Whatever type of music you produce, if you record acoustic string instruments, electric guitars or basses, you're going to need a reliable, accurate tuner. Peterson's Stomp Classic has the look and feel of the electro-mechanical Conn ST11 Strobotuner, but with the addition of features demanded by modern musicians, such as 'sweetened' tunings, settings for seven-string guitar and the ability to store custom tunings. Like its predecessor, the Peterson Stomp Classic is accurate to 0.1 cent and includes an active DI output. Its DI side is now more sophisticated, with 0, 10 or 20 dB pad settings, switchable ground-lift (that those acoustic guitar players using pickups, or bass players, may appreciate) and three modes: DI, TB or Mon. The DI mode is selected by default, so that both the XLR DI output and the jack output are muted while tuning, and the tuner display is only active when tuning. This isn't a true bypass mode (the DI circuitry is always fed from the input) but true bypass is available as an alternative when the DI isn't being used. For the aforementioned Mon setting, the tuner display remains active but the switch kills both outputs during tuning. A miniature three-way toggle on the back panel selects the desired mode.
The cast-metal case feels seriously substantial, and the Stomp Classic can be powered from a 9V battery or from a Boss style PSU. The battery drops into place beneath the pedal, with no awkward clips to line up, and the unit also comes with a three-year warranty against faults.
The Stomp Classic's amber LED display mimics the rotary wheel display of the Conn ST11, and because of this choice of display there's no polyphonic mode. The display backlight is adequate for most situations, though I'd recommend running the unit from a PSU where possible, as it can be a touch heavy on batteries. There are four lugs on the base that can be folded out to anchor the pedal to a pedalboard where necessary, and a metal 'roll bar' cable guard protects the XLR DI output at the end of the case.
The strobe display gives the illusion of rotating counter-clockwise to indicate a flat note or clockwise to indicate a sharp note. The note name and octave are displayed below. The aim is, of course, to get the display to stay still, as that indicates that you are in tune. By default, the unit comes with the DI active at a concert pitch of A=440Hz and is set for equal-temperament tuning.
Peterson tuners have a history of including sweetened tunings, with custom settings for various guitar and bass types, as well as for pedal steel, electric violin and banjo. For transposed tuning, you press the Menu button until the Drop/Capo Tuning parameter flashes, then use the plus or minus buttons to enter the required transposition (-6 to +5 semitones). The concert pitch can also be changed via the menu in a similar way (390Hz to A=490Hz in 1Hz steps).
If you need to create your own sweetened tunings, you can download a dedicated editor program from www.StroboStompClassic.com, which is also where you can check for any firmware updates. A miniature USB port on the pedal facilitates computer connection. The custom tuning software is actually very easy to use: you simply enter the note you need, then press an 'add' button each time to provide an on-screen tuning-offset slider for that note, before calling up the next one. Once you've added all the notes you need, you can offset the tuning of each note by the desired amount, before saving the result to your computer and sync'ing the pedal. A typical DIY sweetened tuning might be a 'best compromise' setting for a guitar that has limited intonation adjustments, such as a wrap-over bridge model or three-saddle Telecaster. Apparently, you can save up to 100 custom tunings, although I can't envisage ever needing that many, and it's possible to store up to nine preset combinations of Sweetener, Concert pitch value and Drop value. It's all pretty intuitive.
Overall, then, this tuner works beautifully and offers a helpfully smooth and stable display. Although there's no mic input, so you can't tune an acoustic instrument directly if it doesn't have a pickup, you can always take a line feed from your DAW or preamp to check any miked instruments.
The sweetened tunings of this pedal are useful: the GTR setting worked well for most of my guitars, but I also managed to create a custom setting to suit one of my wraparound tailpiece instruments. Whether you need an accurate tuner for live performance, verifying tuning in the studio or for doing instrument setups, the Peterson Stomp Classic should meet all your requirements. Paul White
£150 including VAT.$189.
The following sweetened tunings are available as standard:
- GTR: Sweetened for 6 String guitars.
- 7ST: Sweetened for 7 String guitars.
- BAS: Sweetened tuning for bass guitar when playing with piano.
- BFE: Guitars equipped with the Buzz Feiten Tuning System®*.
- BFB: Electric Bass Guitars equipped with the Buzz Feiten Tuning System®.
- BFA: Acoustic Guitars equipped with the Buzz Feiten Tuning System®.
- BF12: 12 String Guitars equipped with the Buzz Feiten Tuning System®.
- SE9: E9 tuning on pedal steel guitar (Sharp E's)
- SC6: C6 tuning on pedal steel guitar
- 0E9: E9 tuning on pedal steel guitar (E's at 00.0 cents)
- U12: Universal tuning on 12 string pedal steel guitar
- LA6: A6 settings for Lap Steel.