Author Topic: Strobe tuners  (Read 5504 times)

Offline Alan Lenhoff

  • Vendor
  • Mark I
  • *****
  • Posts: 601
    • View Profile
Strobe tuners
« on: July 12, 2017, 10:21:23 AM »
I've been considering getting a strobe tuner to tune my Rhodes, Wurli and other keyboards.  At first I liked the idea of buying a vintage Peterson, but then realized I could buy a nice Peterson electronic strobe for less than it would cost to have an old one calibrated/refurbished, and the new one would be far more accurate and offer stretch tuning and other features.  Like this one, which Peterson claims is accurate up to 1/10 of a cent: www.guitarcenter.com/Peterson/StroboPlus-HD-1361806819292.gc

I'd be interested in comments about this model -- or  general thoughts about using a strobe tuner with EPs.  (I'm really not interested in a phone or computer app.)  One question:  I've read that people generally can't discern a pitch difference of less than about 4-5 cents.  If that's true, is there any reason to tune with something more accurate than my Korg CA-30 electronic tuner?

Thanks,

Alan



Co-author, "Classic Keys: Keyboard Sounds That Launched Rock Music"

Learn about the book: http://www.classickeysbook.com/
Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ClassicKeysBook/

1965 UK Vox Continental;1967 Gibson G101 organ; 1954 Hammond B2; Leslie 21H; Leslie 31H; 1974 Rhodes Mark I Stage 73; 1972 Rhodes Sparkletop Piano Bass; 1978 Hohner Clavinet D6; 1968 Hohner Pianet N II; 1966 Wurlitzer 140B; 1980 Moog Minimoog Model D; 1977 Fender Twin Reverb; Vox AC30CC2X amp.
(See the collection: https://vintagerockkeyboards.com/ )

Offline David Aubke

  • Vendor
  • Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 1197
    • View Profile
    • Shadetree Keys
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2017, 10:36:42 AM »
http://ep-forum.com/smf/index.php?topic=6878.msg34556#msg34556

I think sean's analysis of the difference between mechanical and electronic strobe tuners is correct. The electronic versions don't provide any visibility of the overtones.

My standing question to sean is: What would you do with that information? What does anyone do with that information? Does it inform your stretch tuning procedure? Would you replace a tine if the overtones don't look right?

I agree that displaying the overtone bands on the display of an electronic strobe tuner could be considered misleading. Why are they there if they're meaningless?
Dave Aubke
Shadetree Keys

Offline pianotuner steveo

  • MIDI Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 3490
  • A keyboard player in love with vintage guitars!!!
    • View Profile
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2017, 10:37:46 AM »
Alan,

Most people maybe, but some people can hear the difference in just 2 cents.

What is wrong with apps? (not the free or ultra cheap ones, good ones)
On the other hand, my app cost more than that strobe tuner, so that may be a good choice for you.

Are you not happy with the Korg? I used Korg tuners professionally for about 30 years and never had a complaint. I now use a very expensive app made for piano tuners on my iPad.

I didn't read the full description- does the strobe tuner just tune by pure tones across the board, or does it do stretch tunings? Keyboards generally don't sound right if every note is tuned to its pure pitch. Bass sounds sharp and treble sounds flat this way.
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
2017 Yamaha P255
2020 Kawai CA99
....and a few guitars...

Offline David Aubke

  • Vendor
  • Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 1197
    • View Profile
    • Shadetree Keys
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2017, 10:43:00 AM »
I used a Peterson Strobo-Flip (my most popular video!) tuner for a while but quickly switched to an electronic tuner.
Dave Aubke
Shadetree Keys

Offline Jenzz

  • Mark I
  • ****
  • Posts: 105
    • View Profile
    • http://www.tasteundtechnik.de
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2017, 11:02:42 AM »
Here is what i use:

In the Workshop:

http://www.tuning-set.de/Prospekt5C_D.html


On Location:

http://www.turbo-tuner.com/


Jenzz
Rhodes tech in Germany
www.tasteundtechnik.de
www.spontaneousstorytelling.net

VintageVibe 64 ACL + DOD FX25B, Tone City Sweet Cream, Rocktek PHR-01, Pearl FG-01
Adams Solist 3.1 Vibraphone

Offline cinnanon

  • Mark I
  • ****
  • Posts: 558
    • View Profile
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2017, 11:27:59 AM »
I bought a Peterson Autostrobe 490-ST and like it.

