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View Full Version : Would you like a spot of tea with your spot-on "A"?



OldePhart
01-13-2011, 04:46 PM
Heh, heh. I ordered a Peterson Strobo-clip tuner the other day because I found some money that needed to be cleared out of an old paypal-linked bank account. It comes packed in a tea tin.

I'll probably never use all the "sweetened tunings" and whatnot, but it sure is nice to have a really accurate tuner that will fit (minus the tea tin) in my uke cases...

John

Plainsong
01-13-2011, 09:08 PM
I loves mine. I usually leave the sweetener off, but it sounds better with some ukes than with others to my ears. :)

mds725
01-13-2011, 09:46 PM
I hadn't heard of the Peterson Strobo-clip tuner before. How is it an improvement over the run-of-the-mill clip-on tuner, like the Kala tuner I have?

mm stan
01-13-2011, 09:59 PM
These look like a good product. On-line US price $70, on-line Australian price (dollar is close to parity) $138. Maybe if anyone knows anyone in the company or is talking at the NAMM thing (if it is still going), they could find out why Australian customers are expected to pay almost double the price, do we get a special update or something?
Why don't I buy it from a US site - they don't appear to ship to Australia.
I like to keep local businesses in business (the distributer is less than an hours drive from my house), but I do not like being exploited with this type of pricing.

Aloha Bill 1,
Sheesh....even the US price scares me...my cherub WST 550C works really good for me...$15.99 on line..

Nuprin
01-14-2011, 04:21 AM
I hadn't heard of the Peterson Strobo-clip tuner before. How is it an improvement over the run-of-the-mill clip-on tuner, like the Kala tuner I have?

I don't know the accuracy on the Kala tuner but many tuners I've used (Boss TU-3, Korg AW-2G, Korg PitchBlack, Zoid Z-1000) all have an accuracy rating of +/- 1 cent. The Stroboclip has an accuracy rating of +/- 1/10th of a cent. Quite a bit more accurate. The Stroboclip also has "sweetened" tunings which are tempered to work better for particular instruments. Whether this is all worth $70 is up for debate but I love mine.

Gmoney
01-14-2011, 05:44 AM
SNIP The Stroboclip also has "sweetened" tunings which are tempered to work better for particular instruments. Whether this is all worth $70 is up for debate but I love mine.

Can you explain what "sweetened" actually means in this context? I've been reading Peterson's blurbs about this "feature" but I've yet to figure out what it really means?!?! It really seems that all that it means is that the tuner "knows" about the typical gCEA uke tuning & lets you select it as the default? I thought maybe it was more like "alternate" tuning such as a "dropped D" tuning for guitar.

cletus
01-14-2011, 06:18 AM
Sheesh....even the US price scares me...

I'm not sure if my ears could even tell the difference.:old:

Nuprin
01-14-2011, 06:31 AM
Can you explain what "sweetened" actually means in this context? I've been reading Peterson's blurbs about this "feature" but I've yet to figure out what it really means?!?! It really seems that all that it means is that the tuner "knows" about the typical gCEA uke tuning & lets you select it as the default? I thought maybe it was more like "alternate" tuning such as a "dropped D" tuning for guitar.

Peterson's explaination of sweetened tunings. (http://www.petersontuners.com/index.cfm?category=14&sub=90) The way I understand it, Peterson has come up with very slight variations on tunings for different instruments. For instance, the uke will still be tuned gCEA but the A might be a few cents sharp or the C might be a few cents flat, etc. and, in Peterson's opinion, the variation sounds better than when the instrument is tuned dead-on. I only compared the regular tuning with the sweetened tuning on one of my ukes (my MP tenor) and it did sound a touch better in the sweetened tuning (of course it could just be my ears deceiving me, wanting it to sound better to help justify the $70 cost!).

Ingrate
01-14-2011, 06:33 AM
Can you explain what "sweetened" actually means in this context? I've been reading Peterson's blurbs about this "feature" but I've yet to figure out what it really means?!?! It really seems that all that it means is that the tuner "knows" about the typical gCEA uke tuning & lets you select it as the default? I thought maybe it was more like "alternate" tuning such as a "dropped D" tuning for guitar.

