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View Full Version : Tuner Talk - CAUTION: POSSIBLY CONTROVERSIAL OPINION - I hate the clip on tuner.



Pukin' Ukin'
02-23-2016, 06:07 PM
This is an opinion piece and I sincerely do not want to offend anyone. I came across a post on using tuner apps and clip ons so that made me want to post this info that I believe is helpful. I understand that some of the purpose of this post is to pat myself on the back but I truly hope it can help out a lot of players.

This is all just my opinion but I don't think this is subjective. A uke with a tuner clipped to the headstock is silly looking, ugly, and it looks ridiculous. No? For the most part ukes are beautiful instruments. Having a clip on tuner, literally every model I've ever seen, hanging off the end of a uke disrupts the design and I believe it is possible that it can have a negative effect on playing. This even applies to the Planet Waves NS Micro Tuner.

The solution to this isn't so dificult or expensive. You can have a highly functional "on board" tuner that isn't permanently cut into your uke and mounted inside like an eq housing. But the solution actually does involve the Planet Waves NS Micro Tuner, modified.

Take the clip off the back of the Micro Tuner and file down the piece of plastic that remains on the back of the actual tuner unit. I am no craftsman or handyman but this was easy to do. Then continue filing the back of the tuner unit until it is completely flat. Use a piece of double sided tape, foam or rubber not double sided scotch tape, and mount the tuner onto the back of your headstock (pics below!) so you will be able to see it easily but it also remains completely out of the way and hidden unless you are looking to tune.

This works very well and I've been using this for my ukes for a while.

https://jpolatin.smugmug.com/Uk1/i-DDcFBgr/0/D/image-D.jpg

https://jpolatin.smugmug.com/Uk1/i-gXZBrBs/0/D/image-D.jpg

https://jpolatin.smugmug.com/Uk1/i-49GVv9L/0/D/image-D.jpg

https://jpolatin.smugmug.com/Uk1/i-DXNk53S/0/D/image-D.jpg

Mivo
02-23-2016, 06:16 PM
My concern would be the adhesives and their possible impact on the finish. This may be an unfounded worry, I don't know. I'm not super comfortable with the clip-on tuners, either, and I don't leave them on the headstock, which is why I bought a 440hz tuning fork and am practicing tuning by ear. I'm not really there yet, but I hope to get my ears trained enough to be able to do this reliably. Working with a reference tone from a recording might be easier in the beginning.

Ukulele Eddie
02-23-2016, 06:26 PM
I think it's great you found a solution with which you're satisfied and some other will likely want to do the same.

I'm not sure what "negative effects" you have in mind on having a tuner on while you play. Can you clarify? Even so, with many clip-ons you can simply put 'er on to tune up, then take 'er off to play.

For me personally, (a) I agree with the earlier comment about concerns of adhesives on the wood long term; (b) I don't notice any difference of having the tuner on when I play (and many professionals leave them in place); and (c) I don't find them to be quite so offensive looking. In fact, I sort of dig my Peterson Strobe Clip-on.

Patrick Madsen
02-23-2016, 06:45 PM
Like UkeEd, I tune then take off the tuner and clip it to my music stand.

I don't feel I should be taping anything to my Moore Bettah and French Polished Griffins. Good idea though for the ukes with a tougher finish.

igorthebarbarian
02-23-2016, 07:06 PM
I like the D'addario slim profile tuners for this reason alone - that they are not so noticeable. This is taking that to the Next Level. I would only worry about the gumminess/ stickiness. But on a lower priced uke, go for it!

Brad Bordessa
02-23-2016, 07:26 PM
The clip part of your tuner might increase the sustain because of a wee bit more mass. You might be missing out...

But really, I'd rather see a room full of ugly tuners and have everyone in tune than see a bunch of bald headstocks that are attached to ukes that sound like garbage. Just my thought as a teacher: big picture = get everyone in tune by whatever means necessary. And at a gig I would guarantee you the tape would come unstuck and the tuner would bounce under the stage not to be seen again for 40 years. Murphy's law.

