I never warmed up to digital instrument tuners -- I find them ok, but dislike the "nervousness" -- watching this little needle/lights twitch to and fro & settle. All I need to tune an instrument is to hear some known pitch. Pitch-pipes serve this purpose, but, for example, I own at least a couple of pitch-pipes --- as to where they are in my rooms-full of junk, that's another matter!
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Anyhow, I came up with this super simple, on-instrument pitch reference
constructed from a few penny's worth of materials: one large-sized bobby pin,
one screw and a few bits of scrap wood. I super-glued this tiny thing
permanently to the shell of my home-made banjo (players of fancy instruments
may opt to attach it another way) & always have a pitch reference handy.
If, of course, you'd rather not glue this thing to your instrument, you might
do as I also did -- I peeled-back a small bit of "padding" from my fiddle case
-- down to the bare wood & likewise installed one on the inside of this case.
Just make sure it's in an out-of-the-way place inside the case.
I keep mine in the key of D (my very favoirite fiddling and clawhammering
key) but obviously any note will work fine.
UPDATE a week later: Been experimenting along these lines.
I found that a reed from a discarded harmonica makes a nice "on-instrument"
pitch reference too. Less in-the-way than above bobbypin arrangement.
This photo is self -explanitory:
These harmonica-reed twangers, while not loud, can be easily heard when
plucked. The tailpiece-mounted version is a considerably louder than the
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