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Thread: Electronic tuners

  1. #26

    Re: Electronic tuners

    And here (below) is the final version of this. I found some nice flat black sheet Mylar to make the mounts with...

    -- Don

    Tuner1.jpgTuner2.jpgTuner3.jpg

  2. #27

    Re: Electronic tuners

    Okey-dokey. The NS Micro Banjo Tuner showed up here at my front porch mailbox two days ago. My sincere compliments and kudos to D'Addario for EXTREMELY FAST customer service. I was impressed! So - - - I've used the tuner for these past two days and here's what I think of it.

    First of all - - Here's an answer for Alprice:

    Hi there Al. No. It will NOT work (effectively) on the Helimount system. When the tuner arrived, I tried it first on that '94 Nechvil Nuvo you talked me into buying back about 5 or 6 years ago. It will work on a Nechville when you put the tuner there on the flange, but since the Helimount "brackets" are integral and not round (or spaced like all other non-Nechville banjos are) this tuner cannot be securely mounted to the banjo. It will register the notes picked, and will also give you an accurate reading for you to tune to. But not being securely mounted on the flange means that it is a "loose cannon on deck" and could easily fall off the banjo at any time if it was just left there. You can use it on the Nechville but it would (IMO) need to be taken off the flange after each use. This tuner seems to work best on the traditional (Gibson style) banjos that have the tension hoop and hooks.

    Then I tried the tuner on the ODE D, and the Gibson RB-250. It fit well (securely) on both of them since they have the traditional hooks and a tension hoop like all banjos (except Nechville) have. When tuning, I got an accurate reading of the strings and the tuner itself was (as advertised) unobtrusive and out of sight to any audience or onlookers, but easily accessible/ and readable to the person playing. The bottom section under the tuner itself (the "anchors" that fit under the tension hooks) are a bit stiff, but once you get them in place the tuner is held there securely and right where you need it. This is a good tuner that would be a benefit to any picker.

    That's the good news. Now here's the "rest of the story":

    As much as I like this tuner, it's not for me. The digital readout is too small for me to see with the tuner down on the flange. Plus - - wearing bifocals doesn't help me see it any better since I have to hold my head at an odd angle to see this tuner's readout. These past couple of days, I switched back and forth between this new NS Micro tuner and my SN8 snark tuner and I've come to the conclusion that I need the larger "readout screen" that the snark has.

    I guess tuner use/ appreciation is "subjective" - - - kind of like tone rings are (flat-head vs. arch-top)/ or fingerboards (flat vs. radiused)/ or bridges (straight vs. compensated)/ or origin of manufacture (USA vs. Chinese)/ that sort of thing. I'm glad I got a chance to look at and try this tuner, but I won't be using it anymore so I'm going to give it away. If there is anyone here who NEEDS or could use an electronic tuner like this, PM me through the site here. Like I said - - I got it for free, so I'm letting it go for free. Postage won't be much, so I'll pick that up too.

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  4. #28

    Re: Electronic tuners

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post
    And here (below) is the final version of this. I found some nice flat black sheet Mylar to make the mounts with...

    -- Don

    Tuner1.jpgTuner2.jpgTuner3.jpg
    nice work! I imagine that's about as invisible as it's going to get

  5. The Following User Says Thank You to Longblackveil For This Useful Post:


  6. #29

    Re: Electronic tuners

    Don from D'Addario here - wanted to thank everyone for their insight on this. With the many iterations of banjo and banjo construction, it's good to hear what's working and almost more importantly, what's not. We'll share this feedback with our brand team. Thanks for taking the time! Roll on!

    Don Dawson
    D'Addario

  7. #30

    Re: Electronic tuners

    Don from D'Addario sent us a few of the new NS tuners for our own use. We were already using them so why not pass on the good fortune? Anyone that wants the one extra we aren't keeping post below and then private message us your address and we'll send it to you with some Banjo Cafe case stickers. We only have one so first post gets it.
    Banjo Cafe Administrator

  8. #31
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    Re: Electronic tuners

    I'd like to get it please.

