If you play guitar, either acoustic or electric, you probably own some type of tuner. Tuners come in several varieties. There are pitch pipe type tuners that make a sound for each guitar string. Your task is to then tighten or loosen the string until the sound it makes matches the reference note that the pitch pipe makes. Unless you have a really good ear, this is a very hard way to tune your instrument. Electronic tuners are much easier to use. These tuners have a microphone that picks up the sound a string makes when you pluck it. Then using a meter or some other method, it tells you if you need to loosen or tighten the string to bring it to the right pitch. The only problem with this type of tuner is that it requires a relatively quiet environment to work or if the guitar has a pick-up, you can connect the tuner using a cable. Today I’m going to tell you about a tuner that can work in the noisiest places, doesn’t need a cable and is tiny enough to fit in your pocket. It’s the Strobe-On-String Guitar Tuner from
The Strobe-On-String (S.O.S.) is a very inexpensive tuner in the shape of a guitar pick. Instead of sound, this tuner uses strobe technology to help you tune your guitar.
The S.O.S. is made of plastic and has a footprint of an actual guitar pick. It’s just quite a bit thicker than your standard pick. On the back there is a battery compartment that houses a CR 1620 coin cell battery.
The tip of the S.O.S. holds 2 Red LEDs. These LEDs are what gives this tuner its strobe effect. Two opposing strobe lights flash on the guitar string at the exact frequency at which a perfectly tuned string vibrates.
The only switch on the S.O.S. tuner is located on the top edge of the pick. It’s a dial that has a label for each string on a regular 6 stringed guitar (E1, B2, G3, D4, A5, E6).
The tuner is really easy to use. Just turn the dial to the string you would like to tune, then pluck the string using the S.O.S., just like you would a regular pick. Right after you pluck the string, quickly hold it over the vibrating string at the 12th fret (this is the point where the string has the widest vibration).
What you’ll notice is that each of the two LEDs shine a Red segment on the string side by side. If the string is not in tune, the individual segments will appear to bounce up and down. As you tighten or loosen the string, the bouncing will speed up or slow down. When the bouncing stops, the string is in tune. It’s that easy.
See it in action…
The Strobe-on-String tuner from Planet Waves is a nifty little gadget that any guitar player should find very handy. It’s very easy to use, easy to carry and you can’t beat the price!