All about musical instrument tuner

Hi, I’m Jos.
I’m the manager of Japanese-Online-Store.

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Are you looking for the best instrument tuner?
Do you want to know the exact differences between various instrument tuner types?

I’ll try to help you answer these questions.

Index:

0. Instrument tuner, some confusions
1. Instrument tuner-1: which note to tune
2. Instrument tuner-2: how to pick up sounds
3. Instrument tuner-3: tuning principles and accuracy
4. Instrument tuner-4: how to display the results
5. Instrument tuner-5: style (size, shape, features, etc.)
6. My recommendations, the best instrument tuner for you
7. Conclusions instrument tuner

This article is 4849 words.
It takes about 20 minutes to read this article.

0. Instrument tuner, some confusions

An instrument tuner displays the difference between the input sound and reference pitch. You will tune your instrument according to the results shown on the display.

I notice there are some confusions about different types of instrument tuners. It makes some beginners lost in deciding which one to choose.

One of the reasons is that there are so many different types of instrument tuners in the market. They have different focuses, different mechanisms, pros and cons discussions are complex.

Another reason is that often people are mixing different perspectives. For example, if someone is claiming a strobe tuner is more accurate than a chromatic tuner. Then he/she is not comparing the same perspective.

Another example is a comparison of card tuners and polyphonic tuners.
It’s not logical and even confusing. To me it’s like comparing “red cars” to “big cars”.

Tuner manufacturers’ marketing oriented terminology is making it more complicated. I try to sort it out by categorizing instrument tuners from the following perspectives.

(1) Which note to tune
(2) How to pick up sounds
(3) Tuning principles and accuracy
(4) How to display the results
(5) Style (size, shape, features, etc.)

Let’s not compare apple to orange, but compare apple to apple.
Now let’s have it!

1. Instrument tuner-1: which note to tune

To tune your instrument, a tuner must collect sounds generated by your instrument. The first question is which sound does it collect for tuning.

There are three types.

(1) Non-chromatic tuner (often referred to as guitar/bass tuner)

There are tuners which are designed only to tune notes of guitar open strings EADGBE. When a string is played, a non-chromatic tuner recognizes that you are trying to tune one of EADGBE. And tell you how low or high the string is in relation to the pitch you are trying to tune.

It’s easy and convenient if you use it only for standard guitar tuning. You can tune by string number, even if you don’t know the note (named pitch) of each string. They can be a bit cheaper, too.

But be careful if you want to do down tuning (in other words flat tuning) as well. Because some basic models don’t have that functionality. You can’t use them for other instruments than guitars.

(2) Chromatic tuner

A chromatic tuner recognizes each of the twelve chromatic semi-steps of the equal-tempered scale (C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B). It will show the difference between the input sound and the pitch of the nearest semi-step note.

So it can be used to tune not only guitars/basses but also any other instruments. You can tune brass or woodwind instruments, for example. You can do non-standard guitar tuning such as down tuning. Some chromatic tuners have a guitar/bass mode as well.

In general, if you use a chromatic tuner to tune your guitar or bass, you’ll need to know the note (named pitch) of each string. Some tuners provide a mode in which you can tune by string number if you don’t know the note name for each string.

For example, BOSS TU-3 has a guitar/bass mode in addition to a chromatic mode. When changing to the guitar/bass mode, the display changes to string numbers instead of note names.

(3) Polyphonic tuner

Polyphonic tuners are the new breed of instrument tuners. They allow you to see whether each of 6 strings of your guitar is in tune in a single strum. Being able to see if any string is out of tune on the fly is pretty easy. It’s a time-saver, especially on stage. 

But don’t forget you can’t tune all strings at one time. You have to tune each string at a time if multiple strings are out of tune.

2. Instrument tuner-2: how to pick up sounds

Once you know which note the tuner picks up, the next question is how it picks up the sounds. There are three ways to collect sounds for tuning.

(1) Microphone

The microphone may be the first one to come to your mind when talking about collecting sounds. It collects sound waves coming through the air and converts it into electrical energy.

Most of card type tuners have a built-in microphone. It is convenient because you can use the tuner as it is without preparing anything. You can use it when you’re practicing in your quiet room.

But if your surroundings are noisy, the tuning is disturbed. Because the microphone picks up the noise. So it is not suitable outside or with other people in the studio or on stage.

(2) Cable

A cable transmits the sounds of your instrument to the tuner as an electrical signal. All types of tuners except for clip-on type usually have a cable input jack.

