Q: Will I need some sort of tuner?

Short Answer: You will need some sort of "chromatic" electronic tuner.


Tech Hint:  Tuners

Electronic tuners have to have a ‘window’ of frequency that is acceptable. If the window is narrow, then it is very very difficult for the human to hit the exact spot where the light turns green.

But if the window is wide, the tuner is easier to use, but one string might actually be flat, and it’s inside the window, and the next string is sharp and it’s inside the window, and they are just far enough off from each other to rob the tone of some of it's purity. Therefore, you will have better luck with any tuner that lets you see yourself getting closer to the correct spot. So this suggests a priority for tuners –

  • A strobe tuner is best but they are expensive and large;
  • A virtual strobe is next best (Peterson makes good ones)
  • A tuner with a needle would be next best, if they’ve done a good job with it;
  • A tuner with a row of lights next best; and
  • A tuner with a single red/green light not very good.

Of course, if you tune carefully and often, then your ear gets better and better, and after a while you’re using the tuner, but your ear is telling you the truth.

In the end, the entire point is so that the instrument sounds good while you play it. And nothing helps like practice. Practice tuning.