    Thanks,

    Leon

  9. #32

    Re: Electronic tuners

    Just wanted to repeat how much I like the functionality and compactness of these tuners. I'm not sold on the mounts (as you've seen by my efforts to replace them), but I really like the tuners themselves.

    For me they are worth the extra work to fabricate a mount.

    -- Don
    Last edited by dhergert; Apr-13-2016 at 8:09pm.

  10. #33
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    Re: Electronic tuners

    I got the yellow slip in my PO Box today that tells me I have a package to retrieve from the counter. When I do get it, I'll post a review.

  11. #34
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    Re: Electronic tuners

    OK, so I got the D'Addario micro-tuner yesterday and used it last night. Pics below.

    It was easy to mount on the sides of the J-hooks and snapped right in place. Rather clever idea there. The center of the bracket, just under the tuner body, has a round notch that locks it on the center J-hook. And once installed, it's not really touching the rim at all - just pushing down on the center J-hook and pulling up on the adjacent ones.

    The end of the bracket closest to the neck, though, is just touching the side of the neck. I'd rather that it not rub the finish there, so I'll end up filing it down to provide some clearance.

    The tuner works OK. I had hoped it would pick up the notes more quickly and more consistently, being mounted on the rim instead of at the peg head. But it did have some trouble reading the notes during tuning unless I plucked the string pretty loudly. Accuracy-wise, it is decent.

    The location takes some getting used to, since I'm used to looking at the peg head where I usually clip on a tuner. Despite its small size, it was easy for me to read. And it was unobtrusive while playing. I do like that about it. Retuning was a breeze, since I didn't have to reach for my usual clip-on tuner every time.

    But the biggest down-side for me is that it won't fit in my case, just as I feared. As you can see in the photo below, the padding in the case just doesn't have the clearance for the tuner. So if I continue to use this, I'll have to take it off every time I put my banjo away and then put it back on when I get it out of the case. It's no biggie, though, since I can at least leave it on while playing. That's an improvement over my peg head clip-on tuner which I refuse to leave on while playing.

    Overall, I like this tuner. I wouldn't call it the be-all, end-all of tuners, but it's a decent tool that was fairly well thought out for banjos.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #35
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    Re: Electronic tuners

    I received my complimentary D'Addario NS Micro Banjo Tuner on Tuesday. Thanks so much to Greg and Don at D'Addario and to Charlie at Banjo Cafe for the opportunity to try this little tuner. Right out of the box I put it on a conventional hook and nut, mastertone style banjo and it fit well, seemed very stable and did a good job tuning. So far so good! However, my two gigging banjos are both Nechville banjos with the Heli-Mount frames so I had to put it on a Nechville, even after reading dmiller's review above, and found the same thing about the fit to be true. It did fit but it was obviously not very stable. Centering the 1/8" hook notch on the frame post, the hoop arms of the tuner fit under the frame posts, but not nearly enough. Any lateral movement and the tuner would likely become a missle. To solve this problem, I wrapped a strip of black electrical tape several times around each side if the 1/8" notch, creating two shoulders 3/8" apart for the post to set in. That eliminated the possibility of any lateral movement and adequately stabilized the tuner. I used it for a three hour gig Wednesday evening and had no issues with it whatsoever. The tuning function works very well, even in a noisy restaurant style, poorly lit setting and it seems to be more accurate than the snarks I have been using. I wear no-line bifocals but had no problem reading the tuner at this new angle and location. In closing, I really like the tuner, I just wish the bracket was more Heli-Mount friendly. If the notch in the bracket was 3/8" wide and each arm about 1/4" longer, it would be very Heli-Mount friendly. As it is, I still plan on using it because I like the functionality of it and maybe the folks at D'Addario will, at some point, come up with an after-market bracket for it that will fit my Nechvilles.

