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Tuning Tactics

Tuning Tactics

$24.99 Regular Price
$9.99Sale Price

Tuning Tactics will help any musician fine tune his or her understanding and sense of pitch.


  • 50-page book, spiral bound
  • 88- track demonstration and play-along CD


(More info below)

  • About Tuning Tactics

    Every musician deals with the challenge of playing in tune. Tuning Tactics offers information, advice and exercises to help you understand the art and the science of intonation. The included Tuning Tactics CD offers 88 play-along and ear-training tracks which will dramatically improve your ability to hear and control tiny changes in pitch. You’ll develop an intuitive sense of where to place each note, based on its position in the harmonic structure, and you’ll become familiar with the intonation tendencies of every note on your instrument.


    Tuning Tactics is suitable and beneficial for all instrumentalists and vocalists, at every level from beginner to pro. It’s never too early–or too late–to improve your sense of pitch!


    Tuning Tactics includes:

    • 45 page book / coil bound
    • 88-track CD



    Tuning Tactics includes pure-tuned root-fifth drones in every key, which establish a key center more precisely than a single pitch. Listening to a drone as you practice markedly improves your ability to hear and control subtle variations in pitch. Every note you play forms part of an interval relative to a key center established by the drone. Pitch discrepancies are revealed with crystal clarity and the overall effectiveness of the practice session is enhanced through increased mental focus. Even absolute beginners will benefit from listening to the drones as they learn how to produce the first notes on the instrument. They hear the pitch they are striving for, a key factor in musical success.


    Tuning Tips

    • You don’t have to make time specifically to work on intonation. Simply integrate the drones into your daily practice routine. The heightened mental focus trains your ear and increases the overall effectiveness of your practice session.
    • If you are not sure where to place your note relative to the drone, tune it purposely flat, then bring the pitch up slowly until you feel you have gone past the optimum point. Go back and forth, zeroing-in on the spot where it sounds most in tune. 
    • Be aware of intervallic tuning adjustments: e.g. major thirds should be played 14 cents lower than equal temperament. A complete chart of interval adjustments is provided in Tuning Tactics.
    • For brass players: when buzzing your mouthpiece, the drone keeps you on pitch and encourages careful, accurate buzzing. 
    • Listen to the drone while playing a lyrical etude. Place each interval as accurately as possible.
    • Play jazz lines over a drone. The pitch center stays constant as you work your way through the harmonic structure.
    • Practice finger patterns with the drone playing in the background. As you concentrate on your fingers, your ear connects the digital patterns to a key center.
    • Integrating Tuning Tactics into your practice routine holds you to higher standards of accountability. It can be difficult and a little frustrating at first, but over time it gets easier as your ear becomes more sensitive. The results are worth it!


    This question is asked often, especially by international customers for whom shipping represents a substantial cost.

    From an author's viewpoint, eliminating the printing, stocking and shipping would save a lot of time and money while reducing costs for readers. Still, I have resisted publishing digitally, and here's why:


    One-time reads, e.g., a novel,  magazine or newspaper, are very effective in digital format. I feel that reference books that may be used repeatedly for years are more effective in print form, that you'll reach for a printed copy of a book on your shelf more often than you will a digital file hidden on your hard drive, and that you're better able to grasp the overall expanse of a book by thumbing through it and opening to individual pages. I feel like I can make a connection with a reader better with a printed book (signed and shipped by the author, just sayin'...) than with a digital file transmitted anonymously.


    For perspective: The price of a book, even with international shipping, is less than the cost of a one-hour private lesson. Perhaps making the investment to get the book into your hands will incline you to make full use of it. More use = greater value.

    Finally, there are quite a few videos on YouTube which are of course free for everyone. Purchasing a book can be seen as a way to support the channel.

    Not everyone will agree with my reasoning, but now you have it. 

  • Comments

    Tuning Tactics teaches you to listen. It spells out, in an easy to understand way, the complexities of intonation. This is a perfect reference guide, with all the information about the subject in one place. Very well done!

    James Olcott (Miami University-Oxford, OH)


    After a period of time with Tuning Tactics, I have decided that my sense of intonation is a figment of my imagination. Good grief, it is unforgiving and GREAT. Congratulations on a superb book and concept. Well-explained and VERY useful.

    Paul Read (University of Toronto)


    In just a short time using Tuning Tactics with my students, I see strong improvements in their awareness level. The humorous and understandable approach make for easy application of concepts. Tuning Tactics makes good intonation attainable for all!

    Bernie Parsons (California)


    WOW! Tuning Tactics is an incredible resource! Initially I was dubious whether I would be able to hear when my note is out of tune, but the drones on the Tuning Tactics CD really allow me to find the pitch center. Tuning Tactics and CenterPitch actually make intonation practice enjoyable. Even long tones are interesting and fun!

    Stu Swain (Willetton, Australia)


    The fundamental laws within the first 10 pages of Tuning Tactics are informational and to the point, with great examples.

    Cobrun Sells (Farmington, NM)


    My students took to it right away and progressed rapidly by using this tool. Highly recommended!

    Dan Jacobs (Traverse City, MI)


    Tuning Tactics is a wonderful and smart assistant for everybody. It is brilliant!

    Ainis Ozolins (Cesis, Latvia)


    Tuning Tactics is a GREAT tool. I have just started to work thru the exercises, and I can already feel myself focusing on the pitch center.

    Jerry Cerchia (Chanhassen, MN)


    Tuning Tactics is amazing! It’s helping my sense of pitch immensely.

    Indy Mudhar (Toronto, ON)


    Tuning Tactics helps the listener understand how well-tuned notes produce a set of overtones that combine to create a rich, enjoyable sound.

    Will Davey (Little Britain, ON)

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