Glad you found a solution. You might try angling the tuner towards you so you can look at it between the tuning pegs as opposed to having to tilt the uke up every time.

kohanmike
02-23-2016, 07:32 PM
I use that mini tuner and just flip it to be on the bottom side of the headstock, it has a button to flip the readout, then just a thin piece of plastic is showing on the front. All but one of my ukes have a preamp with built in tuner, and I have a preamp/tuner to install in that one.

Down Up Dick
02-23-2016, 07:52 PM
I don't understand why anyone leaves a tuner on their Uke. Many Ukers I've read on the UU seem to be concerned about the ukes's peghead weight, but I don't understand that either. Can't they hold up the peghead of a ukulele? Anyway, if one is concerned with peghead weight, then why would he/she add the tuner's weight to it?

I think all my Ukes and banjos can stay in tune for at least one or two tunes. Then, if necessary, I can retune it. Unless I'm missing something, it's another tempest in a teapot.
:old:

mds725
02-23-2016, 08:16 PM
I'm a big believer in people finding a solution that works for them, and then not judging them for the solution they choose. I'm glad the OP has found a solution, but like some others who have posted here, I would not want to attach double-sided tape even to the back of my headstock. I use a clip-on tuner, and sometimes I remember to take it off before playing and sometimes I don't. The clip-on tuner works for me. I hope people don't judge me on those occasions where I forget to take it off.

Booli
02-23-2016, 09:05 PM
Peghead weight is no issue for me since I mostly play tenors and/or with a strap.

I use the NS Micro tuner, but have it on the BACK of the headstock with only the little 1.25" clip part showing on the front, which you can BARELY see.

All of NS Micro tuners I've owned and used allow you to flip the display with a simple button push.

ALSO, having the NS Micro on the BACK of the headstock, it does not get in the way when closing your uke in a case, but this depends upon how much clearance you have on the inside of the case that is over the face of your headstock.

If the case is PRESSING DOWN on the headstock, with the way the neck is typically held underneath, you have a perfect fulcrum to snap the headstock clean off, right at the scarf joint, if you drop the uke case (with uke inside) with enough force.

String tension alone will NOT prevent this, especially if something is already PRESSING DOWN on the headstock, i.e., case >> tuner >> headstock>> BIG empty space underneath.

For a while I experimented using a small bead of blu-tak or fun-tak with the NS Micro, after removing the clip of course, but ultimately found this too fiddly. The fun-tak does not really leave any residue that cannot easily be removed with a damp paper towel and water, but I decided to stop using it.

After buying many NS Micro tuners, I got fed up with needing a constant supply of batteries to keep them all alive, and constantly opening/closing the clip to move it from uke to uke WILL break the clip part. I use that cheap $1.99 Reverb tuner a lot now, and remove it after tuning.

I should mention that whether I use any of these tuners, or an app, most of the time, I need to tune a bit by ear (depending upon the instrument and it's intonation variance), so I only use a tuner to 'ballpark' the pitches I want, and then fine tune by listening.

Croaky Keith
02-23-2016, 09:54 PM
I use a clip on tuner - my understanding is once in tune you remove it & put it away.

I can understand that while strings are settling in, you may want to leave the tuner clipped on whilst playing, & no doubt it can be fun to watch your strings go out of tune, but they are ugly & do not enhance the look.

Peace Train
02-23-2016, 10:14 PM
I like the OP's innovation, and if technology wasn't continually "improving," whose to say why we couldn't have replaceable and upgradeable built-in headstock tuners come into vogue. Otherwise, I'm happy with clipping on and taking off before every session. It's fine by me.

Tootler
02-23-2016, 10:27 PM
I use the planet waves micro tuners and leave them clipped on the headstock. They're relatively unobtrusive. I have no issues with others doing the same with whatever is their favourite tuner. Whatever works.

