Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 32

Thread: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

  1. #1

    Default Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    Been reading the threads on tuners and how great the Polytune and Unitune and Peterson clip-ons are, and Iím considering which to get. My question is whether any of them work when youíre trying to set bridge position. Can any of them sense the 12th fret harmonic on the E string? Do they give solid readings on the fret at the 12th?

    Iíve been using the Peterson stroboscope iPad and iPhone apps, but - using the built-in mics - it seems near impossible to get steady readings for those high tones. Itíd be great if there was a clip on that would do this, though I get why thatíd be asking a lot.

    What tuner/setup do you use to intonate?

  2. #2
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    SD
    Posts
    2,734

    Default Re: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    Buy clip-on mic and use a dongle to connect to the iPad. The app is plenty accurate for intonation. I have used it. I also use a strobo clip HD and the Stroboplus HD. On my Bench, I was using a 590 auto strobe. the Strobo plus HD is if I am traveling and doing anything for anyone setup wise. The clip is just for my acoustics, tuning.
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  3. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to John Bertotti For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
    Struggle Monkey B381's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    301

    Default Re: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    My snark does....
    "It doesn't matter how much you invest in your instrument until you invest in you and your ability..."

    Kentucky KM-150
    Eastman MD-404
    Morgan Monroe MFM-300
    Rover RM-75

  5. The following members say thank you to B381 for this post:


  6. #4

    Default Re: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    Another vote for just getting a clip-on mic/pickup and sticking with Strobosoft. Strobosoft is really good. Whatever you are using, you want readings from the bridge, not the headstock. There is not nearly the amount of vibrations going on up there compared to the bridge.
    Robert Fear
    http://www.folkmusician.com

    "Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.
    " - Pete Seeger

  7. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Folkmusician.com For This Useful Post:


  8. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Va
    Posts
    2,422

    Default Re: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    I'm not following something--why do you need the tuner to pick up the harmonics? I tune the 12th fret to the harmonic by ear, then check at 5th fret octave to next string again by ear although I can see using tuner in both cases but you don't vary the harmonics except maybe trying to get it over 12th fret which I don't see that working JMHO

  9. The following members say thank you to Mandoplumb for this post:


  10. #6

    Default Re: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    The PitchLab app (still available for free on iOS, no longer available on the Android store but available as an old version here: https://pitchlab-lite.en.uptodown.com/android or from Amazon https://www.amazon.com/PitchLabApp-P.../dp/B00LOETW3W) is nearly as good as my old dedicated Peterson strobe tuner. It is FAR superior to any other computer or device based tuning system, and I bought all of Peterson's StroboSoft and similar products.

    It just filters through the mix of background noise like you wouldn't believe.

  11. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Marty Jacobson For This Useful Post:


  12. #7
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    KC MO
    Posts
    330

    Default Re: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    The PitchLab app (still available for free on iOS, no longer available on the Android store but available as an old version here: https://pitchlab-lite.en.uptodown.com/android or from Amazon https://www.amazon.com/PitchLabApp-P.../dp/B00LOETW3W) is nearly as good as my old dedicated Peterson strobe tuner. It is FAR superior to any other computer or device based tuning system, and I bought all of Peterson's StroboSoft and similar products.

    It just filters through the mix of background noise like you wouldn't believe.
    I downloaded Pitch Lab for Guitars to try it out. Prospective users should read reviews. Apparently some features don't work on newer devices and the developer appears to have stopped working on the software. Still worth a try. I'd be very hesitant to pay for any of the upgrade features though.
    Doug Brock
    Silverangel Econo A (in work at Ken's shop); Eastman MD315, MD505
    Pisgah Wonder, Martin HD28, Martin D18GE, CA Guitars Bluegrass Performer

  13. The following members say thank you to Doug Brock for this post:


  14. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,995

    Default Re: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    I use the Peterson, and have no problems reading harmonics. The Polytune/Unitune is nearly as accurate if used in strobe mode, tho harder to read than the Peterson.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  15. The following members say thank you to pops1 for this post:


