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Down Up Dick
07-23-2016, 06:00 AM
Why do you think ukulele and other string instrument players play with a tuner stuck on the head of their ax? If they see that it's outta tune, do they stop and tune it? Is it to show how careful and professional they are? Is it to show-off that they sometimes tune up? Does anyone keep an eye on it as they play so they can fret in tune?

Some pegheads are super beautiful--snazzy even. Why clamp that ugly Snark on it?

Maybe I'm being an old fogey, but they bug me. :old:

janeray1940
07-23-2016, 06:10 AM
I keep one of those mini tuners (https://www.amazon.com/DAddario-NS-Micro-Clip-On-Tuner/dp/B005FKF1PY) clamped on the headstock of each of my ukes - you can barely see it, it's not in the way, and most importantly, keeping it attached all the time ensures that I won't forget it when I leave my house to play. I'm not blessed with the skills to be able to tune by ear, so a tuner is pretty important for me. And I keep it turned off except for when I'm actually tuning.

But yeah - it drives me kinda batty when I'm playing next to someone with a big ol' Snark attached to their headstock, turned on, with the lights flashing with each strum or note. I'm guessing most folks leave them attached for the sake of convenience but I don't understand leaving it turned on with the lights flashing at all. But hey, to each their own.

Mivo
07-23-2016, 06:12 AM
I only leave it on when the strings are a few days old and go out of tune constantly. The added weight aside, I also don't really trust that the pressure of the clamp or the rubber won't be harmful to the finish or the headstock. Aesthetically, though, I have no preference.

I'd still like to learn how to reliably tune with a fork, but that is slow going so far. The electronic tuners are just very convenient.

Down Up Dick
07-23-2016, 06:21 AM
Very funny post, janeray, I guess I've never really noticed whether they're turned on or not.

As far as tuning by ear; I sometimes tune my instruments by ear so that they are PERFECTLY in tune, and then I check them with a tuner, and they are WAY! WAY off--not anywhere close to being in tune. Nice ears . . .
:old:

Choirguy
07-23-2016, 06:34 AM
I was wondering if this thread was meant to stir up some debate. I'm a music teacher and I don't have perfect pitch. I don't trust my ears for tuning (unless in a hurry) and I don't even know any modern piano tuners who tune without a tuner.

HMS's podcast touched on tuning a few episodes ago, and it was brilliant. The guys on the podcast are a combination of musicians, luthiers, set-up specialists, and sales people. Their understanding of equal temperament and issues with equal temperament were right on. People think that a ukulele that goes out of tune is a defective ukulele.

Also of great interest to me was the posted document about instrument intonation.

But of all the discussion, it comes back to the ukulele and its strings,'which are stretchy. The second you play any string instrument, it will start to go out of tune (likely undetectable to anyone without the use of a very specific tuner and/or perfect pitch).

If a person has a tuner on their headstock...and I am doing so with 100 ukuleles...I don't care as long as it is being used on occasion to tune the instrument. At a ukulele jam yesterday, I had to tune 3 times, which I doubt is uncommon.

Of greater concern to me is how to ask another (adult) player to tune their ukulele when it is clearly not in tune and they do not have a tuner on hand. How do you say, "Hey, your uke is out of tune," without sounding like a jerk/snob?

janeray1940
07-23-2016, 06:42 AM
Of greater concern to me is how to ask another (adult) player to tune their ukulele when it is clearly not in tune and they do not have a tuner on hand. How do you say, "Hey, your uke is out of tune," without sounding like a jerk/snob?

I've been trying to figure this one out for years! Although my ears aren't good enough to tell when my uke is *in* tune, it's often very clear to me when I'm out of tune - or someone else is. When I'm playing with others and notice this, I check my own tuning and hope that others will follow by power of suggestion, but - usually not.

Down Up Dick
07-23-2016, 06:48 AM
No, Choirguy, I didn't post this thread to stir up debate, though debate is often very informative. I posted it to to share an opinion.

If you insist on tuners on the peghead, then plunge ahead! No debate--different strokes for different folks! :old:

janeray1940
07-23-2016, 07:02 AM
Why not after YOU tune, turn to the other person(s) and say, 'Hey let's make sure we are all in tune (with each other)'

I do it all the time and never had anyone act offended, and in fact most folks agree and reply with something along the lines of 'Good Idea, thanks!'

Seems like that's how it *should* work, right? :) But I know from experience that sometimes people are a bit... sensitive. Although I suppose if it's aimed at the group as a whole, rather than just the person who sounds out of tune, it shouldn't cause offense.

Croaky Keith
07-23-2016, 07:03 AM
I'm all for digital tuners.

Much easier to use than any other method that I know of.

I tune up, take it off, & then play. :)

(Others seem to leave it attached, which looks ungainly to my eye, but maybe so that they don't forget or lose it.)

Down Up Dick
07-23-2016, 07:04 AM
Ya know, if you've ever watched banjo players, you might see that they tune constantly and without a tuner! I don't know if they're just nervous or showing off or what.

My banjos sometimes sound bad, but it's not the tuning. :old:

Down Up Dick
07-23-2016, 07:06 AM
I'm all for digital tuners.

Much easier to use than any other method that I know of.

I tune up, take it off, & then play. :)

(Others seem to leave it attached, which looks ungainly to my eye, but maybe so that they don't forget or lose it.)

I couldn't agree more. Your post is "right on"! :old:

janeray1940
07-23-2016, 07:10 AM
Ya know, if you've ever watched banjo players, you might see that they tune constantly and without a tuner! I don't know if they're just nervous or showing off or what.