  13. #36

    Re: Electronic tuners

    Tobin and DonnieD, if you'd like me to make one of my fabricated mounts for you to try with your banjos, I'd be willing to do so (free).

    Tobin, I suspect the accuracy and case-fitting issues would both be solved by this fabricated mount.

    DonnieD, if you're interested, I'd like to see 2 pics of the side of your Nechville's rim near the neck, one without anything there and the other with the tuner mounted the way you did to make it work there.

    Just let me know if either or both of you guys are interested. In my personal testing, the functionality of these tuners is worth the extra effort with the mount.

    -- Don

    Tuner2.jpg

  14. #37
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    Re: Electronic tuners

    Don - That would be very cool and much appreciated! I fully agree that it's well worth the effort. Here's a photo without the tuner. I'll take one with the tuner installed (the way I have it mounted....sits farther out than yours) this evening and let you see that. Thanks!Nechville Side View.jpg

    --Donnie

  15. #38
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    Re: Electronic tuners

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post
    Tobin and DonnieD, if you'd like me to make one of my fabricated mounts for you to try with your banjos, I'd be willing to do so (free).

    Tobin, I suspect the accuracy and case-fitting issues would both be solved by this fabricated mount.
    Thanks for the offer! I might take you up on that, but I want to play with it a little more and see if I can make it work. It might be that if I rotate the head the other way (pointing toward the neck), it could squeeze into my case without breaking.

  16. #39

    Re: Electronic tuners

    Excellent...

    I'll start working the materials tonight, Donnie. Tonight's picture will undoubtedly give me more info to work with.

    Tobin, just let me know, the offer does still stand if you decide you would like it.

    The mount I have on my Mastertone fits like a glove with no movement, it's just the right length and width... But that is on my Mastertone and there are some significant model variations even just within that brand...

    I could just copy that mount for you guys, but one of the benefits of using such a simple mount out of sheet Mylar is the ease of customizing it for each banjo, so I'm thinking I'll just make the mounts with dimensions that are both longer and wider, and let you cut them as works best for your banjos for fit, stability and esthetics.

    As we get closer to having these fabricated mounts in your hands I can provide some suggestions from what I've recently learned about cutting for a good custom fit.

    Fun!

    -- Don

  17. #40
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    Re: Electronic tuners

    Don - As promised, here's a couple of pics from two different angles with the tuner in place. I apologize for the quality but, because everything is black, I had to use the flash. That created some reflections but you should be able to see what's going on better. The posts are spaced on 1 13/16" centers and are about 3/8" wide. The space between the bottom of the head ring (hoop) and top of the flange is right at 9/16". Making it large and trimming to suit will certainly work......probably a good idea. Keep in mind that on a Nechville, the heel of the neck stops at the frame and does not reach the pot as in hook and nut type banjos. That leaves a through tunnel between the neck heel and the tone ring so the neck side of the mount would not necessarily have to stop at the neck (if that makes sense). Thanks for the help! Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Thanks,
    Donnie

    101_3543.jpg101_3534.jpg

  18. #41

    Re: Electronic tuners

    Those do help a lot, thanks Donnie...

    I have three initial questions for you:

    (1) You've very helpfully indicated that the space between the bottom of the head ring (aka flesh hoop) and top of the flange is ~9/16"... The flat black Mylar material that I'm using is fairly stiff and about 1/16" thick. If one of us cuts the width of this material at 9/16", will it fit fairly snugly under the posts? I'm thinking I may cut the width for you and then I can center the keyhole for the tuner mounting post more nicely, plus that way all you have to worry about is cutting the rearward and forward lengths.

    (2) Will the tuner body fit between the first post (next to the neck) and the second post?

    (3) If it does fit there between the first and second posts, when seated against the rim in that location, can you still read the tuner display (meaning, does the second post block the ability to read the tuner display)?

