|1. Kliq||2. Snark SN5X||3. Roadie|
A professional and experienced guitar player understands the importance of the humble instrument that comes with the guitar, the guitar tuner. After all, the guitar is a stringed instrument, and without proper tuning of those strings, it would be impossible to play anything sensible.
As the tuner remains one of the essential accessories for the guitar players, it becomes important to know more about it and look for the best guitar tuner.
The tuner helps to tune up the guitar and ensures that you remain in alignment with the rest of the players. Many beginner guitar players wonder about the significance of buying a tuner and if they can perform well without buying best guitar tuner.
The information given on this page is probably going to be an eyeopener for many guitar players and provide them useful info on guitar tuners, their significance, and the factors to keep in mind when buying one. Why not try to understand what a guitar tuner is all about, and why is it so important?
The Guitar Tuner And Its Importance
Well, guitar players can indeed play guitar without a tuner, but they will have little control over the quality of the musical notes. A lot relies on your level of professionalism as well as your skill and talent.
The standard guitar, like any other modern instrument, has 12 basic notes and six strings. However, guitars with a higher number of strings are also available.
The typical tuning for a six-string guitar is E A D G B, and what this means is that each string agrees to a certain pitch. Thus, there is a certain order and logic in how the guitar strings need to be tuned and in order to create a good sound quality.
Even if one string is out of tune, the whole sound or musical note will fall apart. All musical instruments must play notes to the 440Hz frequency, which is a standard frequency for modern music.
The idea behind this is to ensure that all sounds are in sync with each other. It means that the D or E note of one musical instrument will carry the same frequency from the other instrument and any other musical instrument.
The newer players tend to think that once the guitar is tuned, they can get the pitch they want. But when they play, nothing sounds like the song they are trying to play.
While you might think that you are hitting the right tunes, but you may be well off the mark. This is why it is essential to look for the best electric guitar tuner.
Guitar tuners is a device that helps to tune precisely and gets rid of any guesswork, as the player tries to correct the pitch and achieve the tuning they desire. Every guitar player is aware that the guitars drop out of tune, even after they have been tuned.
And it could be because of aggressive playing or bad quality of hardware or changes in temperature and humidity. Any guitar kept away for long-term storage also can ruin the sound.
Active and continuous play with regular periodic tuning can keep the guitar in good working condition. This is why the guitar needs to be tuned every now and then, so as to touch the perfect notes and play a good quality song.
The guitar tuner measures the frequencies made by vibrating strings of the acoustic or electric guitar. Those frequencies need to be aligned with the particular notes in a scale. Apart from guitar tuners, there are bass tuners made for the bass guitars.
However, a guitar tuner usually works for both guitars and bass instruments, and its LED display shows the name of that note to be tuned. The cheaper guitars with older strings tend to get out of tune much faster and may need frequent tuning.
It might take a couple of minutes to tune their guitar. The professional musicians rely on a good quality tuner for keeping their instruments in good shape and tune.
Even the most experienced guitar players value the importance of a tuner and will carry only the very best electric guitar tuner with them on stage. It is not uncommon to see the guitar players in a band tuning their instruments during a performance.
The tuner allows them to make a fast check and adjust the tuning. Nothing could be worse for a guitar player to drop out of tune while performing as that can spoil the whole performance.
The most common categories of guitar tuners are pedal or headstock, and among the two, the pedal tuners are among the most popular. The buyers look for durability and accuracy in the tuner. However, one finds huge progress made in the field of tuning via mobile devices.
Today, there are different kinds and makes of guitar tuners, and as a buyer, you should be aware of the various types available in the market.
Various Types Of Guitar Tuners On The Market
Take an in-depth look at the different kinds of guitar tuners, and each of them carries certain benefits.
- Chromatic tuners – These tuners are very useful but can recognise only one of the 12 notes of the chromatic scale. Thus, you can play and tune only one note at a time with Chromatic tuners. These are the most common tuners used by the musicians and are found useful for alternative tunings.
- Strobe tuners-. While the beginners might not need them, they are a must for the professional guitarists. Although these tuners are a bit more expensive, they are worth it because of the accurate results. The strobe tuner produces a reference frequency and shows you the difference via a rotating motion on the screen.