Pros:
Instantaneous
Easy
Super fine tuning
Pre-programmed stretch settings

Cons:
The red flashing may bring on epilepsy

Offline Alan Lenhoff

  • Vendor
  • Mark I
  • *****
  • Posts: 601
    • View Profile
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2017, 06:58:56 PM »
What would you do with that information? What does anyone do with that information?

Good question...  I don't have see why showing the overtones would be useful.  Maybe someone can enlighten us.

Alan
Co-author, "Classic Keys: Keyboard Sounds That Launched Rock Music"

Learn about the book: http://www.classickeysbook.com/
Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ClassicKeysBook/

1965 UK Vox Continental;1967 Gibson G101 organ; 1954 Hammond B2; Leslie 21H; Leslie 31H; 1974 Rhodes Mark I Stage 73; 1972 Rhodes Sparkletop Piano Bass; 1978 Hohner Clavinet D6; 1968 Hohner Pianet N II; 1966 Wurlitzer 140B; 1980 Moog Minimoog Model D; 1977 Fender Twin Reverb; Vox AC30CC2X amp.
(See the collection: https://vintagerockkeyboards.com/ )

Offline Peter Hayes

  • Vendor
  • Mark I
  • *****
  • Posts: 203
    • View Profile
    • http://www.elecedge.com
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2017, 07:01:03 PM »
I've been using the 490-ST for years and am very happy with it.
Peter Hayes
Electronic Edge
http://www.elecedge.com
937-767-7174

Offline Alan Lenhoff

  • Vendor
  • Mark I
  • *****
  • Posts: 601
    • View Profile
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2017, 07:05:09 PM »
Steve:

>>What is wrong with apps?>>

Re the phone apps, I would like to be able to plug an instrument directly into a tuner so the tuner isn't thrown off by background noises, and doesn't have to rely on a cheap mic built into the phone.  And re the software solutions, I don't want to have to bring a computer to my instruments to tune them.

>>Are you not happy with the Korg?>>

I'd like something more precise, and the Peterson will also do stretch tuning (and has a Rhodes-specific sweetener).

Alan



Co-author, "Classic Keys: Keyboard Sounds That Launched Rock Music"

Learn about the book: http://www.classickeysbook.com/
Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ClassicKeysBook/

1965 UK Vox Continental;1967 Gibson G101 organ; 1954 Hammond B2; Leslie 21H; Leslie 31H; 1974 Rhodes Mark I Stage 73; 1972 Rhodes Sparkletop Piano Bass; 1978 Hohner Clavinet D6; 1968 Hohner Pianet N II; 1966 Wurlitzer 140B; 1980 Moog Minimoog Model D; 1977 Fender Twin Reverb; Vox AC30CC2X amp.
(See the collection: https://vintagerockkeyboards.com/ )

Offline Alan Lenhoff

  • Vendor
  • Mark I
  • *****
  • Posts: 601
    • View Profile
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2017, 07:14:35 PM »
Peter, Cinnanon:

The Peterson Autostrobe 490-ST sounds like a great device, but I can't justify spending $850+ to do an occasional tuning.

David:

The Stroboflip seems to be discontinued, but seems similar to the Strobo Plus HD I've been looking at. Why did you abandon yours to move on to a software tuner?

