This page brings together the best guitar tuners based on user
reviews and value for money. There are some very expensive tuners out
there but, as many experienced players will tell you, for every day
tuning needs, most of them are an overkill.
you're looking for a clip on tuner, hand held
tuner or foot pedal tuner, the picks below meet all the criteria you
need for quick, clear and
accurate tuning on stage, at home or on the road.
Note that all the
tuners featured below are chromatic (chron- being the Latin root for
12, in reference to
the 12 musical notes). In short, that means you can tune any string to
any note. It's actually hard to find a non-chromatic tuner these days
and, when you do, the few bucks saving isn't really worth it.
If you're an acoustic player or just
want the convenience of accurate tuning without plugging in, Snark
the best value clip-on for the job. Responsive, crystal clear, flexible
and with a built in metronome (for what it's worth), the SN-1
is seen by many guitarists as preferable to their standard hand held
and even sophisticated pedal tuners.
High vibration sensitivity and fast
What users say
The Snark SN-1 has one of the
clearest, brightest displays you'll find on
a clip-on guitar tuner. The colour coding is simple but effective -
flat tuning is indicated with a red arc to the left, sharp tuning with
a yellow arc to the right and a central blue segment marks the tuned
pitch. Below the arc is the note letter itself giving you all the
visual reference you need.
Users note the Snark
is immediately responsive to the vibrations of your guitar and
accurate with zero calibration
(this is where the indicator jumps around before settling to the
current pitch). No harmonic interference as with some needle tuners.
circular display rotates 360 degrees, allowing you to clip it anywhere
on the headstock without visual obstruction. The rubber grip ensures it
stays put yet soft enough to not damage the headstock's finish/paint
There are legitmate complaints about how easy it is to
break the neck below the display, so Snark do need to work on a more
sturdy design for the more... heavy handed of us! However, this does
not seem to have brought the overal rating down significantly. Take
care of it, don't leave it clipped on your guitar after tuning, and it
should last as long as any other tuner.
Best Hand Held Guitar Tuner
Developed from their popular CA-30
tuner, Korg's CA-40 is a consistant
favourite among experienced
players, many of whom have also owned top of the range tuners. Large
display, built in pitch reference audio and microphone, custom
calibration and several other features you probably won't use!
Regardless, for the job at hand, it's the best value compact tuner at
just under $20.
More feature packed and robust than the Snark clip-on, which is to
be expected. For the extra $10 you get an overall more sophisticated
It primarily serves as a line-input tuner, but
features an internal mic for unplugged tuning, also useful if you want
to quickly tune any other instruments in the same room. My bass player
often has one of these sitting on his amp head and if I haven't brought
my pedal I can tune from across the room no problem.
off means your battery won't drain when the tuner's not in use and the
long battery life is confirmed by many user reviews.
Another (possibly) useful feature is the "Sound Out" pitch reference
which effectively acts as a pitch pipe and sounds the note you wish to
Choose your notes and it will remember them for any future reference.
LCD display is more generous than most other hand held tuners, with a
more traditional needle being the primary on-screen indicator which
users generally found clear and responsive.
Korg tuners are
renowned for their precision and the CA-40 is no exception.
seems to be a lot of comment from people with a "tin ear" being
especially impressed by the CA-40.
The only gripe some users had
was that the LCD doesn't have a backlight, so there's no illumination
when on a dark stage, apart from the LED indicators above the screen
(left red = flat, right red = sharp, middle green = tuned). As a
result, it's more suitable for home, rehearsals and pre-gig rather than
quick tuning between songs during a gig.
Oh, and read the manual before use!
Best Guitar Pedal Tuner
If you're a gigging musician, you need a tuner with true bypass and
clear, strong display for clarity in dark or glaringly light
conditions. Korg's Pitchblack pedal tuner is designed for exactly that.
It's every bit as good as (some even say better than) the Boss floor
tuners... and it's cheaper!
Designed for even the poorest lit gigs, the first thing users note
pitchblack is its bright, easy to read display. No squinting or
crouching necessary. The display is larger than most other pedal tuners
thanks to Korg's minimalist, intelligently prioritised design.
There are four display modes to choose from. The meter mode is what
most guitarists will be used to - tune up or down until
the light meets the middle and turns from red to green. The
other modes include full strobe, half strobe and mirror mode, which are
best demonstrated in the excellent user video above and on the Korg website.
Users note that the Pitchblack's 100% true bypass makes it superior to
more expensive Boss equivalents, with no noticable noise or change in
tone. Experienced users also claim it is more accurate than the boss TU
pedals. Upon activating the tuner, your guitar will be silenced, so it
also fulfills the role of a killswitch for those who need it.
Its slim but solid build makes it perfect for the working musician who
may already have a dozen or so pedals and needs a reliable
tuner that will sit snugly anywhere in the chain. The 9V output means
you can use the Korg to power other pedals on your board.
Overall, brighter/clearer, just as accurate (+/- 1cent) and cheaper
than its main competitors.
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