  16. #9
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    4,892

    Default Re: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    I'm not following something--why do you need the tuner to pick up the harmonics? I tune the 12th fret to the harmonic by ear, then check at 5th fret octave to next string again by ear although I can see using tuner in both cases but you don't vary the harmonics except maybe trying to get it over 12th fret which I don't see that working JMHO
    Any decent tuner should pick up both the 12th fret and the harmonics, yes. I think the value of a good tuner comes in when checking whether you need to make further small adjustments to the bridge or the saddle compensation, after doing the 12th fret harmonic to set the bridge. Because intonation on a fretted instrument is never perfect, and saddle compensation is usually a compromise.

    Sometimes I might want to shift or angle the bridge ever so slightly to get fretted notes to match as closely as possible across the string courses at the 5th and 7th frets. This might mean deciding it's more important to get things as close as I can on the A and E string courses, sacrificing a bit of the intonation on the G and D strings. It's never perfect across all strings when they're compared at the 5th and 7th frets. But I can sometimes sneak up a little closer in the areas of the fretboard I care about, for the tunes I play.

    The display method for "strobe" tuners let me drill down a little deeper into the harmonics than more basic tuner displays, so I can see what's going on. I use the older Peterson StroboFlip desktop tuner for this, because it's the one parked on a music stand in my practice room where it's convenient. My StroboClip tuner lives in the mandolin case, and it would work as well.

  17. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to foldedpath For This Useful Post:


  18. #10

    Default Re: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    Anymore recommendations for cheapest workable mic?

  19. #11

    Default Re: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    I like to see the tuner read the exact pitch and then get to the same value on the 12th fret to match precisely.

  20. #12

    Default Re: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Folkmusician.com View Post
    Another vote for just getting a clip-on mic/pickup and sticking with Strobosoft. Strobosoft is really good. Whatever you are using, you want readings from the bridge, not the headstock. There is not nearly the amount of vibrations going on up there compared to the bridge.
    Any refs for the cheapest workable clip on?

  21. #13
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    SD
    Posts
    2,734

    Default Re: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    I haven't tried this one but the price is right and it is for the strobo software. 15$ at Sweetwater.
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...clip-on-pickup

    If you are using a newer iPad or iPhone with the lightning plug you'll need the dongle for it.
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  22. The following members say thank you to John Bertotti for this post:


  23. #14

    Default Re: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    Any refs for the cheapest workable clip on?
    Something that is wired for a headphone jack. A regular mic will not work on an iphone without an adapter.
    The Peterson version that John linked to is likely a good choice for that very reason.

    If your iPhone is newer (7 or later) and doesn't have the headphone jack, you want something with a lightning connector or an adapter.
    Robert Fear
    http://www.folkmusician.com

    "Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.
    " - Pete Seeger

  24. The following members say thank you to Folkmusician.com for this post:


  25. #15
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    SD
    Posts
    2,734

    Default Re: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Folkmusician.com View Post
    Something that is wired for a headphone jack. A regular mic will not work on an iphone without an adapter.
    The Peterson version that John linked to is likely a good choice for that very reason.

    If your iPhone is newer (7 or later) and doesn't have the headphone jack, you want something with a lightning connector or an adapter.
    I think most of the iPhones come with the dongle, or at least they used to. Oddly they seem like a very weak link but I have had
    Mine for several years but I do try to keep the stresses off of it.
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  26. #16

    Default Re: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bertotti View Post
    I haven't tried this one but the price is right and it is for the strobo software. 15$ at Sweetwater.
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...clip-on-pickup

    If you are using a newer iPad or iPhone with the lightning plug you'll need the dongle for it.
    Thank you, John - perfect. Just ordered one. $13 and change on Amazon with free shipping. Looking forward to getting back in tune,

  27. #17
    Adrian Minarovic
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, Europe
    Posts
    2,432

