• If you haven't done so already, please add a location to your profile. This helps when people are trying to assist you, suggest resources, etc. Thanks

A good tuner

oldbayan

Active member
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
Messages
228
Reaction score
82
Location
Toronto, Canada
I have performed extensive work on old accordions lately, and tuning is always a very time consuming activity. I used to use a Peterson StroboPlus tuner, but recently got my hands on an old original electro-mechanical Peterson model 500 strobe tuner from the 70's. It's huge compared to today's electronic tuners (or phones with tuning software) but it's fun to use! It came with a little microphone, it also has an audio function to generate tones. It supports an amazing range of 8 octaves of frequencies, suitable to pianos, from about 32 Hz to over 7900. Each note can be adjusted to +/- 50 cents.
 

Attachments

  • P500.jpg
    P500.jpg
    225.3 KB · Views: 18

debra

Been here for ages!
Technical Adviser
Site Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
3,716
Reaction score
548
Location
Eindhoven, the Nnetherlannds
A great relic from the past! Modern software tuners detect notes automatically and quickly which makes them faster in use, but sometimes they may pick up the wrong note (often an overtone) so you need to check that it shows the correct one, and you need to sample at 48000 Hz and not 44.100 or else you cannot tune C#8 (highest reed that exists)... so there is certainly still a good use for a good old-fashioned tuner.
 

oldbayan

Active member
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
Messages
228
Reaction score
82
Location
Toronto, Canada
A great relic from the past! Modern software tuners detect notes automatically and quickly which makes them faster in use, but sometimes they may pick up the wrong note (often an overtone) so you need to check that it shows the correct one, and you need to sample at 48000 Hz and not 44.100 or else you cannot tune C#8 (highest reed that exists)... so there is certainly still a good use for a good old-fashioned tuner.
Agreed!

Modern software can indeed detect harmonics and partial harmonics and this is very handy, but the freebie tuner apps and most handheld electronic tuners are geared towards guitar tuning and most do not get that level of sophistication. The disc on those old strobe tuners have patterns that can show harmonics, and there is also an "image clarifier" switch which is a cut-off filter which eliminates upper partials from the display.

When, like most people, you have used small electronic tuners or apps and then use one of these old strobe tuners, you feel like you have been cheated all your life and just discovered what real tuning is about :oops:

The top-of-the-line Peterson tuner has 12 discs to show all notes and harmonics but it costs USD 5000! So you need to have to do lots of tuning to make it cost effective.
 

Attachments

  • Peterson SC5000.jpg
    Peterson SC5000.jpg
    152.3 KB · Views: 6

Ventura

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
440
Reaction score
207
Location
mid-atlantic, USA
vintage old Strobotuners are as prized among our fanatics as
are Hammond B3's

both have fully earned their reputations
 

NickC

Active member
Site Supporter
Joined
Apr 24, 2020
Messages
194
Reaction score
127
Location
NJ-USA
Nice! I used one of these about 20 years ago at a studio session that I played on bass. I wanted one ever since, but never went for it. I use a Peterson clip on tuner now.
 

nagant27

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 22, 2013
Messages
417
Reaction score
23
I’m reading here about the old Petersen strobe tuner and it is interesting. How do they work?and how do you use one? Maybe someone could post a little video tuning a reed with it?
 

oldbayan

Active member
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
Messages
228
Reaction score
82
Location
Toronto, Canada
I’m reading here about the old Petersen strobe tuner and it is interesting. How do they work? and how do you use one? Maybe someone could post a little video tuning a reed with it?
There are videos on YouTube showing how it works but I cannot find one for reed tuning! The big advantage with a strobe tuner is precision to 1/10 of a cent! Last weekend I had to fine tune a few reeds on an old 3-voice LMM box, which has M- and M reeds. Doing a bit of sampling showed that there was 8 cents difference between most of the M reed pairs. So for a given note, I made sure the L was dead on the note, the M was also dead on, and the M- was 8 cents lower than the corresponding M.

So, for each reed, you dial in the target note on the machine, then play the note, see how close or far you are, adjust the reed and repeat until you get your expected note. The strobe disc pattern "stops" moving when you reach the expected note. It's quick and accurate. There is no lag like what you get with a digital tuner, when you see a "needle" move then stop somewhere on the dial, or LEDs of various colors doing the Christmas tree effect.

There are good electronic tuners and apps out there that can do a good job, but very few will provide 1/10 of a cent accuracy! Except perhaps the tuner apps sold by Peterson, or their electronic tuners with a simulated strobe pattern.

But it's much more fun with an analog electro-mechanical strobe tuner! :D

This one can also detect harmonics and partials, and you can filter them out of the strobe display.
 

nagant27

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 22, 2013
Messages
417
Reaction score
23
Ok. Thank you. I’m very curious since years ago an older friend of mine who worked on accordions left me a lot of stuff and his strobe tuner, after he passed away. I’ve always used an app on my phone but want to try it sometime. I plugged it in when I got it and that’s as far as I got. One of these days when I get some time I’ll check into it. If anyone could post a video of actually using it for tuning a reed that would be excellent and a great help!
 