Isn't it because they switch tunings for different keys (or something)? I used to go to an acoustic jam with mixed instruments a bunch of years back, and I remember the leader telling the banjo players to tune to G or tune to C or whatever. This was a beginners' jam, I'm guessing more experienced players just *know* when and what to switch to?

Down Up Dick
07-23-2016, 07:13 AM
Isn't it because they switch tunings for different keys (or something)? I used to go to an acoustic jam with mixed instruments a bunch of years back, and I remember the leader telling the banjo players to tune to G or tune to C or whatever. This was a beginners' jam, I'm guessing more experienced players just *know* when and what to switch to?

Yeah, of course you're correct, but they also fiddle with their tuning buttons constantly. :old:

Tootler
07-23-2016, 10:17 AM
Ya know, if you've ever watched banjo players, you might see that they tune constantly and without a tuner! I don't know if they're just nervous or showing off or what.

My banjos sometimes sound bad, but it's not the tuning. :old:


Yeah, of course you're correct, but they also fiddle with their tuning buttons constantly. :old:

Guitarists are the same. They are always tweaking their tuning pegs. Some have an electronic tuner clipped on others do it by ear.

I use the same D'Addario tuners that Janeray does and I leave them permanently attached to the headstock. As she says they are unobtrusive and leaving them attached means they are to hand if I need to check the tuning. They are not too expensive so I have one on most of my ukes, certainly on the ones I take out regularly.

I find that once a set of strings is settled, they need very little attention but I always check if I go anywhere with a uke as there will be some movement. I tune with the electronic tuner then check by ear, not the other way round. If I'm picking it up to play at home, I just do a quick ear check, and if it sounds OK, I'm good to go. If I've gone to an open mic/singaround, I will tune when I arrive at the venue then do a quick ear check when it's my turn to sing. For a two or three song set I find I rarely need to retune.

JessicaM
07-23-2016, 10:20 AM
Of greater concern to me is how to ask another (adult) player to tune their ukulele when it is clearly not in tune and they do not have a tuner on hand. How do you say, "Hey, your uke is out of tune," without sounding like a jerk/snob?

Yes! This. I'm not a great player, but I'm a pretty darn good hearer ;) and if my uke is out of tune it's like nails on a chalk board. If someone near me is very out of tune it makes it hard for me to enjoy playing. I'm all for tuners out and at the ready!

JackLuis
07-23-2016, 10:46 AM
The longer I play the more I learn about how to tell if I'm in tune. I keep a couple of tuners on my head stocks and switch them over when I pick up the next uke. Nylon needs touching up more that steel stings I take my tuners off more often than not, but I find my Snark is more visually offensive than my fold down Image tuner. Without a tuner, I'd have not gotten as far as I have with the uke.

stevejfc
07-23-2016, 10:48 AM
I believe it's mostly out of laziness that they are left on.......................Another downside to leaving them on, is that you burn through the batteries much quicker.

Down Up Dick
07-23-2016, 10:53 AM
I believe it's mostly out of laziness that they are left on.......................Another downside to leaving them on, is that you burn through the batteries much quicker.

They may also scar the peghead too and ruin its looks. :old:

janeray1940
07-23-2016, 11:00 AM
I believe it's mostly out of laziness that they are left on.......................Another downside to leaving them on, is that you burn through the batteries much quicker.

To clarify, I assume by "on" you mean turned on, not just attached. I definitely don't leave mine turned on, but I have to say it's been 3+ years of leaving my mini tuners on and despite playing and tuning every day, I don't think I've ever had to replace a battery yet. Those things last!

Down Up Dick
07-23-2016, 11:07 AM
You're lucky, janeray, I've changed batteries lots of times, but they aren't too expensive. :old:

Down Up Dick
07-23-2016, 11:24 AM
"Are you trying a new tuning there?"

Good one, ubulele. :old:

Down Up Dick
07-23-2016, 11:50 AM
The gods first gave Sisyphus a banjo to tune, but later felt a twinge of remorse.

Ha! Another good one. I wonder if the tuning is really that bad; they don't even use tuners!--good ears or bad nerves? :old:

PhilUSAFRet
07-23-2016, 12:23 PM
Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. When I do, I use it, especially since all my ukes are solid and change a bit when I take them somewhere else.

bacchettadavid
07-23-2016, 12:33 PM
I tune mostly by ear and quite frequently, but my ear for pitch has been honed by ear training and years of performance on woodwinds. That being said, I do frequently use a strobe tuner to check the accuracy of my A.

I think tuning with the aid of a clip-on tuner generally is a good idea as long as you listen to your intonation as you play. I simply find a clip-on tuner (at least the less expensive ones) less precise than my own ear when making fine adjustments.

As for banjos, tuning is more frequently needed than for ukuleles. Banjos, with their long, thin necks and temperature-sensitive heads, are more susceptible to changes in tuning than ukuleles. Also, banjos produce abundant overtones, exacerbating any intonation issues present. I've been dabbling in banjo lately, and while tuning a banjo can be a chore at times, if you approach the instrument with respect to these issues, you can minimize their impact and thus reduce the need for frequent retuning.

Rllink
07-23-2016, 12:39 PM
I don't know what kind of tuner I have. It is smaller than a Snark. It is just a tuner. I think that I usually turn the display off. Most of the time I just leave it on the uke, because that is as good a place as any to keep it. Those little things can disappear if I start taking it off an on all the time. The next time I need it I won't be able to find it. I'm also kind of lazy.

If I am playing with someone and their uke sounds out of tune, I will say, "hey, tune your uke." If they are singing out of tune, I just keep it to myself. But if I'm in a big group strum though, and I think someone's uke is out of tune, I just let it go. I'm not going to make a big deal about it in a group like that.

