Another tuner query

Discussion in 'Accessories [BG]' started by abarson, Aug 7, 2019.

  1. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    I've yet to understand the appeal of a rack mounted tuner. Why would anyone want to lug around that much more hardware? How often do you really need to reference it?

    So the next logical step is a pedal tuner. I don't really have a pedal board so that would be more crap to tote and power. Granted, my guitarist has one on his pedal board and he uses it quite a bit, but he does some extreme whammy excursions.

    I use a Snark clip-on tuner that takes up next to no space in my gig bag pouch. I tune before a gig and throw it back in the bag. My bass is usually still in perfect tune at the next rehearsal, and the one after that.

    Are other people's basses unable to stay in tune and require constant tweaking?
  2. ProfFrink


    Jan 16, 2015
    It depends on how fussy you are about your tuning.

    I usually find, especially during the winter, but not just, that after I take a bass in my hands and the strings get warmer, it tends to go down in pitch a little bit. The effect is pretty consistent so easy to anticipate, and I usually simply tune a few cents higher, but if I really want it to be in tune I need to retune after approx 10 minutes of playing.

    I don't think it's the bass. It's just the physics of metal (strings in this case).
    SwitchGear and Bboopbennie like this.
  3. Petethebassman


    Mar 7, 2008
    A pedal tuner on my pedalboard is also handy for muting the output when switching basses. I also have a Polytune clip tuner in my gigbag for jams etc when I don't have my pedalboard with me.
    cdef and SoCal80s like this.
  4. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Rack mounted tuners might have made more sense back in the days when rack mounted bass amps were popular and electronic tuner technology wasn’t as advanced. These days the only time I see them being used is by stage techs in road case work stations. They’re certainly not any more accurate than a top quality modern stompbox.

    If you haven’t used many different tuners bite the bullet and get a good one. When you A/B something cheap like a Snark against a top notch tuner like a TC Polytune 2 or Sonic Research Turbo Tuner or even a TC PolyClip it becomes apparent why some cost more than others. It’s not just about accuracy it’s also about speed. When you hit a note it has an initial sharp spike and then goes flatter as it settles. A tuner that’s accurate and fast will help you figure out how much flat you need to tune to actually sound in tune. Slow tuners can’t show the real time spike and settling of the note. Especially if you have a heavy touch it’s easy for some notes to sound sharp even when the tuner show all’s well.
    Bboopbennie and Petethebassman like this.
  5. Aloe


    Apr 10, 2016
    oh yeah, the guitars should be tuned at the factory.
    all my basses and guitars drift in a humidity change though (all in same direction -- lower or higher).

    how often do I touch my tuner live? normally every time I pick up my guitar (plugging on soundcheck or starting a set). just to make sure nobody turned any peg or something's terribly wrong from the start.
  6. dr doofie

    dr doofie

    Jul 6, 2017
    My basses sit in a hot room all day. When I get home and before I turn the AC on I notice them being off a few cents as well.
  7. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    I can see that. Santa Cruz doesn't typically have wild environmental swings and I never leave my bass in the car, so it's not exposed to much variation.
  8. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    The only reason to have one in your rack is that it is one less thing to forget on the schlep. You open up the rack, plug in and go. Mine is integral to my power strip.


    But, of course, these days, we are going more modular and ampless. So, I’ve got a tuner on my pedalboard, as well as clip on versions in my doodads bag.
    Doodads Bag
    SwitchGear likes this.
  9. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I greatly prefer a clip on, as I don't tote a rack anymore (never had a rack tuner then either) and I resent having a pedal tuner taking up precious space where a fun pedal could go, even though my pedal tuner's a micro pedal. But try playing outside in Florida and keeping a bass in perfect tune for 4 hours! Very easy to keep one in tune in a climate controlled environment. Not so easy when you go from inside a nice cool house out to 130 degrees!
  10. It's a habit to me.

    Every time I pick my guitar, I will play C chord, check the tune of each string... E,C,E,G,C,E and tune it if needed.
    I also do this every time I pick my bass guitar and turn on my amp, stomp the Polytune. Before I had Polytune, I tune with ear and check each string on fifth fret: A, D, G.

    So checking the tune is a habit. It will still in tune, but I always check it anyway.
  11. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    A Snark will work. Remember to take it off after tuning. If you play a set with it on, you may as well wear Croc's and a fanny pack.
  12. Vic Winters

    Vic Winters Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    Western NY
    I bring a tuner pedal or some pedal capable of tuning (MS-60B) unless it's an open jam where it doesn't make sense logistically.
  13. John Stephen

    John Stephen Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2018
    SF Bay Area
    Interesting thread for me. Clip-on tuners won't pick up my E string (Snark won't pick it up at all, D'Addario picks it up it hesitantly). One reason might be that the headstock on my Epi Allen Woody Rumblekat is pretty thick and the clip-ons have to open really wide to stay on it.

    I use a pedal tuner, which works great and is silent when I need to use it in between songs. I don't need to use it between songs very often, just once in awhile, but it works better for me than the clip-ons.
  14. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    You know, that's how I feel about it, but I must admit that it's so convenient to leave it on the bass, and I see so many big stars doing it nowadays and nobody ever complains about it except occasional musicians. So I may just have to start doing it. It's just too easy.

    But don't worry...crocs will never happen with me. I get occasional plantar fasciitis so they're the last thing I need!
    SwitchGear and P_Robyn like this.
  15. BLDavis

    BLDavis Master of Snarks. Gold Supporting Member

    May 21, 2009
    Ellenboro, NC
    I haven't used rack gear since the '80s and didn't have room in there for a tuner back then so I have no experience with them.
    I've hated those clip-on tuners ever since one ruined the logo decal on my Jaco fretless. But on occasion when I do have to use one, I find they track more accurately if I use the fifth or twelfth fret harmonic instead of an open string. Especially true on the E string on most of my basses. The rest of the guys in my band all have Snarks so on gigs where I don't use my pedal board, I sneak and use one of theirs when they're not looking.
    But, we play a lot of hot-humid outdoor gigs so I mostly use the Korg on my pedal board to touch up between songs if needed.
  16. John Stephen

    John Stephen Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2018
    SF Bay Area
    Thanks for the tip about using harmonics on the E, instead of the open E, when using the clip-on tuners. Good to know. I've gotten used to the pedal tuner, but I will give that a try.
  17. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    The Snark is a POS. You get what you pay for.
    Nobody cares about seeing a clip-on tuner and taking it off is a great way to loose it.
    SwitchGear likes this.
  18. Bboopbennie


    Jun 16, 2019
    Clip-on's eat batteries. They don't do well with the B string. The bypass is handy so when you plug in your bass
    Granny doesn't lose her Lunch. Never own a bass that stayed in tune. The gig bag can change it, taking it in and out.
  19. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Some clip-ons eat batteries and some don't. I'm still using the same battery in my TC tuner that it came with. And my D'Addario tuners have only needed a battery change once in two years. Now my old snark eats batteries like my cat eats canned food.
    SwitchGear, JakobT and Bboopbennie like this.
  20. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    The TC doesn't eat batteries. Since it's always in your line of sight it's easy to remember to turn it off. If you do space out the auto-shutdown picks up the slack. I've put in one battery in the two or so years I've had it.
    SwitchGear and JimmyM like this.
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