Glug

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Joined
Apr 17, 2018
Messages
568
Reaction score
127
Location
London UK
This is tuning a guitar but I think it shows how to use one quite well:
 

oldbayan

Active member
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
Messages
228
Reaction score
82
Location
Toronto, Canada
Ok. Thank you. I’m very curious since years ago an older friend of mine who worked on accordions left me a lot of stuff and his strobe tuner, after he passed away. I’ve always used an app on my phone but want to try it sometime. I plugged it in when I got it and that’s as far as I got. One of these days when I get some time I’ll check into it. If anyone could post a video of actually using it for tuning a reed that would be excellent and a great help!
What brand/model is it? There are only a few available brands, Peterson, Conn and NODE. Peterson acquired the latter two brands years ago.

You use these the same way you use any tuner, except the display is different. Some have a built-in mic, others need an external mic. Some (like mine) also provide an audio signal that can be used as a reference.
 

nagant27

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 22, 2013
Messages
417
Reaction score
23
It is a Peterson. I’m at work now but later I’ll look at it and post a pic if that helps.
 

Pierre

Member
Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
18
Reaction score
7
Location
Belgium
I use a quite expensive but fine working app (with the nice and large display of a IPad Pro)
called Verituner. It is a piano tuning app but works well for other instruments accordions included. It recalculates tuning targets for all the partials of each separate note and also has an auto note function and finds automatically the note that is played.
There are also different stretching modes but I feel like I setting it to low stretching (like organs or harpsichords) is better than the piano like stretching (treble higher and bass lower)

Pierre
 

oldbayan

Active member
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
Messages
228
Reaction score
82
Location
Toronto, Canada
I use a quite expensive but fine working app (with the nice and large display of a IPad Pro)
called Verituner. It is a piano tuning app but works well for other instruments accordions included. It recalculates tuning targets for all the partials of each separate note and also has an auto note function and finds automatically the note that is played.
There are also different stretching modes but I feel like I setting it to low stretching (like organs or harpsichords) is better than the piano like stretching (treble higher and bass lower)

Pierre
There are lots of good apps out there but they are dependent on the hardware they are used in. Who knows what Apple or Samsung do to capture the sound out of their microphones. Also, it's all digital, your analog waves are being digitized by the tuner and the sampling rate may affect the precision of the readings. The old electro-mechanical Peterson is all analog! Just like what comes out of your musical instrument.
 

debra

Been here for ages!
Technical Adviser
Site Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
3,716
Reaction score
548
Location
Eindhoven, the Nnetherlannds
There are lots of good apps out there but they are dependent on the hardware they are used in. Who knows what Apple or Samsung do to capture the sound out of their microphones. Also, it's all digital, your analog waves are being digitized by the tuner and the sampling rate may affect the precision of the readings. The old electro-mechanical Peterson is all analog! Just like what comes out of your musical instrument.
The sampling frequency indeed matters because in order to tune really high notes (highest in piccolo is around 4.000 Hz) there still need to be enough samples to detect small frequency deviations. I noticed that on my phone (actually, on each generation of phones I had) I have to set the sampling frequency to 48.000 Hz in order to get the tuner to recognize the C#8 (the highest reed that exists). At 44.100 Hz the tuner will still recognize C8 but not C#8. I don't know how accurate the measurements of C#8 still are, but in the end the human tuner's ears are the most important instrument for tuning. When you first tune C#7 in M register and then switch to MH you can hear a tremolo if the H note that's C#8 is not in tune.
 

oldbayan

Active member
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
Messages
228
Reaction score
82
Location
Toronto, Canada
The sampling frequency indeed matters because in order to tune really high notes (highest in piccolo is around 4.000 Hz) there still need to be enough samples to detect small frequency deviations. I noticed that on my phone (actually, on each generation of phones I had) I have to set the sampling frequency to 48.000 Hz in order to get the tuner to recognize the C#8 (the highest reed that exists). At 44.100 Hz the tuner will still recognize C8 but not C#8. I don't know how accurate the measurements of C#8 still are, but in the end the human tuner's ears are the most important instrument for tuning. When you first tune C#7 in M register and then switch to MH you can hear a tremolo if the H note that's C#8 is not in tune.
The Peterson models cover up to 7902.133 Hz which is B8 on a piano!
 

nagant27

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 22, 2013
Messages
417
Reaction score
23
Well I finally played with my tuner over the weekend. It is a Peterson auto strobe stretch 490 st tuner.
It works like the video posted here. I’m going to continue playing with it, but it really is cool, old technology.
 

oldbayan

Active member
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
Messages
228
Reaction score
82
Location
Toronto, Canada
Well I finally played with my tuner over the weekend. It is a Peterson auto strobe stretch 490 st tuner.
It works like the video posted here. I’m going to continue playing with it, but it really is cool, old technology.
This is a nice tuner! Still made and sold by Peterson, goes for about $1000. It supports "stretched" tuning for the extreme ends of a piano range.
 

Fabia

Newbie
Joined
Oct 30, 2019
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Location
Poland
What software would be better to use for this? A web developer from mlsdev.com/services/web-development can be an integral part of the success of any organization. A professional developer ensures the functionality, uniqueness, security, reliability, and reliability of the website. Web applications require flexibility, scalability, portability, and a comprehensive understanding of programming languages such as C++, Java, Python, Perl, and more. Web developers use a variety of techniques and tools to enhance the website, including code, integration, custom software development, dynamic or static website creation, database and web server administration. A web developer can work as part of a team or as a self-employed independent contractor.
 
Last edited:

Similar threads

Top