The StroboPick

The StroboPick is a small guitar tuner in the form of a guitar pick. Rather than measuring the frequency of the sound your guitar makes, the strobopick is like a miniature strobe light that allows you to see when the string is vibrating at the correct pitch. This allows you to tune extremely accurately and also has the advantage of working in noisy environments

The unit has one small button, two red and green led’s and a tiny little buzzer. To tune your guitar with the StroboPick, you first press the button and hold it down. The strobopick will emit tone which is the pitch of the low E string and the LEDs will flash rapidly. Still holding the button down, pick the low E string on your guitar with the tip of the strobopick and hold the tuner near the string. Illimunated by the flashing LEDs the string will look like two lines, one red and one green moving that move back and forth relative to each other. As you tune the string closer to pitch the red and green lines will appear to move slower, when they come to a stop, you are in tune. To tune the next string, just click and hold the button again and the StroboPick will emit an A. Repeat the tuning process again on the A string. each press of the button cycles to the next string until you get to the high E and then it starts all over again.

The manufacturer also incorporated features that help you tune visually even if you can’t hear the buzzer, to know what current pitch you are on. One is that If you leave it unpressed for about 10 seconds it will blink quickly and then reset itself to the low E string no matter what string you were on. This way you know whenever you pick it up, you are starting with the low E. Also as you cycle through pitches the strobopick will indicate the E, D and B strings, by quickly flashing both LEDs once for low E, one of the LEDs for D and the other for B. This is well thought out design

The main drawbacks to the strobpick are: it is fixed at 440 hz reference, so you can only tune to concert pitch and you can only use it for standard tuning, EADGBE, although you can order a custom strobopick for an alternate tuning. As well they make other units with tunings for other stringed instruments. And these aren’t actually drawbacks as much as design choices since they allow the unit to have a very simple interface.

I also find that it is easier to see on the thicker wound strings and sometimes rather difficult to see on the thinner strings, especially very light guage electric strings.

I’ve had one of these for a while now and I find I use it fairly often. It’s easy to carry–unfortunately that makes it easy to misplace as well, luckily it always seems to turn up again. Plus it is a very unique device which gives it a bit of a “Wow” factor. At 34.95 it is rather inexpensive as well. I definately reccomend it.

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You can learn more about the StroboPick as well as watch a video of how it works at http://www.strobotron.com/

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