Another tuner question, but with special circumstances

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by LongHairFreak, Dec 1, 2012.


  1. LongHairFreak

    LongHairFreak Supporting The Gold Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Location:
    Twin Cities - MN
    Hey TB

    I am interested in a few different tuners; both for intonating and stage use.
    * Sonic Research Turbotuner
    * Korg Pitch Black /PB+
    * TC Electronics PolyTune/PT Mini

    The deal is though, I am blind, so no matter, another will be my eyes while using it. Two of those who will most likely assist me cannot take the "whirling" of a strobe, so the SR TurboTuner is probably out.

    Done a lot of research here on TB and elsewhere, but the specifics of the different readouts are not explained/discussed thoroughly enough for my understanding. Do these other two (Korg & TCE) use a type of LED (numbers, letters, etc.), some sort of swinging needle, or...?

    Thanks for any assistance here.
  2. georgestrings

    georgestrings Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2005
    The Polytune and Pitchblack use LED indicators and are both easy to read... IMO, the Polytune is a slightly better tuner, although I have no complaints about my Pitchblack - either one sounds like they would serve your needs well... The only problem I see with the Polytune Mini is that it is "power supply only" - it won't work on a battery if necessary, like the other two...

    One idea might be to have whomever will be reading it for you primarily make the choice - you really can't go wrong either way... Hope this helps,


    - georgestrings
  3. LongHairFreak

    LongHairFreak Supporting The Gold Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Location:
    Twin Cities - MN
    (slap forehead)
    Actually, it makes a lot of sense to have the other(s) choose. I should've thought of that. Thanks
  4. georgestrings

    georgestrings Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2005
    No prob - like I said, you can't go wrong either way...


    - georgestrings
  5. Register to disable this ad
  6. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    NY & MA
    Interesting question. I did a quick search and found a few possible solutions.

    Boss TU-80 tuner. Apparently can be set to emit a tone when a string is in tune. Not sure what the "tone" sounds like, but several other sightless musicians have used it with some success.

    iPhone apps. If you have/use and iPhone, there are a few apps that can be set to emit tones once a particular string is in tune.

    Best....
  7. Stilettoprefer

    Stilettoprefer

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2010
    The korg pitch black is really easy to read. No swirling and there's a few different modes to choose from for the display. It's pretty accurate, too.
  8. LongHairFreak

    LongHairFreak Supporting The Gold Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Location:
    Twin Cities - MN
    Yep. Boss and some others do emit a tone; I've checked them out already. The tone they emit though, is a buzzing sort of tone, which is not a 'clean' tone and I've not found that sort to be very useful. Actually, if I could take an octave off an older style (don't recall the style name) organ, it'd be ideal. But that's proven to be all but impossible.




  9. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Location:
    Fillmore, CA
    Disclosures:
    Professional Luthier
    Why not just go old school and use a tuning fork? No batteries, no electronics, no stinkin' software!

    I specialize in restoring the old Ampeg Scroll Basses from the 1960's. A few years back, I took in an Ampeg AEB-1 as a trade-in, which had apparently been owned by a blind bassist. On the side of the neck, just below the side marker dots, he had drilled little triangular patterns of small holes. The patterns are different sizes and numbers of dots for the different positions. I assume that he could feel them with his thumb to know where he was on the neck. He had also pulled the frets, making the bass fretless, and had filled the slots with hardwood strips. But with the shrinkage of the glue and wood strips, they had recessed slightly. So, I'm sure that he could also feel the lines.

    I've kept that Ampeg for myself, and I'm restoring it for my own collection. Unfortunately, the truss rod was broken and the neck was badly bowed. So, I had to rebuild the neck with a new fingerboard. But, I'm leaving the little marker patterns on the side of the neck. I wish I knew who the owner was. The bass had a lot of wear on it, so he obviously played it for a lot of years. If any of you know or knew of a blind bassist who played an Ampeg AEB-1, please let me know.
  10. LongHairFreak

    LongHairFreak Supporting The Gold Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Location:
    Twin Cities - MN
  11. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Location:
    Fillmore, CA
    Disclosures:
    Professional Luthier
    On stage or in loud environments, just hold the tuning fork over the pickup. It will ring out through the amp. For example, hold the tuning fork in your right hand. Rap it on something to get it ringing, and pluck the A string with a spare finger. Then move the fork over the pickup, just above the strings. Now both tones will come out through the amp at the same time, the tone from the A string and the correct A from the fork. Listen to the warble between them and adjust the tuner with your left hand.
  12. LongHairFreak

    LongHairFreak Supporting The Gold Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Location:
    Twin Cities - MN
    Really! I didn't know that could be done! I'll certainly give that a go.
    ----
    Well I just tried that through my [SFX]headphone amp here at home. I think it'll take a bit of talent to get the hang. Of course you've got to get the fork near enough to the pu to come through clearly and get it in place fast enough before the tone degrades and do so w/o touching the string w/the fork. Easy enough generally, but since I 'feel' my way around the bass, it's a bit tricky.



  13. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Location:
    Fillmore, CA
    Disclosures:
    Professional Luthier
    We luthiers commonly use tuning forks to test pickups and wiring on the bench, without the need to put the strings on.

    You can also try resting the ball end (the back end) of the tuning fork on the body of the bass, or on the end of the pickup. That will also often ring out through the amp.
  14. The Birdman

    The Birdman

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit suburbs
    I have the Korg Pitch Black. Easy to see the LEDs in dim light, but I've found the one I have runs about a half-cent sharp on the tuning results compared to my Boss TU-80 tuner.

    The Boss TU-80 emits a "chirp" when the input signal is in tune with a note. Very easy to get accurate tuning.

    Roger
  15. LongHairFreak

    LongHairFreak Supporting The Gold Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Location:
    Twin Cities - MN

    A chirp on the nose eh? I'll check that out.
    Thanks
  16. LongHairFreak

    LongHairFreak Supporting The Gold Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Location:
    Twin Cities - MN
    In case anyone's interested, I picked up a new Korg Pitchblack Plus for $70.
    (Also, in case anyone's interested, this is as close as I ever hope to get to... "tweeting").
  17. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    there are orchestral tuners that emit the pitch you're tuning to, so you can just tune each string by ear.

    i have here an old Zen-On Chromatina brand tuner with 12 big buttons across the front, each one for choosing a different pitch. with something like this, once you knew which buttons were which, you could count up the row to get each pitch you wanted.

Share This Page