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Early History
In 1948, 10 years after the invention of the strobe tuner, Chicago-based Peterson Electro-Musical Products began building instrument tuners under the direction of Dick Peterson, a pioneer of solid state electronics. The first Peterson tuner was the Model 150 in 1952. This was updated to become the Model 200 in 1959 and the design was advanced to solid state with the Model 300 in 1966.

Realizing the need for a lightweight but accurate device, Peterson engineer Bill Hass built the first battery powered handheld tuner, the Model 70, in 1964.

Peterson Strobe Tuners - Model 70 picture blue background
Peterson Strobe Tuners - Model 400 Strobe tuner. The first Solid-State strobe.
Look Familiar?
The first Peterson strobe tuner, called the Model 400, was introduced in 1967. It was the first solid-state strobe tuner, did not require calibration, and allowed musicians to select one-cent increments. This was a major breakthrough for the strobe tuner and helped pave the way for Peterson to become the leading tuner company in the world.

With rock musicians´ increasing fascination with all things technical and the accompanying strive for perfection in the audio arena, the strobe tuner began to be a common sight on stage and in the recording studio. Many will recall first seeing the mysterious flickering dials behind such luminaries as the Grateful Dead, The Who, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young et al. Peterson tuners also took their place as a must-have in the road cases of their touring crews, which continues today!


Stage and Studio
By the 70s, the guitar community had adopted the strobe tuner backstage and in studios, but the everyday player wanted to have a tuner that was within their budget.

Many companies, most of which are now long gone, entered the tuner market with a great variety of tuning types using everything from LEDs to flashing numbers and needles. Satisfying the desires of some of the market, a few companies survived and did well with their consumer grade tuners.

Peterson Strobe Tuners - Georgio Moroder in studio with Stroboconn
Peterson Strobe Tuners - Peterson Model 100 Guitar Tuner
Model 100
In 1980 Peterson introduced the first dedicated guitar tuner, the Model 100. The Model 100 used the strobe concept to create a rolling LED display indicating the error in pitch by the speed of the rolling LEDs. This is not the same as what people are calling “strobe mode” in some of today’s tuners. Peterson's strobe method even in the 1970s allowed much better accuracy than the consumer brands of then and today. The Model 100 found great success in the early '80s and was sold for nearly a decade.

Interestingly, in 2006 a company introduced a tuner using the same LED strobe method that Peterson used in the Model 100, touting it as new. “What’s new is old”?

In the '80s, the strobe tuner continued its dominance, with rivaling manufacturers striving but failing to emulate the elusive strobe display by other means. The Conn tuner dynasty faded to an end in 1985, and what was left of their Strobotuner division was bought by Peterson. Peterson continues to service the Conn tuner line and provide documentation and parts for Conn tuner products.

Peterson Strobe Tuners - Print image of Strobe Center 5000
Peterson Strobe Tuners - Hi Res image
The Strobe Evolution
The nineties were the beginning of another new era for the strobe tuner. Peterson made the first significant change to the spinning wheel strobe since it introduced the Model 400 in the late 60’s. Employing new stepper motors controlled by microprocessors, Strobe Center 5000™ was born. This entirely new design allowed this 12-wheel strobe to change keys, temperaments, and even load stretch tuning tables into its memory bank!

The SC5000™ was followed by a line of AutoStrobe™ tuners, which included the same new patented technology as the SC5000. The AutoStrobes™ selected the note automatically and also were programmable and included lots of different tempered tunings. The spinning wheel strobe was alive, well, and thriving at Peterson!

Virtual Strobe™ Introduction
As with many breakthrough products, the Virtual Strobe™ product line quickly evolved and following the success of the VS-1™, in 2003 Peterson introduced the VS-II™ with an improved display, additional features, and Sweetened Tunings™. The VS line was selling great in U.S. and foreign markets. With orders and requests to tailor the technology to other market segments pouring in, further development continued. In late 2003, Peterson introduced the V-SAM™ model adding audio output speaker and a metronome to the feature set of the popular VS-II.

