Tuners - Snark doesn't seem to be so accurate

Phooto

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I have a Snark SN6, which is my go to tuner, & have found it to be a reliable tuner.
Plus, I have a couple of Ukulology cheapies, which work but are slow in comparison.
(My Snark has just had its first battery replacement, after 16 months of usage.)
 
How accurate does a tuner have to be? There has to be a point where it is imperceptible. Also, I wonder how that would compare to tuning one string, then tuning the rest of them by ear? My friend will only tune one string with his tuner, then he goes though a lengthy process of tuning the others off of that one. I would be interested in that test as well. It might give us an idea how accurate the ear is in that regard. I have also wondered about tuning by ear, as in tuning to a pitch pipe, a keyboard, or one uke to another, and how accurately that is?
 
How accurate does a tuner have to be? There has to be a point where it is imperceptible. Also, I wonder how that would compare to tuning one string, then tuning the rest of them by ear? My friend will only tune one string with his tuner, then he goes though a lengthy process of tuning the others off of that one. I would be interested in that test as well. It might give us an idea how accurate the ear is in that regard. I have also wondered about tuning by ear, as in tuning to a pitch pipe, a keyboard, or one uke to another, and how accurately that is?
I imagine it will vary between people! Some people can tune a ukulele without even tuning the first string from an electronic tuner, entirely from memory.
 
The instrument itself is also a variable. I find that Snarks do the job but some instruments need small tweaking after initial tuning and once you start actually putting your fingers on the fretboard. Happy Ukeing!
 
I've used a variety of tuners, mostly D'Addario/Planet waves minis, and find that they vary from one to other. I've put two on a uke two of the same model and one is slightly different accuracy and a little slower than the other.
 
Whatever you do, don't get a cordoba brand tuner. I got mine free but now I know why , it is horrible. Basically what it essentially tells me is, "you're accurate enough"

You're uke can be horribly out of tune to your ear, and still have each string show middle mark on that tuner.

It is cool looking enough, very small and has a nice lighting to it, I think I'll use it as a Christmas tree ornament this year.
 
I've found that my favorite clip-on tuner these days is the Fishman FT2. It seems more reliable and more accurate than the snark (though I wouldn't be surprised if nearly ALL the clip on tuners on the market were using the same circuit/chip to do it). The fishman has a better interface in that there are NO buttons at all, you flip it forward to turn it on, back for off. The absence of buttons makes it impossible to recalibrate it to other than standard pitch (A=440Hz), which is great for students, beginners, and anyone who isn't sure what that means. Goes red when sharp, amber when flat, green for in tune, chromatic, +/- 50 cents of "swing" on screen. For doing instrument setups I use a plug in/mic based tuner, but for all other performance/practice purposes this one gets my full endorsement, much more so than the snark. It's about $12-13 on eBay I think.
 
If you ever get in a pinch (no tuner available), a US landline telephone's dialtone is the "F" note. Ah, but who uses landlines anymore, certainly not the kids these days (I'm dating myself here):D

Fun fact! Dang, we got rid of our land line. But this is still cool to know.
 
I loosened off the strings of my C-tuned ukulele yesterday to look at fitting an under-saddle bridge. When I tuned it back up again I couldn't be bothered to get my tuner so I just tuned it up roughly by ear intending to do it properly next day. When I did tune it up properly this morning, I noticed it was only a semi-tone or so sharp, so not too bad (although granted it might have slackened off a bit overnight).

Pondering JohnM2001's comment about the landline dialtone F note, I wondered what note the UK mains power supply 50hz would be, and spookily enough it's about halfway between G and G#. So I wonder if I was subconsciously tuning my G string to the mains hum in the room?

 
Depends which Snark. I know a very well respected tech who uses the Mk 2 Snark for guitar setups, sometimes for touring bands, leaving his Peterson strobe unused under his bench. That's accurate enough for me!
 
I just ran 5 tuners through a similar test to Cool Cat Ukes, just to see (Original blog post: http://coolcatukes.com/r_150901_tuners.shtml). I used an app on my iPad called Tone Generator by Michael Heinz, and I was only able to make discriminations at the .1 level versus the .01 level. Paid $0.99 to be able to type in frequencies, which is close enough.

The pitches represented are the lowest and highest pitches that the tuner showed C in tune.

Snark SN6 (there is a new Snark Model out.) 521.8 (low) 524.8 (high)
Reverb Clip on Tuner (I have more than one, so tried several): 522.4 (low) 524.4 (high)
D'Addario Sound Hole: 522.6 (low) 523.8 (high)
Joyo Tuner (eBay special): 522.5 (low) 524.3 (high)
Kala App on iPhone: 522.3 (low) 523.4 (high)

Conclusions? Most tuners are within + or - 1 from desired pitch. I didn't expect to find this, but the D'Addario does seem to be most accurate. I was surprised to see the relative accuracy of the Reverb and Joyo Tuners. I expected the iPhone to be accurate. The SN6 does not have an external microphone like Cool Cat's version.

Incidentally, the Kala app shows the pitch as "Green" at a higher tolerance, but the "fine" needle on the bottom of the screen moves after these pitches.

I would love to see Barry Maz try this test with his Peterson Strobe Clip-On Tuner. After his review, I looked at them, but I am not going to spend $60 or more on a ukulele tuner.

Should you throw away your current tuner? Probably not. But if you are going to buy a new tuner, it doesn't hurt to know that the D'Addarios seem to be more accurate as you shop.

Also: my wife didn't appreciate the continual tone generator of my iPad while I held these tests.
 
Should you throw away your current tuner? Probably not. But if you are going to buy a new tuner, it doesn't hurt to know that the D'Addarios seem to be more accurate as you shop.
Well, one particular example of each of two particulars models of D'Addario were more accurate on these two occasions.

It's good to have that information, and thank you for it; but I'm not inclined to draw any conclusions yet without seeing more tests using different examples, different models, different measurements under different conditions... looking at more different notes, for one thing.

It's also more meaningful to use cents rather than frequency differences. For instance Snark's 521.8 to 524.8 corresponds to an interval of just about 10 cents. (1200*log(524.8/521.8)/log(2)). That's small, a tenth of a semitone, but not insignificant to someone with a good enough ear. D'Addario's 522.6 to 523.8 is just about 4 cents.
 
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FWIW- They can vary quite a bit in accuracy. I have a Korg clip on that is great. Korg has been making tuners for ages and is one of the top in the biz.
 
I just go back to saying that knowledge is power. What we have so far, from two owners, is that 2/2 Snark tuners were the least sensitive to pitch change, and that 2/2 D'Addario models were the most sensitive to pitch change. Different models, too.

What would be useful is if others would do the test on their own equipment, so that the discussion could go other places.

I know that if I have a piano tuned, I don't want the notes with 3 strings to each be tuned somewhere within a range of 4 cents of each other...I want them tuned to the same exact pitch.

So this issue may very well be important for someone with an 8 string ukulele. And there is nothing wrong with purchasing a tuner simply because it is the most accurate option at a price point. The D'Addario series seems nice--but the Joyo and Reverb tuners seem to be decent for the price...
 
Like others, I have had identical tuners (same model, same manufacturer) that performed differently. What I learned from this is that with cheap tuners it may be hard to generalize as there is much variance. My four year old $5 tuner is as accurate and responsive as the $50 Polytune that I had bought out of curiosity, but a duplicate of the cheap tuner that I got as a backup performed much worse. New batteries in all cases.

I need to improve my ability to tune by ear with a fork. Least reliance on gadgets. :)
 
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