As long as the cable is connected firmly, it is reliable. You don’t have to worry about noises and vibrations around you. But you do have to prepare a cable and plug/unplug it every time when needed.

(3) Piezo

Piezo type tuners are directly attached to an instrument to pick up vibration. This vibration is transformed into an electrical signal by a built-in piezoelectric sensor.

The piezoelectric sensor measures changes in pressure, acceleration, temperature, strain, or force. And converts them to an electrical signal for processing. It is often referred to simply as piezo.

You can clip it directly on the headstock of your stringed instrument or the bell of wind instruments. Not like the microphone, you’re not bothered by noise of your surroundings. You can tune your instrument when other players are playing.

But as the principle tells you, it might pick up vibration of other vibrant instruments. For example, when people around you are playing drums or basses, the tuning can be disturbed. It might not be so often, but it’s a small weak point when compared with the cable type.

3. Instrument tuner-3: tuning principles and accuracy

Now the sound is collected by the tuner and the next step is to tune. There are two major principles for comparing the collected sound and the target pitch.

(1)  Peak/trough detection type

You may not have heard this because I’m the Godfather of this naming.
If anybody knows the right terminology, please post a comment.

This type is quite often referred to as needle type. But needle has nothing to with tuning principle. It is just one of the ways to show the difference between the input sound and the reference pitch.

Not only a needle, but also LED lights or an LCD meter can display the difference. So I don’t use the word “needle type” here for the sake of the purpose of this article.

Anyway, this type of tuner converts the input sounds to electrical waveform data. A built-in peak/trough detection circuit finds the positions of the peak/trough of the wave over time.

A number of the peak (or trough) per second is the frequency. You need to compare the input frequency and the frequency of the target pitch. A built-in microchip processes the data for the comparison. You can see the results on display by one of the display methods discussed in the next chapter.

A Japanese manufacturer Keio Giken Industry (predecessor of KORG) developed this type of tuning meter. They released KORG WT-10 tuning trainer in 1975 as the world first (so called at the time) “needle type electronic tuner”. Most probably the name was given because it uses a needle to display (see the photo).

Photo of KORG WT-10
The first peak/trough type electronic tuner KORG WT-10

Even now this principle is used by most of the tuners in the market. Because It is easy to make compact, light, cost effective tuners with decent accuracy. Typically claimed accuracy by manufacturers is +-1 cent. You can find more in depth discussion about accuracy after the Strobe tuner section.

(2) Strobe type

With this type of tuner you rotate a disc with a striped pattern. The disc rotates at the frequency of the reference pitch you want to tune in. A strobe scope flickers at the frequency of the input sound from your instrument.

When there’s a difference between the two frequencies, the stripe rotates. As the difference becomes smaller the rotation gets slower. And the stripe looks static when they match exactly. This type of tuner is more accurate than the peak/trough detection type. Some manufacturers claim accuracy of +-0.02 cent.

Mechanical disc strobe tuners have actual moving parts. So they are expensive, bulky and delicate. That’s why non-mechanical virtual electronic strobe tuners were developed. They use LCD dot-matrix display or a bank of LEDs arranged in a circle.

They give strobe effects based upon the frequency of the input sound. As you can see, you can’t use a needle for display. Probably it is one of the reasons why non-strobe type (peak/trough detection type) is called “needle type”.

There’s another one called vacuum tube type. They are rarely used for instrument tuners. So I don’t discuss it here.

(3) Accuracy

The accuracy of an instrument is often described by “cent”. By definition, a cent is 1/100 of an equally tempered semitone. It corresponds to the interval between two adjacent piano keys. Since there are 12 semitones in an octave, an octave consists of 1,200 cents.  

The strobe type instrument tuners have sub-cent tuning accuracy. The peak/trough detection type’s accuracy is typically +-1 cent.

It is commonly agreed that the human ear can notice a pitch change of about five cents as a single note. So the accuracy of +-1 cent is widely accepted as the accuracy of an instrument tuner.

But some people insist on more accurate tuning. Because the difference of less than 1 cent is claimed to be audible when playing chords. They believe it is necessary not just to be in tune, but for instruments to sing warmer and sweeter.

Others are saying that it is only a marketing tool of instrument tuner manufacturers. They say don’t rely on a tuner, but use your own ear if you need more warmth and sweetness.

Some people don’t like the strobe type tuners. Because they say it is so accurate that it takes longer to tune than the other type. It is up to you which type to choose.