As far as I'm concerned if others don't like it, that's their problem, not mine.

Rodney.
02-23-2016, 11:09 PM
I don't understand why anyone leaves a tuner on their Uke. Many Ukers I've read on the UU seem to be concerned about the ukes's peghead weight, but I don't understand that either. Can't they hold up the peghead of a ukulele? Anyway, if one is concerned with peghead weight, then why would he/she add the tuner's weight to it?

I think all my Ukes and banjos can stay in tune for at least one or two tunes. Then, if necessary, I can retune it. Unless I'm missing something, it's another tempest in a teapot.
:old:

I'm with Dick on this one. Take it off when you're done if you can't stand the looks. And if your uke can't keep it's tuning for a couple of songs you have far worse problems than the looks of a clip-on-tuner.

mm stan
02-23-2016, 11:31 PM
Yes i too like others mention that the tape will affect the finish.
If you dont want to see the tuner on, take it off after tuning
I only use the tuner to get a ball park tuning, if its way off or its not one my ukes
After that i fine tune mostly always by ear and pitch.
You dont need to do that or have a tuner always on.
But if it work for you thats good, isnt it har to see the tuner behind the headstock while tuning?

cml
02-24-2016, 01:01 AM
Maybe I am lucky, but my uke holds it's tuning really really well :). I only retune once a week or so, if that (and I play everyday), and even then I mostly find that it was unnecessary. On those occasions I dont mind clipping on the Snark tuner, it lives in the uke case the rest of the time.

mikelz777
02-24-2016, 02:11 AM
I am among those who don't like the look of a tuner clipped on to the headstock. In my opinion, it detracts from the integrity of the look of the instrument (i.e. it's ugly) and I don't understand the need for it unless you are breaking in a new set of strings. I tune my uke and then put the tuner back in the uke case, it's as simple as that. If your uke can't hold a tune for the length of your playing session whether that be minutes or hours, then you have a problem with your uke. In the last week in which I've been playing daily, my uke only required tuning once. Even then, the strings were equally off just a couple of degrees from in tune so relative to one another, they were still in tune. I'm not a fan of the double-sided tape solution. I too would be concerned about what the adhesive would do to the finish. And what happens when you need to change batteries? Then you have to rip it off and stick it back on again. In the end, it's all totally unnecessary. When you're in need of a tune, just clip it on, tune it and take it off or accept the look of leaving it on. To me, it's just as ugly stuck to the back of the headstock as it would be clipped to the edge the only difference being, I'm the only one who's going to see it unless someone is behind me.

Rllink
02-24-2016, 02:30 AM
I never realized that having a tuner on your ukulele was an issue worth discussing, until someone brought it up in a thread a year of so ago. The reason I leave mine on the ukulele, is so that I don't put it down somewhere and lose it.

Pukin' Ukin'
02-24-2016, 03:04 AM
Wow, nice. I had no idea this would get so much press. Really I live by "to each their own" and as I stated I honestly was just putting my own opinion out there and was not trying to ruffle any feathers.

The adhesive has zero effect on the finish. Ive used this type of tape and others on my martin guitars and ukes for years. I will absolutely agree that caution should be used when applying it but I just removed a large piece of pretty strong velcro from my 80's martin guitar thats been on their for over five years and it came off completely clean. I understand people's hesitation though.
:cheers:

ScooterD35
02-24-2016, 04:29 AM
Back in the day...

...when contact (aka clip-on) tuners first hit the scene, Sabine came out with an intriguing stick-on version, the AX2000 guitar tuner. It had a permanent, washable sticky pad on it that adhered to any finish without causing any issues. Very cool, but more expensive and less convenient than the clip-ons. They don't make them anymore, but there are a few pictures here: http://www.music123.com/frames-casters-legs-corners-for-pa-speakers/sabine-ax-2000w-guitar-tuner

I have one floating around here somewhere. Too big to be practical for Ukuleles, though and not as accurate as today's offerings. I have a Peterson Stroboclip for fine tuning situations and have become a big fan of the D'Addario micro for everyday Uke tuning.


