To begin with, you must know what a guitar tuner is before you go ahead and purchase the best guitar tuner that the market has to offer. It is a accessory that helps you measure the frequencies produced by the vibrating strings on an acoustic or electric guitar, as you play it.
The tuner then matches those measurements with the certain notes in a scale. If it aligns with a particular note, the tuner immediately displays the name of the note on its screen or LED display. Tuners use the scientific principle of resonance in order to match and recognize notes.
A tuner is a necessity for not just the guitarist, but also for those who play the ukulele, banjo or violin. It helps musicians to set a particular pitch and improve their tunes from time to time. The market has a series of guitar tuners available.
The aim of this review is to help you pick out some of the best guitar tuners.
Different Categories Of Tuners Available
Even though there are people who prefer tuning their guitar on their own, it is always safer and more convenient if you have a tuner. In this modern age, wasting time tuning your guitar is really not a good idea. However, you need to know about the different categories of tuners available.
1. Handheld Tuners
Handheld tuners attained popularity in the 1970s after Korg W10 was released. These small tuners were quite easy to use and simple, making them popular amongst guitarists. They were used for both acoustic as well as electric guitars.
Even today, the handheld tuners are widely used because of their compact size and portability. However, one limitation of this kind of tuner is that it does not cut out external noise very effectively.
2. Clip-On Tuners
Clip-on tuners are the most commonly used tuners and they are quite effective as well. One of the most convenient to use tuners is the clip on tuners. As the name suggests, these are like clips which are attached to the headstock of the guitar.
Once attached to the headstock, they sense the vibrations of the strings and displays the pitch on the LCD/LED screen. These tuners can produce completely accurate results. To add to these features, clip on tuners can also cut out external noise quite easily.
3. Polyphonic Tuners
Polyphonic tuners are like pedal tuners, except that you can tune all the six strings together using it. This category of tuners is new in the market and relatively expensive compared to the other tuners.
TC Electronic produced the first polyphonic tuner, which turned out to be quite time saving in nature. Professional guitarists with complex playing styles are well suited to these tuners.
TC Electronic then upgraded the initial polyphonic tuner to the Polytune 2, which has some very advanced features. This has proven to be a boon to all the professional guitarists in the music scene.
4. App Tuners
The 21st century has created a level of technology that can keep you gawking at times. There is softwares available now to do pretty much everything under the sun. You can download applications even for tuning your guitar.
App tuners are a smart and pocket friendly way of tuning the guitar, but it will never produce the same results as the original tuning device. You must not expect much from these app tuners in terms of quality and accuracy.
Factors To Be Considered Before Buying The Best Guitar Tuner
Earlier before the invention of electric tuners, guitarists had very limited options when it came to tuning their guitars. They would at times use a tuning fork, which is a â€˜Uâ€™ shaped fork with two prongs made of steel.
The guitarist would tune one string of the guitar to a particular pitch and then match the other strings with that one. Another instrument used by guitarists during those times was pitch pipe. When you blow into a pitch pipe, it produces an audible pitch.
One more way of tuning a guitar was to get the reference notes from a piano. Thankfully, the worries of every guitarist was taken care of with the coming around of guitar tuners. However, the sheer options available in the market can easily confuse you.
You must know the requirements of your guitar. Other than this, there are certain factors that you must consider before purchasing the best guitar tuner.
There are a lot of guitar tuners available in the market with different styles. The style matters and it is being upgraded very rapidly. There are very simple and inexpensive units available that can easily fit into the pocket of your clothes.
If you are a beginner, it is best to purchase a simple tuner like this and as you get better, buy yourself more advanced tuners. Other tuners are styled in a way similar to an effects pedal that can be used on the floor or the stage.
Certain others are designed to easily be clamped to the guitar which can tune the guitar by sensing the vibrations of strings. Some guitar tuners can now be attached to the guitar tuning nut, and it will keep turning the nut until the strings are in tune.
Many guitar manufacturers are now installing on-board tuners for more ease and efficiency of the players.
2. Non-Chromatic And Chromatic Strings
The two different kinds of guitar tuners that you can find in the market are non-chromatic and chromatic. You must have a clear idea about the difference between these two. Non-chromatic or 6 string tuners are the basic guitar tuners.
These are used to tune guitars using the conventional EADGBE tuning, that is, it is capable of tuning these 6 strings of a guitar. Chromatic tuners on the other hand, are able to tune all the notes including the sharps and the flats.
The chromatic tuner is best suited to musicians who play in alternate tunings such as open E. It can also be used with other musical instruments as well. However, one important factor to be kept in mind is that chromatic tuners can be a lot more flexible than the non-chromatic ones.
Knowledge about the battery of a guitar tuner is something negated by most, but it is an important factor which is to be considered before buying a tuner. Most non-compact clip on tuners run on battery.
You must have some information about the battery life of such tuners. Some batteries are rechargeable and this can be quite convenient, as a longer battery life is ensured then in that case. Pedal tuners do not have batteries hence, the above information is pertinent to mostly clip on tuners.
You must pay close attention to the accuracy of a guitar tuner before buying one. The unit used to measure the accuracy of a tuner is usually cents. A particular tuner may be more accurate than other tuners hence, you must make informed decisions about these.
The way in which accuracy measures are usually given is- +/-0.1 cents. A simple thumb rule to remember is that- the more the accuracy, the lower the unit.
Every guitar tuner has a display screen and this is a standard feature. What varies from one tuner to another is the size and the brightness. The most convenient tuners are those that allow you to adjust the brightness of the screen, and this is extremely helpful if the screen is sometimes too bright or dim.
Those who perform frequently on stage should be careful about the tuner they are using. If the tuner is of good quality, you will be able to read the screen without any difficulties. If this is not the case, then know that that tuner is not a good one.
6. Price And Brands
Since there are so many varieties of tuners easily available today, you can find high quality tuners at a very low price. Pedal tuners can be slightly expensive. Clip on tuners are more affordable than this.
However, the catch here is that pedal tuners are more easy to use – even if a little more expensive. It will surely make your music experience better, so if you have the money then go for a pedal tuner.
The most costly tuners are the polyphonic tuners especially if they belong to popular brands like Korg. There are many other brands of guitar tuners that are well known and trusted by guitarists in India such as Snark, ChromaCast, Musedo, KLIQ and others.
A seasoned guitarist will always go for the most reliable and flexible tuners and the above mentioned brands provide the same.
Keeping in mind all the factors mentioned in the section above, you can venture into the market to buy yourself a guitar tuner and enjoy playing music like never before. To help you further, here is a list of the best guitar tuners.
Top 10 Best Guitar Tuners 2020
KLIQ is a manufacturer of musical accessories that provide top quality products and is trusted by its consumers. Musicians with a good sense of their instruments usually go for such brands like KLIQ, which has made a good reputation for itself in the industry.
The KLIQ Uber Tuner is easily available online at an affordable rate. This is a professional clip-on tuner for all instruments, not just your guitar. The KLIQ UberTuner promises to be fast and accurate.
Now you can spend more time concentrating on playing, rather than wasting precious time on tuning. This tuner has a micro processor and a highly sensitive Piezo sensor that will ensure that your guitar is tuned in no time at all.
It has a super bright display. The display can be positioned in any direction suitable for you with the help of its 3 point adjustment. The screen has a large colour display that will allow you to check the notes, whether you are flat, sharp or dead-on and from any angle as per your convenience.
The tuner is very easy to use. All you need to do is turn on the tuner, clip it on and voila! It is ready to use. Even if there are ambient noises in the room, it will never affect the tuning process.
This is because the tuner directly detects the pitches from your guitar or other instruments. Another important aspect of this tuner is that it is reliable. It has a strong and durable design which makes it a long lasting device.
It does not matter if you are a light user who plays the guitar just as a hobby or a touring road warrior that uses it frequently, this tuner is meant for all. Its reliability ensures this fact.
Since the tuner is so reliable and durable, it is quite unlikely that it will stop working or break easily. However, if such a situation does arise, KLIQ offers a 3 year manufacturer guarantee that will ensure that your product is replaced or you get all of your money back.
The tuner has a 3V CR2032 lithium battery that is long lasting. Lastly, there is a power save feature on the device that ensures an extended battery life. All of these qualities make the KLIQ UberTuner a good purchase.
2. Snark SN5X
If you have a bass guitar, then the Snark SN5X tuner is the ideal tuner for you. This is primarily because the frequency range of this tuner is designed especially for bass guitars and violins as well.
Much like the other SN products in the series, this one, too, is easy to understand and use. It has a full colour display which makes it easy to tune the guitar as per your requirements. The screen of the tuner is rotatable and it can be rotated a full 360 degrees.
The tuner can be easily attached or fixed to either the back or front of the headstock. It has a well calibrated tuning which is both fast and accurate. Other than this, it also has a newly redesigned processing chip.
The Snark tuner also has a tap tempo metronome, where you can just tap on a tempo and adjust it using the arrow buttons provided. The best part about this tuner is however, that it is available at an extremely pocket friendly price, so if you are an amateur musician in the beginning of your music career, this is the tuner you should go for.
3. Roadie 2
The Roadie 2 tuner has made it to the list of best guitar tuners. It has an interesting design, which is unique compared to other tuners and it is all black in color. This tuner works on all string instruments be it an electric, acoustic, classical or steel guitars, 6,7 and 12 string guitars, banjo, ukuleles, mandolins and others.
The tuner is fast, easy to use and the battery lasts for a long time. It is able to tune your guitar automatically in as long as 30 seconds. All you need to do is place the tuner on the peg, pluck the string and the rest of the job will be done by the tuner itself.
Charge the tuner one time and you will see that the charge lasts for as long as 1 month. The battery can then be easily recharged with its USB-C type cable. It has a tuning accuracy up to +/2 cents and detection accuracy up to +/1 cents.
The accuracy level remains unchanged even in noisy environments which makes the tuner perfect for your gigs. It has preset tunings which include open G, open D, drop D, half step down and many more.
You can download new tunings, which are available online or you can even create your own customized tuning. Lastly, it possesses a built-in/ unwind feature provided with 3 speeds, which you can control easily to restore your instrument.
4. Snark SN-8
The Snark SN-8 tuner is yet another mind blowing tuner from the house of Snark. This tuner is ideal for any instrument including bass and acoustic guitars. It is enabled by a super tight tuning feature.
It ensures precise tuning and has many advanced features. The power saving feature will make sure that the display dims after 5 seconds if no sound is detected. This helps in conserving the battery of the tuner.
The display is bright enough for you to read and comprehend without any difficulty. This makes it an easy to use device during gigs or performances. It has other features like the tap tempo metronome, pitch calibration and also a transpose feature which helps in tuning the guitar with a capo.
The tuner can be directly clipped on to the guitar and it will sense the internal vibrations. It can be rotated by 360 degrees. The grip of the tuner is so strong, that it allows you to move around at free will, without fearing that you might drop it.
This tuner is quite inexpensive as compared to other tuners with the same features and hence, it is definitely value for money. The best part about this product is that it can be used by both beginners as well as pros.
It is small, easy to use and convenient. What else do you need in the perfect tuner for your guitar?
5. Peterson StroboClip
The Peterson StroboClip HD Clip-On tuner is suitable for many instruments like the guitar, ukulele, banjo, mandolin, violin, steel guitar and other stringed instruments. It is one of the most accurate tuners you will ever come across.
It has a high definition (HD), real time tuning display that puts across 1/10th cent tuning accuracy. It comes with different temperaments suitable for all the musical instruments mentioned above.
Even though the stroboclip HD tuner is made of plastic, it is quite solid. This tuner boasts of having sweetened tunings, which are basically presets and options pertaining to the instrument you are playing.
The chromatic performance of this device automatically displays all notes and any deviation from the centre pitch. This machine is not only versatile, but extremely easy to use. The cherry on the cake is definitely the pocket friendly price at which you will get all these features in one tuner.
6. Donner Dt-1
The Donner DT-1 chromatic guitar tuner is designed like the conventional guitar tuners available. The chromatic is suitable for wide ranging tuning. The LCD display screen is bright and easy to read and comprehend.
It also has an LED indicator which shows the working state of the tuner. The automatic tuner has a tuning range of a0 (27.5 Hz)- c8 (4186 Hz) which is quite a broad range. It is enabled with a true bypass for zero tone coloration.
The true bypass switch allows the signal of your instrument to pass through a non-electronic bypass line when the effect is disengaged, which will feed the amp directly and unalter the signal from the instrument.
The body has a full metal shell made of aluminium-alloy classic, which makes the tuner stable, strong and durable. This tuner is perfect for you to carry to all the gigs you perform at, as it is very easy to carry around because of its compact size.
There is no power adapter included in the package and hence, you need to buy one for yourself. It has an input and output jack with a Â¼â€ mono audio jack.
The TimbreGear Clip-On Chromatic guitar tuner is available in pitch black color and at an affordable price. The product is engineered for ultra fast precise tuning. The vibrations of the guitar are used by the internal micro sensor in order to detect the note that you are playing.
This is a smart choice for every musician, because the working of the device is not affected by any kind of external noise. This guitar tuner is easy and quick to use with a full colour bright screen display. It is easy to operate for both beginners as well as pros.
