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Gear – Tuners

Korg CA-30

Korg CA-30 The first tuner I picked up was the Korg CA-30 while I was buying the Simon & Patrick guitar (my first).

The CA-30 is a chromatic tuner that tells you what note you’re closest to and wether you’re sharp, flat or right on. It can also generate reference tones if you want to tune that way, and it can be adjusted for what frequency to use for A (default is 440Hz).

The tuner can be connected directly to your electric guitar via a cable and also features an internal microphone so that you can tune acoustic guitars easier, along with any other instrument you might want to tune.

I don’t actually have this tuner any longer; I donated it to my coworkers son who decided he was interested in playing Guitar.

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Korg TM-40

Korg TM-40 The Korg TM-40 features the exact same tuner interface as the CA-30 has but also features a built in metronome as well.

The metronome feature is why I ended up getting this tuner; Unfortunately I didn’t think of getting one when I was buying the original tuner and the price differential between the TM-40 and a stand alone metronome made me decide that I should go this route so as to have an extra tuner; at the time I was taking formal lessons and this allowed me a tuner to use at home while keeping one in my guitar case.

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Pitch Pipes

Pitch Pipes I didn’t actually buy these, but they were in the case with the Gibson when I got it. They’re dedicated Guitar pitch pipes (as opposed to being a fully chromatic set or just a single note).

I’ve never actually used these to tune.

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Planet Waves S.O.S.

Planet Waves S.O.S. Although the Korg tuners are pretty good, one problem with them for tuning an acoustic guitar is that the microphone is incredibly sensitive. The room has to be perfectly quiet, and even a fan running in the next room can cause it problems.

My first crack at solving that particular problem was this, the Planet Waves S.O.S (Strobe On String) tuner, which came with a set of strings I bought.

To use it, you set the dial to the string you want to tune (it can only tune to standard tuning) which causes the two red LED’s to alternate back and forth at the proper frequency for the note you’ve chosen. You then strum the string and shine the LED’s on the string at the 12th fret. The lights allow you to see the oscillations of the string, and allow you to tune until the string seems to be stationary.

This description leaves a lot to be desired, but the result is a fairly accurate tuning. Additionally the whole tuner is the size of a guitar pick, making it handy to carry around.

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Peterson TP-2 Contact Mic

Peterson TP-2 Contact Mic My second (and more permanent) solution to the problem of a noisy room during tuning was to pick up this, a contact microphone, which is not technically a tuner but I have included it here because I use it for tuning.

One end clips to the headstock of the guitar (or whatever instrument) and the other connects to the tuner directly, turning it into a clip on tuner.

This works amazingly well, and for me seemed a better deal than buying a stand alone clip on tuner, since I already have so many tuners to begin with and I can use it with both Korg’s.

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Planet Waves Headstock Tuner

Planet Waves Headstock Tuner After moving into our new apartment I installed a guitar hanger in the living room to keep the guitar handy for playing instead of using the stand I had been using, since we also got a rambunctious puppy at the same time.

Later that year for Christmas I got a Long & McQuade gift card, which I used to pick up this Planet Waves clip-on tuner. The display shows red if you’re sharp or flag and green when you’re right on, and also has an adjustable frequency.

I keep this attached to the headstock of the guitar and never take it off, which makes tuning up before starting a practice session a lot easier than having to pull a tuner out of a drawer.

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Line 6 Micro Spider (built in)

Line 6 Micro Spider (built in) This tuner is actually built into my Micro Spider amp.

The tuner is chromatic and tells you the note you’re closest to and wether you’re sharp or flat, just like the Korg’s do.

I don’t like to use this tuner if I can help it because it only provides an indication of sharp or flat, but with no indication of just how sharp or flat you actually are. My ear isn’t very good to be able to tell when I’m right on, so I end up spending a lot of time fiddling around.

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