Scooter

70sSanO
02-24-2016, 04:42 AM
I use both clip-on tuners and iphone apps. I prefer the clip-on, but unlike my phone I can't call it to find out where I left it. But I usually have my phone with me. Now if I could text on my tuner...

I may be the only one, but on some ukes I can tell the difference when the tuner clipped on and when I remove it. Not every note, or every uke, but it is usually not an improvement so I don't keep a tuner clipped on. I don't want to go into the voodoo of adding headstock weight vs. sustain as there are tons of guitar threads on the subject.

I generally tune every time I play, but once the strings are broken in, I don't find that they change much and apart from trying to get perfect (if only perceived) tuning I probably don't need to tune up as much.

John

Croaky Keith
02-24-2016, 05:33 AM
I never realized that having a tuner on your ukulele was an issue worth discussing, until someone brought it up in a thread a year of so ago. The reason I leave mine on the ukulele, is so that I don't put it down somewhere and lose it.
Fair enough. :)


Wow, nice. I had no idea this would get so much press. Really I live by "to each their own" and as I stated I honestly was just putting my own opinion out there and was not trying to ruffle any feathers.
I agree, as is/was my comment, it's a personal preference. :)

DaleR
02-26-2016, 12:15 AM
Cool discussion! I just clip mine on and make sure the root note is on, then tune the uke to itself, checking C 8vs and A 8vs. And unclip when I play. My babies are rather inexpensive, except for a nice Makai pina that is the most finicky of all. It's your uke, play it like you want to!

Louis0815
02-26-2016, 02:22 AM
I use the planet waves micro tuners and leave them clipped on the headstock.

The reason I leave mine on the ukulele, is so that I don't put it down somewhere and lose it.
Actually I have micro tuners living on almost each of my ukuleles - even though one might argue why I spent so much cash on all these micro tuners instead of buying a single Peterson strobe instead (which is probably more precise and closer to perfect).

UkerDanno
02-26-2016, 12:43 PM
I don't understand why anyone leaves a tuner on their Uke.

exactly, I tune and take mine off...after an hour of playing, I check sometimes and retune if it's off, usually, it's still in tune.

pritch
02-26-2016, 01:15 PM
Like UkeEd, I tune then take off the tuner and clip it to my music stand.


This.

Or if I'm out somewhere I might put it back in the case. It's not so much the look of a tuner, although that's a factor, the extra weight of the headstock on a light instrument makes it feel wrong.

Pueo
02-26-2016, 01:58 PM
I am a big fan of being in tune. And if you play with others, it is important to be in the SAME tune, so a tuner has its place (instead of relying on other strings or your ear).
I also find that playing ANY instrument with the tuner affixed is a major pet peeve of mine, but I realize I cannot control what others do so whatever.
Personally, I leave the tuner in the case, and just clip it on to tune, then take it off when pau.
I also would not want to put any type of adhesive on my ukuleles.

strumtheory
02-26-2016, 03:38 PM
I tune then take it off. Personal preference :)

Booli
02-26-2016, 08:46 PM
Whenever I pick up any of my ukes, I check the tuning with a tuner.

This habit came from my obsessive string changing/testing whereby I would try a different set of strings after about 14 days or so on each uke. Now that my bounty of ukes all have strings that I am happy with, I just keep the tuner on for convenience.

I dont care what it looks like as it performs a useful function for me that saves me time with it attached to my uke, and I dont have to go looking for a tuner and then clip it on.

This allows me a few more minutes playing, which is critical when I get a song idea in my head, and I need to MINIMIZE distractions that will cause me to forget the idea because I had to go find a tuner. Every second counts to try and capture what my muse have given me.

What kills me is when watching a youtube video and the uke is out of tune, even a little bit, I simply cannot listen to the song because the discordant sound is too much of a distraction for me.