Sweetened. Search for info on the Stroboclip, and you'll find reference to tuning correction for string bending, etc. I got a Stroboclip and carefully tuned my 'uke with it using the sweetened setting. Then I checked the results with my old Aroma AT-300u tuner. The G & C seem spot-on, while the E & A are consistently tuned a bit sharp, the A a bit more than the E. I de-tuned and repeated the procedure - same results.

Other than this, I found no advantage to the Stroboclip, and it's no easier to use, in my experience. So, I returned it. Now I just tune my E & A strings a bit sharp, using the old cheap tuner. YMMV.

Edit: I like the "sweetened" tuning on my sopranos. I didn't prefer it on the concert I used to have. Perhaps this is because the slight sharpening of a string's pitch when it is fretted is more noticeable on a soprano? Go figure. (The action on my sopranos is very low, BTW...) I only notice this sharpening-when-fretted effect on the C-string at the 1-3 frets, so one could just tune the C-string a wee bit flat instead. I've tried this, and it doesn't work quite as well, for some uncanny reason..

olgoat52
01-14-2011, 07:17 AM
I like the size of the planet wave clip on but I have always like the quality of Petersen. How big is the clip on unit. That was one of the reasons I shied away from it the last time.

OldePhart
01-14-2011, 02:59 PM
I hadn't heard of the Peterson Strobo-clip tuner before. How is it an improvement over the run-of-the-mill clip-on tuner, like the Kala tuner I have?

Basically in precision. I have both a Kala clip-on and a Fishman clip on. Both will show "in tune" from as much as ten or fifteen cents below the note to that far above. The Stroboclip is supposed to be precise to 1/2 cent - I don't have any way to measure that (basically, you'd need a real strobe tuner to compare it to) but it is certainly more precise than the Kala and Fishman.

The Kala and Fishman tuners are ok, but if you're playing with someone else and they're giving you dirty looks you might want to borrow their tuner even if yours is "green." :) Some people can hear ten-cents difference and some can't. Actually, it's more accurate to say that some people really notice a ten cent difference and others are less likely to. The reason I say that is that often when you hear someone play and you say "wow, that is a really sweet sounding uke" what you often are really hearing is that all the strings are in tune, the action is perfect (meaning the intonation is good, as well), and therefore their chords are sweeter.

The way to get closest with the Kala or Fishman is to make sure you're starting out below the pitch, and then go a little past where it first shows "in tune." That will put you somewhere near the middle of its "in tune" range and therefore, hopefully, closer to being on the money.

Not everybody needs an expensive tuner - I do my own setups and stuff and for that I need a more precise tuner than the Kala or Fishman. I already had such on hand but they weren't as portable as the Stroboclip. The Stroboclip I can toss in even my smallest case without any problem.

John

OldePhart
01-14-2011, 03:02 PM
These look like a good product. On-line US price $70, on-line Australian price (dollar is close to parity) $138. Maybe if anyone knows anyone in the company or is talking at the NAMM thing (if it is still going), they could find out why Australian customers are expected to pay almost double the price, do we get a special update or something?
Why don't I buy it from a US site - they don't appear to ship to Australia.
I like to keep local businesses in business (the distributer is less than an hours drive from my house), but I do not like being exploited with this type of pricing.

My guess would be that you are seeing the result of your government placing import duties on products. I am always amazed when I see what people in the UK pay for things, for example - they've got really stiff tarrifs over there.

John

OldePhart
01-14-2011, 03:08 PM
Can you explain what "sweetened" actually means in this context? I've been reading Peterson's blurbs about this "feature" but I've yet to figure out what it really means?!?! It really seems that all that it means is that the tuner "knows" about the typical gCEA uke tuning & lets you select it as the default? I thought maybe it was more like "alternate" tuning such as a "dropped D" tuning for guitar.

Typically "sweetened" tunings tend to make an instrument sound better in the keys it is most often played in. The theory is way beyond what we can go into here, but there are different methods of measuring when a note is spot on it's frequency. It's all based on mathematics and the way our ear perceives pitch. There technically are two A's, two A#'s, etc. depending on whether you are going up or down the scale. The difference between a good violinist and a great one is that the great one will play a slightly different pitch for the same note when descending than he or she does when ascending the scale, and so on.