Alan

Co-author, "Classic Keys: Keyboard Sounds That Launched Rock Music"

Learn about the book: http://www.classickeysbook.com/
Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ClassicKeysBook/

1965 UK Vox Continental;1967 Gibson G101 organ; 1954 Hammond B2; Leslie 21H; Leslie 31H; 1974 Rhodes Mark I Stage 73; 1972 Rhodes Sparkletop Piano Bass; 1978 Hohner Clavinet D6; 1968 Hohner Pianet N II; 1966 Wurlitzer 140B; 1980 Moog Minimoog Model D; 1977 Fender Twin Reverb; Vox AC30CC2X amp.
(See the collection: https://vintagerockkeyboards.com/ )

Offline cinnanon

  • Mark I
  • ****
  • Posts: 558
    • View Profile
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2017, 09:20:18 PM »
Peter, Cinnanon:

The Peterson Autostrobe 490-ST sounds like a great device, but I can't justify spending $850+ to do an occasional tuning.

I got mine $300 shipped on the bay. Watch for deals.

Offline rhodesjuzz

  • Mark I
  • ****
  • Posts: 230
    • View Profile
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2017, 05:43:20 AM »
I use apps:
Cleartune for the highest and lowest octave
PST precision strobe tuner for the rest of the keys with visibility of overtones.

They aren't expensive and work great

--Roy
1976 Rhodes Suitcase 73 <effects loop || EHX Holy Grail Nano>
Line 6 midi keys
Scarbee Mark I, A-200 and Classic EP-88S

Offline David Aubke

  • Vendor
  • Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 1197
    • View Profile
    • Shadetree Keys
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2017, 07:06:30 AM »
The Stroboflip seems to be discontinued, but seems similar to the Strobo Plus HD I've been looking at. Why did you abandon yours to move on to a software tuner?

Almost every tuner I've tried has struggled to provide meaningful information about the entire range of a Seventy Three. Particularly in the treble, they all have trouble locking onto the fundamental pitch. After using the Strobo-Flip for a while, I wanted to see if anything else could do better. The computer in my shop is wired into the amplification system so using software tuners is actually easier than hooking up stand-alone units. Plus, the big monitor display is nicer to look at than a handheld device.


(That's actually just an oscilloscope program, not the tuner I currently use)

In addition to all that, the tuner I use now provides other information I really like. I've used its waveform display to inform my voicing process and I use its volume graph to help me equalize the pickup placement. It's got lots of other stuff that I haven't explored including an overtone graph.

http://gillesdegottex.github.io/fmit/

What's funny is, I can't write the name of the software or the forum will reject my post, presumably because it looks like spam.
Dave Aubke
Shadetree Keys

Offline Alan Lenhoff

  • Vendor
  • Mark I
  • *****
  • Posts: 601
    • View Profile
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2017, 09:32:30 AM »
Cinnanon, Peter:

I see a Peterson 490 (non ST model) that seems to be considerably less expensive. The only difference I can discern is that the ST model has built-in stretch tuning programs and can store more user-defined presets.

Do either of you actually use any of the ST's built-in stretch programs for tuning EPs?  If you created your own saved tunings (perhaps using the Rhodes manual stretch tuning chart), then I don't see that I would get any advantage from buying the ST model.  (I don't intend to try to tune acoustic pianos, for example.)

Any thoughts?

Alan
Co-author, "Classic Keys: Keyboard Sounds That Launched Rock Music"

Learn about the book: http://www.classickeysbook.com/
Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ClassicKeysBook/

1965 UK Vox Continental;1967 Gibson G101 organ; 1954 Hammond B2; Leslie 21H; Leslie 31H; 1974 Rhodes Mark I Stage 73; 1972 Rhodes Sparkletop Piano Bass; 1978 Hohner Clavinet D6; 1968 Hohner Pianet N II; 1966 Wurlitzer 140B; 1980 Moog Minimoog Model D; 1977 Fender Twin Reverb; Vox AC30CC2X amp.
(See the collection: https://vintagerockkeyboards.com/ )