1931jim
07-23-2016, 03:16 PM
I'd still like to learn how to reliably tune with a fork, but that is slow going so far. The electronic tuners are just very convenient.
Mivo I use "A" (440) tuning fork for about the last 70 years. Always very reliable for me Mivo. String #1 which is A open, tune to the fork, then put the fork away in it's little box.
Now string #2 which is E will be in tune with #1 string which is open A, at the 5th fret. Now while still using the #2 E string as your reference, your #4 string which is g will be in tune at the 3rd fret of the #2 E string. Now on to the final #3 C string. Tune the 4th fret of the C or #3 string to be the same as the open #2 E string. It takes me longer to type this than doing the checking of my ukulele. Jim.
PS: My knowledge of battery tuning is limited to observation of others at different outings i have been to. Also I can depend on my ears more than my eyes nowadays more than ever. Sorry.

Down Up Dick
07-23-2016, 03:47 PM
1931jim, your last sentence contains the main problem with some of us. As I said before, I can tune perfectly by ear; my dog has really good fleas, but when I check it with a tuner it's way off. And when I tune it by ear (perfectly), and then just go ahead and play, it just doesn't sound right. And I don't think a tuning fork would help those of us who can't tune the 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings to the 1st string. We would really need 4 tuning forks. I know how to tune as you described, but, for some reason, it's different than the tuner.

Have you ever heard someone sing who simply cannot carry a tune? They think they sound just great, but they're often way off even when singing with a piano.

I guess some of us (you) got it, and some of us don't. :old:

frisbee fred
07-23-2016, 06:11 PM
I try not to keep mine on. But I put it on the headstock so I don't lose it. Then sometimes I just forget......

Down Up Dick
07-23-2016, 06:39 PM
Bill1, you're probably correct if you have perfect pitch or at least very good pitch awareness, but, alas, some of us don't seem to have it.

When tuning by ear one listens to two tones and manipulates them until they sound exactly the same; they are in tune! But some of us apparently aren't able to do that well. As I said a coupla times earlier: I have tuned a Uke to perfect "my dog has fleas", and then checked with a tuner and found it to be outta tune! Perhaps different ears hear tones differently than others do.

The electronic tuner, however, doesn't listen to two strings. It measures the single string until it deems its tone to be an A or an E or whatever. So, the happy ukist ends up with four strings that are tuned correctly to G C E A.

And as to your other comment (#29). If one is playing with a crowd of friends, it is maybe okay to be a bit out of tune, but, when playing a solo or maybe a duet, being in tune is very much more important.

I don't think anyone likes to hear an out of tune instrument. It's much better to tune it however one can. :old:

Down Up Dick
07-23-2016, 06:46 PM
1931jim and Bill1, have you ever tuned your Ukes with a tuning fork, and, then, checked them with a good tuner? :old:

kohanmike
07-23-2016, 09:14 PM
For the almost 50 years I played guitar, I could never tune by ear or by string to string, but when electronic tuners came out. I jumped on them, even though they were large boxes. Now I use the D'Addario/Planet Waves mini tuners, either behind the headstock, or if that's not possible, on top. But I recently started sticking them to the heal of the neck on my bass ukes, removing the clip portion, hides them very well. I only turn it on when I tune.

What's really hard to understand is a member of my uke group uses the tuner, but never goes to exact pitch, as soon as the correct letter shows, the person stops tuning, no matter how sharp or flat.

cml
07-23-2016, 09:18 PM
For the almost 50 years I played guitar, I could never tune by ear or by string to string, but when electronic tuners came out. I jumped on them, even though they were large boxes. Now I use the D'Addario/Planet Waves mini tuners, either behind the headstock, or if that's not possible, on top. But I recently started sticking them to the heal of the neck on my bass ukes, removing the clip portion, hides them very well. I only turn it on when I tune.

What's really hard to understand is a member of my uke group uses the tuner, but never goes to exact pitch, as soon as the correct letter shows, the person stops tuning, no matter how sharp or flat.

Maybe that person thinks he or she is doing it right?

kohanmike
07-23-2016, 09:45 PM
Maybe that person thinks he or she is doing it right?

I've told the person that the needle has to be in the middle and the color turn green, but replies, "oh, it's close enough" so I make sure I sit far away.

Tootler
07-23-2016, 10:47 PM
Bill1, you're probably correct if you have perfect pitch or at least very good pitch awareness, but, alas, some of us don't seem to have it.

When tuning by ear one listens to two tones and manipulates them until they sound exactly the same; they are in tune! But some of us apparently aren't able to do that well. As I said a coupla times earlier: I have tuned a Uke to perfect "my dog has fleas", and then checked with a tuner and found it to be outta tune! Perhaps different ears hear tones differently than others do.

The electronic tuner, however, doesn't listen to two strings. It measures the single string until it deems its tone to be an A or an E or whatever. So, the happy ukist ends up with four strings that are tuned correctly to G C E A.

And as to your other comment (#29). If one is playing with a crowd of friends, it is maybe okay to be a bit out of tune, but, when playing a solo or maybe a duet, being in tune is very much more important.

I don't think anyone likes to hear an out of tune instrument. It's much better to tune it however one can. :old:

When you tune by ear, you are tuning the ukulele to itself and so your "perfect" my dog has fleas is in tune with itself but not necessarily with another instrument. If you are singing solo and accompanying yourself, that is perfectly OK as you can pitch your voice to the uke. It's also OK if you are playing a solo instrumental.

