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Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by DC Vater, Jan 18, 2020.
Can anyone tell me what is the cheapest tuner I need to intonate my Tele?
You can use any electronic tuner to intonate your guitar.
Here's a bunch of Googles to peruse, to help you in your quest.
You should get a decent quality one with accuracy to within 1 cent.
TC electronics is what I use. It's good. Around $100 usd
Or if you have a good ear you can just use that.
Yep, especially with a Tele and a three saddle bridge. I'm anal and use a Peterson with an accuracy of +/- .1 cent, but I can do it by ear and get it close enough.
Korg makes an inexpensive tuner, CA-30.
Works great only about $15.
I have about a dozen different tuners...from a tuning fork issued in 1916 to commemorate the adoption of A440 to a high accuracy Peterson strobe.
However, these days I tend to use an app called "Pitchlab Pro". Very accurate, very sensitive, right there in my phone. Oh, and free!
You can do it with an app for Iphone or Android... I used "Panotuner" (free or not) which is very effective for a free app and has a markings for 5 cents (but more precise than that). I upgraded to the infamous Peterson "Istrobosoft":it makes you believe that your precision level is up to 0.1 cents...
I just use my Snark...
I like the clip-on TC tuner. But for intonation I like to work at my workbench . Then I use the two free-download tuners on my laptop: AP Tune and LS Tune; I like to run both of them at the same time.
I like to intonate with my ears.
Sound the harmonic at the 12th fret. Then sound the same note fretted. Is the fretted note sharper? Then you need to lengthen the string (move the saddle away from the neck). If the fretted note is flat, shorten the string. If the notes are the same then you're intonated!
When you are playing, the difference in finger pressure each time you fret the same note will cause much more than 1 cent variance so worrying about high precision tuner is a bit silly. Setting intonation is finding a compromise where the tuning is pretty close most of the time - there is no perfect unless you built a guitar to only play in one key and designed it around a specific set of strings and the player could fret with perfect pressure on every note.
A couple of things that help are to set "witness points" on the strings at the nut and bridge saddles. Then when adjusting intonation compare open string, 3rd fret and 5th fret (3rd and 5th will generally be a little sharp depending on how much pressure you fret with) with 12th 15th and 17th frets. If you set the intonation so 12th fret is a perfect octave of open string - it probably won't be a perfect octave between 3rd and 15th and 5th and 17th ... so setting the witness points helps with that but I find I still have to compromise when setting intonation so that it's the best balance between octaves of open 3rd and 5th frets.
When I started playing guitars (etc). We used a Phono record, (with the tones on it) a pitch pipe, a keyboard or a tuning fork, and ears to tune or intonate a guitar. They all still work. Especially for a tele which predates me by a couple of years!
Using your ears will probably help keeping you from becoming ocd. Itonation and tuning are in reality only approximations. The more of the neck you use you will become adept at tempering tuning. (and intonation)
I check with tuner but ear is just as good I find.
I have the Boss Waza tuner app on my phone.
Download "AP Tuner" free and works great!
I think my ears are good within a few cents, beyond that any tuning advantage is for the audience members with better pitch than I.
I feel like there is a big gap between ideas on intonation on the one hand, and what a guitar is capable of when being played.
Fretted notes below the 5th fret are ALL going to be more out of tune than even the most basic intonation. And if you have a heavy hand like I do, you pull bar chords out of tune all over the place up the neck, especially with light strings. It's part of how the electric guitar sounds. I sometimes wonder if the tonal magic of heavy strings is just a function of the fact they don't get pulled out of tune as easily...
Honestly, getting your intonation close-enough using a clip on tuner and then focusing on fretting hand precision (and maybe tweaking the open string tuning if you do a lot of work on frets 1-5), that's a more realistic plan for playing in tune than looking to intonate a tele to .1 cent.
I learnt to tune by ear, using a tuning fork for A and then tuning each string relative to the other, and 12th fret harmonics... it is really good because you don’t mind about cents, you just get confident that it sounds right.
Now working on intonation is something else. You can tell if the intonation is OK by ear, but using only ear to make a small adjustment is really difficult. That’s where a precise tuner is usefull. Of course theory explains that you can’t get each note on the fretboard perfectly intonated at the same time, so it’s a matter of compromise, and if you are whitin 5 cents everywhere it is a big win! The 0.1 cent precision is a joke, or a good starting point for a compromise.
Indeed. Your cell phone is an absolutely amazing computer - the latest phones have 7 billion transistors on their processor chip. Fantastic display, too. Why would you pay for a tuner to intonate when apps like this work beautifully. I can see for stage you'd want the right form factor, clip-on, etc., etc. -- but for intonation? Use your phone.
"I sometimes wonder if the tonal magic of heavy strings is just a function of the fact they don't get pulled out of tune as easily..."
I certainly find this to be true!