- Polyphonic tuners – These tuners are more recent and allow the user to play all six strings together and make out which of the six notes are out of tune. Tuning is a lot easier with Polyphonic tuners. The fairly new tuners give you a holistic view of the current tuning of the guitar, and one can see the strumming & tuning effects of one string on the other. But, this is for the advanced guitarists.
- Microphone tuners – In these tuners, an inbuilt microphone picks up the frequency of the notes. Although the results are not very accurate with the Microphone tuners, these can help for the basic tune-up. Many musicians do not find them very useful as the background noise can still interfere with the tune. However, these are the cheapest and the most viable option available.
So now that you understand what guitar tuners are all about, keep on reading to know about the various factors to keep in mind when looking for the best guitar tuners.
Factors To Look For When Buying The Best Guitar Tuner
There are various aspects that can impact your choices when it comes to picking a tuner for your instrument. For instance, a lot relies on what kind of player you are and what kind of musical instrument you play and, of course, what your budget is.
Some experts look for that perfect pitch and like to have an exact frequency of each note. As those tuning devices can vary from simple tuning devices to sophisticated digital tuners designed for critical applications, one needs to focus on what exactly they are looking for.
When you start looking for the best guitar tuner for your needs, you will come across hundreds of different options available and in variations.
Well, it sure can be mind-boggling to come across so many options. You can get rid of those confusions, and all you need to do is just focus on the following aspects.
1. The Kind of Instrument You Play
Musicians often need tuners for not just guitars but several other instruments that they play. Based on that, they need to focus on the kind of tuners they may need.
Electronic tuners are designed for guitars and are available with several different features and capabilities. Some of them come with a small microphone to detect the sound, while others can detect the vibration of each string. For example, the tuning forks produce the sound of an “A” note while the pitch pipes, when blown, emits six tones that correspond to the six strings of the guitar.
Tone generators pitch pipe or tuning forks are great for tuning acoustic instruments and percussion instruments like wind and bass. Specially designed pitch pipes are used to tune specific instruments such as ukulele, cello, and violin. Any chromatic tuner equipped with a microphone can be used to tune any acoustic instrument.
2. The Tuners For Electronic Guitar
When looking for the best guitar tuners, you can look at the following options.
- Clip-on tuners- Also known as headstock tuners, the tuners can be clipped on to the guitar and can detect the tuning through the vibrations of the instrument.
- Many clip-on tuners carry an internal mic that allows the acoustic tuning of different instruments. Thus, you can use the clip-on models with stringed instruments, brass, and wind instruments.
- Pedal tuners- The Pedal guitar tuners can remain inconspicuous as they can be placed at the feet, and this is why performers prefer these Pedal tuners. As they carry a bright, colourful display, one can read them easily in the darkened stage. There are many multi-processors and multi-effects pedals in the pedal tuners that come with many capabilities.
- Rack and tabletop tuners – These sophisticated tuners can be used for simpler gigs on stage as well as in professional studios. Today, there are many different models to pick from, based on your needs and budget. Consider the various features, and if they meet your needs.
- Built-in preamp tuners – Many best acoustic guitar tuners carry a built-in tuner in the preamplifier circuit, while some of those models may also include a tuner function. As these tuners carry built-in features, they are easy and convenient to use. Musicians prefer these models as they allow silent tuning during noisy performances.
- Sound Hole Tuners – Meant for acoustic guitar players, the sound hole tuners allow the users to fix a tuner inside the guitar body and are useful for careless and casual musicians. This is certainly a better tool as it is perfect for noisy environments and allows silent tuning.
- App Tuners – These days, people use their smartphone for anything, and hence do not be surprised to see an app for tuning your guitar. Today, there are loads of guitar tuning apps, and although there are apprehensions about the effectiveness of these apps, there are some that promise great results.
- Virtual Tuners- Virtual Tuners today have become a lot more sophisticated and are preferred by many because of their zero space and zero maintenance. Users can enjoy many more options with these tuners, and at times, these are the perfect solution for recording studios.
3. The Displays And Meters
Check out the displays for their size and readability. After all, legibility is a vital factor, and it should be easy to read and follow what the tuner is telling. Many displays come with a needle-based meter, and the position of the needle points out to how far or close you are to the right pitch.