    With my three main playing banjos I have mounted the tuner body as close to the neck as possible and also right against the rim, so it is sort of discrete, so it is also out of the way in the banjo's case and so it gets more concentrated vibration for tuning accuracy. On my Mastertone and on my CEB-5 the tuner actually fits between the first and second hooks and the hooks are small enough that the display is still easily readable. On my SS Stewart the hook spacing is closer so the rear of the tuner body rests against the first hook and the front of the tuner body rests on the second hook. This works out well too, but the tuner is not quite as discrete in it's location there since the front of the tuner is actually resting on the second hook. It's not a major difference, being only a difference in the location of the front of the tuner of about 1/8".

    Because the Nechville's posts are so sutstantial, I suspect that if the tuner's body fits between them, the display is going to be hard to see because the second post will probably block the view...

    Soooo, I'm thinking we'll run some length of the mount under the first post and possibly under the neck heel as you've suggested, with the rear of the tuner resting against that post. Then the mount will continue over the second post so the tuner display can be easily seen. Then the mount will continue and run under the third post, and maybe further, for anchoring. This will be sort of similar to how the stock mount would have worked; the big difference is that the tuner body will rest against the first post, so it will be much closer to the neck heel, more discrete and out of the way, and receiving more vibrations there.

    I hope I'm expressing this clearly, if not, let me know and I'll try to word it better... (I would include some more pictures but my camera isn't attaching to my PC at the moment.)

    Anyway, please consider this concept for the mount and let me know what you think. If it sounds reasonable for the Nechville, I'll proceed with preparing it.

    Also, I'm thinking I'll prepare some similar blue Mylar material for you to use as a prototype for cutting the lengths and to experiment a little bit, then you can use that prototype as a model to cut the lengths of the black finished mount...

    Sooo, some more questions: Since you have two Nechville banjos, are you intending to get another D'Addario NS Mini tuner for the second Nechville? Is the other Nechville's rim design the same as the one we've been talking about? If so, would you like to have two of these black finished mounts?

    -- Don

    P.S. Looking more closely at your pics, I can see that the "first post" is actually part of Nechville's innovative neck mounting system... Very nice. That said, I think the concept I'm suggesting still applies, even though the "first post" I refer to is actually part of the neck mount.

  19. #42
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    Re: Electronic tuners

    Don - I understand what you are saying and I'll try to answer your questions:

    1) A 9/16" band width will fit perfectly. The actual space is probably closer to 5/8".

    2) Posts are indeed substantial. Theoretically, it should fit. The first space is 1 3/8"L and the tuner body is 1 1/4"L.

    3) No. It looks like it would pivot up enough to clear.

    I believe this concept will work, my only concern would be that there's not much space for installation and removal at that location unless the mylar is extremely flexible. That first space is slightly smaller that the rest (by about 1/8").

    Yes, at some point I will likely get another micro tuner for the Nechville Vintage. The two Heli-Mount frames are dimensionally identical, just the finishes are different (Vintage frame is nickel plated, Phantom is black).

    You are correct in that the first post is actually part of the neck mount.

    Hope this helps.

    Thanks,
    Donnie

  20. #43

    Re: Electronic tuners

    Thank you for the replies Donnie...

    << ... my only concern would be that there's not much space for installation and removal at that location unless the mylar is extremely flexible. That first space is slightly smaller that the rest (by about 1/8"). >>

    Yes, the Mylar at this thickness is not extremely flexible, so if we do mount the tuner body flush against the rim between the first and second posts with the mount running under both of these posts, I agree, the fit is probably going to be so tight it would be difficult to change batteries, etc... We could probably get it to install, but the mount would just barely extend under the first post, which would also mean it could more easily slip out unexpectedly. So with the mount extending under both the first and second posts, it wouldn't be as solid as I'd like to see there.

    So, just to be clear, what I'm suggesting is that we make the mount material longer so that it extends significantly under the first post and maybe also under the neck heel for some length. The tuner body would be attached to the mount so that the rear of the tuner body actually rests against the first post. Then the mount material will rest over the second post, and extend significantly under the third post, wedging itself into a stable position there.