OTOH, if you are playing with others, you need to tune one string to a reference pitch - either to a tuning fork or to one of the instruments. When you check your ear tuning with your electronic tuner, you are, in effect, using your electronic tuner to provide your reference pitch. If everyone in a group tunes to an electronic tuner, there is a good chance that you will all tune to the same reference. Though even the cheap electronic tuners are pretty accurate these days they do vary. Most of mine agree with each other but I have one that is very slightly out - only a few cents but definitely out. It's OK for tuning a uke to itself but for playing with others, no good. I keep it with the uke that's permanently in my car as it will be OK for that purpose.

The electronic tuner is a great time saver as you can quickly get the instrument in tune but I always check by ear when I have finished. Most of the time it's OK but occasionally I do have to tweak the tuning to get it properly in tune.

Booli
07-23-2016, 11:41 PM
My previous, helpful and contributing posts to this thread have been deleted by me in protest due to the later tone of this thread.

I will be spending my energies elsewhere, that they might be more appreciated.

Mahalo.

cml
07-24-2016, 12:26 AM
More tuner p0rn...

3 clip-on tuners and a tuning fork...

http://i.imgur.com/0R3erc0.jpg

From left-to-right:

- Kala tuner, got from HMS on sale, has both AUDIO and VISUAL metronome modes in over 5 different time signatures up to 400bpm

- SuperFly tuner, got from stringsandbeyond.com, has nice BRIGHT display, wider opening clip, good for guitar headstocks

- Reverb tuner, got for $1 w/free ship, works well, nice LARGE display

AND........these tuners as well as the NS-Micro tuners, ALL USE THE SAME CR-2032 lithium battery - YAY!!!

Almost all small electronics use c2032 ;). Thank god for standards.

Down Up Dick
07-24-2016, 03:45 AM
When you tune by ear, you are tuning the ukulele to itself and so your "perfect" my dog has fleas is in tune with itself but not necessarily with another instrument. If you are singing solo and accompanying yourself, that is perfectly OK as you can pitch your voice to the uke. It's also OK if you are playing a solo instrumental.

OTOH, if you are playing with others, you need to tune one string to a reference pitch - either to a tuning fork or to one of the instruments. When you check your ear tuning with your electronic tuner, you are, in effect, using your electronic tuner to provide your reference pitch. If everyone in a group tunes to an electronic tuner, there is a good chance that you will all tune to the same reference. Though even the cheap electronic tuners are pretty accurate these days they do vary. Most of mine agree with each other but I have one that is very slightly out - only a few cents but definitely out. It's OK for tuning a uke to itself but for playing with others, no good. I keep it with the uke that's permanently in my car as it will be OK for that purpose.

The electronic tuner is a great time saver as you can quickly get the instrument in tune but I always check by ear when I have finished. Most of the time it's OK but occasionally I do have to tweak the tuning to get it properly in tune.

I know how to tune one string against another. I've said that a coupla times before, but, when I do it and then check ALL the strings, they aren't (each) spot on. My dog's fleas are not in tune. I dunno why, so I use a tuner (then take it off). :old:

UkerDanno
07-24-2016, 04:11 AM
^^^All of the above! g) it looks stupid! :shaka:

Like Dick, I tune and take it off and put it in the case at the beginning of a jam. When we take a break, I check and retune if necessary and put the tuner back in the case. At home I have a tuner laying on my table by the music stand. A tuner clipped on while playing just bugs me, kind of like untidy string ends.

I like those little micro tuners, have to get me a couple, I guess. Not sure if I would leave it on or not.

cml
07-24-2016, 04:12 AM
You're adding negative values to your options Booli, probably because you disagree with them. I usually take it off because I find it ugly on a wooden piece of art. For me personally, the electronic tuner detracts from the visual experience, there's no taunting involved, imagined or not ;).

Down Up Dick
07-24-2016, 04:44 AM
Booli, I mostly take the tuner off because, when I first got the Snark, the directions said not to leave it on for long periods. Then I decided that others' looked dorky having it on, especially with a really beautiful peghead/ukulele. For me, the tuner really detracts from the uke's good looks.

But, for you who (yoo-hoo?) like them on, you paid for them AND the Ukes, so leave 'em on and strum away. :old:

Axelband
07-24-2016, 05:07 AM
I'm new to the uke (and playing any instrument at all for that matter) and won't be performing anytime soon if ever. I take my tuner off after tuning because it distracts me. I got a cheapie Korg when I got my uke. When the battery died shortly after I bought a Polytune. It's pricy at around $50 but it's amazingly precise and fast. I'm an engineer and really appreciate how well it works.

Rllink
07-24-2016, 05:44 AM
I wonder how one knows that their tuner is "precise"? Especially if they don't have some sort of precise calibrator to check it against. I also wonder just how precise a tuner has to be in order to be functional.

cml
07-24-2016, 05:58 AM
I hear tuners can become less precise by being dropped a lot? Anyone know more about that?

Axelband
07-24-2016, 06:07 AM
I wonder how one knows that their tuner is "precise"? Especially if they don't have some sort of precise calibrator to check it against. I also wonder just how precise a tuner has to be in order to be functional.



Do you know the difference between precision and accuracy?

janeray1940
07-24-2016, 06:26 AM
If you put the micro tuners on the *back* of the headstock, you can hardly see them at all. I know that some would still insist this detracts from the appearance, but I don't think of my ukes as works of art so it doesn't bother me - I think of them as instruments that I use to make music, and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make that music sound as good as possible. And I need all the help I can get in that department! :)

These are on a concert-neck soprano, but they fit my soprano the same way.

And they've been clipped on my oldest uke for at least 3 years, maybe longer, with no noticeable damage of any kind. As others have noted, they're a bit of a pain to take off and put back on, so I'm happy to just leave them be.