Here are some points to have in mind.

Let’s assume you are trying to buy a new car. The speed limit on highways in your state is 70MPH.

Some people think maximum speed of 180MPH of a car is overspec. They prefer a cheaper car with maximum speed of 120MPH, or want to spend money on other aspects.

Other people believe more margin means better stability. Or they are willing to pay more for higher spec because it makes them feel great. Maybe they drive near 180MPH at a racing circuit from now and then.

My personal opinion is +-1 cent is more than enough for most of the people. But if you feel an instrument tuner with higher accuracy gives you better musical experiences, you should go for it.

When discussing instrument tuner accuracy you have to have the following three aspects in mind.

  • Accuracy of the built-in reference frequency:
    For example, if a nominal frequency is 440Hz, is it 439-441Hz or 439.9-440.1Hz?
  • Measurement resolution:
    It is measuring steps of a tuner. For example, if the resolution is 2.0 cents you’ll never know whether it’s 439.0Hz or 441.0Hz. It doesn’t matter how high the built-in reference frequency is.
  • Display resolution:
    Imagine the display resolution is too low. As a result, the tuner shows as if it is tuned, although it’s still slightly out of tune. You act on the results of tuning by watching display indication. You’ll end up stop tuning no matter how the former two factors are perfect.

Normally specifications from tuner manufacturers state the overall accuracy. When they are discussing a specific accuracy, don’t mix them up. It’s usually higher than the overall accuracy.

4. Instrument tuner-4: how to display the results

Now an instrument tuner processes the data. Next step is to show the results to display. There are three types of display method.

(1) Needle

This type of tuner uses a physical needle swinging left and right to display. Many people prefer the needle type because of its traditional flavor. They like the analog continuous movement of the needle.

It gives you a feeling of getting any subtle differences. It’s a different feeling than a digital movement from one light to the next.

Following products are some examples.

BOSS TU-12EX: needle/LCD/LED combination.

Photo of BOSS TU-12EX
BOSS TU-12EX – Needle display

KORG OT-120: needle/LCD combination.

Photo of KORG OT-120
KORG OT-120 – Needle display

(2) LED lamp

LED lamps are used for display in this type. Visibility of large, simple, bright LED lamps is by far the best. You can see it even from some distance. You can use them on severe conditions like under sunlight or on a dark stage. That’s why tuners used for live performances usually have LED lamps.

Following products are some examples.

BOSS TU-3

Photo of BOSS TU-3
BOSS TU-3 – LED display

KORG Pitchblack Poly Polyphonic Pedal Tuner

Photo of KORG Pitchblack Poly Polyphonic Pedal Tuner
KORG Pitchblack Poly Polyphonic Pedal Tune – LED display

Note)
KORG Pitchblack Poly Polyphonic Pedal Tuner has the following four display modes.

  • Meter mode
  • Full Strobe mode
  • Half Strobe mode
  • Split mode

But don’t be confused. This tuner doesn’t use the strobe principle for tuning. What is called Full Strobe mode and Half Strobe mode are just marketing terminology. Let’s take the Full Strobe mode as an example.

You will tune a string so that the LED meter illumination stops flowing.
The illumination will flow from left to right if the pitch is high, or from right to left if the pitch is low. They call it Full Strobe mode because it looks like strobe movement.

BOSS TU-3 has a similar display mode with different naming. What is called Stream mode is like KORG Full Strobe mode and Cent mode is like KORG Meter mode.

(3) LCD meter

The LCD can express images with much higher resolution than LED lamps. The definition allows it possible to display a needle like movement electronically on screen.

For example KORG TM-50 and TMR-50 series use needle-style LCD display. You can see the real needle like movement on the screen.

Photo KORG TM-50BK
KORG TM-50BK – LCD needle

The LCD meter is more commonly used than LED lamps when not intended for live performances. Because you can enjoy the high definition when watching closer.

The LED can be used for the backlight of the LCD. Don’t be confused when they say LCD with LED backlight. It is one of the “LCD meter” type tuners.

5. Instrument tuner-5: style (size, shape, features, etc.)

We have classified instrument tuners from various functional perspectives. Now it’s time to compare them from a style point of view. There can be a number of different classifications. I put them into the following three categories and discuss pros and cons.

Three tuner styles:

(1) Card type tuners
(2) Clip-on tuners
(3) Tuner pedals

(1) Card type tuners (also called handheld tuners, pocket tuners, etc.)