Some other displays carry needle-like graphics and LED light arrays that change the colours based on the accuracy of the pitch. Different colours reflect upon the sharp or flat tune and which tune of the string is being tuned.
The most advanced tuners carry sophisticated display segments to fine-tune the instrument. Professional instrument technicians prefer the Strobe technology works behind the tuners to reflect the relative pitch. For those used to performing or working in dim areas should look for brighter and larger displays.
4. Special Tuning Modes And Auto Pitch Detection
While the basic level tuning models require the users to set the target pitch for each string, the superior quality tuners detect the tone automatically. In some of the models, there are special tuning modes that offer optional tuning methods for specific instruments such as baritone guitars that are seven-stringed or the 6-string basses.
Many tuners support the drop tunings specifically and are based on “Eb” or “D.” These kinds are popular used models for heavy metal and rock performances.
For those musicians who use a capo, should look for capo tuning while those who need to tune numerous tempered scales and alternate tuning modes should look for the most elaborate guitar tuners.
5. Microphones, Speakers And Metronomes
Tuners with microphones and speakers prove to be useful as these tuners can help detect the acoustic tuning of the instrument. As the speakers produce audible tones, it is useful for sensitizing your ears for intonation. Students should look for metronome functions in the tuners as this is more useful for them.
6. The Shape And Kind
The guitar tuners come in different forms and one should look for the kind that suits their need the most. The standard unit, which is the most common, comes with a microphone and an input jack. The Stomp box ones do not usually have a microphone while the clip-one can be attached to the headstock, and you can tune as you play.
Many tuners may be built-in or carry built-into amplifier. These features are highly recommended. Today, many tuners come with an audio interface and use apps and software to tune the instrument through a computer, phone, or tablet.
Some guitar tuners are very small, light and compact and can easily fit in a small bag or pocket. Some other models are designed to be used on the floor or clamp easily on the guitar or are rack-mounted. Many manufacturers are now designing new guitars with onboard tuners.
7. The Accuracy Of The Tuner
Whatever kind of tuner you go for, it should rank high when it comes to accuracy. But how does one tell how accurate a tuner is? Before you test the accuracy of a tuner, you need to know about the basic unit of tuning accuracy, which is the Cents.
There are 100 Cents in a semitone, which is a half-step. You move up one semitone when you play a C note, and then move to a C#.
Most manufacturers place the accuracy in a margin of +/- 3 cents, and the smaller the margin of error, the higher is the accuracy of the tuner. Professional musicians look for the best guitar tuners with an accuracy of +/- 1 cent or even better.
Accuracy really matters if one is playing professionally for a distinguished audience. A lot relies on the preference of the musicians and how well the listener distinguishes pitch.
Invest in a good quality tuner if you play professionally and are looking for more accuracy. Expert musicians and technicians should purchase a guitar tuner with supreme accuracy.
8. Chromatic Or Non-Chromatic Guitar Tuners?
Chromatic tuners are the most popular type of tuner, and examples include pedal and clip-on. Non-chromatic tuners, too, are effective but are unable to measure all notes. However, the Chromatic tuners are more expensive than the non-chromatic tuners but can be used to tune all kinds of stringed instruments. Go for the non-chromatic tuners if you are just beginning with your guitar lessons.
9. The Pricing
The guitar tuners vary not in just their shapes and styles but also in the prices. You can buy a basic digital tuner under $10. Typically, standard models of commonly used guitar tuners range between $30 to $60. However, there are superior guitar tuners available in the market for $100 or more.
Buy the tuner and the model based on your needs and budget. There is no harm in spending a couple of dollars extra for a good quality product.
Still, there is no need to invest in a very high-end tuner with features that you really do not need. Go for the inexpensive basic tuner if you are just learning the guitar and invest in a better one as you progress ahead.
Now that you have a good idea of what the guitar tuners are all about, and what aspects to consider, why not have a look at some of the most popular options available from leading providers?
After all, with so many different kinds of tuners and myriads of models to pick from, it sure can be confusing to make the right choice.
However, cut down all the confusion and just go through the following. list of the best guitar tuners for your guitar, considering the kind of instrument you use and how often.
