Guitar tuners are devices used to maintain a steady rhythm or pitch for guitars and other musical instruments. A guitar tuner will usually be mounted on the instrument's back but can be found in other places, most commonly on the headstock. This article describes how guitar tuners function.
To understand how guitar tuners function, first, have to know a bit about how sound is produced, and why the pitch is defined. To begin with, the sound is actually a collection of vibrations that are made by any dynamic object. In the case of a guitar, these vibrations are created by the strings, which move back and forth in tune with each other. These vibrations make compressors (also called "tonewheels") vibrate. The combination of the vibrations creates an electric current that travels through the metal. The current varies depending on the intensity or "pressure" of the vibration.
Guitar tuners use this electrical current to control the length of the note and make it uniform. At the same time, guitar tuners use mechanical means to alter the speed at which the notes play. Tuning is done by lifting or lowering the fretboard. There are two basic types of tuners, mechanical and electronic. You can even find them in combination.
Most modern electric guitar tuners come equipped with both an electronic and an acoustic tuner. When you connect the guitar tuner to your amplifier, the lead is connected to the guitar string. When you release the tone control, the lead is connected to the electronic digital display. The electronic display shows the amount of resistance that is built up between the leads and the fretboard.
The two types of tuners - electromagnetic and acoustic - are different because they detect and measure changes in the strings' pitches. While an electromagnetic tuner reads the pitch of a string through an electromagnetic diaphragm, an acoustic tuner measures the tension of the string and displays the reading as a pitch type. Some acoustic guitar tuners are capable of reading more than one string at a time. This "multi-string" tuner is useful for creating melody instruments such as cellos and mandellas. The advantage of a multi-string tuner is that it prevents interference from other sounds being played in the guitar's tone stack.
You can choose between on-stage or off-stage acoustic guitar tuners. In on-stage tuners that are equipped with foot pedals, the fretboard is lowered or raised to provide tuning stability when the guitarist is not performing. Acoustic guitar tuners that do not have foot pedals are less expensive. There is a trade-off, however: Acoustic guitar tuners with foot pedals are more portable.
Strobe tuners are a type of guitar tuner that provides a visual indication of which string is being tuned. Instead of moving a dial to read a string's pitch, the strobe flashes an LED. Because strobe tuners are eye-catching and create a great deal of feedback, many guitar players favor strobe tuners. Some even create the sound of the strumming action when the strings are struck. These are ideal for lead guitar players who want to visually inspect each string.
Microphone mounted tuner connects a microphone to the guitar via a jack connection or balanced line output. Microphones that are used with this type of tuner must be specially made for use with a guitar tuner. A USB cord is provided for connecting the microphone to the tuner, as well as a connector for connecting the jack connection or balanced line output to the computer. This tuner also has a preamp or headset jack for microphones that support it.
Clip-on tuners are like a regular guitar tuner, but it does not require balance wires or a jack connection. The advantage is that there is no need to connect the microphone directly to the guitar through a USB cord or any other means. The clip-on tuner simply mounts on the front end of the guitar and uses an adapter for microphones that do not have standard headphones.
Another form of guitar tuner is the NS monophonic tuner. Unlike other types, this one produces only one note at a time. This allows it to be used in stringed instruments like the violin and viola. An advantage of using polyphonic tuning modes is that the tones can be varied without affecting the quality of the sound produced. This tuner can be set up to play the note, then the user will simply press a button to repeat the mode. The only drawback of this type is that it cannot be used in nylon-string acoustic guitars.
Many guitarists prefer to use pedal tuners. Pedal tuners are similar to monophonic tuners, except it produces more than one tone at a time. It can also store more than two sets of notes. There are two types available, the stick shift type, which has a button on the side to change from one mode to another, and the thumb switch type, which is used to easily change from polyphonic to polyphonic.