And, yes - I leave my strap attached as well, which I know would bother some people. Again, I've been doing it for years to no ill effect, so I just don't worry about it.

Down Up Dick
07-24-2016, 06:29 AM
Wow! Some Ukers don't tune much at all, and apparently some have gone nuts with it . . . and Beethoven was almost completely deaf! Ahhh, me . . .

Wouldn't it be better for all to just get in tune, put the ugly tuner away and get down wid dere bad Ukes! :old:

cml
07-24-2016, 06:30 AM
not sure about that part, since I seldom drop mine, but I can attest that when the battery is very low, the tuner is slower to respond, and seems to be off a bit (1-2 cents) compared to other tuner references such as the instuner app
I can confess to dropping mine alot, and my daughter also loves to play with the snark, which usually means that it ends up on the floor.Btw I didn't take offense earlier, just didn't think the options fitted me. Also I'm grumpy as hell today because of lingering pain from a lumbago. Sorry.

cml
07-24-2016, 06:38 AM
If you put the micro tuners on the *back* of the headstock, you can hardly see them at all. I know that some would still insist this detracts from the appearance, but I don't think of my ukes as works of art so it doesn't bother me - I think of them as instruments that I use to make music, and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make that music sound as good as possible. And I need all the help I can get in that department! :)

These are on a concert-neck soprano, but they fit my soprano the same way.

And they've been clipped on my oldest uke for at least 3 years, maybe longer, with no noticeable damage of any kind. As others have noted, they're a bit of a pain to take off and put back on, so I'm happy to just leave them be.

And, yes - I leave my strap attached as well, which I know would bother some people. Again, I've been doing it for years to no ill effect, so I just don't worry about it.
I could probably live with that, it looks ok :). Just as you, I always leave the strap on for convienence! On my Koaloha, it even looks good because I splurged for a nice leather strap...

Tootler
07-24-2016, 06:45 AM
...I know that some would still insist this detracts from the appearance, but I don't think of my ukes as works of art so it doesn't bother me - I think of them as instruments that I use to make music, and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make that music sound as good as possible...


I agree absolutely. The art is in the music and I like my ukes to be plain and functional.

The only reason I don't fit my tuners under the headstock is that they get in the way of my fingers when I'm working the tuners. Unlike Booli, I don't have a problem with friction tuners. Most of my ukes have friction tuners and I can get them into tune pretty quickly. It's a matter of getting used to making very small movements with your fingers. If it's only slightly out of tune, I deliberately detune the string a little bit then bring it back up to tune. I find it doesn't actually take any longer than easing up a geared tuner.

Rllink
07-24-2016, 07:49 AM
Do you know the difference between precision and accuracy?I'm pretty sure you are going to tell me. I always get a kick out of how much traction these kind of threads get.

Osprey
07-24-2016, 08:30 AM
Has anyone tried the tuners that clip on the edge of the sound hole?

Down Up Dick
07-24-2016, 08:39 AM
Booli, of course looks matter. That's what we're all really talkin' about. Having an ugly tuner stuck on $500+ Uke takes away from the handsome wood grain, colorful design and overall beauty of it.

But, of course, one can have a tuner or two on his Ukes. He/she can have a fishing reel or a pencil sharpener on it if he/she wants.

And others of us will probably say that we don't like it. Two different groups and never the twain shall meet. :old:

Axelband
07-24-2016, 08:50 AM
I'm pretty sure you are going to tell me. I always get a kick out of how much traction these kind of threads get.

Yep. It was a rhetorical question.

In the case of a tuner, accuracy is how close, for example, you are exactly on a G when the tuner says that you are on a G. You would indeed need a finely calibrated device to measure that. Precision, which was my actual claim, is how well the device replicates its results. A device can be accurate or precise or both or neither. My old Korg would give slightly different results when I plucked a string. This is not the case with my Polytune.

Down Up Dick
07-24-2016, 08:57 AM
Yea! Polytune! :old:

Mivo
07-24-2016, 08:57 AM
I'm new to the uke (and playing any instrument at all for that matter) and won't be performing anytime soon if ever. I take my tuner off after tuning because it distracts me. I got a cheapie Korg when I got my uke. When the battery died shortly after I bought a Polytune. It's pricy at around $50 but it's amazingly precise and fast. I'm an engineer and really appreciate how well it works.

I bought a PolyTune and somewhat regretted it. It shows me the same information (is the string in tune?) as my $5 ET-33 clip-on tuner, and it is easier to read the display of the cheap tuner. Sure, it's not fancy and not designed in Denmark, but I just want to know whether a string is in tune. I think the PolyTune is great for guitarists who want to tune all six strings in one strum, but I wouldn't buy it again for the ukulele.

92852

Down Up Dick
07-24-2016, 09:24 AM
Mivo, the one on the right looks a lot like my $20 Kala, which I don't like or use at all. :old:

Mivo
07-24-2016, 09:33 AM
I think I'm fairly pragmatic about tuners. I just want them to show me if a string is in tune. It doesn't need to be in 0.1s time, 1.0s is fine. :) That ET-33 has been running on the same battery for over three years now, can't really complain. I bought a second one a while ago, just in case I lose the first one. The PolyTune was a result of me wondering what could be better about a ten times more expensive tuner from a practical rather than theoretical perspective.

I looked a few times at the mini tuners from PlanetWaves/d'Addario that others mentioned, but here they cost around $18 each, or $32 for two, and I haven't really seen the need yet.