Pros

  • Small, light and easy operation
  • Reasonable price
  • You can place it on a music stand
  • Some models have a metronome and a recorder functionality

Card type tuners are so compact that it’s easy to carry around in your case or bag or even in your pocket. A built-in microphone or a cable collects sounds to tune. It is easy to pick up the sounds of your instrument by a built-in microphone. You don’t have to prepare anything but just the tuner itself.

Their price is reasonable and often come with a metronome and sometimes recorder functionalities. Most of the card type tuners adapt the LCD meter. It gives reasonable visibility with good resolution when not from far away. So it’s a good choice when you use it in a quiet room.

If you want to cut the influence of the surrounding noise, you can use a cable for connection. If your instrument doesn’t have an output jack, a contact microphone can be a good partner.

KORG CM-200 is one of the examples.

Photo KORG TM-50 + CM-200 01
CM-200 with KORG TM-50

You can clip it on the bell of a brass instrument, the bridge of a violin, or the headstock of a guitar or ukulele. And the other end can be plugged into the input jack on the tuner.

Note) KORG CM-200 is called a microphone.
But it doesn’t collect sound waves coming through the air. A built-in piezoelectric sensor transforms vibration of an instrument into electrical signals.

In case of guitars and basses, clip-on type is dominant over the card type. I will discuss the reasons in the later part of this section.

In case of orchestral instruments they are still keeping popularity. Because you can just put it on a music stand. Typical usage for wind instruments is to put a tuner on a music stand. Then connect it to your instrument with the contact microphone.

Cons

  • You can use a microphone only at quite surroundings
  • Otherwise, you must use a cable
  • Poor visibility compared to other types

Picking up sounds by a built-in microphone is easy. But noise of your surroundings can disturb it. In such a case you must use a cable for connection.

Connecting with a cable seems to be a simple and easy operation. But it can be annoying if you need to connect/disconnect them every time when needed.

Another thing is that the tuner is so light that it can be swayed by the movements of your instrument. Clip-on type doesn’t give you such a problem. You just have to clip it on the head.

That’s why majority of guitarists and bassists switched over to the Clip-on type. It has limited visibility from a distance. So it’s difficult to use the card type for live performances.

(2) Clip-on tuners (Also called headstock tuners)

Pros

  • Reasonable price
  • Small, easy to carry, can be always put on the instrument.
  • No need for a cable
  • Works on unamplified acoustic instruments as well as electric guitars with easy operation
  • Good visibility due to short distance between the tuner and player.

It was KORG who developed the first clip-on tuner AW-1 in 2004. Until then card type was the only choice at affordable prices. Because tuner pedals and rack tuners are more expensive.

AW-1 was meant for wind instrument players at the beginning. But actually, it became more popular among guitar players. KORG developed the next generation AW-2G for guitars and AW-2U for ukuleles. Since then the clip-on type has become popular among guitarists and bassists.

Their price is reasonable and small enough to carry in your pocket. You can always keep it on your instrument, if you like.

Because the clip-on tuners use a piezoelectric sensor to pick up the sound, you don’t need a cable. Visibility is good enough due to a short distance between the player and the tuner. Some can be used even on a dark stage thanks to the backlight and color LCD meter.

For live performance tuner pedals are still popular. But the clip-on type is eating some part of the tuner pedals market.

Cons:

  • Not usable when there is extreme vibration in your surroundings.
  • If you keep it on your instrument while playing,
  1. Can stop working at the worst possible time if the battery goes off
  2. Some players are bothered by the tuner in their eyesight (others never mind).
    Some players of long light weighted instruments feel uneasy with the slight weight increase.
  3. Examples are violin, viola, clarinet, trumpet (others never mind).
  4. There are some people who feel the look of a tuner on the headstock is a little dorky.
    They feel it unprofessional, especially on stage, too (others never mind).
  5. It can fly off if a player is running around like a maniac.

When people around you are playing vibrant instruments, their vibration can disturb your tuning. If you keep it on your instrument while playing, above mentioned a-e can be a problem. But as you can see, only a. can happen to anybody, but b.-e. are a matter of personal preferences.

In case of electric guitars/basses, some more discussion is necessary about stage performance. I will cover it in the next section.

(3) Tuner pedals

Pros:

  • Excellent visibility
  • Most models have mute and power supply functionalities
  • You can place it with effects units
  • Best for live performances

Intended use of the tuner pedals is for live performances. They don’t have a microphone as it’s useless on stage. They keep good visibility under sunlight or on a dark stage. Because LED lights are used for display instead of a needle or an LCD meter.

