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Tactile Feedback Tuner

Tune your instrument without looking at your tuner
  [vote for,

Credit goes to [lemon tetra]'s "Tuner Shades" for inspiring this idea.

This idea is for a tuner that uses tactile feedback to signal whether the pitch is sharp or flat so the user doesn't have to look at anything to know.

One possible form factor would be a wrist mounted unit that looks like a watch and gives a small vibration on the front of back of the wrist to indicate sharp or flat. It might be good to pulse the vibrations rapidly when the note is way out of tune, or slowly when it's almost in tune. Or maybe just varry the intensity, though that might not be too good if the position of the wrist changes occationally, changing the amount of pressure between the wrist and the tactile feedback actuators. The actuators could be small versions of pager vibrator motors.

A more discrete version might be prefered by some that would be worn under clothing and give prickles in the back of the neck of something.

Not that I'd approve of this in most situations since a musician really should learn to use their ears, but I imagine it would be useful in some situations. And who knows, it might actually have the effect of training the musician to always be in tune (and get phantom vibrations on their wrist when they hear somone else playing out of tune). Hmm, with that in mind, maybe skip the whole vibration thing and use the technolodgy from dog training shock collars...

scad mientist, Mar 11 2004

Tuner Shades http://www.halfbake...idea/Tuner_20shades
The inspiration [scad mientist, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       Much better idea (imho) but you are both missing something. You need to define the string that you are tuning and the note that you want to tune (see Pagey for alt tunings!). One normally selects the note on a device and *then * compare the string regardless. At this point you might as well be standing near the device. Grantes a wrist mounted version could work (with 2 pulses for low, 5 for high and solid pressure for in tune) but it doesn't necessarily address the first two issues.
gnomethang, Mar 11 2004

       // Tune your instrument without looking at your tuner //   

       Yeah, you can do this by "listening". Tuners are like spell checkers. Learn how to do it.   

       (Sorry, admittedly I barely read the idea, but that summary line set me off.)
waugsqueke, Mar 11 2004

       I assume that you're talking about tuning a guitar (but maybe you have bagpipes or something).
I usually tune somewhere on the bottom string to something else (music, another instrument), then tune the other strings to that using a combination of open strings and harmonic tuning (7th and 5th frets on my Bass). With the Bass, I can tune up without an amplifier in a reasonably quiet room, but with an amp, can feel the beat frequency in almost any amount of noise.
I heard that, for a guitar, there are different ways to tune, each sounds better for different chords. Do electronic tuners have a facility to switch between these?
Ling, Mar 12 2004

       can it be set to painful shock by the listeners?
ato_de, Mar 12 2004

       [gnomethang] The last time I saw a tuner that required the user to select the pitch was about 10 years ago. They might still sell some, but I've never actually shopped for one so I wouldn't know. Whenever I've seen people using tuners recently, the tuner automatically detects the pitch. Of course if you're way off it may get confused about what note you're trying to play.   

       I guess for guitar players we could add a couple buttons to select the pitch for those that don't have some other reference pitch to go off of.   

       And of course alternate tunings could be selected with a couple buttons as well. I don't see how that would be a problem.
scad mientist, Mar 12 2004

       [waugsqueke] Apparently we agree, at least to some extent, but I figured it was best to advertise the features of my product before telling people why they shouldn't buy it. :)   

       Sorry you were turned off by the subtitle.
scad mientist, Mar 12 2004

       [Ling] I play clarinet in a small chamber ensemble (non-professional), so I tend to think in terms of people playing in (or practicing for) that type of situation. My impression with guitars is that you tune them before you start and don't have to worry too much about it until later, so something like this wouldn't really have that much advantage. Maybe if you want to readjust it halfway through a performance or something...   

       When playing wind instruments, the natural pitch of the instrument will change slightly as it warms up, gets damp, etc. I see a lot of people with a tuner sitting on their music stands. One guy I know has a tuner with a microphone that clips onto the bell of his clarinet so he can tune while everyone else is playing. I tend to think he should be listening more and looking at his tuner less, but since he insist on doing that, he could at least do it without having to look down at the tuner.   

       I don't have a tuner but have thought it would be nice for when I'm practicing by myself. If I did I think one like this might be fairly useful since I could just ignore it most of the time, but it would tell me if I started drifting out of tune.   

       Then there was the trumpet player who insisted that he didn't need to tune becasue his trumpet was tuned at the factory...
scad mientist, Mar 12 2004

       [sm], I see. I'm intrigued: How do you tune up while the others are playing, without spoiling the performance?
It seems that it might be helpful if there was something that could continuously check while you were playing. A minor difference in pitch between you and others could be checked to see who is adrift.
It is easy to hear that there is a difference, but not so easy to say who has drifted.
Something like a comb filter might work. Then every possible correct pitch could be rewarded with no response, and off pitch could be rewarded with a poke in the ribs.
Ling, Mar 12 2004

       [Ling] Tuning while playing... Well, in most cases you listen to the other people playing. If you're not in tune you adjust your pitch towards theirs and they adjust towards you. Learnign to know whether you need to adjust up or down is something that takes a while to learn. I don't always get it right, but when I adjust one way and it gets worse, I try the other direction. How you do that adjustment depends of course on the instrument. With most wind instruments you can change the pitch by simply changing how you're blowing it. In some cases you can use alternate fingerings if you know in advance that a certain note tends to be sharp or flat. Tombones and violins have it easy in the sense that they can easily adjust the pitch, but of course that makes it especially hard for beginners to get even close to the right pitch.   

       Anyway, I'm always doing that while playing. If I notice that I'm consistently having to adjust the pitch in one direction, I can make the adjustment to the instrument when I have a measure where I'm not playing.   

       The person I mentioned who actually used a tuner while playing has the mic attached to his instrument so the tuner mainly hears just that one instrument. The problem with doing this is that if someone else was even farther out of tune then him, it makes the situation worse, not better. Unless you're playing with a piano or some other instrument that can't adjust it's pitch in real time, it really doesn't matter exactly what pitch you're at as long as everyone is together.
scad mientist, Mar 12 2004

       Ah, you don't actually "tune up", but make subtle adjustments by experience/guessing. I had visions of someone in the ensemble testing all the notes, while the others were mid performance.
Ling, Mar 12 2004

       I'm not so sure about the claim that it's somehow better to tune by ear. I have "perfect pitch" and know that under certain conditions it can be fooled. Furthermore, although standard tunings can usually be done adequately by ear on instruments with few strings, non-standard tunings, tunings conducted in noisy environments and tunings of instruments with a large compass (piano) are probably best done by machine. So, the idea here gets a plus from me.   

       I haven't seen a piano tech do a by-ear tuning since I was a child. My tech uses a Pocket PC with special software and a B&K or ACO Pacific lab mic and a laser doppler vibrometer. This is the tech who built the piano and designed the piano's stringing scales--so I tend to trust his judgement--and he uses a tuning system. Now, when it comes to voicing the piano, that's indeed all done by ear.
bristolz, Nov 09 2004


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