Having said all this, I should point out that I just bought five MORE Reverb tuners for $1 ea. as per this thread:

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?118883-reverb-com-tuner-sale

So likely I wont be buying a new tuner soon, unless the TC Electronic PolyTune Clip, or the Peterson Stroboclip tuners go on sale for cheap.

Right now I think I am pretty close to one tuner for each uke. Different strokes and all..:rock:

strumsilly
02-26-2016, 11:12 PM
i can't understand why you would clip it onto a music stand. i have never seen a music stand go out of tune.Good one. I hardly ever leave my tuners on after tuning unless I've recently changed the strings because I can hear them vibrate and they usually don't sound as nice as the uke.

Five Ways
02-26-2016, 11:28 PM
I love my snark and would be lost without it, but each to there own.

Pippin
02-27-2016, 12:43 AM
I have tried clip-on tuners, but, some of them vibrate a bit and that would drive me nuts if I tried to play a set with the thing mounted on the headstock. I really prefer the Korg tuner that I have been using for over three decades.

Down Up Dick
02-27-2016, 03:38 AM
For a coupla my Ukes with very thick pegheads, I also use a Korg tuner. I put it on a bookcase in my music room and stand near-by. The tuning is sometimes different then that of my Snark, but I dunno which is correct. But, I guess as long as I'm playing solo, it doesn't really make any difference.

I've tried tuning by ear many times and then checking with a Snark, and, though the Uke sounds in tune, it's always different from the tuner. I guess my aged ears are just too old--Ahhh, well . . .

My Ukes seem to stay in tune for a long time. I only tune them when they don't sound correct. :old:

Rllink
02-27-2016, 04:04 AM
I'm with Dick on the ear tuning. I can do it, but it takes too long, and my ear is not near as accurate as my tuner. I start out low, then I go too high, then I try to bring it back down, but I can't hear anything happening, until it jumps and I find myself too low again. I think that tuning by ear is way overrated.

Tootler
02-27-2016, 07:14 AM
Problems with tuning by ear was one (but not the only) factor why I never got away with guitar.

Clip on tuners made a huge difference. I do check by ear and sometimes have to tweak the tuning but the clip on tuner means I can quickly get the instrument in tune. A quick aural check and I'm good to go.

bonesigh
02-27-2016, 08:52 AM
Well, those that can I highly recommend learning to tune the instrument to itself. It's sloppy cuz I just made it but here's a vid of how using my low G Gary Gill Tenor

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_cXT3znlAk

Nickie
02-27-2016, 11:47 AM
Interesting. But I fancy my Peterson strobe tuner better. I have no problem taking it off after I tune.

Joyful Uke
02-28-2016, 04:39 AM
Since the Kamaka auction well out of my budget, maybe I can splurge on a tuner instead. Can you give some idea of the advantages of the Peterson over a Snark?

southcoastukes
02-28-2016, 02:28 PM
Well, those that can I highly recommend learning to tune the instrument to itself. It's sloppy cuz I just made it but here's a vid of how using my low G Gary Gill Tenor

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_cXT3znlAk

Never seen it quite that way, but there's a lotta ways to skin the cat. Nicely done!

Ukuleleblues
02-29-2016, 03:07 AM
But really, I'd rather see a room full of ugly tuners and have everyone in tune than see a bunch of bald headstocks that are attached to ukes that sound like garbage.

I was at a jam awhile back and this one person's uke was so out of tune, I tried to suggest, in the nicest way that she needed to tune it. Her reply was " I just tuned it yesterday ".

I just take my clip on tuner off of my Ukulele when I play a song. The only problem is I have a tendency to clip it on the stand, on the case, put it in different pockets, clip it on the microphone cable, etc., anywhere as long it's not the same place twice. Gives my bandmates something to rag on me about as I search for it. They call me "Tunertard". Not very nice if you ask me!😄

Xtradust
02-29-2016, 03:59 AM
Well, "tunertard" ain't exactly PC, but it sure is funny.