Offline cinnanon

  • Mark I
  • ****
  • Posts: 558
    • View Profile
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2017, 10:25:04 AM »
I haven't used the stretch tuning function yet, but have yet to tune my Rhodes. I tune the wurlitzer even straight across. I've heard that you can adjust the cents on the 490 and achieve the same outcome. I just wanted that functionality in case I needed it one day. I'm not sure if you can program the 490 across all octaves.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 10:34:07 AM by cinnanon »

Offline Ben Bove

  • Vendor
  • MIDI Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 3280
  • Formerly bjammerz
    • View Profile
    • Retro Rentals Website
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2017, 12:28:13 PM »
In regards to the microphone part of your phone and apps, I use the iRig 2 if my tuner is dead.

Its input has a guitar logo, meaning line level and the iphone recognizes the device automatically and switches the microphone function to iRig input.  This eliminates any BG noise.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/ik-multimedia-irig-2-guitar-interface-for-ios-mac-and-select-android-devices?cntry=us&source=3WWRWXGP&gclid=Cj0KCQjwtJzLBRC7ARIsAGMkOAntrodIrerTR86DUx4QV_onyVfu-Qr9mPVp0WN2lV9fCVE5SSqkwdoaAj0LEALw_wcB&kwid=productads-adid^156727059247-device^c-plaid^143952367242-sku^J20400000000000@ADL4MF-adType^PLA
Retro Rentals
Vintage Music Gear

http://www.RetroRentals.net
(818) 806-9606
info@retrorentals.net

FB: https://www.facebook.com/retrorentals.net/
IG: @RetroRentalsNet

Offline pnoboy

  • Mark I
  • ****
  • Posts: 395
    • View Profile
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2017, 03:26:58 PM »
Tuning devices for acoustic pianos have to be quite sophisticated because of the inharmonicity present in any stringed instrument that is plucked or struck.  It is the inharmonicity that requires stretch tuning.  However, the Rhodes piano does not have inharmonicity.  People sometimes do use stretch tuning on a Rhodes, but I tried it and could really hear the bass notes beating with other higher-up notes.  If one is not interested in stretch tuning, almost any electronic tuner should work.  I have an inexpensive tuning app on my Android phone called Da Tuner Pro.  As far as I call tell, it works fine.

Offline rhodesjuzz

  • Mark I
  • ****
  • Posts: 230
    • View Profile
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2017, 03:49:51 PM »
I believe stretched tuning doesn't make sense on a Rhodes piano but there are people like Donald Fagen who had his pianos tuned like that (as well as some of his synths back in the day).

When I bought my inexpensive tuning apps there were some recommendations to install them on Apple hardware rather than Samsung for example because of the quality of the microphone. Maybe that is not the case anymore nowadays.

The issue that David described sounds familiar. I use a chromatic tuner for those notes.
1976 Rhodes Suitcase 73 <effects loop || EHX Holy Grail Nano>
Line 6 midi keys
Scarbee Mark I, A-200 and Classic EP-88S

Offline pianotuner steveo

  • MIDI Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 3490
  • A keyboard player in love with vintage guitars!!!
    • View Profile
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2017, 06:59:52 PM »
Good point about plugging ep's directly into the tuner Alan.

I think you've talked yourself into getting the Petersen ....   ;D
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
2017 Yamaha P255
2020 Kawai CA99
....and a few guitars...

Offline Alan Lenhoff

  • Vendor
  • Mark I
  • *****
  • Posts: 601
    • View Profile
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2017, 08:08:31 PM »
First, thanks to all for the advice.  From this (and years of similar threads in the archives) it's clear that there are many paths to enlightenment.  ;-)

After digesting all this, talking to Tim Warneck at RetroLinear (whose knowledge of virtually anything relating to vintage keys is second to none), and doing some test tuning with my Korg tuner, I come to these conclusions:

--  I like the way my Rhodes sounds without stretch tuning.  So, no need for a stretch tuner.

