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Best guitar tuner 2021 • 7 guitar tuners Reviews

If you play guitar, you know what it’s like to pick it up and strike an out-of-tune chord. That's not the best way to start a session. We have the perfect accessory to quickly resolve this problem: a guitar tuner. It’s practical, affordable, and compact and will let play in no time.

guitar tuner Leaderboard 2021

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Tested Products 7
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Hours Spent 65
Evaluated Studies
Evaluated Studies 185
Considered Reviews
Considered Reviews 755

What is a guitar tuner and how does it work?

A guitar tuner helps to measure the frequencies through the vibration of an acoustic or electric guitar string. These measured frequencies are then compared to notes in a scale. In case of a match, the name of that note will be displayed on an LED display. Most guitar tuners work for both guitar and bass instruments.

What types of guitar tuners are there?

As you already know, guitar tuners are an essential complement for any guitar player. That being said, you have to know which type best suits your needs. Some models are so versatile that you can even tune other instruments with them.

Tuning fork

This fork-shaped metal device vibrates when hit, producing a sound: usually A440. This sound is practically inaudible, which means that you have to rest the fretboard on something that will work as a sounding board to hear it. In that regard, you can use the guitar itself or another surface. Bear in mind that the tuning fork will only give you one reference note; you then have to tune the other strings according to it.

Classic or standard tuner

This type integrates a standard tuning, which is an E. Upon striking any string, the device will tell you whether the note is correct. If it isn’t, tighten or loosen the string depending on what the tuner says. This kind of tuner isn’t very versatile and can only perform E-based tuning.

Chromatic tuner

These models automatically identify the note that you are playing, so it won’t matter if you are tuning in E or another key. The device will detect it and tell you if it is sharp, flat, or in tune. This is a more complete type of tuner that allows you to switch between different tuning modes — the most common being the guitar and the bass modes. Some models even let you modify the hertz frequency.

Clip-on tuner

This small guitar tuner incorporates a clip to place on the head of your guitar. It is very easy to use: The device captures the notes through the vibration of the strings. This means that it doesn’t require a microphone. The clip-on tuner also features an LCD display on which you can read the played note.

Compact tuner

This rectangular tuner integrates a microphone through which it picks up the played note. Additionally, you can often plug your electric or electro-acoustic guitar to it using the jack connection. Some models come with a cable and a clip that can be attached to your instrument. You can generally use this type to tune your bass as well. In order to use it, play a string with the guitar near or connected to the tuner’s microphone. It will then indicate whether the string is in tune.

Tuner pedal

Generally designed for electric guitars, this type is particularly useful during live gigs. You can place it on the floor next to your effects unit. The guitar is then connected to the tuner via a jack, with another one transmitting the signal to the other pedals or the amp. Pressing the tuner with your foot activates it. The rest is standard tuning, as you simply have to adjust the strings based on what the tuner instructs. The vast majority of these tuners turn off the signal while in operation, so your audience won’t hear you tuning your guitar.

Acoustic guitar tuner

Thanks to its design, this tuner can be placed inside the guitar’s sound hole to be left for use whenever it is needed. This type of tuner works through a pickup that captures the sound of the strings as you play them.

Applications

Apps are now a great alternative to traditional tuners. You can easily download one on your smartphone to have with you at all times. If you don’t want to install another app just to tune your guitar, you can access online applications that won’t require downloading. These tuners generally make use of your device’s microphone to help you tune your guitar. You can also visit websites where you can listen to each note as a tuning reference.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Guitar Tuners

The versatility of your tuner is undoubtedly a key purchasing criteria to take into account.

You’ll have guessed it: their greatest perk is that they help you play your instrument in tune. However, each model comes with its own characteristics, which means that different types have particular pros and cons.

Advantages of clip-on tuners

  • They are comfortable to use.
  • They are small in size.
  • Most models allow you to tune a range of instruments (particularly string instruments).

Disadvantages of clip-on tuners

  • Some musicians find it unattractive to carry the tuner on the head of their guitar.

Advantages of compact tuners

  • These very versatile models allow you to tune a large number of instruments, including wind instruments.

Disadvantages of compact tuners

  • The microphone may fail if other noise surrounds you. Luckily, a cable connection can solve this problem.

Advantages of tuner pedals

  • They are useful for concerts.
  • Some models cut off the signal, so others can’t hear you tuning.

Disadvantages of tuner pedals

  • They are not versatile.
  • You absolutely need a jack connection to use them.

Shopping Criteria for Guitar Tuners

Whether you’ve been playing guitar your whole life or you’ve just started, tuning your instrument can always be a challenge. This is why it is essential to have a quality tuner near at hand. Now that you know more about this accessory and how it works, let’s delve into the main shopping criteria that will help you identify the model you need.

  • Tuner type
  • Metronome
  • Versatility
  • Use
  • Power Supply

Tuner Type

The first thing you have to do is decide which type of tuner is the most suitable for you. If you’re unsure or don’t need a particular model, your best bet is to buy a chromatic tuner. As you know, there are subcategories within this type – the main ones being the clip-on, compact, and pedal tuners. Evaluate their pros and cons and take your pick!

Metronome

Are you looking for a guitar tuner that also integrates a metronome function? If so, this will certainly help you sort through the hundreds of products available on the market. Remember that not all models offer this characteristic, so pay attention to product descriptions before making your purchase. You can always contact the manufacturer if you are unsure.

Did you know that the oldest guitars come from Persia (modern-day Iran) about 3,500 years ago and were called Tanbur.

Versatility

You can find different types of guitar tuners on the market.

As we discussed earlier, certain tuners stand out for their great versatility. These models will help you tune your guitar as well as other instruments. In that regard, the vast majority of tuners will also work with other string instruments, such as the violin or the ukulele. Finally, the most versatile options are those that allow you to tune wind instruments.

Use

Before you make your purchase, think about how you plan on using your guitar tuner. If you need one for your home or while you’re traveling, you should focus on a clip-on or a compact tuner. If you have a band and play concerts, we recommend you buy a tuner pedal for greater practicality. In the end, choose the type that is most comfortable for you.

Power Supply

Last but not least, do not neglect the power supply. Most guitar tuners are powered by one or more batteries. Tuner pedals, on the other hand, will either require batteries or an external power source. It is essential that you evaluate this criterion to avoid unpleasant surprises further down the line.

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FAQs

With what types of guitar can I use my tuner?

This depends on your chosen tuner type. These accessories can be quite versatile. Clip-on tuners, for instance, are generally compatible with acoustic, classical, and electric guitars; compact tuners will also work for all three types of guitars. As a general rule, any model with a microphone will have this level of versatility. Be careful not to buy a tuner with a jack connection unless your instrument has one, too. This means that you need to have an electric or electro-acoustic guitar. Remember that tuner pedals also require a jack plug.

Do all guitar tuners include a metronome?

A metronome is a device designed to give you the tempo using sound and visual motion. Any musician — beginner or professional — will use this handy tool in a variety of situations. While some guitar tuners include a metronome function, not all do. If you are interested in having one, pay attention to this when reading product descriptions.

What other instruments can be tuned with my guitar tuner?

Some tuners are very versatile and allow you to tune other instruments. Most will at least work with basses, for example. Some models can do much more and compatible with a wide range of instruments including strings, winds, and brass.

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