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Tuners and the B string

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Arr MiHardies, May 18, 2011.

  1. I have a few different tuners that I've used. And all of them seem to have issues locking on to exactly what note they are hearing from my low b string. Seems to bounce all over the place. I can't remember the make and model of my small one (I'll post it later) but Amplitube on my iPad and my Boss GT-10B multi effects board both also exhibit the same symptom. The note itself sounds good and strong on my amp and headphones, but the tuners just can't seem to lock into what note it is hearing. Is the low b just too low of a frequency for tuners to easily deal with?
  2. djaydjay


    Mar 14, 2010
    many tuners seem to have trouble with it, but one advice: tune by playing the harmonic at the 12th fret. Tuner track them way better (and human ear too). I can't even say if my actual doesn't get the low B well, haven't tuned with the "regular" tone in many years.
  3. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    I have been tuning all my strings fretted at the 5th fret for some time now. This helps particularly with a low B.
  4. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
  5. Yeah when i dont have my Boss TU-3 in the pedal lineup i use the 12th fret trick as well
  6. Bruce B

    Bruce B

    Sep 2, 2004
    If you want something cheap, look up the Snark tuner. It's the only non strobe I've used that can pick up a low B and low E without having to hit harmonics. They are about $10 from Amazon.

    If you don't mind spending the money I'd just go with a Turbo tuner:

    Strobe Tuners by Sonic Research - Turbo Tuner Home Page
  7. Could someone kindly explain the twelfth fret "trick"?
  8. Bruce B

    Bruce B

    Sep 2, 2004
    Lightly touch a string over the 12th fret. Pull your finger away as you pluck the string. Once you've done it right you will get a bell like sound. That's a natural harmonic. Search it on youtube for demos of how to do it.
  9. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    I used to have a Korg DTM-12 that had the quickest and best open B string capabilty/response I've ever seen in a portable tuner. You could detune to the point where the string was just flopping and the tuner would pick it up. It's a shame they were discontinued.

    The Korg DT-4 does a decent job.
  10. NewLaw83


    Jun 26, 2009
    Boston, MA
    I also do the 12th fret harmonic if I'm having trouble locking in with a tuner. Sometimes I do both open string and harmonic just give me that peace of mind that I am in tune.
  11. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    Mine don't.

    I have a TU-2, Pitchblack, Peterson and I've previously used onboard ones like the M13, etc.. If your bass is setup right, should'nt be an issue with a quality unit.
  12. Are you sure the pickups aren't too close to the strings? The magnetic pull on the strings will do that to the more massive strings, i.e. the B/E and even A strings.

    I've used many different tuners from cheap to very expensive and have only had that problem when the pickups were exerting too much pull on the strings, pulling them out of tune and making them warble.
  13. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I grow organic carrots and they are not for sale
    I use the tuner built into the bass pod. It works great, but only down to low B flat. If you tune below that then you need a different tuner.
  14. I don't have any magnetic pickups. Mine are optical. :)
  15. So I see! Well, then... Hmm. Don't know what to tell ya. How's the intonation? Have you tried rolling off the treble when tuning the B-string so you only get the fundamental and a few low-order harmonics? The optical pickups have a broad response and if the upper harmonics are out of tune with the fundamental, the tuner will be confused.

    My Turner has no magnetic pickups and I can't say that I've ever had any problems tuning that one. But some tuners that can't respond to the low notes require using the 12th fret harmonic.

    Personally, my favorite tuner is a Peterson, so I'll just recommend you get one of those. :)
  16. Bassdirty


    Jul 23, 2010
    Plus 1. for the Boss tu-2 is awesome at the B.(Tu-3 maybe even better;))
    so was my korg.

    I do hava a cheapie korg handheld that is not as good, but I found that if you PLUCK the string, around the 12th fret (Not even the harmonic)...
    Just pluck the string, but do it at the 12th fret instead of ..say over the pickup or wherever...even my crappy 5 dollar tuner picks up the B.
  17. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
  18. Have not tried that. But I will. I'll also try plucking at the twelfth fret. The twelfth fret harmonic thing seemed to help a bit, but was rather tricky to get the hang of. Still can't pull it off every time.

    Strangely, I plugged into my GT-10B and used he tuner on it last night, and it picked up my low b right away. Don't recall it doing that the first time. I don't always pull out my pedal board. Especially not when I'm just practicing, so I'll still have to try these other things.

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