--  I want a tuner that responds fast enough so that I can tune the bass notes either for the moment of the strike or allowing them to ring out a bit. Each way has advantages, but I'd like a tuner that allows me to do either well.  That argues for a strobe, since I understand the needle ones typically respond more slowly.

So, I'm thinking of a Peterson.  Either I'll buy the Peterson StroboPlus HD or see if I can find a used Peterson mechanical strobe tuner.

Alan
Co-author, "Classic Keys: Keyboard Sounds That Launched Rock Music"

Learn about the book: http://www.classickeysbook.com/
Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ClassicKeysBook/

1965 UK Vox Continental;1967 Gibson G101 organ; 1954 Hammond B2; Leslie 21H; Leslie 31H; 1974 Rhodes Mark I Stage 73; 1972 Rhodes Sparkletop Piano Bass; 1978 Hohner Clavinet D6; 1968 Hohner Pianet N II; 1966 Wurlitzer 140B; 1980 Moog Minimoog Model D; 1977 Fender Twin Reverb; Vox AC30CC2X amp.
(See the collection: https://vintagerockkeyboards.com/ )

Offline pianotuner steveo

  • MIDI Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 3490
  • A keyboard player in love with vintage guitars!!!
    • View Profile
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2017, 08:47:53 PM »
I would get the new one if I had to choose between those two. I'm not a huge fan of mechanical strobe tuners due to age/wear, etc.
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
2017 Yamaha P255
2020 Kawai CA99
....and a few guitars...

Offline Alan Lenhoff

  • Vendor
  • Mark I
  • *****
  • Posts: 601
    • View Profile
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2017, 09:32:34 PM »
I would get the new one if I had to choose between those two. I'm not a huge fan of mechanical strobe tuners due to age/wear, etc.

I agree about the really old ones. But Peterson still makes mechanical strobe tuners. The 490 and 490ST models mentioned in this thread are current production models.

Alan
Co-author, "Classic Keys: Keyboard Sounds That Launched Rock Music"

Learn about the book: http://www.classickeysbook.com/
Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ClassicKeysBook/

1965 UK Vox Continental;1967 Gibson G101 organ; 1954 Hammond B2; Leslie 21H; Leslie 31H; 1974 Rhodes Mark I Stage 73; 1972 Rhodes Sparkletop Piano Bass; 1978 Hohner Clavinet D6; 1968 Hohner Pianet N II; 1966 Wurlitzer 140B; 1980 Moog Minimoog Model D; 1977 Fender Twin Reverb; Vox AC30CC2X amp.
(See the collection: https://vintagerockkeyboards.com/ )

Offline sean

  • Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 920
    • View Profile
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #22 on: July 14, 2017, 12:54:35 AM »
Quote
What would you do with that information?
  What would you do with information about the overtones?

I was hoping that PianoTuner SteveO would answer the question, because I have scant qualifications in this arena.  (As George Takei said from the back seat: "I read."  That is my only qualification with regard to piano tuning or stroboscopic tuners.)  SteveO, please identify any foolishness in my text below, and elaborate if possible.

With a real-live stringed instrument, the upper partials or overtones are very interesting to the human piano tuner. 

I think the spinning rings on a stroboscopic tuner may provide some hints as to the general nature of the individual instrument:  the stringing scale, and the string gauges or stiffness.  I also assume that the human piano tuner would have intuitive ideas just by looking at the piano (a tiny console or spinet will have a vastly different string scale than a full upright; a 4.5' baby grand will have a vastly different string scale than a 9' grand).

But I think that the real value of having the upper partials easily viewable would be to quickly resolve problems, or more likely - quickly tune intervals.
The Stroboscope is a tool that can provide help to somebody who does not have the ear training and experience to tune intervals by ear (using the
"beat" heard from nearly-coincident partials/overtones).  So the Stroboscope is a valuable tool for mere mortals.


