Well, friends, we have entered a new era. I’ve been keeping an eye and an ear on what’s going on for a while now and it has become obvious to me that no matter what country I’m in, the musical environment, or instructional session that’s being conducted, folks simply do not appear to even think about tuning their guitar without a guitar tuner.
You can see the temporary panic arrive in an instant when they realize they have misplaced their tuner, along with the instant loving bond and camaraderie that occurs when their musical neighbor enthusiastically loans one to them.
I recall an elective course I took in college called Ear Training and for an entire semester we listened to and identified all the intervals between unisons and octaves demonstrated by the instructor on the piano.Hands down it’s one of the best classes I have ever taken. It has helped me enormously, particularly when I tune my 12-string guitar during a performance. Often, depending on the instrument, a bit of fiddling and fudging needs to go on a bit beyond a tuner as you recognize throughout any performance the thermal and humidity changes that can spontaneously impact the wood.
What I mean by any performance is one in the studio, during a show or simply on your own. All that being said here I go bragging about the new D’Addario/Planet Wave PW-CT-10 NS Headstock Chromatic Tuner.
I had the opportunity to try this new item out while recently touring in the UK, and was more than impressed with its accuracy. Reaction time was quicker, the consistency was there – which sometimes can float with other tuners. It is extraordinarily sturdy and has viewer fold-down capacity. When I did need to use it, due to the size of the letterings, I could see the L/R arrow indicators and selected note more easily than any tuner I’ve tried to this point.
So why did I initially seem to trounce the idea of a tuner? Well, I didn’t actually mean to, but what I did want to imply was that this device can be used effectively in two specific environments that come to mind.
One is obviously during a performance when set momentum is key and you don’t want to leave either your crowd or band members hanging. The other is as a developmental tool for ear training.
Learn to tune your guitar with fretted notes, open strings, and harmonics. Study to understand and recognize intervals, learn the intricacies and tendencies of your personal instrument and its reactions in different climates and altitudes AND use the tuner as a CHECKING device. Put a single reference note in with the tuner, at least attempt judiciously to tune another string with the first and then check it out. It can actually be fun as well as a never-ending challenge.
Photo Credit of Richard Gilewitz with tuner: Ben Everman 2015