Some clip-on type tuners have decent visibility on stage. But still many electric guitar players prefer the tuner pedals.

Many models have mute switch, so the audience will not hear it when you are tuning. Many models can work as a power source to effects units. These are clear advantages on stage when compared with the other type.

The shape of tuner pedals is like compact effects units. You can place it on the floor or mount it in an effects unit’s case. The tuner pedals have a huge user base of prestigious professional guitarists. That proves the advantages of the tuner pedals.

Cons

  • Meant for electric guitar/bass live performances
  • Larger and heavier than card type and clip-on type
  • More expensive compared to card type and clip-on type

When you are practicing at home or studio, other two types will do their job for a more reasonable price. Many guitarists have 2 different types of tuners, a pedal for the stage and a clip-on for practice.  

There is another type called rack tuners. The rack tuners are also usable only for instruments which can be connected with a cable.

Their large display gives excellent visibility. But rack system is getting less popular, so as the rack tuners are. I will not discuss them in details. They are expensive, too.

6. My recommendations, the best instrument tuner for you

The best instrument tuner can be completely different depending on your needs and personal preferences. So I will pick up only a few models from each style which have been widely accepted and proven for years.

(1) Card type

Basic model: KORG TM Combo Tuner Metronome series

Photo KORG TM-50BK
KORG TM-50BK with metronome
Photo KORG TM-50PW
KORG TM-50PW with metronome
Photo KORG TMR-50BK
KORG TMR-50BK with metronome and recorder
Photo KORG TMR-50PW
KORG TMR-50PW with metronome and recorder

  1. Which note to tune: Chromatic mode
  2. How to pick up sounds: Built-in microphone, cable
  3. Tuning principles and accuracy: Peak/trough detection, +-1 cent
  4. How to display the difference: Needle expressed by LCD

If you are a guitarist you might opt to a clip-on or a pedal which I will discuss in the next sections. Otherwise KORG TM series are highly recommended for beginners because of the following reasons.

TM-50 provides the Sound Back function. It detects the pitch of your audio input through a cable. Then it produces the nearest tone from the internal speaker. You can sense the pitch not only with your eyes, but also with your ears. It helps you to train your sense of pitch. It is helpful, especially for beginners.

This is the first time KORG introduces the Sound Back to a basic model. Until now, only KORG’s high-end tuners have the Sound Back feature. The Sound Back doesn’t work when you are collecting sounds by the microphone.

Wind instrument players used to have a problem with the LCD needle from time to time. The response of the needle was not quick enough. Before the tuner displays the results, the played pitch can change spontaneously. But the TM-50 improves the response of the needle. So there is no time lag anymore.

The TM-50 provides marks that show pure major and minor thirds relative to a given pitch. This improves harmony when performing in a brass band, orchestra, vocal or a cappella practice.

For the details I have to explain equal temperament and just intonation.
But the subject is so profound that I need a separate article which I will plan later. Anyway, this function is also convenient to improve your harmony.

You can use the contact microphone in noisy surroundings. TM-50 comes with a metronome function which is a big bonus.

In the same family there are TMR-50 seriesThey provide the recording functionality on top of the tuner and metronome.

High range model: BOSS TU-12EX Chromatic Tuner

Photo of BOSS TU-12EX
BOSS TU-12EX : the professional musician’s first choice
  1. Which note to tune: Chromatic mode, guitar/bass mode
  2. How to pick up sounds: Built-in microphone, cable
  3. Tuning principles and accuracy: Peak/trough detection, +-1 cent
  4. How to display the difference: Physical needle and LCD

BOSS TU-12EX is primarily meant for guitarists. So there are enough attractive features for them. But of course you can use it for other instruments with the highest values as well. For guitarists it has a Flat Tuning mode. It lowers the pitch down to six semitones.

Accu-Pitch provides audible verification when the tuning is done. It’s difficult to do without it once you get used to it.

But actually what makes it a standard for high end is not described in the specification. The TU-12EX is the professional musician’s first choice compact tuner.

It has the superior robustness and reliability, besides its extreme accuracy. Sometimes you might find a tuner would never settle and jump around. With the TU-12EX it’s rare with the needle-accurate metering.

The robust casing makes it serve years to come. Another typical BOSS product. Highly recommended.

(2) Clip-on type

KORG PitchCrow-G Clip-On Tuner

Phto of KORG PitchCrow-G Clip-On Tuner
KORG PitchCrow-G Clip-On Tuner
  1. Which note to tune: Chromatic mode, guitar/bass mode
  2. How to pick up sounds: Piezo
  3. Tuning principles and accuracy: Peak/trough detection, +-0.1 cent (fine tuning mode)
  4. How to display the difference: Color LCD

This is KORG’s latest model. The predecessor KORG PitchHawk-G2 (AW-3G2) is an excellent clip-on tuner. But the PitchCrow-G goes even further.

20% more compact and lighter than the previous model. When needed you can use the newly developed fine tuning mode, enabling accuracy of +-0.1 cent, in addition to normal +-1 cent tuning.

It has the extended battery lifetime of 24 hours, which is three times more than the previous model. If you are a beginner wondering which one is the best clip-on for you, this is the one.

(3) Tuner pedal

BOSS TU-3 Chromatic Tuner Pedal

Photo of BOSS TU-3
BOSS TU-3: the de facto standard on a stage
  1. Which note to tune: Chromatic mode, guitar/bass mode
  2. How to pick up sounds: Cable
  3. Tuning principles and accuracy: Peak/trough detection, +-1 cent
  4. How to display the difference: LED lamps

Although the catalogue specification is rather simple, this is the de facto standard on stage. It is proven by the incredible customer base. It includes more than 200 notable professional musicians like,

John Mayer
Slash (Guns N’ Roses)
Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big)
Susanna Hoffs (The Bangles)
Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters)
Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys)
Matt Bellamy (Muse)

… Just to name a few in random order,

Visibility is excellent, thanks to the High-Brightness mode. You can see it even under bright sunlight or on a dark stage. Both chromatic and Guitar/Bass modes are possible.

The BOSS TU-3 supports the flat tuning with Guitar Flat mode. It allows “drop” tuning up to six semitones below standard pitch.

Accu-Pitch Sign function provides visual verification when tuning is complete. It automatically mutes when you turn the tuner on.

It is housed in a tank-tough BOSS stompbox body with its classical design. The BOSS TU-3 fits well with the rest of the pedals in your pedal board. It supplies power for up to seven BOSS compact effects pedals.

It’s not polyphonic, not strobe, not true bypass, not elegantly designed. But unless you are particular about these, I would highly recommend the BOSS TU-3.

It’s ruggedly built to last, simple to use, has everything a guitarist needs on stage. Another typical BOSS product.

7. Conclusions instrument tuner

There are some confusions about different types of instrument tuners. To sort it out, I discussed from the following five functional point of view.

(1) Which note to tune
(2) How to pick up sounds
(3) Tuning principles and accuracy
(4) How to display the results
(5) Style (size, shape, features, etc.)

By organizing this way, you can compare apple to apple and avoid confusion.

The best instrument tuner can be completely different depending on the needs and personal preferences. The following four widely accepted and proven tuners are highly recommended.

Card type

Clip-on type

Tuner pedal

You can get any of these at the best price in the market in my store.

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Anyway, whichever your choice is they say practice makes perfect.
Good luck!

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Author: Jos

Hi, I'm the manager of Japanese-Online-Store. http://japanese-online-store.com/ Enjoy my blog about Japan and Japanese products. I appreciate your feedback !

6 thoughts on “All about musical instrument tuner”

    1. Hi nba 2k coins,
      Thank for your comment.

      If there’s anything you want to discuss, please let me know.
      I’ll try my best.

  1. Somewhat misleadingly, many LED displays have a ‘strobe mode’ that mimics strobe tuners by scrolling the flashing of the LEDs cyclically to simulate the display of a true strobe.

    1. Thank you for your comment Jonas.
      There are three “strobe tuners”.

      The first is the classical mechanical/optical hybrid strobe tuners. They use a physically rotating disc and a strobe. They are most accurate. But not realistic for musicians’ daily tuning.

      The second is “strobe display tuners”. They don’t use a strobe for data processing. So you can’t expect higher accuracy. They only use strobe like display, because some people appreciate it. They are sometimes referred to as “virtual strobe”.

      The third uses the same principle for data processing and display. They don’t use a physically rotating disc and a strobe. They simulate them electronically with analog or digital circuits. They are more accurate than the peak/trough type. But not at the level of the mechanical/optical hybrid strobe tuners. They are often referred to as “true strobe tuners”.

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