Since real piano strings have thickness, distributed mass, and stiffness, the overtones are never perfect multiples of the fundamental frequency.  Arthur Reblitz and some findable references online indicate that all of the overtones of a real piano string are sharper than perfect mathematical multiples of the fundamental frequency - even the second partial (the octave above the fundamental).  If you tune an octave interval on the piano so that there is no beating between the second partial of the low note and the fundamental of the upper note, then the interval will be slightly stretched - larger than a simple multiply by two.  Start in the middle of the piano, and continue to the ends, and you get a stretched tuning.

So there are other ways to tune the "perfect" octaves, you can match the fourth partial of the low note with the second partial of the high note.  Or you can match the sixth partial of the low note to the third partial of the high note.  I assume that an expert listener would be able to tell the difference, or maybe 6:3 Octaves would sound better than 4:2 Octaves on a certain instrument.  Maybe the expert human piano tuner can choose the method that makes a particular piano sound more mellow, or more musical.  That is a decision that no Strobotuner can make for you - the human has to decide what sounds "better."


Pianos with different construction details will have different inharmonicity.  So the stretch from one piano will almost certainly not match the stretch on another piano.  So I can't believe there should be only one stretch tuning guide.  How can there be only one Railsback curve? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_acoustics#The_Railsback_curve  Oh, I guess that is why there are so many stretch presets and even the ability to create and save custom stretch presets. 

There is also no way that what sounds good to me sounds good to everybody.  The stretch tuning on my acoustic piano may sound great to me, but not great to every human piano tuner or to Donald Fagen. 

Okay, now for some foolishness?  As I get older, tired, or drunker, my perception of pitch may not be the same as when I was a healthy teenager.  So where are the stretch presets that are customized for the drunk tired old audience?  "Jimmy Buffet Festival Stretch"  "Art Linkletter Tribute Band Stretch"  Oh, I guess it doesn't matter what stretch you use if you are not critically discerning.  That is not complete foolishness:  If you are not critically discerning, don't alter your tuning.  If you can't clearly hear something that bothers you, don't stretch tune your instrument.

However, when there is an obvious reason to stretch, go ahead and stretch.  If you are going to layer a part played on your Rhodes with a part played on an acoustic piano, you might decide that it sounds better if they are both stretch tuned the same way.  (I think of the intro lick to Lean on Me by Bill Withers.  But even that has the notes in a very close range, not at the extreme ends of the keyboard.  There are probably better examples where the two instruments are layered over a greater range.)

With my own playing, there are some times I think that some notes at the top or bottom end don't sound in tune, but I can't be sure that stretching would fix it.  Many times when I have meddled with the tuning of the upper or lower ranges of my Rhodes, I have come to regret it the next day.  So maybe my perception of pitch varies from day to day.  More likely, I think that I detected the tuning problem when playing some tune, but the next day I try to play a different tune in a different key.  Intervals that sound great in one key don't sound exactly as harmonious when the key center of the music is changed.  This is thanks to the compromise of equal temperament.


So every time I think about tuning a piano, I get caught up into the above chaotic discussion.  Sometimes I think I can almost understand it, but I am certain that I could never personally master the art of tuning even a short section of notes by listening to the beats, tweaking a stack of thirds, and deciding if the narrowed fourths and fifths sound right.  The human piano tuner has a remarkable skill. 

I also feel sorry for the folks forty years ago that spent thousands of dollars on monophonic analog synths that drifted in and out of tune according to temperature, humidity, and phases of the moon.  That must have been a nightmare. 

I agree with Alan, my Rhodes sounds fine without stretch tuning.  When I tune, I just go with what my electronic tuner claims is Equal Temperament. 


Sean


P.S. - I really like the commentary at https://skowroneck.wordpress.com/2009/01/10/tuning-overthinking-inharmonicity/.
The point I like the most is that inharmonicity will affect your tuning, but inharmonicity does not have to drive you to extremes (like stretching for the sake of being able to say "yeah, man, it is stretch-tuned!  Cool, huh?"

