Question: What piece of gear is equally essential to both beginners and pros alike - regardless of what kind of music they are learning and playing? And what could it be that has great computing power yet costs only $20 or so?
Answer: It’s the electronic tuner!
This key piece of equipment does so much yet costs so little. It makes it possible for players to quickly and accurately tune their instruments. This makes practicing and playing much more enjoyable. The electronic tuner even makes it possible for large groups of musicians to sound in tune. What would a gathering of ukuleles sound like without the inexpensive clip-on tuner?
The evolution of the tuner has come a long way. In the 1930’s Conn introduced the first electronic tuner. It worked on an optical/strobe synchronization principle and was very large, heavy and cost hundreds of dollars. Not portable by any stretch of the imagination.
Most of today’s clip-on and pedal tuners work on a frequency-counter principle. A microprocessor counts and clocks the incoming signal, analyzes it and translates the data and displays the results as a note. Pretty amazing for as little as twenty dollars! There are also more expensive clip-on tuners that combine microprocessor and strobe tuning technologies. These offer more extensive features such as alternate temperament tunings and drop key settings.
Regardless of what music you play or what you play it on, playing in tune makes music more enjoyable for players and listeners alike.
David Robin got his start in the 1960's Chicago rock n' roll scene and has built up an impressive, lengthy musical resume in the years since. After all these years, his love of the guitar is as strong as ever.