    Default Re: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    Are E.A.R.S. tuners obsolete version these days?
    I've never owned electronic tuner and I only used one in a loud jam to tune quickly when someone handed to me.
    Back when I started playing and working on instruments all I had were few bad pitch pipes, one 440 fork (that I still have but I know it is few cents flat) and one old child sized Casio keyboard (4 or 5 octaves) that had poor tone but pretty exact pitch. I started using that as reference for setups and over time I realized I don't need the reference any more. Sometimes when local pickers visit for bridge tune-up (after they bump the bridge or change to different strings) and leave the tuners on headstock I can usually do it better and faster without looking at the tuner at all. Even if the tuner is perfect you almost always need to count with compromises as each player hits strings with different power and that changes the initial pitch and also the string grip can be very big part as well - when I setup mandolin for my grip it may be sharp in higher positions for someone with "lumberjack" squeeze so I set up bridge for slightly lower intonation at 12th to compensate.
    Adrian

  28. The following members say thank you to HoGo for this post:


  29. #18
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    SD
    Posts
    2,734

    Default Re: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    Are E.A.R.S. tuners obsolete version these days?
    I've never owned electronic tuner and I only used one in a loud jam to tune quickly when someone handed to me.
    Back when I started playing and working on instruments all I had were few bad pitch pipes, one 440 fork (that I still have but I know it is few cents flat) and one old child sized Casio keyboard (4 or 5 octaves) that had poor tone but pretty exact pitch. I started using that as reference for setups and over time I realized I don't need the reference any more. Sometimes when local pickers visit for bridge tune-up (after they bump the bridge or change to different strings) and leave the tuners on headstock I can usually do it better and faster without looking at the tuner at all. Even if the tuner is perfect you almost always need to count with compromises as each player hits strings with different power and that changes the initial pitch and also the string grip can be very big part as well - when I setup mandolin for my grip it may be sharp in higher positions for someone with "lumberjack" squeeze so I set up bridge for slightly lower intonation at 12th to compensate.
    That’s great! My pitch isn’t nearly as perfect, almost always a half step down. Over hear it is easier to get you hands ona tuner then a tuning for. I haven’t seen a pitch pipe in a store in a decade or more. I was in a mom and pop that had them but not out you had to ask, which I found out after I had purchased a tuner and the pitch pipe cost more. I recently downloaded a tone generator and it works well.
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  30. #19
    Registered User sblock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Redwood City, CA
    Posts
    2,007

    Default Re: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    Actually, the vast majority of the popular electronic tuners will work perfectly well for the purpose of positioning your mandolin bridge. They will work particularly well if you use some new strings, which will generate a stronger 12-th fret harmonic. You should not ever need to buy a special tuner just for this. To position the bridge properly, all you're doing is comparing the note produced by the 12-th fret harmonic with the fretted note at the same position (fret 12) on the string. The absolute accuracy of the tuner that you select (that is, getting the value for frequency in Hz just right) is completely irrelevant for such a comparison! All that really matters is that the tuner (1) pick up the note (that is, have sufficient sensitivity), and (2) be stable and reproducible in its response (that is, it needs to have sufficient precision, not accuracy). A precision of a several cents is really all you require, since with equal temperament, musical intervals are rarely good to any better than that, regardless! Virtually all popular tuners achieve that these days. Furthermore, we should all remember that the compensation on the mandolin's bridge saddle is seldom good to better than several cents, so you rapidly reach a point of diminishing returns in positioning the bridge. Not every string will ever be pitch perfect.

    You can certainly use a more costly but highly accurate Petersen Strobe tuner or the like, but an inexpensive Snark or a D'Addario/Planet Waves NS Micro tuner will work perfectly well! And so will dozens of other brands, like Korg, Intellitouch, Polytune, etc. (NFI). You can also use a tuner app on your smartphone for this purpose, for example, the free Pano tuner for iPhone, although using a tuner based on the phone's microphone, and not on a dedicated piezo sensor, requires a rather quiet background and a fast-registering tuner app.

