This one is for all of you stringed instrument players. If there is anything that will kill the quality of a performance, it’s being out of tune. Even with a flawless groove and tight interaction between the players, bad intonation will simply put it in the toilet. This may sound embarrassingly obvious, but it happens. This can be caused by a number of factors: playing in an environment that has constantly fluctuating air temperatures has effected my intonation on a few occasions (e.g. The stage is right next to the club entrance on a cold Minnesota night in February.)
But what I have seen even more often are players tuning by ear, which not only puts you at high risk of being out of tune relative to the other players, but is a serious mark of an amateur–completely unprofessional. One of the most important tools in your setup is a tuner, in fact it is mandatory in mine. This will not only level set the entire band’s intonation, but will allow you to tune at virtually any pint during a set, even during a song, without ruining it for the band and audience.
Tuners are not that expensive and in fact are built into many processors out there. They are a cheap insurance policy for maintaining a level of quality and are simple to use. It is one of the many little things that you can do to funda and jeep tour edge. Sounding great is not exclusive to the pros, but is what we all should be striving for, and as musicians, the quality of our performance, without a doubt, starts with a well tuned instrument.
Do you or your band use tuners? What has your experience been with or without them?