It works quite fast as compared to other tuners that take time to respond and tend to be slow with dull screens. It has a strong and durable clip and tuner head design which is perfect for rough use while you are on the road, touring.
The product comes with a surprise – which is a set of 20 guitar picks that is provided free with the tuner. You can use these picks to play your guitar. Every pick has its size gold stamped on it with .mm size and thickness printed on it.
The product has a 3 years warranty, which will ensure that if at any point the device stops working or breaks, it will be replaced or your entire money will be returned. Keeping all these factors in mind, this tuner can be easily termed one of the best guitar tuners.
8. So There
So there is a company founded in the USA which is essentially â€œby musicians, for musicians and the people who love themâ€. If you use this tuner, you will never have to spend on an expensive battery, as the tuner is rechargeable.
It can be quickly charged using an USB cable, which is provided with the tuner. Once charged, it gives a long lasting performance, with more than 5 hours of usage on charging it one single time. The device also saves energy with automatic power down after 3 minutes of no signal.
So the tuner has a compact, high quality and lightweight design facilitated with dual 360 degree rotation. It also has a super bright full colour display which can be easily read from any angle you wish.
The padded clip is super snug in nature. It grips on tightly to the guitar without harming the finishing on the guitar. The device is fast, accurate and easy to use with pitch perfect tuning in just a few seconds.
Even when there is a lot of noise around, the highly sensitive vibration based tuning works perfectly fine without any hindrance. It has a fast response as compared to other tuners. It is very precise and accurate.
The tuner provides for an all instrument tuning. It has five tuning modes- C, G, B, V and U to cover a wide range of instruments like ukulele, banjo, violin, bass and many more. It facilitates perfect tuning for almost any acoustic and electric guitar.
It guarantees satisfaction so that if anything happens to the tuner, it will be easily replaced or your money will be paid back to you in no time, given that all of this happens in a limited duration.
This tuner is definitely one of the most in-demand tuners of all time,, as it is easy to use and responds fast. Since it can be recharged at any moment that the tuner runs out of charge, you will never have to worry about the battery. Lastly, it can be easily fixed to the headstock ensuring a firm grip.
9. PolyTune 3
If TC Electronic Polytune tuner has been added to this list comprising some of the best guitar tuners, it is because of the features that it provides. This tuner is ultra-compact in nature and it will give you fast, accurate tuning.
It is a high quality tuner which provides you with some of the best functions, all in a single unit. It comprises a built in bonafide buffer circuit, which makes sure you preserve your tone through the long cable runs and convoluted pedal boards.
What makes this a convenient device to use is that the polyphonic tuning will help you tune all the strings at once without spending too much time on tuning. The tuner is accurate as well. An accuracy of 0.5 cent is provided by the lightning fast chromatic tuner.
For ultimate tuning, an accuracy of +/-0.02 cent is attainable by the tuner. In the very beginning when this tuner was introduced for the first time in 2010, the original Polytune brought about a revolutionary way of tuning for musicians everywhere.
The tuner has been praised by musicians all across the globe, be it by both amateur players just set out to make their careers in music, or playing merely as a hobby and by professionals alike.
This polytune tuner provides multiple tuning modes which includes polyphonic, chromatic, strobe and a variety of altered tunings. It has an â€˜Always onâ€™ tuning mode which keeps the tuner on and it keeps detecting even when it is not muted.
This is one of the best electric guitar tuners. The tuner has a super bright 109-LED display along with an ambient light detector, which helps in easily reading and comprehending the writings on the screen without any difficulty, even if the environment is too lit up or too dim. It can be read from any angle you fancy.
Korg is one of the leading brands in the music industry, as most musicians or even beginners tend to opt for instruments and devices created by Korg. This particular Korg guitar tuner is lightweight in nature. It has a wide-jawed plastic clip and along with that, a tubular head that can be fully rotated.
The sledgehammer tuner has a recessed flat screen which can be controlled by the thumbwheels provided on each side. The purpose of the left wheel is that when it is moved up, the power gets turned on. In order to select chromatic, guitar or bass modes you need to turn it down.
The right thumbwheel at the other end, if moved up, changes the tuning reference from 435-445 Hz. If you want to tune into the capo or flat modes, then you need to turn the right wheel down.
It has a rounded 3D display which can help you read and comprehend writings on the screen from any side you wish, as per your needs and requirements. The tuner has a choice of read outs such as regular, strobe and half-strobe modes.
