Tuners are critical for guitarists. Whether you’re tuning by ear or using computer software or a pedal, tuning is necessary before you can perform at your best. Normally, if you play your guitar only on a daily basis your strings will not get too far out of tune. But if your guitar is not used much, in bad condition or your playing is more aggressive, then most likely you’ll need to tune your guitar much more often. In light of all this there is a common sense tip: TUNE your guitar EVERY TIME you pick it up.
For accurate tuning, you MUST use electronic guitar tuners. These gizmo’s allow tuning with the use of pedals or rack mounted units. There are a number of manufacturers who specialize in these sophisticated gadgets
ELECTRONIC GUITAR TUNERS
• Boss, a division of the Roland Corporation uses their proven technology in musical equipment and accessories to develop sophisticated tuners – known for their accuracy and unsurpassed durability. The TU – Series of tuners incorporates tuning accuracy in a practical stompbox design…perfect to fit into guitar cases or gig bags.
• Korg introduced tuners to their line of products in 1999. They released the DT-7 GUITAR/BASS chromatic tuner which was the first tuner to feature the legendary Buzz Feiten Tuning System. The DT-7 could be one of the most accurate tuners manufactured. Korg also introduced the extremely flexible GT-12 GUITAR & BASS chromatic tuner and the OT-12 designed for Orchestra.
• String Master is another well respected manufacturer. String Master produced the world’s first motorized tuner which was featured in Guitar Player Magazine. This guitar tuner is very innovative, convenient and possibly the most musician friendly tuner ever manufactured.
• The Qwik Tune QT-11 is the next generation of automatic guitar tuner. It’s unique feature is an electronic pitch pipe with an internal speaker which plays E, A, D, G, B, and E tones for tuning reference. Another feature is an Off-Meter tuning mode which will detect the string that the player is trying to tune. ________________________________________
TUNING WITH COMPUTER SOFTWARE
You can find various guitar tuners online. These software based tuners eliminate the need to tune a guitar against another instrument or tuning by ear. Just listen to the sound from the software and tune the strin guntil it is in tune with the note played from the software. This method may require a bit more experience with tuning by ear.
One free tuner available online is the DGT or digital guitar tuner. DGT is a windows software which allows you to accurately tune your guitar using a direct input or microphone. Another free software is AP Tuner3 which supports an improved detection algorithm for low notes to support the bass guitar. It has a helpful Harmonics Graph window feature which allows you to see the harmonic content of any note. PitchPerfect can also be downloaded for free. It provides a highly accurate tuner with a simple-to-use interface. PitchPerfect is more flexible because it automatically senses the note played not limiting you to standard tunings.
You can also download tuners on your pocket PC or on your ipod. One example is the 4Pockets Guitar Tuner. Because it can be downloaded on your pocket PC the 4Pockets Guitar Tuner can be taken to your gigs. This is a high precision realtime tuner. This Guitar Tuner can accurately determine the frequency, musical note and octave for each of the strings. The ability to detect the note and octave makes this a very useful tool in musical notation and musical learning.
The iRocker is another convenient set of tools which you can load to your iPod. The iRocker is a great resource for beginners because it includes a virtual book with 200 guitar chords and fingerings but also guide to scales. There are also 5 different chord progressions that you can play along with for practice. Plus it contains a set of guitar tuning recordings with a variety of alternate tunings and a basic metronome with ten tempos.
WHICH TUNER IS RIGHT FOR ME?
First you have to ask yourself what your needs are. You might need a tuner for practicing at home or small gigs with friends. Or you might need the tuner for professional use travelling and so forth. Either way tuners are of the utmost importance. Stay tuned!