It's Tuner Pedals vs Clip On Tuners in the battle over best guitar tuners – here’s our top 12 favourites for guitars and basses
A guitar tuner is not the most glamorous accessory by any means, but whether it’s a guitar tuner pedal, bass tuner or a clip on tuner, it’s by far the most important piece of equipment you’ll ever buy - this is why you need the best guitar tuners for the job.
The only thing worse than playing out of time, is playing out of tune, so it’s imperative you get yourself a good quality electric guitar tuner or clip on tuner for your acoustic guitar to keep your sound on point day after day, night after night and ensure you’re sounding your best.
Whether you choose a guitar tuner pedal to sit on your pedal board, a clip on tuner to sit on your headstock or even a soundhole tuner to sit discretely in your acoustic, you’ll need to wade through a few different options.
So today we’re going to answer the question: “What is the best guitar tuner?” and provide a few of our favourite electric and acoustic guitar tuner options. But first...
What Is Guitar Pedal Tuner?
A guitar pedal tuner is fairly self-explanatory. It’s a guitar tuner found within a pedal format that can sit nicely on your pedalboard, or by your amp. These are the best guitar tuners for those who want to tune up an electric guitar between songs.
A guitar pedal tuner will usually have a setting or input that mutes your guitar signal when you engage the pedal. This means no one hears you tuning your guitar – which is nice. They also cut out any feedback and noise between songs too as the signal is completely muted.
They are a professional solution that all gigging guitarists should own.
Anyway, here's teh best options in our opinion.
1. BOSS TU-3 Chromatic Tuner pedal
The BOSS TU-3 is probably the most popular and widely respected electric guitar tuner pedal, closely rivalled by its premium version - the BOSS TU-3W Waza Craft pedal. The BOSS TU3 tuner pedal is built to BOSS’s hard-core standards – which means it’ll last a nuclear war thanks to its almost indestructible build quality. If you’ve ever seen a band play live, chances are they had one of these on their pedal board due to its ultra smooth 21-segment LED meter you can see under the harshest of stage lights and accuracy to +/- one cent. The TU-3 features a Chromatic and Guitar/Bass mode and can support 7 string guitars, 6 string basses and allow for “drop” tunings up to six semitones below standard pitch.
In addition, you can even use the pedal power output to daisy chain and power up to 7 BOSS compact pedals. Thanks to the fact it’s backed up by the BOSS 5-year warranty, this thing should be your first purchase straight after your electric guitar or electro-acoustic guitar. By far the front runner for best electric guitar tuner on the market today surpassed only by the BOSS TU-3W Waza Craft Tuner pedal constructed with premium components by the engineers in BOSS Japan and buffered or true bypass switch.
Staff Pick: BOSS TU-3W Waza Craft pedal by Dagan Wilkin - PMT Newcastle.
2. Landlord FX Lock In Tuner Pedal
If you prefer a larger LED screen, the ability to tune 7-string guitars and 5-string basses and a no frills, no fuss tuner, then the Landlord FX Lock In Tuner Pedal is one of the best guitar tuners for you.
This tuning pedal has been designed to get you in tune quickly and accurately so you spend more time playing rather than tuning your guitar up! The large LED screen is easy to see on stage, the small construction (no bigger than a chocolate bar) ensures it's not taking up too much room on your board and the 9V power connection means you don't have to rely on a battery. It's also one of the cheapest tuner pedals around too - which is nice.
3. Korg Pitchblack Mini Pedal Tuner, Black
Korg have created one of the sleekest looking and most reliable electric guitar tuner pedals on the market today with the Korg Pitchblack Mini Pedal Tuner pictured in here in black. The rock solid casing can withstand almost anything you throw at it and provide a lifetime of reliable tuning thanks to the accuracy within +/- 0.1 cent. The bright LED visual meter provides a great level of visibility, allowing you to see exactly where you need to tune to at all times, whilst the true bypass switching ensures the pedal in no way colours your tone. Can be powered via a 9V battery or 9V AC adaptor for ease of use and is available in white to suit your set up.
4. Blaxx Tuner Pedal
Pedal board real estate is valuable, and the last thing you want to do is take up that valuable space when there’s a million other pedals out there vying for your attention! So, the team at Blaxx have created a small, compact yet highly reliable option in the form of the Blaxx Tuner Pedal. In fact, this is one of the best guitar tuners on the market today thanks to its large backlit LCD, responsive footswitch and tuning accuracy. Its also extremely budget friendly at just under £30 meaning guitarists of all levels can enjoy professional level tuning accuracy at all times.
5. Ibanez 2017 BIGMINI Chromatic Guitar Tuner Pedal
The Ibanez BIGMINI Chromatic Tuner is one of our favourite tuner pedals thanks to the fact it takes up minimal space on your pedal board, yet provides you with superb tuning accuracy when you need it most.
The big and bright LED display screen can be seen from all angles on stage and the true bypass switching means your tone isn’t coloured at all. This Ibanez 2017 BIGMINI Chromatic tuner makes our best guitar tuner list thanks to the fact you have a choice between needle mode and strobe mode depending on your preference and the fact it’s small enough to fit on even the busiest of pedal boards or sit comfortably in your guitar case. At no bigger than a fun size mars bar, this is one of the best mini chromatic tuners available today.