This tuner is very quick to respond and accurate as well. It has an improved accuracy and the battery life of the Korg tuner is praiseworthy, as it increases from 8 to 14 hours. It has a clip mechanism that can provide a strong grip over the headstock and is quite flexible as well.
A well designed, all black body, this tuner has a trendy look to it. It is easy to carry around and is highly durable too. You can add this tuner to the list of best acoustic guitar tuner.
FAQs on Guitar Tuners
1. What Does A Guitar Tuner Do?
A guitar tuner, with the help of already stored notes, tries to compare different pitches to tell you whether a pitch is high or low. This helps the guitarist to tune the strings of the guitar to produce excellent music.
The tuner usually has a complex technical processing unit that will guide how to go about tuning the strings of the guitar. For example, there is a vibration sensor in a clip on tuner and it also has a microphone, in order to detect the vibrations coming from the strings.
This kind of a tuner is put on the headstock of the guitar from where it catches the vibration easily and figures out pitch differences. These tuners also help in cutting out external noise that can be disturbing, and in turn helps provide the accuracy you need.
In fact, people who have played the guitar for a long time can actually tune their guitars on their own, but this can be quite time consuming and hence, a tuner is much needed. As mentioned in the review of the products above, a polyphonic tuner can help tune all the strings at the same time – helping in saving even more time.
2. How To Choose A Guitar Tuner?
Tuning a guitar is not something that you learn in the guitar classes that you take. It is something you have to figure out on your own. This might make purchasing the perfect tuner a little difficult.
With trial and error, experience and of course reading reviews like this, you will certainly find the perfect guitar tuner that you find easy and convenient to use. You must study the different tuners that are available and then select the appropriate one for yourself.
For instance, if you are someone who moves a lot while playing, then the clip on tuner is the best for you. Go for a pedal tuner if you have a lot of pedals. Factors like accuracy and display are very important.
The lower the unit of cents, the more the tuner is accurate. The display should be bright enough for you to read and this should be in appropriation to the lighting of the room. This will help you tune much more easily so do pay attention to these factors.
The highly accurate and most durable tuner is the one you should go for. Tuners are available in a lot of price ranges, but it is advised that you do not compromise on the quality of the tuner just because of the price.
Doing this will drastically affect your musical experience, as you will be using the tuner quite a lot. You want it to be perfect.
3. What Mode Should My Guitar Tuner Be In?
This depends on the notes to which you are trying to tune it in. If you want to tune it to the standard EADGBE, then the mode you should use is the â€œguitar modeâ€.
If you want to tune it to drop D DADGBE, it is best to use the chromatic mode. The chromatic mode can also be used to tell what notes you are playing on the guitar.
4. What Does Uc Mean On A Tuner?
UC on the tuner usually means Ukulele C. It may be an option to tune your ukulele to a C or a D.
5. How Do I Tune My Electric Guitar With A Tuner?
To tune the electric guitar, you merely need to plug the guitar to the tuner. For an acoustic guitar, you need to use the tunerâ€™s built-in microphone. In the case of most models, the common way of tuning the guitar is to just turn the tuner on and then play some notes.
6. Which Is The Best Guitar Tuner?
This completely depends on the type of guitar you play- acoustic or electric. Clip on tuners are the best for acoustic guitars, since these guitars have the tendency to lose the tension during performances. Clip on tuners help in maintaining that.
There are a range of clip-on tuners available and you can choose one from the list provided above. Snark is one brand that produces some of the best clip-on tuners. These tuners can also be used for electric guitars.
7. How Often Should I Tune My Guitar?
The guitar is very sensitive in nature as an instrument. Slight change in temperature and humidity can affect it. The wood of the guitar tends to get expanded and contracted which leads to a change in the tension of the strings.
In this manner, guitars tend to go out of tune quite frequently. Given such circumstances, it is best that you tune the guitar before you play it everytime. Even professional musicians, if you notice, need to take some time to tune the guitar during performances.
Hence, there is no fixed number of times that you should tune the guitar, but do it before you play or perform for an audience.
A guitar tuner can save you a lot of time in tuning your guitar and if you are a true music freak, then a tuner is something you must possess. It recognizes pitch differences between the strings and helps to sync them for a beautiful musical experience.
Especially when you are just learning how to play the guitar, it might often sound a little off. This is because the guitar is out of tune. Regardless of your style of playing, tuning can be of great help to you.
In order to get yourself the best tuner that is out there, you need to know the different types that are there. Once you know this, you can buy yourself the perfect tuner and then enjoy your musical journey.