Top 10 Best Guitar Tuners 2020
Thanks to the advanced microprocessor and highly sensitive piezo sensor, you can expect accurate tuning in your instrument as the accuracy is +/- 1 cent. The super-bright display allows you to see easily, and the strong and durable design of the tuner makes it easy to use.
Go ahead tune, not just the guitar but bass, violin, ukulele, and other instruments. Enjoy a 100% money-back guarantee if not satisfied with the product. As others have said, it is a great tuner which is a lot better than other tuners and much cheaper as well.
- Fast & accurate
- Multi-point screen adjustability
- 3-year guarantee
- ideal for beginners and professionals alike
- On/Off button should be marked a little more clearly
2. Snark SN5X
Snark SN5X Clip-On Tuner boasts of a high definition display that makes it simple to tune and adds to its convenience. Another cool feature is that the frequency range has been customised for guitar and bass.
The tuner can rotate 360° and can be easily used on the front of the back of the headstock. Look forward to a fast and accurate tuning because of a newly redesigned processing chip.
The tuner is indeed easy and simple to use as it carries simple controls, and even a child can handle the tuner and create amazing sound independently. Customers who buy the product highly recommend it as it is sturdy and small and very simple to use.
- High definition display
- Rotates 360°
- Fast and accurate
- Well Calibrated Tune
- Weaker plastic tabs due to low quality
With so many benefits ROADIE automatic guitar tuner is one of the favourites among customers. As the tuner works on all stringed instruments such as acoustic, classical, electric and steel, and various string guitars like mandolins, ukuleles, banjos & more, it is a popular choice.
Go ahead and tune your instrument automatically and under 30 seconds. A built-in vibration sensor tunes precisely for noisy environments. There are plenty of alternate tunings to choose from, or one can create their own or download new tunings. Now you can save custom alternate tuning or experiment with known tunings.
Tuning becomes only easier thanks to the three controllable speeds with the built-in wind and unwind feature.
- Works on all string instruments
- Durable and fast, easy to use
- Many different tunings
- tunes under 30 seconds
- can take many tries to reach perfection
4. Snark SN-8
The full-Colour visual display makes it easier to work and read. Other features include internal vibration sensor, tap-tempo metronome, and pitch calibration.
The gripping rubber jaws ensure a firm grip, and 360 degrees allows complete manoeuvring. The small and light tuner is very easy and simple to use and delivers precise results. Users find it simply awesome as they can use the tuner for over a dozen instruments.
- Fast and Tight Tuning
- 360 degrees display rotation
- Tap Tempo Metronome
- Brighter Read Display
- Plastic part that connects the turner can break
5. Peterson StroboClip
It is a product that is designed by Peterson Strobe to work every time it is used and built to last longer. This is why Peterson Clip-On Tuner is highly preferred by customers for tuning their banjo, mandolin, dobro, guitar, bass, ukulele, violin, bagpipes, and more. Peterson Strobe is a name that is a pioneer in tuning and metronome equipment.
The StroboClip Clip-On Tuner features a high-definition display that facilitates fast and accurate tuning. There are alternate temperaments for different instruments and with more than 50 exclusive tunings. High-Definition Backlit Display ensures easy tuning while the chromatic performance displays note and deviation automatically. Enjoy quick menu navigation because of the improved power button.
- High-definition display
- Fast and accurate tuning
- High-Definition Backlit Display
- Tenth-of-a-cent accuracy
- Ergonomics are bad
6. Donner Dt-1
Donner Dt-1 guitar tuner is designed to work with any kind of guitar and tune it without any hassle. The chromatic tuner is suitable for wide range tuning while the LCD display with large colourful graphics is a useful feature. The petite size and look of the tuner are very appealing.
The tuner works efficiently and is easy to read, and customers love it for silent operation. You will love this tuner as it is designed to be durable and works seamlessly.
- Easy to Use
- Classic Design
- zero tone coloration
- Accurate inexpensive tuner
- power cord not included
This clip-on chromatic guitar tuner from TimbreGear is engineered to create fast and accurate tuning. What makes it a smart choice for every musician is it’s easy to use quick tuning modes that allow him to play with confidence. The ultra-bright screen display is suitable for both beginners and experienced guitarists.