Peterson Strobe Tuners - V-sam front view
Peterson Strobe Tuners - High res image
Back in the Light
In 2004, the new StroboStomp™ put the Virtual Strobe™ into a stomp box format with 100% true bypass switching. There was an active DI built in and it was constructed to take the abuse of the road.

For a change, the strobe tuner was on the stage with the stars rather than back stage!

The Peterson Strobo Era Begins
When the StroboStomp™ was introduced, Peterson began using the Strobo™ name for all of its new Virtual Strobe™ line. This was in response to seeing digital tuner makers try to trade on the word “Strobe” by saying that their tuners had “strobe mode”, strobing LEDs etc. ...an attempt to try to mislead musicians into thinking they were getting the accuracy of a strobe when they were not. Peterson had acquired the trademarked Strobo™ name with the rest of the assets of the Conn tuner line in the '80s. All new products in the Virtual Strobe™ line would now carry the Strobo™ prefix to assure the musician that it is indeed a real Peterson strobe.

Peterson Strobe Tuners - StroboStomp_Logo small Peterson Strobe Tuners - Peterson Strobe Tuners StroboFlip Logo Peterson Strobe Tuners - StroboRack logo
Peterson Strobe Tuners - Stomp2 logo
Peterson Strobe Tuners - Peterson Strobe Tuners Sweeteners Logo
The Sweet Sound of...
The number of Sweetened Tunings™ (special tunings for particular instruments, see link to page describing sweeteners) continued to grow, as did the number of Peterson tuner fans. These Sweetened Tunings™ weren’t possible without the precision of the strobe and needed to be dialed in on older strobes by techs who knew the secrets to getting the most from an instrument. With the VS line, Peterson was able to gather these secrets and load their offsets into our Sweetener™ bank. The newer Virtual Strobes™ allowed the user to program their own Sweeteners™: Tuning Utopia!

Software Strobe?
With the proliferation of computer recording equipment sweeping the industry, Peterson had many requests to design a software tuning package that included the accuracy and versatility of a strobe tuner.

In 2005, Peterson introduced StroboSoft™. StroboSoft offers cross-platform versatility, a full complement of exclusive Sweetened Tunings™, and unlimited programmability for musicians, producers, and engineers.

Professional tuning options are included that cover a wide selection of preset alternate tunings, various instrument presets, and selectable temperaments.

Peterson Strobe Tuners - StroboSoft Chromatic Screen
Peterson Strobe Tuners - StroboFlip large image

Small Size, Big Punch
In 2006 the VS-II™ was replaced with the StroboFlip™. The StroboFlip™ answered requests for a smaller package with more Sweeteners™ and a way to have the tuner handy for a performing musician that doesn't use a pedal board. The StroboFlip came with a "Pitch Holder™" that connects to the tuner with it's tripod-like mount and clamps onto any music or mic stand. A strobe tuner in plain sight during a performance was a welcome addition to the Peterson line.

StroboFlip™ also included settings for pedal steel guitars and, for the first time, specific tunings for orchestral strings. This element of the industry had never been served by a tuner that properly tuned the open strings of the violin, viola or cello. Another group of musicians served by the strobe!



Best made Better
2007 saw the StroboStomp™ replaced by the StroboStomp2™. Sporting even more Sweetened Tunings™ that catered to its increased user base of steel players and other adopters, the StroboStomp2 continued to be the choice among professionals. Increased user presets and longer battery life made the best selling pedal tuner even better.

Peterson Strobe Tuners - Front
Peterson Strobe Tuners - StroboRack

Rack Mounted Accuracy
That was not all for 2007: the StroboRack™ model made its debut that year as well. The StroboRack™ represented the ultimate in Virtual Strobe Technology™ in a rack package. With a huge tuning display visible from across the stage and an even larger group of preprogrammed Sweeteners™, the Rack was a sure hit.

Mobile Tuning Apps for Apple® Devices
Peterson Tuners released a Virtual Strobe™ tuning application in 2009 as a professional-grade tuning app for Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch. The application leverages the Virtual Strobe display and provides chromatic tuning with Peterson's renowned standard tuning resolution of 0.1 cent.