Down Up Dick
07-24-2016, 09:37 AM
Yeah, Mivo, that's about how I feel. My Snark is good enough for me. :old:

Rllink
07-24-2016, 09:51 AM
I bought a PolyTune and somewhat regretted it. It shows me the same information (is the string in tune?) as my $5 ET-33 clip-on tuner, and it is easier to read the display of the cheap tuner. Sure, it's not fancy and not designed in Denmark, but I just want to know whether a string is in tune. I think the PolyTune is great for guitarists who want to tune all six strings in one strum, but I wouldn't buy it again for the ukulele.

92852The one on the right is the one that I have. Actually I have two of them. The first one came in the package with my Makala, and the second one I bought when I left the first one in PR. So those two, and a free app on my phone is what I have.

Down Up Dick
07-24-2016, 10:10 AM
Well, Booli, you sound a bit angry, but I hope you're not. This thread has been fun and interesting. I don't think anyone attacked anyone. It's been a friendly debate so far. I enjoyed it.

The world, as we know it, may end soon, and God only knows what'll happen in November. So let's keep calm and strum on 'til then.
:old:

Axelband
07-24-2016, 10:42 AM
In my VERY limited experience, I found the Polytune much easier to use when tuning than the Korg. It's worth it to me. It may be that I am just getting more adept at tuning and that's the real difference. Anyway, it makes me happy. I've been to at least several hundred concerts in my life and it's amazing to me to be in my early 50s and finally making music of my own.

Tootler
07-24-2016, 12:33 PM
Yep. It was a rhetorical question.

In the case of a tuner, accuracy is how close, for example, you are exactly on a G when the tuner says that you are on a G. You would indeed need a finely calibrated device to measure that. Precision, which was my actual claim, is how well the device replicates its results. A device can be accurate or precise or both or neither. My old Korg would give slightly different results when I plucked a string. This is not the case with my Polytune.

Not quite. As you say, accuracy is how close your measurement is to the true value. What you define as precision - how well a device repeats its results is actually repeatability. Precision is a measure of the smallest difference a device will detect. Most cheaper clip on tuners are probably good to +/- 1 or 2 cents. A more precise tuner may be good to +/- 0.1 cents. It will also cost a lot more.

As you say, accuracy and precision are not the same thing. It's no good have a tuner good to even +/- 1 cent if it's consistently reading 5 cents high. In that case it isn't particularly accurate but it does have have good repeatability, so it's possible to compensate for the error once you have established what that error is. If the error varies every time you make a measurement, then your instrument not only has poor accuracy but it also has poor repeatability. In such a case, it's basically useless.

1931jim
07-24-2016, 02:21 PM
Not quite. As you say, accuracy is how close your measurement is to the true value. What you define as precision - how well a device repeats its results is actually repeatability. Precision is a measure of the smallest difference a device will detect. Most cheaper clip on tuners are probably good to +/- 1 or 2 cents. A more precise tuner may be good to +/- 0.1 cents. It will also cost a lot more.

As you say, accuracy and precision are not the same thing. It's no good have a tuner good to even +/- 1 cent if it's consistently reading 5 cents high. In that case it isn't particularly accurate but it does have have good repeatability, so it's possible to compensate for the error once you have established what that error is. If the error varies every time you make a measurement, then your instrument not only has poor accuracy but it also has poor repeatability. In such a case, it's basically useless.

Hello Tootler,
Thank you for the education, and thanks to Down Up Dick for this thread. Also a big thank you to all the others who have contributed to my education of tuners in their many shapes and sizes. I had no idea what a cent was in todays modern tuner language. Perhaps in my ignorance I am blessed with being so slow to accept change to my routine. I will not be looking for a tuner contraption any time soon. Thanks again one and all for educating me. As the old saying goes..."If it an't broke don't fix it" Jim

Gwynedd
07-25-2016, 12:29 AM
I tune up when I start to play and I tune if I play for a while (but I used to have perfect pitch. Now, hearing is going and it's not quite as good. But I could really hear tuning being off most of my life.)

I keep it on the headstock for convenience. No need to reach into the gig bag to find the tuner.

As to tuners themselves, I have two--the Snark and a different one that Cordoba supplies with guitars. It's a bit funny. It lets you scroll through different instruments (violin, bass, guitar, uke) but it sometimes doesn't want to pick up the note or gets confused. I prefer the Snark. But I like how this other tuner (the rectangular kind) flashes green when you reach the pitch.

Booli
07-25-2016, 03:01 AM
Well, Booli, you sound a bit angry, but I hope you're not...
No, not angry in the least. The extent of this thread has exhausted my interest in this topic, thus my exit.

Down Up Dick
07-25-2016, 03:10 AM
No, not angry in the least. The extent of this thread has exhausted my interest in this topic, thus my exit.

Well, that's good. Have a nice day. :old:

Inksplosive AL
07-25-2016, 08:05 AM
I have a Korg PC-1 and I bought a handful of the 1st gen micro tuners. The micro tuners I had mounted to a couple ukuleles died from the buttons being pushed in storage. The Korg comes out while I tune up and I take it off. I agree its not much for aesthetics on any ukulele. None of the clip on tuners are.

I think most just dont care much about the look. To others its like they grew a second head.

~AL~

Down Up Dick
07-25-2016, 08:37 AM
I have a Korg PC-1 and I bought a handful of the 1st gen micro tuners. The micro tuners I had mounted to a couple ukuleles died from the buttons being pushed in storage. The Korg comes out while I tune up and I take it off. I agree its not much for aesthetics on any ukulele. None of the clip on tuners are.

I think most just dont care much about the look. To others its like they grew a second head.

~AL~

But they DO care about the look of their Ukes. Look how they rave about the woods on their NUDs and the special kind of tuners and on and on. They pay a lot of money for looks.