One of the sweetened scales does interest me - it's for tuning a bass that is going to be played with a piano. I will have to fool with that one a bit to see exactly what it does.

John

OldePhart
01-14-2011, 03:11 PM
I'm not sure if my ears could even tell the difference.:old:

You're half right. Most of us - myself included - can't really tell a couple of cents differents in isolation or in a series of notes played linearly. But, almost everyone who has enough pitch-sense to be able to enjoy music can tell when chords from one instrument sound "sweeter" than from another - and the difference is usually because the sweeter instrument is better in tune and/or has better intonation.

John

OldePhart
01-14-2011, 03:15 PM
I like the size of the planet wave clip on but I have always like the quality of Petersen. How big is the clip on unit. That was one of the reasons I shied away from it the last time.

It's definitely larger than the Kala - maybe twice as large? I can take a picture of them side-by-side if you'd like. It's also a little heavier. It probably wouldn't be comfortable leaving it "permanently" on the headstock of anything smaller than a tenor - but I don't usually leave my tuners on the headstock anyway.

John

Plainsong
01-14-2011, 07:55 PM
I'd take the Kala to a pub jam. If someone spills beer on it or it grows legs and finds a new home, then I won't cry. But the Peterson, yeah. The Kala was slow and not at all as precise and my ears tell the difference. (I only have decent relative pitch, and nearly failed the ear training portions of theory)

Let's put it this way, my Kala lacewood concert developed some mysterious intonation issue on some frets and was independent of string changes. According to my Kala and Pono tuners, there was no issue. But everyone and my dog heard it. The Peterson? Yes, Houston we've had a problem. It was nice to get a digital confirmation.

The usual suspect clip-on tuners are +/- .5 cents. The Peterson is +/-.1 cent. It's nice to be in tune.

70sSanO
01-15-2011, 07:02 AM
I'm pretty much a stickler in setting up of ukuleles, same for basses and guitars. Let's face it when someone, me, cuts a saddle into four peices, one for each string, to get each one compensated just right there may be a little too much attention to detail.

When I played bass at our church a number of years ago I had Korg tuner with the leds and got pretty good at judging the speed and and brightness to find that correct in tune range of the green color. But you are right, having a tuner that just gives you a center line and turns green in color doesn't mean you are really in tune.

For my ukuleles, I have using Intelli IMT 500 and 600 clip-ons with an "analog looking" dial and they seem to work pretty good. Although I have never owned one, there are tons on reviews over the years on the accuracy of Peterson strobe tuners. BTW... there is supposed to be an iTouch/iPhone app for around $10, that is supposed to be really good too.

But... when it comes to intonation and a ukulele, there are so many factors... string diameter and tension will slightly throw intonation off, action, the biggest one is the inability to press down low tension strings so perfectly to maintain intonation. And there even those who mathematically calculate that the use of straight across frets is a compromise to perfect intonation on any stringed instrument. I imagine it would be possible for someone to compensate the crown each fret for each string to get each note as close perfect.

That said, if I had $70 lying around, I would be the type that would probably buy it for set-ups. Unfortuantely that would force me to spend countless more hours tweaking to get everything just right.

Usually after thinking about all of this, I just go and play and not worry about it and it makes me feel so much better.

John

mds725
01-18-2011, 05:58 PM
Thanks for all the information about the Peterson strobo-clip tuner! I ought to at least try one to see if my ears can tell the difference, or borrow one the next time I test-drive an ukulele and want to check out its intonation up the neck.

ukegravity26
01-18-2011, 06:05 PM
Can you explain what "sweetened" actually means in this context? I've been reading Peterson's blurbs about this "feature" but I've yet to figure out what it really means?!?! It really seems that all that it means is that the tuner "knows" about the typical gCEA uke tuning & lets you select it as the default? I thought maybe it was more like "alternate" tuning such as a "dropped D" tuning for guitar.

sweetened would probably be referred to the nicer sound of the ukulele as of the songs