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Electric Guitar Tuner

Choosing the Right Electric Guitar Tuner

Electric Guitar Tuner

Electric Guitar Tuner

The function of an electric guitar tuner is to tunes the guitar to the correct pitch.  There are hundreds of electric guitar tuners on the market, and you can spend anywhere from $15 to $300 or more for a tuner.

The best thing to do when deciding on a electronic guitar tuner, is to decide the features that you will need from the tuner and decide how much you want to spend.

Electric Guitar Tuner Accuracy, Reliability, and Affordability

If you are a beginning guitarist, your needs will be different than those of a performer, or orchestra member.  In any tuner however, apart from any special features offered, you will need to look for three key things – accuracy, reliability, and affordability.

Electric Guitar Tuner Options:

To decide which electric guitar tuner is right for you we will examine all the features that are available.  We highlight which are the important features for beginners, and explain some of the more advanced features.

Display options

LED or LCD display? It is best for beginners to choose an electric tuner with LEDs to indicate sharp and flat notes.  The manual note selection option can be useful, and an off-note indication, telling you which way to tune is helpful.  LCD displays are harder to read, especially in a poorly lit room.

Chromatic Tuners

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Chromatic scale tuners are not imperative for beginners, but if you want to tune up or down half scales to be on pitch with another band member. Or if would rather tune your guitar pitch up or down instead of using a capo, then a chromatic tuner is essential.

Microphone Tuners

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Vibration tuners achieve a better perfect pitch in general, but microphone or “mic” tuners work well with acoustic guitars with steel or nylon strings.  Many electric tuners use vibration tuning with a built in mic, and are not that much more expensive.

Socket or Jack

If you are tuning an electric guitar, you will need a 1/4” jack socket to plug your guitar lead into, and no microphone is required.  It is helpful to have both an input and output jack on your guitar.  With two guitar leads, you don’t have to unplug your guitar from its amplifier, to plug into your tuner.  It just makes quick tuning easier.

Clip-On Tuners

Clip-on tuners are a relatively new invention, and can be used for both acoustic and electric guitars.  Clip-on guitar tuners tune through vibrations of the guitar’s notes, not through sound waves in the air, as a microphone does.  Clip-on guitar tuners are very small, and portable, and they clip right on to the head of the guitar.  The construction and lighting of clip-ons are important, in order to have easy viewing of the LED information.  These may not be the best choice for beginners, because some can be awkward to read and use.

Pedal Tuners

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Pedal tuners are a great choice for all electric guitarists.  They have all recommended features, and will last for many years.  They are generally more expensive, but if you can afford one, the pedal tuner is highly recommended.  They are not usually suitable for acoustic guitars, because they do not have a built-in microphone.

Strobe Guitar Tuner

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The strobe tuner is the most accurate, but also the most expensive type of guitar tuner.  It is made with a mechanically spinning disk which has strobe markers.  The disk spins at a fixed speed, while the strobe light flashes at a frequency determined by the string being tuned, using beat frequencies to determine tuning inaccuracies.

If the strobe display appears to be moving left, the note is flat, if it is moving right, the note is sharp, and if the strobe stops, you are perfectly in tune.

Vibration Tuners (Piezo)

The vibration tuner is preferred for precision, especially in noisy environments where there is background noise, or other instruments involved.  Many brands come with built in microphones for acoustic guitars.  They come in various styles, but all work on the principle of a piezo sensor using vibrations.

Microphone tuners

These tuners rely on sound waves instead of vibration to check pitch.  They are made in free standing, clip-on, and pedal styles, and they have the most options to choose from in functionality and features.  Pitch accuracy can be affected however, by any loud background noises, so they are not necessarily recommended for use on stage with other instruments involved, because of the variation of accuracy.

Ease of use, tuning accuracy, individually preferred features, and manufacturer support, are all features to look for in tuners.  Easy-to-use features, and display, internal mic, cable input, tuner recalibration, and auto shut off, are all things to look for in tuner features.

Many of the additional features are up to the user’s preference, and how much they can afford to pay for an electric tuner.  Some people do not like to rely on, or cart extra batteries back and forth, and prefer chargers, but some chargers may experience current surges, or drops which can affect tuning.  Most manufacturers offer both types of power charge.

Recommended Manufacturers of Electric Guitar Tuners


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Korg  is probably one of the best known electric guitar tuner manufacturers, and has a reputation for provide for the accurate and precise tuning.  Korg guitar tuners offer advanced features such as Sound Out mode, Quinta Flat tunings, and it supports modern six-string basses as well as seven-string guitars.  Korg is known world-wide for its excellence and technology.

Korg AW2G Guitar Tuner Review

Korg CA1 Guitar Tuner Review

Korg GA 40 Guitar Tuner Review

Korg GA1 Guitar Tuner Review

Planet Waves

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Planet Waves is a great choice for strobe tuners, and chromatic pedal tuners.  They are extremely accurate, easy to use, and affordable.


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Behringer is billed as the “ultimate guitar and bass tuner”, and the price is extremely affordable for the quality.

Behringer TU300 Guitar Tuner Review

Other Manufacturers

Other quality electric guitar tuners are made by Fender, Peterson, Sabine, Polytune, Intelli, SNARK, and DigiTech.  These manufacturers make quality products for reasonable prices, and their electric tuners are accurate and reliable.

Articles on this website can offer help in selecting an appropriate tuner for your needs and there are reviews of all the best guitar tuners.

If you are overwhelmed by the many choices, start with a simple and inexpensive tuner if you are a beginner. Read the reviews on this website to help you choose the right guitar tuner your needs.

Remember, the most important thing about a guitar tuner is that it is accurate, and is easy to use, and that suits your budget


Electronic Guitar Tuner



Posted by on February 2nd, 2012 No Comments