    With that configuration, the tuner could be fairly easily slid forward, partially over the second post to remove it for battery changes, etc., and then reinstallation would be pretty easy also. And also with this configuration, the tuner display will always be unobstructed and easily seen.

    Since I can't get my camera connection working lately, I've pulled out paint and crudely drawn what I think we're talking about... Sorry to drag this detail out more, but if we get it right from the start, the mount will work better.

    The first image is with the mount material under both the first and second posts, with the tuner body between both posts and flush against the rim, and this is probably going to be too tight

    The second image is with the mount material under the first post, the rear of the tuner body resting against the first post and the mount material running over the second post, to eventually wedge under the third post. This is the solution I'm suggesting.

    What do you think?

    -- Don
    Attached Images Attached Images

  21. #44
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    Re: Electronic tuners

    Don,
    Your suggestion works for me....I like it! When the tuner is centered over the second post, it is still very visible, which is fine for the playing/tuning position. To store the banjo in the case, it would be helpful to be able to slide it back toward the neck into that first space. It would be great if you could allow enough length to do that.

    Thanks again,
    Donnie

  22. #45

    Re: Electronic tuners

    Just got home from the festival and was greeted by the daddario box. (Wow big box for such a small item!)

    haven't used it yet just wanted to let yall know I will share my thoughts on it soon as requested by daddario. I already know I love the tuner itself since I use it on my other instruments, so I'll mostly talk about the mounting

  23. #46
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    Re: Electronic tuners

    I managed to make mine work in the case by rotating it the other way and angling it with the padding. As long as I compress the foam with many finger before laying the banjo down, it fits, abeit with pressure on the tuner.

    I played a public gig with it today, and still had some issues getting it to read the notes while tuning. But it is indeed handy having it there, out of the way and not too visible.

  24. #47

    Re: Electronic tuners

    Tobin << still had some issues getting it to read the notes while tuning. >>

    One thing I usually have to do with more powerful banjos is tune to the harmonic instead of tuning to the open note. My main playing Mastertone is a cannon and when any tuner I've worked with is mounted on the rim, the volume overpowers it. So I've gotten in the habit of always tuning to the harmonics instead of to the open notes.

    Tuning to the harmonic is also quieter and I've been told that it is not so annoying to listen to.

    My band and I just also finished 2 sets for a gig today, and I was having trouble reading my tuner outside. Then I changed the battery... All is well.

    -- Don

  25. #48

    Re: Electronic tuners

    Donnie << ... It would be great if you could allow enough length to do that. >>

    Great, I'll move forward with this then. And I'll give you as much length as I can cut out of the material... At this point I don't think it will be any problem.

    I'll be in contact...

    -- Don

  26. #49

    Re: Electronic tuners

    I'm suprised you're having trouble picking up notes Tobin, I've had no such problem with mine so far. I wonder if there's something wrong with your tuner or maybe your battery? I've even tested out intonating up the neck and it works good for me.

    I really like it, I see no glaring need for change, but the problems fitting in the case I can imagine are a hassle. I have a gig bag so no problem there for me. I guess that's the benefit of dhergert's design, shouldn't be any trouble fitting cases with that one.

    i did notice that the tuner itself has a one difference from all my other daddario ns tuners. It has a wider range for the green "in tune" light. Whereas my other tuners would only show green when I'm right on the note or maybe a cent sharp or flat, this one will show green before that. Not sure I like that because i can no longer just say "green, ok I'm in tune" but not a huge deal, and I can swap the tuners out of the bracket if it bothers me too much.

    overall I like it. Thanks daddario and banjocafe I really appreciate it!

  27. #50
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    Re: Electronic tuners

    Thanks Don, I really appreciate it......when you get close, please send me a PM and I'll give you my address.
    --Donnie

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