6. Dr. Green Tune Up Tuner Guitar Pedal
The Dr. Green Tune Up Tuner Guitar Pedal has been designed for the touring guitarists and touring bass players out there. Featuring a robust custom steel housing to keep all the internal guts safe whilst you take over the world in your band! The heavy-duty switching will put up with the heaviest of stompers out there (you know who you are) and easily put up with a heavy life on the road.
A smooth 11 segment LED meter ensures you can see what’s going on at any angle and the accuracy to +/- 1cent means your guitar or bass will be spot on at all times. A great tuning pedal designed to tuck away discreetly in your gig bag, guitar case or sit snugly on your pedal board. The top loading jack sockets make it even easier to install on a busy pedal board too. A great option for guitarists of all levels made by the same people behind Ashdown amplifiers – so you know you’re in good hands.
What is a clip on tuner?
A clip on tuner works by detecting the vibrations of your instrument and telling the tuner which string is out of tune by communicating with the vibration sensor and circuitry within the tuner - essentially it works without the use of sound. Ideal for those who need to tune in a crowded room, in public or on stage between sets, a clip on tuner is often a better idea if you need a portable solution without the use of guitar cables.
Here's a few of our favourites...
7. TOURTECH TTA-T01 Colour Screen Clip-On Tuner
We’re now into the realm of the clip on guitar tuners and the TOURTECH TTA-T01 Colour Screen Clip-On Tuner is by far one of the best options available today. The large, bright display is ideal for the stage and can sit on the headstock of your guitar allowing you to monitor your tuning easily at all times thanks to the 360 swivel. It's accurate to within +/- 1 cent thus it provides the accuracy you need for your acoustic or electric guitar. Ideal for those who need a reliable, acoustic or classical guitar tuner that they can rely on.
8. Boss TU-10 Clip-On Chromatic Tuner
The Boss TU-10 Clip-On Chromatic Tuner is from the same family as the BOSS TU-3 pedal tuner, utilising the same proven boss quality and reliability, but in a clip-on format. Ideal for both electric and acoustic guitars, the TU-10 features the innovative Accu-Pitch function which shows you exactly where you’re at when tuning each string. You also have the option of flat tuning up to 5 semitones as well as Stream mode depending on your visual preference. Small, compact and totally robust, this is a tuner that’ll last a lifetime and sit comfortably in your gig bag when not in use and on the headstock of your guitar when needed.
9. Planet Waves by D’Addario Eclipse Headstock Tuner
They’ve got the strings market wrapped up and their guitar and instrument cables are world class, so it makes sense that D’Addario would eventually go on to create one of the best guitar tuners and most budget friendly options available.
The Planet Waves by D’Addario Eclipse Headstock Tuner provides pro-level performance for just over £10, offering fast and accurate chromatic tuning for acoustic and electric instruments. The full colour vertical display is easy to see on stage and the multi-swivel action allows for multiple viewing angles. Clip on and place it on the front or behind the headstock for discrete use.
Available in a wide range of different colours and a CR2032 battery is included so you’re good to go straight away!
10. Snark Quiktune SN1X Clip-On Tuner Blue
Probably one of the smallest clip on guitar tuners you’ll find happens to be one of the most powerful. The Snark Quiktune SN1X Clip-On Tuner Blue is an extremely budget friendly tuner capable of tuning almost any stringed instrument including electric guitar, bass, acoustic guitar and ukuleles. It actually makes a perfect ukulele tuner thanks to its tiny size and due to its bright screen can be seen easily at all angles.
The Snark Tuner also works on the vibrations of your instrument so you don't need to worry about tuning up in silence. Small, simple and budget friendly - the snark is widely regarded as one of the best guitar tuners for acoustic instruments.
11. TOURTECH TTA-T02 Clip-On Tuner
The TOURTECH TTA-T02 Clip-On Tuner is an ingenious piece of kit designed to sit on an acoustic guitar without taking up too much room. This tiny, fully chromatic tuner, which is not much bigger than your thumb, is suitable for virtually any stringed instrument, so it's ideal for those multi instrumentalists out there.
The flexible mounting options are perfect for angling it so only you can see it looks up at you providing tuning information that only you can see. Considering it's it's around £5 and the fact it’s also a great ukulele tuner, acoustic bass tuner and classical guitar tuner, you get a lot for your money!
12. Roadie 2 Automatic Guitar Tuner
Last but by no means least, we have the Roadie 2 Automatic Guitar Tuner.
If you’re a professional guitarist or roadie you’ll love this. The Roadie 2 Automatic Guitar Tuner tunes virtually any stringed instrument accurately and automatically in under 30 seconds.
The reason why we think this is one of the best guitar tuners out there is down to the fact it utilises a vibration sensor rather than a microphone, so you can tune your guitar, banjo, ukulele, 12 string guitar or any other stringed instrument in noisy environments.
We also love it as you can choose from over 40 preset alternative and open tunings and the Roadie 2 will tune the guitar for you instantly. Just hold the Roadie 2 on the tuning pegs and it will do its thing. You can also create your own custom tunings and save them as presets making it a perfect option for guitarists of all styles and genres and road crew/guitar techs that need something reliable.
One thing to note is that it doesn’t tune bass guitars as the tuning pegs are too large. But If you did want a bass tuner though, there is a Roadie Bass automatic tuner available.
This is one of the best hand held, battery powered guitar tuners on the market today. It’s a little pricey, but it’s well worth the extra cost if you need to tune in a hurry, anywhere, anytime.