The TimbreGear tuner is tough built and made to last, and because of its clip and tuner head design, one can tune in fast and effortlessly. The tuner with five different gauges is suitable for any playing style. Get a great warranty for three years.
- Fast precise tuning
- Ultra-bright screen display
- Built tough and sturdy
- Three years warranty
- can be expensive for some
8. So There
The compact, lightweight design of this clip-on tuner for stringed instruments allows you to carry it with you everywhere you go and offer you the perfect tuning you are looking for. Fast response and precise tuning, this is why the customers love this tuner that comes with a USB cable. The bright display is easy to read and five tuning styles make tuning like a breeze.
Thanks to the firm padded clip grips, there are no risks of any harm to the look and style of the instrument. It is easy to use, fast, and accurate all interment tuner that comes with five tuning modes for guitar, bass, violin, chromatic, and ukulele.
- Rechargeable and easy to use
- Fast and accurate
- Guaranteed satisfaction
- All-instrument tuning
- Five tuning modes
- sometimes the E string can be difficult to tune
The ultra-compact tuner is well known as a top-quality tone tool that offers an accurate tuning and is a product suitable for any instrument. Built-in all-analog buffer circuitry conserves the tone even through long cable runs. Polyphonic tuning allows you to tune in all strings at once. The TC Electronic tuner has indeed revolutionized the way musicians tune their instruments.
Loved by both amateur and professional players, you can take the tuning experience to the next level, thanks to multiple tuning modes. Look forward to a higher tuning accuracy with an upgraded LED display. If you are looking for a great and accurate tuner, then this LED guitar tuner pedal makes the right choice for you.
- Lightning-fast tuner
- Multiple tuning modes
- Higher tuning accuracy
- Easy switch between true bypass and buffer
- pedal tuning can be better
Korg guitar tuner is the tuner you need if looking for an easy to use and understand tuner with an easily operated shuttle switch. Now it becomes a lot easier to tune the guitar because of the bright and colourful three-dimensional display. As you can fix the tuner directly to the instrument, you can look forward to convenient tuning. Thanks to the tubular body, it is easy to operate the tuner even while performing.
Enjoy higher accuracy of one tenth of a percent with this ideal clip-on tuner that is much in demand among professional guitarists and bassists. The rotatable screen with a 3D visual meter delivers ground-breaking visibility
- Easy to operate
- Bright and colourful display
- Strong grip due to clips
- Extreme accuracy
- Plastic construction
- Poor battery life
While you have gained info about the leading brands and the top products when it comes to guitar tuners, have you wondered as to how musicians without a normal hearing cope up with the tuning problems?
Where on the one hand, the professional musicians carry the capability to detect even the most minuscule frequency differences in the musical notes, those with auditory deprivation can perform poorly when it comes to any task related to music.
Those with cochlear implants require a more intense hearing capacity to detect a pitch difference. These musicians use beat tuning for making that fine pitch discrimination, despite poor pitch perception and rely on spectral cues like stimulation on diverse electrodes to know the direction to tune.
The deaf musicians rely on advanced cochlear implants for the accurate tuning of a guitar and pitch discrimination.
FAQs on Guitar Tuners
1. What Is The Difference Between Acoustic And Electric Guitar Tuners?
Electric guitar players use pedal tuners, which are linked to the other pedals between the amplifier and the guitar. These tuners are slightly bigger in size, but there are mini tuners that are compact and smaller in size.
The pedal tuners may or may not include a mild buffer to enhance the level of a guitar’s audio signal. Those pedal tuners without any buffer, maybe not very useful as there are very few pedals in the signal chain.
Acoustic guitar players use clip-on tuners that run on small lithium batteries. There is no need for any audio cables as the battery life can last for several hours. Acoustic guitarists can use a microphone-based tuner, but these are less accurate as compared to the clip-on tuners or the Acoustic guitar tuners.
