Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Guitar Tuner

If you’re learning to play the guitar, or another stringed instrument, an electronic tuner can help you dial in your sound.

Guitar tuner
Electronic tuners are small and easy to use on just about any guitar make and model.KLIQ Music Gear

Face it—playing a guitar without a tuner is like baking a cake without measuring the ingredients. You get a result, but it likely won’t be the result you’re after. With the availability and low cost of today’s tuners, there’s just no excuse for not using one. With a tuner you know you’re starting to play with all strings in tune. Whatever happens next is up to you! Here are three things to look for in a tuner.


Snark SN5X Clip-On Tuner for Guitar, Bass & Violin
This popular clip-on tuner also has a metronome feature.Snark

Some tuners attach to a guitar via a clip, and others just need to be held near the sound hole. Still others connect electronically via the guitar’s pickups, and some guitars have built-in tuners. Most are battery-powered, so be sure the batteries are easy to change.

Display Modes

KLIQ UberTuner
This tuner’s display uses a color indicator to show tuning and also offers a frequency indicator.Bright DisplayKLIQ Music Gear

Most tuners offer a chromatic display option, meaning you will be tuning to a particular note on the chromatic scale. With this you can create different tunings other than the standard E-A-D-G-B-E tuning. Some tuners also offer the option of tuning to a frequency, which is the measure of the note as it vibrates. Some tuners indicate the number of the string being tuned instead of the note.

Display Brightness

Boss TU3 Chromatic Tuner Pedal
This pedal-style tuner features a mute switch, enabling you to avoid that annoying tuning in front of your audience.BOSS

Any guitar player who’s ever played in the sunlight knows the value of having a tuner display bright enough to read.