P.P.S. - For the George Takei reference, see http://bigbangtheory.wikia.com/wiki/The_Hot_Troll_Deviation.





« Last Edit: July 14, 2017, 01:06:12 AM by sean »

Offline pianotuner steveo

  • MIDI Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 3490
  • A keyboard player in love with vintage guitars!!!
    • View Profile
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #23 on: July 14, 2017, 08:15:20 AM »
Sounds pretty good to me, Sean.

In general, there is no such thing as a perfectly tuned acoustic piano. The tuner makes it sound as best as possible, but the minute the tuner stops tuning, the piano starts to change. How much or how fast it changes depends on the skills of the tuner, the quality of the piano, the condition of the piano, length of time since last tuning, and stability of the humidity in the room just to name a few things.

In ep's, you don't have some of these issues. In tine or Reed pianos, there are no unisons to drift for example. Also, the humidity doesn't affect the tuning.

I use my ETD to speed up the tuning process, but I always go back and fine tune the bass and treble by ear. I have 2 clients with the same model 9' grand. One sounds great with very little adjustment by ear in the treble. The other, which happens to be an older model, has issues in the treble that require a lot of fine tuning by ear. Every piano is different.

You just need to use your ears to make sure it sounds pleasant at the end no matter what ETD is used, either app based or stand alone. Any tuner with experience with ETDs will tell you that if you only go by what the device tells you is right, it doesn't always sound right. I still know a few tuners that think ETDs are junk, or a "crutch". That is not true at all. Setting a temperament with one tuning fork just seems ridiculous to me. Yes, I initially learned that way, but I can't tell you when I last did that. And some tuning forks don't ring at the true pitch either!

I have a client that has a large, fancy, expensive A440 fork that you set into a stand then hit with a special mallet. It rings at A441....
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
2017 Yamaha P255
2020 Kawai CA99
....and a few guitars...

Offline David Aubke

  • Vendor
  • Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 1197
    • View Profile
    • Shadetree Keys
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #24 on: July 14, 2017, 10:42:13 AM »
However, the Rhodes piano does not have inharmonicity.

This is my understanding as well. Since the tines vibrate in a single arc - i.e., there are no nodes - there is nothing to introduce inharmonicity. Also, there's this study that Rob A did.
http://ep-forum.com/smf/index.php?topic=4580.msg22261#msg22261
Dave Aubke
Shadetree Keys

Offline David Aubke

  • Vendor
  • Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 1197
    • View Profile
    • Shadetree Keys
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #25 on: July 14, 2017, 10:45:51 AM »
I want a tuner that responds fast enough so that I can tune the bass notes either for the moment of the strike or allowing them to ring out a bit. Each way has advantages, but I'd like a tuner that allows me to do either well.  That argues for a strobe, since I understand the needle ones typically respond more slowly.

I don't know how its response time stacks up to other tuners but that FMIT program can display a 'pitch history' graph that will show how the pitch changes over time. Plus, I like the way the primary tuning view shades the background behind the needle as it swings back and forth in response to an unstable note. Makes finding the average easy.
Dave Aubke
Shadetree Keys

Offline cinnanon

  • Mark I
  • ****
  • Posts: 558
    • View Profile
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #26 on: July 14, 2017, 10:58:21 AM »
but that FMIT program can display a 'pitch history' graph that will show how the pitch changes over time.

That is interesting, because I notice this mostly in the higher reeds of a wurlitzer.

Offline Ben Bove

  • Vendor
  • MIDI Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 3280
  • Formerly bjammerz
    • View Profile
    • Retro Rentals Website
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #27 on: July 14, 2017, 12:22:43 PM »
Really great topic on tuning.

