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Anyone avoid electronic tuners?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by CJK84, Sep 23, 2004.

  1. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    To the surprise of some of the people I have played with, I avoid using an electronic tuner.

    In my current group, the guitarist uses an electronic tuner and then I tune to him. I usually need to hear only a note or two from him to get a reference.

    I'm proud of my ability to tune by ear quickly and accurately - even in moderately noisy environments.

    And relying exclusively on your ear can be a help. Our guitarist has a problem with his guitar going flat. He sometimes doesn't detect it, so I must tell him.

    I think he's gotten so dependent on the tuner, that he hasn't developed a high level of trust in his ear - he's kind of shut his ears down a little.

    One guy I sat in with seemed perturbed at me for wanting to tune by ear. I know my approach is probably a little out of the norm, but I think it's a good thing.

    Any thoughts on this?
  2. I've played with a number of guys like that, who generally end up being the one out of tune five songs into a set.

    I'd still recommend a tuner for live use no matter how much you trust your ears... both to double check in a less than idea sonic environment and because it's more professional to mute while tuning.
  3. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I hate to rain on your parade, but the inability to hear whether or not you're in tune has nothing to do with whether or not you use a machine or not. If your guitar player can't hear it, he needs to work on ear training. Not tuning his guitar.
  4. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Yeah: don't play with that guy.
  5. Chris A

    Chris A Chemo sucks!

    Feb 25, 2000
    Manchester NH
    Not really instructional, let's go to Misc.

    Chris A. :rolleyes: :bassist:
  6. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    The trouble with tuning solely by ear is twofold.

    1) The guitar/bass is tempered. My ear wants to tune it to perfect fourths. So I even though I can tune solely on a per string basis by ear, it doesn't sound good when played until it's adjusted for tempering, which leads to...

    2) You have to hear the instrument to tune. Much more professional to mute while tuning.
  7. my school band has a strobe tuner, it was $1000. My $30 tuner almost matched up to it, it was only like, 2 sents off of the strobe tuner... the strobe tuner that we have is said to be the best tuner and gets down to like .0001 of a sent...

    ya, so for $9970 more, you can gete just .02 that much more accurate :p

    ya, i guess i use an electric tuner faithfully then, but i also have a pretty good ear as well, playing trombone really helps develope a ear.
  8. Tuning by ear is a good thing and should be the first thing a musician learns to do. If you're doing a solo act tuning by ear would be fine. IMHO everyone in a band that needs to tune should use a tuner so when you hit the first note of the night there's a better chance all the instruments will be in tune with each other.

  9. Tuning by ear is a bit of ear training. Every bit helps.
  10. ...and tuning your guitar by ear is ear training. [EDIT]someone said it before me, I was too slow!

    Oh, and yea, I usually dont use a tuner. I've been playing guitar and bass for 10 years, and only in the last 3 or so had I actully had a tuner to use.
  11. i just think it's more professional to use a tuner. the audience doesn't want to hear that stuff after every song.
  12. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    This is very true. I too can tune by ear, but one of the most annoying things to an audience is audible tuning. When we resurrected our band we all agreed that electronic tuners are mandatory. That way, as jbplayer said, everybody's in tune with each other, no muss, no fuss.

    BTW, long time no see, jb. Still giggin'?
  13. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    I sure don't. I play fretless, and I can't intonate if my open strings aren't perfectly in tune. I have an electronic tuner in my bass bag and a pedal that has a very nice tuner function built in in my "recording" backpack. I constantly check my tuning now, even if I just take my bass to another room or it's sat for half an hour without me playing it or anything. It's just a reflex I've picked up, like turning off the light when I'm leaving the room.
  14. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    I disagree. Learning to tune by ear is extremely valuable in terms of ear training.

    While I always use an electronic tuner playing live, I tune by ear when I'm practising.
  15. Actually, I don't tune to an electronic tuner.

    The ones at school are really bad, I don't trust them - and no-one notices if I become out of tune. I'm at school, I'm allowed to be. :D

    If I were playing professional gigs, however, I'd probably invest in an electronic tuner, but still tune to the piano or something at the beginning of every set.
  16. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    I really like the fact that I can turn around in the middle of a song, look at my rack tuner and KNOW that it's not me thats messed up.

    My moron guitar player also like the fact that he can look at it and see that big fat letter so he can find the chord he's forgotten....even though he played it on the first two verses.

    But thats a whole seperate thread...
  17. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Having a decent sense of pitch is one of the things you learn with voice training. I was fortunate to get that training as a kid in choir.

    When I first started out in rock bands, we just used to take a 440 tuning fork and stick it in our teeth to tune up. It worked okay..........(well, we rarely got kicked out of anywhere).

    Sometimes, on a humid night, it seems like you can't ever get it just right or the strings require constant tuning after every song where you play the instrument so hard.

    Personally, I find my Korg and Boss TU-2 tuner a bit too "anal retentive".............in the regard that they are too perfect. It takes a load of time to center them to 440 because I like to use fresh strings that haven't been stretched out yet.

    I just like to give my audiences a damn good time.....their ears aren't typically so critical.
  18. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I have a tu-2 for live, otherwise I just listen to it.
  19. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    Tuning by ear is an essential skill that every bass player should be able to do!

    That said, an electronic tuner is a necessity for several reasons;

    1. Accuracy, there are various circumstances under which your mental tuning ability becomes compromised. The best example is the more instruments you have to tune at a time, the more cognizant you become of tuning discrepancies and the longer it takes. I found tuning 2 basses and 4 guitars to be very trying towards the end.
    2. Cost. Someone pointed out the old strobe tuners use to be $1000. Now tuners are built into so many devices they are basically free. Stand-alone tuners are dirt-cheap.
    3. Integration: such built in tuners are already in the effects loop, and inexpensive tuners typically have in/out jacks for easy integration.
    4. Staying in tune. There is nothing worse than bumping your tuning pegs into something (or someone) and going out of tune mid song. A tuner in the loop makes it easy to recover from “tuning misadventures”. As a preventative measure, I have habitual spots during certain songs where the bass is either silent or playing an open E, A, D, or G-string for several bars, allowing me to do a tuning check.
  20. I use an IntelliTouch tuner that clamps on the headstock and picks up the string vibrations. This helps you check tuning on the fly. I also am capable of tuning by ear, but in the middle of a set, it's much easier to "spot check" the tuning with the IntelliTouch. And, no, I don't work for the company...