, let's say the G string. Then the second fret should be an A, the fourth fret a B, and the fifth fret a C. If the tuner shows any of those off by more than a few cents, you have a misplaced fret, and that's a bigger problem than just fudging with the bridge. I had a banjo that had a problem with capos. The frest were high enough that a capo made strings go sharp, even when the bridge was properly placed. Caused me all kinds of problems, and I had to sell the banjo, alas. It was either that or keep retuning every time I put the capo on or off, and in the middle of a concert, that is a real problem, especially if the singer starts and you have no way to match his voice and guitar.

Anyway, good luck with tuning. It's a sorry, annoying, and stressful way to spend something like 10% of your life, you know?

Bob


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: DebC
Date: 10 Dec 09 - 01:34 PM

I got myself a Planet Waves Headstock Tuner and I really like it. The red/green colours are a nice guide to see if you are in tune or not. It fits nicely into the headstock of my Leach guitar.

As for using the ear, if I do that we'll be in the venue all night and well into the following day as I have always had trouble fine-tuning the guitar in performance. Having the tuner is just a nice wee tool that cuts down on tuning time for me.

Debra Cowan


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Dec 09 - 05:37 AM

Thanks to so many people especially Bob, lots of good advice there. I guess heaver strings stay more in tune since it is easier to push lighter ones around?

L in C


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 11 Dec 09 - 06:26 AM

DebC, I've got one of those PW tuners and I've given up on it because it eats batteries. Do you find the same thing?

I've changed to the Intellitouch PT-10, which has the same colour-changing feature as the PW, and it sits 'player-side' of the headstock instead of 'audience-side'. Very sensitive and it hears that dratted low 'E' without any problems.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Dec 09 - 03:57 PM

"You educate your ear through practice." Yes indeed - and using an electronic tuner can be a very good way of training your ear to recognise notes, so as to be better able "to tell whether your instrument is in tune, identify where it's out and put it right".

Incidentally, using harmonics is a very handy way to check that you are in (relative) tune, and to get back into tune again - but an instrument tuned purely through harmonics is actually not going to be exactly in tune


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 12 Dec 09 - 04:00 AM

I have to tune thirty guitars at the beginning of each lesson because the kids think it's funny to detune them when they've finished. I discovered that, with practice I can correctly judge the A (I sometimes use a pre-tuned guitar of my own. Then I match up the D string by singing 'Here comes the bride' to the A string which starts ADD. When it sound right I do the same on the D string to give DGG then you need to play GB the first two notes of 'Kumbaya'
then back to 'Here comes the Bride' for the E string - play BEE. The top E is now two octaves away from the low E so try singng 'Somewhere over the Rainbow' the first two notes of which will be E and E'. That lot gets me through thirty guitars in around ten minutes. (In concert I use a headstock tuner like normal people!)
cheers
Paul


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 12:17 PM

Ok folks I launched this in December and the following tuners were recomended:

F Zone FMT 007
TGI 23
Farida HT75
Guitarman GM 11
Korg CM 100L
Planet Waves Headstock Tuner
Intelli IMT 500

Does anybody have experience with banjos? I don't see why they should be any different but any comments from people who have used them on banjos might be helpful.

Otherwise any strongs recomendations would be good

L in C


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Leadfingers
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 12:35 PM

I have used three different clip on tuners on 5 string and Tenor banjo with NO problems Les .


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 01:03 PM

Favourite?

L in C


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 03:35 AM

I mainly use the IMT 400 it works fine on my tenor banjo.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Tech: Headstock tuners
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 04:42 AM

Any new views?

L in C


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