And then they clamp an ugly red or green or black plastic tuner on the beautiful peg head. :old:

Joncanfield
07-25-2016, 02:55 PM
I'm all for digital tuners.

Much easier to use than any other method that I know of.

I tune up, take it off, & then play. :)

(Others seem to leave it attached, which looks ungainly to my eye, but maybe so that they don't forget or lose it.)


I'm in the leave it there so I don't lose it group :) But, I agree it looks better without the tuner stuck on there!

Jon

pritch
07-25-2016, 05:12 PM
I've told the person that the needle has to be in the middle and the color turn green, but replies, "oh, it's close enough" so I make sure I sit far away.

Sorry but I laughed at that. Now I feel guilty - but not very.

I don't like the tuner attached on smaller sized instruments as it changes the balance, even if only a little. Since I don't leave a tuner attached to the small instruments I don't do it with a tenor either, if only in the interest of consistency. It lives in the case when not in use.

Backup is a free chromatic tuner in the cell phone. That works fine at home but is of limited use if there are twenty odd players and a variety of background noises.

zztush
07-26-2016, 02:20 AM
Elic Clapton does this too.

92894

Rllink
07-26-2016, 03:56 AM
Elic Clapton does this too.

92894When I was in the Navy there was a guy who played the guitar and he had not trimmed the excess strings off. He would always stick his cigarette on one of the strings and it would be waving around out there all the time while he played.

acmespaceship
07-26-2016, 10:41 AM
... Of greater concern to me is how to ask another (adult) player to tune their ukulele when it is clearly not in tune and they do not have a tuner on hand. How do you say, "Hey, your uke is out of tune," without sounding like a jerk/snob?

Sometimes making a point of checking my tuning acts as a subtle reminder and convinces the people near me to check their tuning as well. And sometimes... not. It's worth a try anyway.

Then there's the cheerful "hey, everybody, let's take a moment and check that our ukes are in tune! I have a tuner here if anyone needs it!"

This is, in fact, why I always have a tuner clamped on the headstock when I'm playing with a group. Set a good example. Be the change you want to see in the world.

ksiegel
07-26-2016, 12:34 PM
For many years when I played guitar, I used a tuning fork. It was fine.

If I was playing alone, then I tuned my A, and tuned everything else to it - relative tuning.

I don't think I have a tremendous ear, but through doing this, I found that the B strings on both of my main guitars (an Ovation Pinnacle and an Epiphone SQ-180) were wonky - and when I brought them in to a shop to be looked at, that's when I first heard the term "intonation".

Now, with the ukuleles, I started with the Kala MGM sent me, moved on to the Snarks (which I liked, until that crappy neck connection snapped on almost every one I had!), and then tried the Planet Waves/D'Addario mini-tuner. I have a mini-tuner on every ukulele I own now, and I just leave them there. On some, the tuner is on the top of the headstock, some on the bottom. If I don't turn them off, they will auto off in about 10 minutes. I tune each string to the tuner, then adjust based on what I hear.

And what I hear is that every instrument I own has slightly different intonation.

The other thing I hear is, when I'm playing with others, whether ukulele only or other instruments, the use of the electronic tuners has generally improved the overall tuning of the groups. Not always, but usually it makes an incredible difference.

Some people use expensive strobe tuners, some use cheapo electronics, some Korgs, a lot use Snarks, and a lot use mini-tuners. And taking the individual instruments' intonations into account, this is the best and easiest way for us to play together. It seems that it would be great if we all had Perfect Pitch, but after talking to someone who says she is cursed by Perfect Pitch, I'm not so sure. She can hear a single string off by +/-0.1 cent in an orchestra, and it drives her up a wall.

BTW, the Snark and Mini tuner both can be adjusted away from A440, by 1Hz at a time, in either direction. Which is how I found out that one of my tuning forks labeled A440 is A432, and the other is A438. I can't really tell the difference on the A438 tuner, but man, that A432 tuner makes me want to scream.

How you do it is up to you, but as Pete Seeger once said, "We tune because we care."



-Kurt

Nickie
07-27-2016, 04:17 PM
My Cocobolo uke, with Aquila Lava strings, does not stay in tune for very long. There fore I leave the tuner on the headstock when I play. It doesn't distract me at all, I am too busy trying to hit the right strings and frets. I did learn a hard lesson about leaving it on the uke all the time. My Kala fell off a table with the tuner attached, and the tuner broke, and left two nasty gashes in the headstock. They are still there as a reminder against laziness.
I can't play by ear (yet), nor can I tune by ear. No matter how I tune each string to the others everywhichaway, I'm still ALWAYS a little off. I turn on the tuner, and bingo, I'm in tune pronto!

bunnyf
07-28-2016, 01:01 AM
I too find that I cannot tune accurately without a clip on tuner. I certainly cannot do it by ear alone. Even with a fork, pitch pipe, or other any method that requires me to tune by hearing a sound and accurately replicate it, I'm doomed to failure because I can't hear well enough to detect when I've got the string exactly the same. I can certainly get in the ballpark and I would do it in a pinch but I can tell that I'm off a bit when I've "finished" tuning and start to play. A check with a tuner would confirm that my ear is not accurate enough. In any case, even if I had a good ear, I have to tune often in noisy places, so visual tuner rather than audio makes the most sense. As to the leaving of the tuners clipped to your headstock, I'm of the "do as you please" school in general, but personally find large tuners visual unappealing. I would never perform with one attached (except maybe my micro tuners). If I'm using a large tuner like the Snark, I automatically put it back in the case as soon as I'm done tuning, even when I'm just practicing. I think these look particularly ridiculous left on (like an alien landed on your headstock). But, I'd rather play with folks who are in tune and leave their tuners attached than play with out of tune folks.