    It's all good.
    Last edited by sblock; Jun-18-2019 at 3:29pm.

  31. The following members say thank you to sblock for this post:


  32. #20

    Default Re: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    I think most of the iPhones come with the dongle, or at least they used to. Oddly they seem like a very weak link but I have had
    Mine for several years but I do try to keep the stresses off of it.
    iPhone 8 did... My XS came with headphones with a lightning connector (no adaptor).

    I think Adrain's ability to intonate by ear is far from average! My pitch is well above average and I stil can't do it consistently.. Sometimes I am within a few cents without a reference, other times not so much!


    Not in full agreement with Sblock on tuners. The electronics on these lower priced clips-ons may be accurate, but the display is not reflecting the details. The string will be fluctuating while the green stays lit.

    Note: doing the intonation in the playing position vs laying the instrument on it's back will change things a few cents. How you fret, string attack.. you can see all of this in real time with a good tuner. Does it matter? Even though I can't always set it perfectly by ear, I can hear the difference when the intonation is spot on vs a few cents off.
    Robert Fear
    http://www.folkmusician.com

    "Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.
    " - Pete Seeger

  33. #21
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Va
    Posts
    2,422

    Default Re: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    What are we talking about. I thought "harmonics" were the "chimes" at various spots along the string, the strongest at the 1/2 point, next at the 1/4 and 3/4 etc. How do you change that to set intonation?

  34. #22
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    KC MO
    Posts
    330

    Default Re: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    What are we talking about. I thought "harmonics" were the "chimes" at various spots along the string, the strongest at the 1/2 point, next at the 1/4 and 3/4 etc. How do you change that to set intonation?
    Yes, the harmonics are the "chimes." You play the harmonic at the 12th fret, then compare to the fretted 12th. You move your bridge to get the harmonic to match the fretted note as closely as possible. Typically you'll do the two outer courses and might slightly twist the bridge to try to get the best intonation on those strings.
    Doug Brock
    Silverangel Econo A (in work at Ken's shop); Eastman MD315, MD505
    Pisgah Wonder, Martin HD28, Martin D18GE, CA Guitars Bluegrass Performer

  35. #23
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    SD
    Posts
    2,734

    Default Re: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    Recently on guitars I have been going up to the 17th fret or even the 19th to set intonation, not at the 12th fret. I like itfeels a bit mroe even up the neck to me and I do not notice a harmonic change tht is unpleasant at the 12th. I have not tried this on a mandolin.

    Opps meant to add that I use the Peterson for this because I can see just how much movement I get at each fret up the neck. I have also found some slight back cut issues at a nut this way.
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  36. #24
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,995

    Default Re: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    Since the accuracy of less expensive tuners is +or- 2 cents you may be way off setting intonation with one. It could read + 2 cents for fretting and - 2 cents for harmonic, making you a huge 4 cents off.

    When I do guitar I ask where the player spends the most time. If around the 12 fret (lead player) then I intonate there. If a person is more of a rhythm player I intonate around the 7th fret. The 12th will be a little sharp, but the first position will be closer for the person who doesn't hang around the 7-15 frets.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  37. #25
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    SD
    Posts
    2,734

    Default Re: Tuner that works for setting intonation?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bertotti View Post
    Recently on guitars I have been going up to the 17th fret or even the 19th to set intonation, not at the 12th fret. I like itfeels a bit mroe even up the neck to me and I do not notice a harmonic change tht is unpleasant at the 12th. I have not tried this on a mandolin.

    Opps meant to add that I use the Peterson for this because I can see just how much movement I get at each fret up the neck. I have also found some slight back cut issues at a nut this way.
    Sorry about the spelling I just noticed the wording and spelling. I need to forego typing on a phone right after I wake up. That's right I have no life the first thing I do before rolling out of bed is check here and Gretsch Talk and emails, then work emails.
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •