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Helix Guitar Tuner


guitaramj
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“I want...â€, “Why should we have to...â€, “They need to...â€, “I shouldn’t have to...†It’s been established that the tuner doesn’t work for everyone. Like the fuzzes. And the reverbs. And the stock cabs. Un-trigger yourself, grab a tuner you like, and get on with it.

 

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Pretty sure everyone has "gotten on with it". And nobody has been "triggered". 

But posts like yours are what cause ill will on this forum. 
People buy a Helix and are understandably wanting to know why it has a crappy tuner. New people buy them and they bring it up...and then immediately get insulted by people who THINK they are somehow the judge of what people can ask about on this forum.

Think about that a second. There's no need for insulting language and smart-aleck videos that make you feel smug about yourself. 
Real musicians that play professionally at gigs that require fast, silent tuning NEED a tuner that is stable. 

What they don't need are know-it-alls trying to tell them what they should or shouldn't do. 
There's nothing wrong with discussing this problem. 

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Far be it from me to tell anyone what they can or can't discuss, but I will say it seems to me that at this point we have collected enough data to determine the effectivenes of the "Endless Moaning" approach to resolving the tuner issues. Another option, and one that has worked well for folks who have had issues with the fuzzes, reverbs, stock cabs and other features, has been to find something that you DO like, use it in place of the thing that you DON'T like, and thus turn your frown upside down. It feels good to complain and vent, I get it, but at some point it also feels good to eliminate your problem using the options available to you. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Far be it from me to tell anyone what they can or can't discuss, but I will say it seems to me that at this point we have collected enough data to determine the effectivenes of the "Endless Moaning" approach to resolving the tuner issues. Another option, and one that has worked well for folks who have had issues with the fuzzes, reverbs, stock cabs and other features, has been to find something that you DO like, use it in place of the thing that you DON'T like, and thus turn your frown upside down. It feels good to complain and vent, I get it, but at some point it also feels good to eliminate your problem using the options available to you. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

 

Hey man, you're ruining my righteous indignation with practicality!!!   :P

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Far be it from me to tell anyone what they can or can't discuss, but I will say it seems to me that at this point we have collected enough data to determine the effectivenes of the "Endless Moaning" approach to resolving the tuner issues.

You're missing the point...I've owned my Helix since Oct. 2015 (the first shipment from Sweetwater). So yeah...I know the tuner sucks.

BUT...if a guy buys a Helix tomorrow and starts working with it...and then he seeks out this forum to find answers, he doesn't need your "expertise" to tell him he is "endless moaning". 

 

You aren't the only person on this forum and everyone's situation is different. Our job here is to be HELPFUL to our fellow musicians. Not make snide remarks about "endless moaning".  

 

Think about that for a second...you just got your Helix. You're excited. Then you find the forum full of fellow Helix users. Now you are really excited. And then you post up about the tuner (first time ever) and BOOM...you get a smartass remark from somebody being a jerk. 

It's not cool.

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In reviewing this thread (I'm assuming that our theoretical scenario is referring to this thread) I didn't see any snark directed at the OP. I did see some good advice from guys who have managed to make the most of the Helix tuner: Check the tuner input setting, use the neck pickup, roll off the tone, try the 12th fret harmonic. The OPs solution: keeping his TU3 tuner. Good thinking, and props to the OP for his practicality. The first snark I saw was actually directed at the people who claim the tuner is usable and looked like this:

 

Yeah brother...you are hitting the infamous Helix Tuner. 
It turns out (according to some here) that the Helix Tuner is just TOO GOOD to be able to actually work like it's supposed to. lol

It does actually work better once you set the tuner to guitar only. But it's still a piece of garbage. 

It's just barely stable enough to be used onstage (of course no professional guitarist is going to be trying to tune with only a few seconds between songs and spend time turning down tone knobs...hell, I have a Floyd Rose Redmond Series Model K that doesn't even HAVE a tone knob).

But it's definitely not accurate enou...excuse me...it's definitely TOO GOOD to be able to use it quickly and efficiently in the studio. And even onstage it just takes too damn long to tune. 
I'd say go ahead and grab a SNARK and forget about the Helix tuner. 
I have fought with mine since I first got the Helix back in Oct. of 2015 AND I made vids with my guitar hooked up to a rackmount tuner and a boss pedal tuner at the same time as the Helix and showed the other 2 tuners accurately and quickly and with STABILITY "grabbing" the note and getting me in tune while the Helix was wavering about.

It sucks. But there's nothing you can do about it.
Snark is cheap. Grab one and enjoy the great sounds of the Helix.  The tuner is a lost cause.

 

Such condescension toward people with a different experience!

 

...and then you post up about the tuner and BOOM...you get a smartass remark from somebody being a jerk. 
It's not cool.

 

I know, right?

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Sure man. If you think you were just being helpful...then go ahead. And if you think I'm the jerk for getting sick and tired of people getting slammed for asking about the tuner...that's fine too. I just want to have a community of like-minded people, but I should know better than to think a group of guitarists are all gonna get along. lol 
It sure as hell never worked that way in "real life", so I don't know what I was thinking...  :)

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It's a problem that hasn't been resolved in good faith by Line 6.  When anyone spends $1000-$1500 on a guitar processor they probably don't expect to find that they just need to be sure to keep the $9 Snark tuner clipped on their headstock, and I'd be in that group.  

 

So all of us inferior newbies should just acquiesce to the superiority of the long term members who see this issue as passe', and feel the need to comment as such?  If you've been here a while maybe it's you that needs to get a grip, you don't have to reply to every "the tuner stinks" post with a snarky reply.  Just keep scrolling, no post required.  Some of you guys make me think of that one guy we all know with the hot girlfriend, who's a known cheater, he can't stand her infidelities, but she's so hot he can't give her up either.  Face the truth, there's a problem.

 

This is my 5th multi effect pedal since 1994, and I've played through two others that weren't mine, the Helix is the only one with a bad tuner, yes the only one.  Well this is a piece of technology, and to quote Kenan Thompson "FIX IT!!"

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It's a problem that hasn't been resolved in good faith by Line 6.  When anyone spends $1000-$1500 on a guitar processor they probably don't expect to find that they just need to be sure to keep the $9 Snark tuner clipped on their headstock, and I'd be in that group.  

 

So all of us inferior newbies should just acquiesce to the superiority of the long term members who see this issue as passe', and feel the need to comment as such?  If you've been here a while maybe it's you that needs to get a grip, you don't have to reply to every "the tuner stinks" post with a snarky reply.  Just keep scrolling, no post required.  Some of you guys make me think of that one guy we all know with the hot girlfriend, who's a known cheater, he can't stand her infidelities, but she's so hot he can't give her up either.  Face the truth, there's a problem.

 

This is my 5th multi effect pedal since 1994, and I've played through two others that weren't mine, the Helix is the only one with a bad tuner, yes the only one.  Well this is a piece of technology, and to quote Kenan Thompson "FIX IT!!"

 

Line 6 did update the tuner back when the 2.0 update was released... So you can't realistically accuse them of not listening to people. Prior to that update, people complained the tuner wasn't sensitive enough.

 

Honestly, if you want something done about, posting rants here won't do anything. Vote on IdeaScale. That's the mechanism Line 6 uses to evaluate these things and to judge the churn around these items.

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I've changed my mind. The tuner is indeed an unmitigated disaster of Biblical proportions. Not only are we all $1000-$1500 poorer, but we should all be overcome by waves of paralytic fear that it may never again be possible to play in tune.

 

On the other hand, if that ever starts to seem silly for some strange reason, we can just tune up with something else, until there's a fix from above...

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Honestly, if you want something done about, posting rants here won't do anything. Vote on IdeaScale. That's the mechanism Line 6 uses to evaluate these things and to judge the churn around these items.

THIS ^ ^ ^ ! ! !

 

 

Some of you guys make me think of that one guy we all know with the hot girlfriend, who's a known cheater, he can't stand her infidelities, but she's so hot he can't give her up either.

...very weird & fanciful comparison...

I bought Helix. I'm not engaged with it...

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Yesterday, I was recording a quick song for an assignment for a class.

 

I couldn't locate my "real" tuner... so I had to use Helix. It was sure to be a disaster!

 

Only... it wasn't...

I've seen the videos, I don't know that any of them are a clear indicator one way or the other (including my own).

But I do know that when I tune properly, using Helix's tuner, my guitar gets in tune... just fine... every time...

...enough people are complaining, sure... maybe they'll do something, but I still don't see it in my daily use.

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FYI Regarding videos showing Helix tuner performance, this one shows basically what I go through every time - jittery and inaccurate:

 

btw, all due respect, I think this tuning technique might cause problems. (Not sure if you actually tune this way, tho).

 

If you tune based on the later decay of the note (in some cases I hear guys tune after the note has been playing for several seconds), when most notes you play on guitar are probably at the attack, you'll end up wacky out of tune anyway.

 

This is why I keep plucking the note over and over and tune to the attack. Maybe that's why I have fewer problems than others do? I don't know.

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btw, all due respect, I think this tuning technique might cause problems. (Not sure if you actually tune this way, tho).

 

If you tune based on the later decay of the note (in some cases I hear guys tune after the note has been playing for several seconds), when most notes you play on guitar are probably at the attack, you'll end up wacky out of tune anyway.

 

This is why I keep plucking the note over and over and tune to the attack. Maybe that's why I have fewer problems than others do? I don't know.

Lol...HUGE can of worms, man. Stand by to be pilloried for suggesting that perhaps those who are having issues don't know how to use a tuner....

 

Can't wait to see how this one plays out.😉

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Yes, many people don't like the way the tuner works. No, there is no known fix on the horizon. There, whew!!! Done for  now.

 

One thing that helps me is to just use the arrows on each side of the notes name. When they're both lit, you're in tune. Still not perfect but I'm a pragmatist. I take what I have and find a solution. This is one. Buying a separate tuner is another.

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btw, all due respect, I think this tuning technique might cause problems. (Not sure if you actually tune this way, tho).

 

If you tune based on the later decay of the note (in some cases I hear guys tune after the note has been playing for several seconds), when most notes you play on guitar are probably at the attack, you'll end up wacky out of tune anyway.

 

This is why I keep plucking the note over and over and tune to the attack. Maybe that's why I have fewer problems than others do? I don't know.

 

There are two schools of thought on this. Yours is one. The other is that the physical act of plucking a string stretches it and makes it initially go slightly sharp (or flat I can't remember), so you're supposed to wait a second. I personally don't know which is true. I tend to pluck a lot but I also wait about a second before honing in.

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There are two schools of thought on this. Yours is one. The other is that the physical act of plucking a string stretches it and makes it initially go slightly sharp (or flat I can't remember), so you're supposed to wait a second. I personally don't know which is true. I tend to pluck a lot but I also wait about a second before honing in.

 

Well, I think it's definitely true that the majority of what you hear from a guitar is the initial attack, at least for the most popular styles. But I think the big is trying to hit the string with the same amount of force as you would when you're actually playing. I see some players pluck super lightly when tuning, and then they do that, they tend to be a little sharp when they're actually playing because they hit the strings much harder. If someone is super aggressive in their playing style, they might actually want to tune a little flat to compensate.

 

A lot of interesting stuff in this article: http://www.endino.com/archive/tuningnightmares.html

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There are two schools of thought on this. Yours is one. The other is that the physical act of plucking a string stretches it and makes it initially go slightly sharp (or flat I can't remember), so you're supposed to wait a second. I personally don't know which is true. I tend to pluck a lot but I also wait about a second before honing in.

 

 

I do know which is true. The note you want to tune is the one most like the one you'll be actually playing in music.

 

If I pluck a string and it is 5 cents sharp at the outset, and settles down 5cents over a second or two and then I tune it based on the second or two later, and I'm playing quarter notes and faster... I will always be 5 cents sharp except for the note's decay.

 

It's simple logic, really.

 

Of course, if you use heavier strings, more often this is little or no consequence. 

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Here's another quick tip. Gravity matters, too.

Especially when doing intonation.

Ever seen someone tune or intonate a guitar while it's lying on its back?

 

Don't do this. Intonate a guitar while holding it in playing position.

 

I used to have some friends who had me do this on their guitars because they didn't know why when they did intonation it didn't work out right.

 

So one day one of these friends watched me do it, because when I described how it's done, they said, "Yeah, that's what I do! Why does it work for you and not me?!"

When he noticed that I held my guitar in playing position, he went "CRAP! THAT is ALL I had to DO?!?!?!?!?!"

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I think there's some kind of product design rule floating around here. Something like (help me out here):

"If a simple-to-use tool requires extensive rationalization for poor performance that's experienced by many users, maybe it's the tool and not the user."

If you go to corresponding forums for high-performance tuners like the Korg in the video, would you see so many unhappy users getting "the tuner's fine", "you don't know how to use it", "you have a bad ear", and "if you don't like it, buy a different one" replies? It'd be different for a cutting-edge and complex tool, but not a bloody tuner. Here's the user manual: "Play a note, turn the key until green, and repeat." This tuner fails for many of us. Sorry Line6, but your tuner is still kind of a stinker. The rest of the product rocks.

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I do know which is true. The note you want to tune is the one most like the one you'll be actually playing in music.

 

If I pluck a string and it is 5 cents sharp at the outset, and settles down 5cents over a second or two and then I tune it based on the second or two later, and I'm playing quarter notes and faster... I will always be 5 cents sharp except for the note's decay.

 

It's simple logic, really.

 

Of course, if you use heavier strings, more often this is little or no consequence. 

 

But I play all kinds of notes. Fast and slow. Picked hard and soft. If I only played one kind of note, your simple logic would work. But I don't.

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But I play all kinds of notes. Fast and slow. Picked hard and soft. If I only played one kind of note, your simple logic would work. But I don't.

 

Would you rather start sharp on every single note or go a little flat on only the longer ones? 

 

Try this. tune to the decay, and then record a passage.

 

Tune to the attack, and record the same passage.

 

That will tell you which way you should go.

 

Also, players with severe playing dynamics (I am one, too), serve themselves and their music well by using heavier strings than the next guy. .011s on my (now only) electric, and .012s on my acoustics.

 

If you have a lot of dynamics and play with .009 strings, no tuner will ever work.

 

Lastly, old strings will make all tuners work $#!††y. Y'all ARE doing these tests with new strings... right...?

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btw, all due respect, I think this tuning technique might cause problems. (Not sure if you actually tune this way, tho).

 

If you tune based on the later decay of the note (in some cases I hear guys tune after the note has been playing for several seconds), when most notes you play on guitar are probably at the attack, you'll end up wacky out of tune anyway.

 

This is why I keep plucking the note over and over and tune to the attack. Maybe that's why I have fewer problems than others do? I don't know.

It's a floyd rose guitar with fine tuners. You literally can't pluck the string and get to the fine tuners to tune without letting a few milliseconds go by. 

No problems with any other tuner I have. 

No problems with the tuner I had on other Line 6 products either: HD 500 tuned great for instance. And every tuner I've ever used since the late 1970's. 

Most tuners needed a few milliseconds to "grab" the note anyway. That seems to be the problem with Helix in my opinion...it never stabilizes and zeroes in on the note, just keeps jumping about.

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It's a floyd rose guitar with fine tuners. You literally can't pluck the string and get to the fine tuners to tune without letting a few milliseconds go by. 

No problems with any other tuner I have. 

No problems with the tuner I had on other Line 6 products either: HD 500 tuned great for instance. And every tuner I've ever used since the late 1970's. 

Most tuners needed a few milliseconds to "grab" the note anyway. That seems to be the problem with Helix in my opinion...it never stabilizes and zeroes in on the note, just keeps jumping about.

 

a few ms is nothing.

 

A few seconds and I think you have a technique issue, and I see that too much.

 

That, btw, is one of the reasons I abandoned FR terms about 25 years ago and never looked back.

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a few ms is nothing.

 

A few seconds and I think you have a technique issue, and I see that too much.

 

That, btw, is one of the reasons I abandoned FR terms about 25 years ago and never looked back.

I understand what you're thinking...but there really isn't any need for "technique" when using a guitar tuner. Yes, I've seen you post about using the neck pickup and rolling off the tone...that just shouldn't be necessary to use a guitar tuner.

 

I have used a lot of different tuners professionally over the decades. None of them required me to do any of that. And they all worked great. Fast, silent, accurate.  

Those three things were figured out in the 1970's for onstage guitar tuners. No jumping through hoops or extra stuff required.

 

And as I have said to you in other tuner threads...some of my guitars don't even HAVE a tone control. lol

For instance...my Floyd Rose Redmond Series Model K guitar. No tone control. 

And plenty of guitarists get rid of their tone controls (bypass them) because they want less wiring in between the pickup and their amp. 

 

So no...I don't think that any tuner out there needs to have you use some sort of skill or technique to tune a guitar.  The Helix tuner is unfortunately the weak aspect of the unit. I love everything else about it. And I don't worry about it anymore as I said before. I was just using my Boss tuner. And now I eliminated that too because I just got myself a 2018 Les Paul HP Standard. And it has the Gibson G-Force "Robo-Tuners" on it. So now all I have to do is push a button on my guitar, strum all the strings at once...and watch it tune itself in a second. :)

 

But it doesn't change that the tuner on the Helix has problems. And new people on the forum are always going to ask about it. Hopefully some of the techniques you have talked about can help them use the Helix tuner more accurately...but I'm thinking that most pro players who are playing live gigs will just end up using an external tuner for fast and accurate tuning between songs.

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Line 6 did update the tuner back when the 2.0 update was released... So you can't realistically accuse them of not listening to people. Prior to that update, people complained the tuner wasn't sensitive enough.

 

Honestly, if you want something done about, posting rants here won't do anything. Vote on IdeaScale. That's the mechanism Line 6 uses to evaluate these things and to judge the churn around these items.

 

 

I didn't know about IdeaScale, thanks!

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I understand what you're thinking...but there really isn't any need for "technique" when using a guitar tuner. ...

 

 

yes... and no...

 

I don't play 3 hour sets, so most of my tuning is laid back and I can be super-critical. I can "fix tuning" in a few seconds, but never have to. I'm either recording at home or playing in worship environments where there's no more than 2 or 3 songs in a row. So, I take 2 or 3 minutes to tune my instrument and really get it right. Not close... but right.

 

But there is a bit of technique.

 

If you play the strings real quiet when tuning and then hit them like sledgehammers when you play, your tuning will be crap.

 

If you tune down to a note (UGH I HATE WHEN PEOPLE DO THIS!) you'll go out of tune before the first chorus.

 

There's technique.

 

and for the record, I never turn my tone control down really, although I do generally flip to my neck pickup. Have done that for decades I think.

 

All that to say, that it's probably not a bad idea for L6 to address what a lot of people seem to NOT like about the tuner.

 

Still (hides...) it works great for me every time.

 

Now ask me about the tuner in my old Yamaha AG Stomp. That is worthless...

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Honestly, if you want something done about, posting rants here won't do anything. Vote on IdeaScale. That's the mechanism Line 6 uses to evaluate these things and to judge the churn around these items.

I did this a while back, and then submitted a customer service request, which I was told gets attention. I suggest folks do that too, I guess. I just did a very quick ideascale search and found multiple tuner-improvement requests, with a total # votes > 1000, which, if correct, would make it #3. Make what you will of that.

Going back to the "you're not using it correctly" comment, I just received a Turbo Tuner ( https://www.turbo-tuner.com/ ) that I ordered per a recommendation here. Now that is a tuner. When they say to turn the peg until the display stops rotating (or simply slows way down) and then you're perfectly in tune, they are correct. Compare that to what happens when you do the same with the Helix (they say you're in perfect tune when the two white <> are on). Try this (I posted above): Detune your strings alternating sharp and flat, and then tune down/up until the second white <> just barely comes on. Just try it for ha-has. Do that at a gig, and you and your out-of-tune guitar will not be invited back.

Here's an ideascale idea: Line6: Contract your tuner out to the Turbo Tuner folks! :)

Again: Helix is a great product, and for most stuff the Line6 folks are super-responsive to customers. It's just that they haven't got the tuner good enough for a lot of us yet.

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Although I grant you there is a little bit more technique required for proper tuning, responding to an experienced guitarist who is having a problem with the tuner with recommendations on how to tune is like responding to a Yelp restaurant review by telling everyone who posted a negative review "no their meal was fine, they just did not eat it correctly". Short of sticking the fork in their cheek or smothering everything with ketchup you can probably safely assume they have mastered the complicated art of dining out. I get that people are just trying to help with techniques that minimize the problem and it is appreciated. It is of course expected that there may be a few novices or outliers with ridiculous expectations or complaints who can be discounted. Enough negative reviews though would generally steer you (and the restaurant owner) towards thinking there is an issue with the food or service and not the people dining there. I know the community is just trying to be helpful but the problem here is not with tuning technique. Others are trying to assist with suggestions to use alternate tuners but it still appears the best outcome would be to provide either a different "performance" mode for the tuner that is not as sensitive or an overall more stable tuner that finds the right balance between speed(stability) and sensitivity(granularity).

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Although I grant you there is a little bit more technique required for proper tuning, responding to an experienced guitarist who is having a problem with the tuner with recommendations on how to tune is like responding to a Yelp restaurant review by telling everyone who posted a negative review "no their meal was fine, they just did not eat it correctly". Short of sticking the fork in their cheek or smothering everything with ketchup you can probably safely assume they have mastered the complicated art of dining out. I get that people are just trying to help with techniques that minimize the problem and it is appreciated. It is of course expected that there may be a few novices or outliers with ridiculous expectations or complaints who can be discounted. Enough negative reviews though would generally steer you (and the restaurant owner) towards thinking there is an issue with the food or service and not the people dining there. I know the community is just trying to be helpful but the problem here is not with tuning technique. Others are trying to assist with suggestions to use alternate tuners but it still appears the best outcome would be to provide either a different "performance" mode for the tuner that is not as sensitive or an overall more stable tuner that finds the right balance between speed(stability) and sensitivity(granularity).

Yet thats exactly what people here do when people say Helix sounds bad or digital or whatever do this and do that have you tried this and that bla bla

People ssems to accept that but the tuner no way??

Not even when it didnt have the upper row.

I say LEARN how the tuner works and youll be fine its exactly like learning how to dial in the tones you want

It want just happen if you dont do something yourself aswell.

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I did this a while back, and then submitted a customer service request, which I was told gets attention. I suggest folks do that too, I guess. I just did a very quick ideascale search and found multiple tuner-improvement requests, with a total # votes > 1000, which, if correct, would make it #3. Make what you will of that.

Going back to the "you're not using it correctly" comment, I just received a Turbo Tuner ( https://www.turbo-tuner.com/ ) that I ordered per a recommendation here. Now that is a tuner. When they say to turn the peg until the display stops rotating (or simply slows way down) and then you're perfectly in tune, they are correct. Compare that to what happens when you do the same with the Helix (they say you're in perfect tune when the two white <> are on). Try this (I posted above): Detune your strings alternating sharp and flat, and then tune down/up until the second white <> just barely comes on. Just try it for ha-has. Do that at a gig, and you and your out-of-tune guitar will not be invited back.

Here's an ideascale idea: Line6: Contract your tuner out to the Turbo Tuner folks! :)

Again: Helix is a great product, and for most stuff the Line6 folks are super-responsive to customers. It's just that they haven't got the tuner good enough for a lot of us yet.

Yes thats one of the best pedal tuner along with Peterson Strobostomp (some say its even better than Strobostomp) but you want do a quick tuning when playing live with it so you will be standing there for a while until you are in tune just like you would with the Helix tuner when my upper row stops at the green on my Helix i am in tune

However it is so sensitive so as soon as the string starts to die out a very short while after it stopped on green for a very short while the upper row blocks starts to jump left/right.

So for me i always know i am in tune when the upper row is on green for a short while then i tune the next string

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...I just received a Turbo Tuner ( https://www.turbo-tuner.com/ ) that I ordered per a recommendation here. Now that is a tuner...

 

 

So, you're comparing a tuner that is built-in to a box designed to do other things to the very best thing on the market in a standalone tuner.

 

The Tuner in Helix will probably never be as good as a TT.

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