I'm the same way. I throw a tuner into my pocket and then I start patting all of my pockets looking for it and thinking it's lost. Cargo shorts don't help the situation.

A friend of mine always looks over and says, "Whaddya lose now?"

Ukuleleblues
02-29-2016, 04:23 AM
Well, "tunertard" ain't exactly PC, but it sure is funny.

I'm the same way. I throw a tuner into my pocket and then I start patting all of my pockets looking for it and thinking it's lost. Cargo shorts don't help the situation.

A friend of mine always looks over and says, "Whaddya lose now?"

Cargo shorts, I love em and hate them, Makes you looks like you are doing the hambone when looking for a tuner.

sukie
02-29-2016, 06:00 AM
The only problem I have with tuning without a tuner (tuning against a certain string) is that, yes, your strings are in tune with each other, but it may not be in tune with anybody else.

Ukejenny
02-29-2016, 08:22 AM
I say, to each his own. It is your uke, so do what you want with it. I clip on and tune, then clip off. I agree with sukie, when in a group, tuners are necessary. Tuning the instrument to itself only works when you're alone, unless you have perfect pitch.

buddhuu
02-29-2016, 08:42 AM
It's always good to train one's ear. Tuning from a reference pitch by knowing the sounds of intervals, or by fretting notes or using harmonics is, IMO, an important skill. That said, clip-on tuners are a real benefit in a jam or band situation. The tuner is an impartial arbiter of whose instrument is in tune - they ALL should be! Furthermore, ever tried getting a dozen jam players to shut up for a minute so you can tune by ear?

I use a tuner all the time. I tend to do the stick-to-back-of-headstock thing (or use a floor tuner on my pedalboard when playing electric guitar in the band) so I don't generally have a tuner poking up from my instrument, but I don't give a hoot if my fellow players use visible clip-ons. So long as we're all in tune (at least until we start playing) I'm good.

Sporin
02-29-2016, 09:41 AM
This is one of those subjects that I'm always surprised to find that anyone has a genuinely strong opinion about either way.

I tend to leave my Snark clipped on—to each their own.

:)

PhilUSAFRet
02-29-2016, 12:34 PM
This is an opinion piece and I sincerely do not want to offend anyone. I came across a post on using tuner apps and clip ons so that made me want to post this info that I believe is helpful. I understand that some of the purpose of this post is to pat myself on the back but I truly hope it can help out a lot of players.

This is all just my opinion but I don't think this is subjective. A uke with a tuner clipped to the headstock is silly looking, ugly, and it looks ridiculous. No? For the most part ukes are beautiful instruments. Having a clip on tuner, literally every model I've ever seen, hanging off the end of a uke disrupts the design and I believe it is possible that it can have a negative effect on playing. This even applies to the Planet Waves NS Micro Tuner.

The solution to this isn't so dificult or expensive. You can have a highly functional "on board" tuner that isn't permanently cut into your uke and mounted inside like an eq housing. But the solution actually does involve the Planet Waves NS Micro Tuner, modified.

Take the clip off the back of the Micro Tuner and file down the piece of plastic that remains on the back of the actual tuner unit. I am no craftsman or handyman but this was easy to do. Then continue filing the back of the tuner unit until it is completely flat. Use a piece of double sided tape, foam or rubber not double sided scotch tape, and mount the tuner onto the back of your headstock (pics below!) so you will be able to see it easily but it also remains completely out of the way and hidden unless you are looking to tune.

This works very well and I've been using this for my ukes for a while.

https://jpolatin.smugmug.com/Uk1/i-DDcFBgr/0/D/image-D.jpg

https://jpolatin.smugmug.com/Uk1/i-gXZBrBs/0/D/image-D.jpg

https://jpolatin.smugmug.com/Uk1/i-49GVv9L/0/D/image-D.jpg

https://jpolatin.smugmug.com/Uk1/i-DXNk53S/0/D/image-D.jpg

Of course it's subjective!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!