Disclaimer: There may be a better way to tune the Korg Lambda. My method is a bit “hit and miss”. Still it took less than five minutes to accomplish.

Korg Lambda ES-50 string machine


The Lambda is not a VCO->Filter->VCA synthesizer, it’s constructed lika an organ / string machine. The tuning procedure is different and often simpler on an organ than on a synthesizer. Maybe that’s why, when searching the web for tuning info, I came across statements like these:

Actually, I don’t think the Lambda stringer has got any trimmers to do the tuning, except the little pot on the chorus circuit board, that tunes the LFO rate range of the effect.

Well, it’s very rare that such string machines would require tuning becuase they use different technology than synthesizers.

The knobs positions on the front

Tuning the Korg Lambda

Turn all instrument buttons off, except BRASS. Set Chorus Phase Off. Set all three TUNE knobs: Total Tune, Tune A and Tune B to center position. Vibrato Off. Get a very small screwdriver.

It’s likely that the Lambda sounds very dissonant in this state. If it does, adjust VR Tune A and VR Tune B until both LEDs are steadily lit. Now it doesn’t sound dissonant anymore, but it’s probably still out of tune.

The trimmers (VR). Their positions match the positions of the knobs on the front.

Now the guessing starts

  1. Adjust VR Total Tune right for sharper tuning, left for flatter. You will notice that the sound also gets dissonant, so you can’t really hear if you hav hit the right pitch.
  2. Adjust VR Tune A and VR Tune B until both LEDs are steadily lit again. Now you can hear the actual pitch of the instrument.
  3. It’s likely that you will realize you turned VR Total Tune too far, or not far enough. Repeat steps 1-2.

Soon you get familiar with how much you need to adjust VR Total Tune in order to raise or lower the pitch by a few cents.

That’s it

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