Peterson StroboClip Review

Peterson StroboclipRegardless of what you play, playing in tune is, um, important. Most of us have a few tuning devices – on a phones, in pedal form and in desktop versions – but the Peterson StroboClip is my chosen clip-on tuner for quite a few reasons. Read on for why…

Item: Peterson StroboClip tuner

Inspiration: I’m not sure why I hadn’t embraced the clip-on tuner until recently. I’d always been happy with the other tuners I had, but it was a rehearsal session at home where I was using a few instruments that made me realize the value of those little tools. The thing is, I’ve always enjoyed strobe tuners – there’s something about the way they operate that makes me feel as though I can fine tune more accurately with them. In fact I’d been using Peterson’s iPhone app a lot prior to getting this.

Image: The Peterson StroboClip is a pretty sleek looking unit. The tuner has a standard kind of clip and feels quite solid. The head swivels nicely and can be positioned to ensure you can see it clearly wherever you place it. The plastic chrome (some say it’s metal but it feels like plastic to me) finish is nice too. The LCD screen is very clear and readably as well.

Investment: When it comes to clip-on, the Peterson StroboClip is about as expensive as you get. I figured that a tuner would be a stupid thing to scrimp on given how much you use it and how important it is to how you sound, so it wasn’t really a turn off. And at $80 (what I paid online), it’s not as though it breaks the bank.

Intrinsic Qualities: The unit has 29 settings covering just about every stringed instrument you could think of! Most of us will only ever use a few of them though – but it is a nice feature if you are a truly crazy multi-instrumentalist!

Then there’s the “sweetened tuning”. Peterson describes it as: “Peterson’s proprietary GTR™ Sweetened Tuning™ is designed to improve the sound of musical intervals on guitar, especially 4ths and 5ths. By taking advantage of a few coincidences such as the preponderance of 4th and 5th intervals appearing in many chord positions, the particular E-A-D-G-B-E arrangement of standard guitar tuning (and also the half-step down or “dropped” tuning variation), and the less-than-perfect overtones of vibrating strings, Peterson has introduced a number of slight variations which can maximize the tuning quality of chords.” Um, okay. That doesn’t really explain the detail, but all I know is that it does sound pretty good!

I’ve also read that most tuners operate in cents or half cents increments, but the StroboClip delivers its results in tenths of a cent. Given the importance of tuning, surely getting the most accurate fine adjustments has to be worthwhile.

Intanglibles: Not much in this area – I mean, it is just a tuner after all. But it is the most accurate, easy to use tuner I’ve ever had so that’s pretty hard to beat.

If not this then: As mentioned, I’ve been really happy with the Peterson app on the iPhone, and prior to that I’ve always used the ubiquitous Boss TU-2 floor pedal. Thing is, these days I’m such a fan of Peterson strobes that if I didn’t use the StroboClip I’d probably get one of their other tuners!

Tuning is at the heart of everything we do, so making sure what you have works as well as possible is pretty damn important. While getting used to strobe tuning can take a little while, it’s a worthwhile experience and I can’t recommend this product highly enough. I should also add that tuning an instrument correctly is only worthwhile if you’ve also set up your instrument properly, especially in terms of intonation. For years intonation was something for me that was done at the factory or shop. When I finally spent some time learning how to do it properly myself my instruments really came to life – if you don’t know how, learn now!!

The new format for doing a brief reviews of the various bits of great that I use is called the “I” Test: 7 categories that are a bit different from the standard review that reads like it’s lifted from a guitar magazine. My “I Test” takes into account not just the performance characteristics (as normal reviews do) but also addresses the real reason we buy stuff: the 7 “I”s – what’s the Item, Inspiration (why did I get it), Image (what’s it look like), Investment (bargain or just lust), Intrinsic qualities (what does it do), Intangibles (sometimes the reason you got it doesn’t fall into any other category!), and If not this then… (did I look at alternatives).

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