Read the full article
This article was originally published in issue #23
To read the article in its entirety, view the digital magazine
Peterson tuners have long been held in high regard by professional guitarists, guitar techs and instrument builders for their accuracy and roadworthiness. This newcomer, the Peterson StroboPlus HD, is a handheld guitar tuner that could be said to be something of a Rolls Royce in its class, thanks to its build quality and a generous features set that also includes the facility to continuously update the tuner via the PetersonConnect online utility. Once online Peterson StroboPlus HD owners can share their favourite pre-sets with fellow StroboPlus HD users and even update the tuner with the latest firmware, effectively making this device future proof.
Power comes from a rechargeable battery that can be recharged via the tuner’s USB port (which will also power it) but the centerpiece of the tuner is the large backlit screen that offers 512 segment resolution, making it extremely easy to monitor under bright stage lighting, whilst also offering uncommonly detailed accuracy. The StroboPlus HD is so precise that it can measure up to 1/1000 of a cent, which is about as accurate as it gets. Tuning is monitored by the strobe but the user can also opt for an audio tuning prompt by selecting a note using the tuner’s data wheel and then checking their tuning against the note generated by the tuner.
Under the hood things get a lot more sophisticated; the StroboPlus HD offers ‘sweetened’ tunings that are specifically geared towards the frequency ranges of a range of string, wind and keyboard instruments including individual pedal steel, bass, Dobro, 7-string and 12-string guitars, even bagpipes! The sweetened tunings take into account the discrepancies between different scale lengths, ranges, temperaments and intonation. There is even a set of sweetened tuning that cater for the patented Buzz Feiten tuning system (a system based on a specially designed compensated nut that eliminates sharp notes at the first fret) and sweetened tunings can also be shared online using the PetersonConnect app. This is very sophisticated stuff, but typical of the detail into which Peterson allows you to go with its highly advanced products. It may seem like more than you need, but who knows what you might find yourself wanting in a year's time?
The app also enables users to share or download custom tunings while also transforming the tuner into a metronome using the BodyBeat Sync upgrade.
The metronome offers the usual facility to adjust tempos and select different time signatures but the StroboPlus can also download short loops in the form of MIDI files that can be stored and selected for playback
But wait, there's more! (as they say). Peterson also offers a device called the ‘Vibe Clip’ that enables the user to feel the metronome pulse by attaching the clip to their belt. It feels like overkill, perhaps, but might come in useful if, for example you want to practice using headphones without disturbing anyone with the audible sound of the metronome function.
Taken purely as a guitar tuner, the StroboPlus HD is definitely right at the upper end of the market, offering incredible tuning accuracy and a professional build-quality that your typical off-the-peg guitar tuner couldn’t hope to match. It's so good that it could find a home with a guitar repairer or builder, just as easily as with a professional musician a guitar tech, or, of course, really demanding amateur.
What sets the The StroboPlus HD apart is that is a very modern tuner in the sense that it is designed with computer-savvy musicians in mind and the fact that it can accommodate such a wide range of instruments - that makes it virtually unique.
Fortunately, the StroboPlus HD comes with an excellent manual which goes into real depth and this is one of those occasions when we'd advise you to screw up your eyes and make yourself read the manual! This tuner will do a lot of things that may not have occurred to you but which you could well find very useful (setting specific presets for individual instruments or tunings, a host of different temperaments, guitar and bass intonation and tuning tips - even down to help tuning your guitar to sound at its best with power chords!). Frankly, the instruction manual that comes with this tuner is a work of education in itself.
If you're looking for a professional tuner and would welcome additional use as a metronome the Peterson StroboPlus HD is the one to beat. We even think it's extremely well priced for such a thoroughly professional tool.