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Does a tuner tune all notes?


(@irideflatland)
Eminent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
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Topic starter  

When I was in band in high school, we had a little handheld tuner for tuning everyone quickly before a concert. For some reason, I think I remember there being several notes listed on the tuner. So does the tuner only tune certain notes? Like if I bought one for my acoustic, and had to tune everything down a half step, could I use the tuner?

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(@kingpatzer)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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Chromatic tuners tune to any tone but don't differentiate between octaves of the same tone.

So an A will appear as A if it's 440 Hz, 220 Hz or 880 Hz.

You can get a decent chromatic tuner for $25 or so at any music store.

Some stobe tuners can differentiate octaves, but very few people really need three thousand dollar tuners.

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(@greybeard)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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Differentiating octaves is easy, when tuning your guitar. If don't already have one, get a chromatic tuner (Korg make a good one, the CA-40, at around $20). Almost every tuner has a reference tone, set by default ot 440Hz (Concert A), which is the same as the 5th fret of the high E string (in standard tuning - EADGBE). Before accurately tuning your strings, tune the high E, 5th fret to the reference tone from the tuner - it doesn't have to be exact, just close.
Then roughly tune all the other strings against the high E, using the 5th/4th fret method. You will now have a badly tuned guitar, but all strings will be in the right octave. Now, tune accurately, using the chromatic tuner.

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(@ricochet)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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Steer clear of "guitar tuners." They've only got 5 notes on them, EADGB, and are pretty useless IMO.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


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(@misanthrope)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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I only ever use the 440hz reference note they produce to tune in my E string at the fourth fret (I always use 1/2 step down tuning), then the usual 4th/5th fret thing to get everything close, and the harmonics if it's not quite right after that. By happy coincidence, one component of my computer's fan's hum is 220hz, so unless it's stupidly noisy I can use that and do without a tuner at all at home :)

That approach might not be for eveyone, but I have immense difficulty getting a tuner to keep doing it's thing for more than a couple of seconds into the note... and I'm not big on patience. I find it too frustrating to use anything but the reference note.

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(@ricochet)
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Tuning on harmonics, however, tunes the strings to Pythagorean intervals instead of the proper equal-tempered intervals.

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(@misanthrope)
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Ever get the feeling of Deja Vu?

I know you can be too acurate, but I end up with a better sounding tuning using harmonics than with fretting alone.

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(@ricochet)
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In certain keys. Equal temperament's off enough that it's not any more off in one key than another.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


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