Peterson introduces StroboClip HD tuner

Peterson Strobe Tuners has introduced the latest enhancement in its line of clip-on tuners, the StroboClip HD.

But first, a little history about the company and strobe tuners…

Peterson has been at the forefront in electronic tuning technology since they were founded in 1948 by Richard Peterson in Illinois. At that time, his work was primarily marketed to the home organ industry, using vacuum tubes to verify tuning. With the advent of solid state electronics, and the growing popularity of the guitar, he brought out the first handheld chromatic tuners and their first strobe tuner in the 1960s.

Early strobe tuners required regular calibration, as they functioned by flashing a light at the same frequency of the note being tuned against a wheel spinning at a set rate. When the note being played matched the preset frequency, a stroboscopic effect was created where the wheel appeared to stop. But if the mechanical wheel speed was off, the tuner couldn’t tune true, plus these early units were large, cumbersome, and expensive. Still, their incredible accuracy made them very popular with performing artists and they were a common sight on stage.

Peterson developed an electronic strobe device in the ’90s, with twelve microprocessors taking the place of the spinning wheel, and displaying one strobe window for each of the notes in the chromatic scale. These were (and remain) very popular, but sell for more than $4,000.

A Virtual Strobe product now dominates Peterson’s product line, where a LCD screen creates the stroboscopic effect with tremendous accuracy, yet they can be mass-produced at a fraction of the cost of the larger strobe units.

This the technology that drives Peterson’s StroboClip tuners, which attach easily to the headstock or bridge of most stringed instruments, or the bells of horns, for ease of use. The processor will quickly analyze the note struck on the instrument, and compare it to the preset information for the closest note to that being played.

Peterson StroboClip HD tuner

For the new StroboClip HD, Peterson has dramatically increased the resolution of the unit’s display, doubling the number of pixels available. As most of us know from cell phones and other hand-held devices, increased screen resolution means a clearer and sharper image, very helpful when trying to see precisely when the “wheel” stops.

This new unit also features Peterson’s Sweetened Tunings, which allows the user to adjust for the tuning variations or compromises that are required on different instruments. Over 50 of these presets are built into the software, including all the instruments of the bluegrass ensemble. The StroboClip HD also supports Peterson Connect, an online utility that enables the user to download and update the tuner’s firmware as new software is available.

The Peterson StroboClip HD sells for $59.95, and can be ordered directly from the manufacturer or purchased at music specialty stores worldwide.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.