A guitar tuner is a device that reads the pitch of your instrument and visually tells you the pitch and how sharp or flat it is.
This allows you to pitch your guitar to standard tuning, or if you have a chromatic tuner, any alternate tunings you wish to use.
A non-chromatic tuner will limit you to only being able to tune your guitar to standard tuning. Any information it displays will be in relation to how sharp or flat your instrument is relative to the pitches of standard tuning.
Chromatic tuners show the pitch of your instrument relative to the closest semitone. This means you aren’t confined to standard tuning. Tuning to alternate tunings is much simpler and faster with a chromatic tuner. They are usually slightly more expensive than non-chromatic tuners.
There are several different styles of guitar tuner:
Clip On Tuners
- Small and portable
- Designed to clip onto the headstock of your guitar
- Easily stored in a case or gig bag
- Ideal for musicians at band practice and gigs
- No need for the guitar to be plugged into the tuner
- Battery powered
- Tuner in the style of a guitar effects pedal
- Ideal for gigs and band rehearsals
- Usually have a bright display, good for use on dark stages
- Often more accurate than clip on tuners
- Can usually be bypassed
- Requires the guitar to be plugged in to the pedal
- Designed to sit in rack units
- Larger than other tuners
- Ideal for home and professional studios
- Requires the guitar to be plugged into the tuner
- New technology – less common than other types of tuner
- Can identify the tuning of all strings at once unlike most tuners which can only identify the pitch of one string at a time
- Designed to make the tuning process faster for guitarists