Guitar Tuner Guide: Don’t Get the Wrong Guitar Tuner



Acoustic, electric and bass guitars are popular instruments for a wide range of musical genres. Although you can use these guitars with any standard tuner, there are a few things to consider as you figure out how to buy a guitar tuner that will best suit the guitar model you own.

>> What type of guitar will you be tuning?

Acoustic guitars work well with almost any type of guitar tuner. An acoustic guitar has six steel strings. Using an electronic tuner with an acoustic guitar, you pluck one string at a time as you tighten or loosen it to match pitch with the tuner. Although built completely differently and producing a different sound, an electric guitar also includes six strings and can be tuned with an electronic guitar tuner. When considering how to buy a guitar tuner, you will notice that some tuners offer the option of plugging the guitar into a tuner so you can tune your electric guitar more precisely. Electric bass guitars are a little different in terms of tuning. A bass guitar has four strings and uses a different scale than an acoustic or electric guitar does. When you are considering a guitar tuner, the best guitar tuner will operate as both a guitar tuner and a bass guitar tuner.

>> What type of display is best for your needs?

The best guitar tuner for you will have a display that is easy to read and understand so that you can easily tune your guitar whenever it needs adjustment.

Needle-type tuners are classic guitar accessories that use a microprocessor to measure the average period of a waveform, driving the needle right or left to indicate whether or not the chord your instrument is producing is in tune. LED displays are convenient if you want a clear and easy way to read your tuner. LED displays work similarly to needle tuners in that they measure waveforms. But instead of indicating whether or not the instrument is in tune by using a needle device, LED displays use lights, typically red and green, to indicate how close to being in tune the instrument is. When the instrument is in tune, the lights balance in the middle to show that the instrument is properly adjusted. LCD displays are like a hybrid between needle tuners and LED displays, mimicking the classic needle tuner with a graphic that moves in the same way the needle does while providing the option of a display that mimics that of a strobe tuner.

>> How many tuning modes do you want the guitar tuner to have?

Many guitar tuner designs offer the option of tuning your guitar in various ways to create different types of effects with your instrument.

If you are new to playing guitar and to tuning your instrument, the best guitar tuner is one that uses a basic "tuning" mode that ensures each string is properly adjusted. If you are assessing how to buy a guitar tuner that offers a larger variety of tuning modes so you can adjust your instrument to be flat or sharp for various musical effects, look into a guitar tuner that offers a larger number of modes that can help you tune accordingly. If you are a more advanced player, the best guitar tuner will be one that offers a number of modes to choose from so that you can experiment with various settings.

>> Do you want a tuner that is part of other guitar equipment?

Although guitar tuners are useful pieces of guitar equipment on their own, they are also available as part of other equipment as well as in bundle packs with other instrumental accessories. For electric guitars, consider purchasing a tuner that comes built into a guitar amplifier. By plugging the cord into the amplifier, you can conveniently tune your instrument, ensuring that your sound will be exactly as you desire it. Most amplifiers with built-in tuners use an LCD screen that mimics needle-tuning technology. You can also find tuners in bundle packages that include all essential guitar accessories.

>> Consider portability

When looking at tuners, portability is a factor to take into consideration. If you plan on traveling back and forth between guitar lessons, shows or other locations, consider smaller, battery-powered tuners that can be easily transported from place to place.

If you plan on using your tuner in your home and do not intend to travel with it, a plug-in tuner may be best for you. With a plug-in tuner, you do not have to worry about batteries to keep the tuner charged and working.

>> Consider input/output bypass

Input/output bypass features in different types of guitar tuners allow you to tune your instrument without others hearing you. This allows you to plug your instrument in and check the tuning without producing sound. If you are evaluating how to buy a guitar tuner, you play a lot of gigs and you need to change the tuning of your instrument without being detected, a tuner with input/output bypass might be the best guitar tuner for you.

>> Consider design for your guitar tuner

The best guitar tuner is an accessory that you will enjoy using. Choosing a guitar tuner design that appeals to your ideas of function and appearance can be important when considering how to buy a guitar tuner.

Conduct a guitar tuner comparison that takes the size, guitar tuner dimensions, shape and display of the tuner into account as you consider how to buy a guitar tuner.

>> Consider microphones
If you are using an acoustic guitar that does not feature any electronics, consider a guitar tuner with a built-in microphone. Although electric guitars and electric bass guitars can be plugged into a tuner to adjust their sound, acoustic guitars need to be played out loud to a tuner in order for the tuner to pick up the wavelengths and indicate whether or not the instrument is properly tuned.

>> Are you looking for a tuner with chromatic tuning?

Chromatic tuning is a guitar tuner feature usually found in higher-end, more advanced tuners. This feature detects all twelve notes in the scale so you can tune your instrument to exact specifications. Whether you choose to purchase a chromatic tuner or a simpler model, there are many options to help ensure that you find the tuner that meets your specific needs.

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