In 2010, Peterson released a native iPad® version that offered unique functions on the iPad devices that included VGA output support for classroom usage and manual note selection. An adaptor cable designed specifically for use with the Apple devices was also introduced to support the app and offer users an entry-level package solution.

Peterson Strobe Tuners - iPod iPhone iStroboSoft
Peterson Strobe Tuners - mandolin stroboclip
SC-1 StroboClip™ Tuner
The StroboClip, introduced in 2010, is the world's first strobe tuner in a clip-on form. It contains a large preset list of Sweetened Tunings for a variety of acoustic instruments but can be used for electric guitar and bass players during on-stage performance. The StroboClip became the first hardware tuner to feature the correct interval tuning for not just guitars and basses, but also for such diverse instruments as bagpipes, oud, banjo, sitar and Arabic maqamat (Eastern temperaments).

BBS-1 BodyBeat Sync®
With the feedback received from BB1 BodyBeat (circa 2008) users, the all new BBS-1 Body Beat Sync was released in November 2010. This unique metronome received rave reviews because of its feature set, unlimited programmability, Tempo Map creation and playback, the ability to see, hear or feel the rhythm, and lastly but most intriguingly, the ability to wirelessly broadcast a complex tempo to other BodyBeat Sync units in order to have everyone in sync. Synchronicity on a scale never possible before.

Another first - and the only major change to happen in metronomic devices in years. It’s also environmentally friendly, requiring no expensive and wasteful battery changes, plug it into a USB socket to charge for up to eight hours of wireless use.

Peterson Strobe Tuners - Sync-Clip
Peterson Strobe Tuners - StroboStomp Classic pictured with Conn St-11
VSS-C Stomp Classic™
In 2011 came the Stomp Classic, with Peterson paying homage to the venerable Conn ST-11 Strobotuner. Classic styling with all “Mod-Cons” so to speak! The Stomp Classic sports a HD screen, the same 0.1 cent detect and display accuracy, USB multi-octave programmability,

100% True Bypass switching via 3PDT footswitch, and a phantom power compatible active DI with full attenuation controls. All housed in a robust metal housing with integrated pedalboard lugs. The Stomp Classic is gracing the pedalboards of the most notable guitarists and bassists in the world today.

What's next?

Peterson Strobe Tuners - Strobe image art
Stay tuned: We're still hard at work providing the finest tuning equipment in the world!

Home

Products
   Strobe Tuners
     Mechanical
       AutoStrobe 490
       AutoStrobe 490ST
       AutoStrobe 590
       Node 8001
       SC5000-II
     Virtual
       StroboClip Clip-On
       StroboPlus HD
       StroboRack
       Stomp Classic
     Software / Mobile
       StroboSoft 2.0
       iStroboSoft iPad
       iStroboSoft iPod/iPhone/Android
   Metronomes
     BodyBeat Sync
     StroboPLUS HD Metronome Upgrade
   Sonuus
     Sonuus B2M
     Sonuus G2Mv2
     Sonuus Wahoo
     Sonuus i2M musicport

Accessories
   Power
     USB AC Adapter
     VS Series Power Supply
   Adapters / Cables
     iPhone/touch Cable
     Mini-Jack Adaptor
   Pickups / Mics
     iPhone/touch Microphone
     External Microphone
     Suction Cup Pickup
     TP-3™ Clip-On Pickup
   Cases
     AutoStrobe Hard Case
     AutoStrobe Soft Case
   Apparel
     Tuned Sticker
     Peterson T-Shirts
     Peterson Cap
     Peterson Crew Shirts
   Hardware / Mounting
     Pitch Holder
     Pitch Holder Assembly
     Pitch Holder Swivel Mount
     Dunlop D65
     VS Series Pitch Holder
  
Footswitches
     StroboRack Remote Footswitch
     Dual Footswitch
     Single Footswitch
   AutoStrobe Rack Kit
   SR-EX® StroboRack Expander

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Resources
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     sonuus G2M™ FAQ
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   Tuning FAQ
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Discontinued Products
     BB-1 Metronome
     StroboFlip
     V-SAM
     StroboStomp 2

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