Down Up Dick
07-28-2016, 03:30 AM
Yeah, bunnyf, I'm the same as you. I have a Korg tuner that I use for other instruments, and I've also tried to use my keyboard and a mouth harp and a tinwhistle and my iPad and anything else that makes a noise. The strings are always spot-on and ready to go until I check with my good ol' Snark--not in tune.

I've been a musician for about 70 years, and now I can't even tune my ax properly. :old:

Tootler
07-28-2016, 05:03 AM
I always felt the same as bunny and DUD. In fact troubles with tuning was one of the reasons I never took off with guitar. Then...

Not too long ago, I went into a shop and wanted to try out an amp. The shop let me use one of their ukes off the wall. It was out of tune so I tuned it up by ear and to my surprise was quite quickly able to get it in tune with itself and it sounded OK. Wow! I thought, I CAN tune by ear :-) I still use a tuner, it's still quicker for me and in a noisy environment, essential. I always check by ear when I'm done, though.

sukie
07-28-2016, 05:33 AM
Tuning by ear is fabulous. But...it does not guarantee you will be in tune with anybody else. It just doesn't.

Rllink
07-28-2016, 06:21 AM
I know that the police have to calibrate their radar with tuning forks before the results are admissible in court. They also have to get the tuning forks calibrated periodically and have to testify when they were calibrated. So for those who are using tuning forks, and if they want their ukulele tuning to be court admissible, they better be getting those tuning forks calibrated on a regular basis. Just saying.;)

Down Up Dick
07-28-2016, 06:27 AM
I found a tuning fork on the sidewalk once. It's fun to play around with, but it's in the key of E for guitar I guess. I suppose I could tune my E strings with it.

It doesn't take much to amuse old people. :old:

Ukuleleblues
07-29-2016, 04:21 PM
Sometimes I forget to take it off, but hardly ever...I like to clip it to the mic stand, cable, my shirt pocket, some thing close by, etc. and then when I need it, I entertain my band mates looking for it! I hate it on headstock, so it's all worth it.

JessicaM
07-30-2016, 07:56 AM
I take mine off and promptly lose it (usually) because I'm always stashing it up high out of the way of little hands.
************
PSA: DON'T LET LITTLE ONES PLAY WITH TUNERS if there's any chance at all that they might get their hands on the battery. Those little batteries are too candy-like and lots of kids end up in the ER after swallowing a battery! A ped. ER doctor schooled me on the when she saw I had the tuner laying around.
************

Rllink
07-30-2016, 09:22 AM
Sometimes I forget to take it off, but hardly ever...I like to clip it to the mic stand, cable, my shirt pocket, some thing close by, etc. and then when I need it, I entertain my band mates looking for it! I hate it on headstock, so it's all worth it.I was at a friend's house and he wanted to use mine, so I gave it to him. He clipped it on his music stand when he was done because I was doing something else at the moment. The next day I realized that I had left it there. That's why I keep it on my uke.

cml
07-30-2016, 09:33 AM
I take mine off and promptly lose it (usually) because I'm always stashing it up high out of the way of little hands.
************
PSA: DON'T LET LITTLE ONES PLAY WITH TUNERS if there's any chance at all that they might get their hands on the battery. Those little batteries are too candy-like and lots of kids end up in the ER after swallowing a battery! A ped. ER doctor schooled me on the when she saw I had the tuner laying around.
************
Amen to that! My 1.5 year old daughter ALWAYS tries to get a hand of my snark tuner. Somehow, it's even more interesting than my ukes, hah! Must be the wierd looking shape of it, kinda like a little alien thing that blinks.

Down Up Dick
07-30-2016, 10:29 AM
Ya know, there's another thread on the forum about capos. Well, I've seen a lot of them wrapped around the strings on the peghead too. How about a little metronome or fingernail trimmer or a string winder or . . .

Soon pegheads will look like utility belts! :old:

Joyful Uke
07-30-2016, 10:45 AM
I don't stare at the headstock while playing, so unless I'm looking at a tuner there, I wouldn't notice if I have a pretty headstock or not while playing. (But I do notice when I'm not playing.) So, I have no problem with how things look with a tuner attached.

I tend to tune and then take the tuner off, though, because my youngest dog might decide to start to chew on something interesting to him, (like an electric cord), and I might need to very quickly get the uke back in the case and redirect the dog's attention to a dog toy. The uke needs to go back into the case, (kept right there at the ready), because with 3 of the 4 legged ones around, someone is bound to step on or sit on the uke if it's not safely stashed in the case. It was even more of a concern when I had a 160 pound deaf and mostly blind dog, but even with the current crew, (smaller than the Great Dane, but still large dogs), things happen. And then there is clutzy me, who might also step on or sit on something accidentally. LOL.

Rllink
07-30-2016, 03:28 PM
The slippery slope. First you put a tuner on your headstock and leave it there, then it goes downhill from there.

PeteyHoudini
07-31-2016, 12:12 PM
I never leave the tuner on the headstock. Looks bad in a video. Reminds me of a guitarist on stage wearing a watch and you can see it when he/she is playing. Looks bad IMHO.

Petey

Axelband
07-31-2016, 08:12 PM
I never leave the tuner on the headstock. Looks bad in a video. Reminds me of a guitarist on stage wearing a watch and you can see it when he/she is playing. Looks bad IMHO.

Petey

I go to a lot of live music and this is something that I've never noticed one way or the other. But now I always will thanks to you. :)