I don't do stretch tuning on a Rhodes, as others have mentioned - the beating is much more apparent from a much simpler sound wave in comparison to an acoustic piano.  It may sound ultimately flat in the higher register in a band setting or with vocalists (reason for Fagen's stretch tuning), but if you play a stretch tuning Rhodes piano by itself - it honestly "sounds out of tune."
Retro Rentals
Vintage Music Gear

http://www.RetroRentals.net
(818) 806-9606
info@retrorentals.net

FB: https://www.facebook.com/retrorentals.net/
IG: @RetroRentalsNet

Offline pianotuner steveo

  • MIDI Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 3490
  • A keyboard player in love with vintage guitars!!!
    • View Profile
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #28 on: July 14, 2017, 04:52:53 PM »
Another reason for stretching acoustic pianos is due to pitch drift- usually going slightly flat after tuning from the strings relaxing a little.... Something else that doesn't happen with a Rhodes or Wurlitzer. Even slightly flat treble notes sound flatter than they actually are, (to most people with good hearing)  but again, the amount varies due to quality/ condition of the piano.
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
2017 Yamaha P255
2020 Kawai CA99
....and a few guitars...

Offline Rhodestech Robocop

  • Vendor
  • Fiesta Red
  • *****
  • Posts: 45
    • View Profile
    • http://www.fenderrhodes.nl
Re: Strobe tuners
« Reply #29 on: July 22, 2017, 02:15:23 PM »
I tune 7 tones beatless to a digital synth , by ear , making sure the synth is warm.

I then do the rest by ear
Having tuned the 7 tones , with long tapered tines , left from middle C , the tuning has to be related to the force of striking , since the harder you hit , the lower the pitch is on impact. So you are tuning a time interval during which the octave is beatless , which occurs maybe about a second or so after impact...for tines left of middle C. In the decay the octave will be detuned again , and will now actually be to small , but the low volume will obscure the resulting beat. This is a matter of taste how you judge the lenght of interval of  detuning on impact....and the closer you put the tines left from middle C to the pickups , the shorter the time during which the octave will be beatless. Thats another reason to massage all volume from a tine through perfect striking point , instead of shoving the pickups to close. (Besides pickup distortion)
When descending to the lowest tines , they get more flexible and thus more detuned on impact. The trick is to play not only one octave , but play 2 or 3 to check for tightness as you descend to the lowest notes. If you want that intro of the revered Tailfeather-Rhodes that is !!
.
Right of middle C , where pitch is less affected by force of strike , I tune by ear to the speed of quints and quarts (and octaves) ....for the uninitiated... try to hear the speed of the quints and quarts on a electric piano digital sample. The higher the faster.  A handy trick/check is that a quart and quint within the same octave beat with the same speed. Decimes can be used , and check how the quarts speed up on impact around middle C also.

Tuning like this by speed of interval beats will , in the end , give you the true satisfaction of just having fixed a clock.
 
No tuning will succeed with loose tuning springs , that has to be checked in the beginning. You really dont want to torture yourselve with those. I think small fingers are an advantage , so I invite Donald Trump for a tuning course at my place....gonna be huge with millions and millions of laughs.

I created a Rhodes a few years a year ago with solely 1974 midrange shorttapers for tonebar 16-53 and 1976
 short tapers for the rest. These detune more notably than the aforementioned longtapers which are also used between 1970 and 1982. (In my most perfectionist moods I have selected from a bag of hundreds of tuning springs the tightest ones by judging the force required to shove them up and down a tine.More dull than it sounds.)  This experiment was a bit of a failure since the 45-73 tonebar range was a bit to loud to be in balance with the rest , I mean from an attack-esthetic point of view.
I consider the new tine-configuration choice in 1974 a great idea , although complicating the hammertip glueing process , which was never mastered to the fullerton.
I never worked with Raymacs but my guess would be that these detune more on impact , comparable to short tapered tines.

Now I will blow my nose.

By the way , did any of you techs already figure out how to get the bark you hear on Herbie Direct Step CD ? Any suggestions?

For a final Zen-thought : in the end we all strive for the multiple zone of RHODESNESSNESS.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2017, 02:40:47 PM by Rhodestech Robocop »