2. Can You Tell The Standard Tuning Frequency On A Guitar?
Some of the best guitar tuners list the Hz frequency of the notes and the frequencies to aim for. For example, 82.41 Hz for E2 notes, 110 Hz for A2 notes, 146.8 Hz for D3 notes, 196 Hz for G3 notes, 246.9 Hz for B3 notes and 329.6 Hz for E4 notes. As not all guitar tuners will measure Hz, it is best to train your ear with reference notes, instead of completely relying on the tuners, especially if you are a beginner.
3. Where To Insert The Tuner In The Signal Chain?
If you want the tuner in the pedalboard, the tuner should be inserted first in your pedal chain every time. After all, you would like to have the most accurate tuning, and in order to have that, you need the strongest signal. The tuner needs to measure what is taking place within those strings, and if you place other pedals before the tuner, that can weaken the signals.
4. Should One Go for Stand-Alone Tuner or App Tuner?
It is apparent that app tuners are the most convenient and often come free. However, experts recommend a stand-alone tuner as they offer higher accuracy because of the several variables to the microphone. Thus, you know what you are getting into with a stand-alone tuner.
5. What Are The Most Popular Brands Known For Making The Best Guitar Tuners?
The most popular brands include names like Boss, Korg, Peterson, and TC Electronic that manufacture a range of polyphonic and chromatic tuners and in different shapes and sizes. You are sure to find a tuner in every style and for every occasion with these famous brands of the tuner industry.
Although the price tags may vary, you can rely on tuners from these companies for their quality and performance. The tuners are available in different variations like rackmount, clip-on, and pedal. These brands are indeed leaders in tuning and have revolutionised the market.
6. What Is The Difference Between Polyphonic Tuners And Note-by-note Tuners?
Most note-by-note tuners measure the frequency of one string at one time while the polyphonic tuners can measure all the frequencies at once. The tuner can identify the pitch of each individual string and can strum all the open strings.
Needless to say, the polyphonic tuners can save precious time during a performance on stage. However, for those players looking for higher accuracy should opt for the Note-By-Note Tuners.
7. How Does One Tune A Guitar with Phone?
Today, it is possible to tune the guitar with a smartphone, thanks to the online guitar tuner app that can be quite handy and convenient. Many leading providers like BOSS and Gismart Chromatic Tuner create effective apps for tuning the guitar through the phone.
However, there are several other tuning apps developed for Android and iOS, and thus one can pick the app based on their preferences.
The phone picks up the sound of the guitar through its external microphone. While those free phone apps are certainly more convenient and a good backup, other ambient sounds picked by the phone’s microphone can interfere with its reading. Therefore, it is a good idea to invest in one of the best guitar tuners if you prioritize quality tuning.
8. What Is The Best Clip-on Guitar Tuner?
Although there are many clip-on guitar tuners, there are several great models to pick from including Snark SN-8 Super Tight All Instrument Tuner, Korg PC1 Pitchclip Chromatic Tuner.
Boss TU-10 Clip-On Chromatic Tuner, Peterson StroboClip SC-1 Clip-On Strobe Tuner and Intellitouch PT40 Rechargeable Tuner with USB Charger.
9. How Accurate Are The Guitar Tuners?
Quality guitar tuners from leading manufacturers are the most accurate. However, there is still some margin of error, and so, one should look for tuners with the least error margin.
There are some pedal tuners that boast of +/- 1 cent accuracy. Professional guitar technicians look for the best guitar tuners that feature +/- 0.1 cent accuracy or even more.
10. What Factors Can Impact The Quality Of Guitar Tuning?
You may have bought one of the top-quality tuners and still may not be getting the results you want. Well, there could be many reasons behind as there may be several culprits like the humidity, the quality of strings, the tuning pegs, and more.
Any changes in moisture can affect tuning, and it is possible that you need to replace the strings as they no longer tune properly. Some other factors include low-quality tuning pegs and Floating bridges.
Best Guitar Tuners – What’s your pick?
Make good use of the above guide and reviews to pick the best guitar tuner for your needs. These devices are not only important but work as a handy device for the musicians to feel confident about their instrument and performance.
The musicians rely on their tuners to achieve the pitch and tunes and improve their performance so, if you are a serious guitarist, do invest in a good quality tuner.
For all those who don’t have a tuner yet, or are not very satisfied with the one they own, it is highly recommended that you buy one from the list of the top guitar tuners listed above and follow the guide.