Sonic Research Turbo Tuner ST-200 - The humble guitar tuner...

Sonic Research Turbo Tuner ST-200

The humble guitar tuner...

Posted in Pedals

I have decided to do a load of very quick and dirty reviews of every piece of gear I use. The first being the mighty Sonic Research Turbo Tuner ST-200.

Before I begin, if you are reading this you are likely to be a guitar gear fanatic and consequently may want to read more about my 37 year equipment journey. If so, why not take a look at the three articles already on this blog.

The final one, which references my current gear, is slightly out of date and I will be producing a little video later this year where I will run through the whole lot.

I actually started this little series with an article about my Gibson Flying V which you may find of interest.

Anyway, on to the humble tuner.

When I started playing, the guitar community only had 'pitch pipes' and 'A 440' tuning forks. I remember holding the vibrating fork between my teeth to amplify the sound and leave my hands free to tune. It was only later that electronic and 'digital' tuners became within the reach of the young penniless musician!

My heros all seemed to use mechanical 'strobotuners' by Conn and Peterson and I wondered what all the fuss was about. A tuner is a tuner right?

Wrong, it does really make a difference as strobe accuracy is exceptional and the more recent ones have programmable or pre-selectable alternate temperaments.

Over the years I must have had every tuner made. Stomp style Boss units, rack mounted and handheld Korg's, Planet Waves headstock units and the device integrated into the TC Electronics G-Natural.

As my ears became more sensitive even tiny discrepancies drove me mad. Ever tried to get a major third sounding totally right on a guitar?

Eventually I tried a Peterson AutoStrobe 490 and it was a revelation but, as its principally a rack mounted device, much more suitable for use by your erstwhile guitar-tech, tuning your instruments backstage.

Live and especially as a frontman, you need a very accurate, fast and easy to read tuner that is visible under big stage lights.

I saw an article with Matt Scofield who used the Sonic Research Turbo Tuner ST-200 and looked perfect so I ordered online from the USA - they don't sell though retailers.

They are not all that expensive, flexible (many alternate temperaments and pitch options), true bypass, very rugged and monstrously accurate. When I received it, was totally delighted and quickly ordered another for the acoustic rig.

I do own a TC Polytune for use with my Gretsch Electromatic double neck lap steel as I find it quick with multiple tunings as you see the whole picture in one hit, but no where near as accurate as the strobe.

Now to me any other tuner is virtually unusable, the Planet Waves utter shite and surprisingly the one integrated into the TC G-Natural equally as bad.

If you are serious about tuning, you owe it to yourself to get it right. Long live the mighty strobe...

Sonic Research Turbo Tuner ST-200 - The humble guitar tuner...

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