Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Best tuner pedal 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated March 1, 2019
Best tuner pedal of 2018
I must say I am quite a fan of tuner pedal, so when the question “What are the best tuner pedal available on the market?” came to my mind, I excitedly started gathering information together with personal experience to write this article in the hope that it may help you find the suitable tuner pedal. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your comfort, style, or accessibility, we have picks to fit a variety of needs and budgets. Like choosing clothes or cosmetics, choosing tuner pedal should be based on your purpose, favorite style, and financial condition. Simply review and buy them.
Test Results and Ratings
№1 – KLIQ TinyTune Tuner Pedal for Guitar and Bass – Mini – Chromatic – with Pitch Calibration and Flat Tuning
Why did this tuner pedal win the first place?
I was completely satisfied with the price. Its counterparts in this price range are way worse. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product.
Why did this tuner pedal come in second place?
This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made.
Why did this tuner pedal take third place?
It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. We are very pleased with the purchase — the product is great! This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment.
tuner pedal Buyer’s Guide
How to Properly Tune Your Guitar
A very close contender for the best tuner pedal crown is the Korg Pitchblack Chromatic Tuner. It doesn’t have the polyphonic tuning mode of the TC Electronic PolyTune, but this is an extremely accurate and easy to use tuner, and the price is unbelievably low for a pedal of this quality.
The Korg Pitchblack looks really rugged, and its aluminum case looks and feels indestructible. The only plastic component is the battery door on the back of the pedal. A footswitch on the front of this stompbox turns it on and off, and the switch is true bypass which is a plus in our book. The left and right sides of the pedal have a ¼” jack for your instrument cable. On the back of the pedal you’ll find a 9V DC jack (power supply not included), and a 9V DC output jack to daisy-chain a few pedals and power them using the Pitchblack. If you use the power output, keep in mind the total current consumption for the connected pedals should not exceed 200 mA (significantly less than the PolyTune’s 2000 mA), which should be enough to power a couple of pedals. Also on the rear of the pedal are small DISPLAY and CALIB buttons, which give you a few different ways to use the Pitchblack.
Tuning with the Korg Pitchblack is extremely easy and straightforward. Plug your instrument in, and the output is muted so your audience won’t hear you tune (this means you can also use this pedal as a killswitch). The DISPLAY button on the back of the unit cycles through modes: Full Strobe, Half Strobe, Meter & Mirror. Nothing changes in terms of accuracy, these only alter the way the display helps you get to the right pitch. Most users (us included) prefer the primary/default mode, as it seems the other modes are not all that helpful. Detection accuracy is +/-cent, so not quite the same accuracy as the PolyTune in strobe mode. Still, unless you are a touring pro using this to intonate your guitars, you won’t notice a difference. The tuning process is very crisp, with horizontal yellow arrows showing you if you’re sharp or flat, and red and green vertical bars showing you how close you’re getting to pitch. It’s nice and smooth and not jumpy, just like the TC Electronic PolyTune. And speaking of switching between display modes, the pedal’s display is big and bright. No matter the lighting conditions, you’ll be able to see it clearly. We actually prefer the Pitchblack’s display to the PolyTune’s. The other button at your disposal is CALIB, which lets you adjust calibration from 43Hz to 44Hz. One small inconvenience is that when you unplug the pedal its settings reset, which is slightly annoying if you gig frequently.
Handheld Chromatic Tuners
Guitar Tuners Electronic guitar tuners are often simple for maximum portability and ease of use. Note that some dedicated electronic guitar tuners may not be full chromatic tuners; they may only tune the notes that guitar players need. They may have features specific to guitars and bass, such as dropped semi-tones. More advanced models have the ability to select tunings other than the EADGBE standard or chord finders. Highly rated guitar tuners include the very compact Korg GAGuitar and Bass Tuner; but for a few dollars more, the Korg GA-40 Large Display Guitar and Bass Tuner adds a larger display and a sound-out jack. If you want to buy an electronic tuner labeled for guitars to tune other things, make sure you read the description carefully. The tuning features of most basic guitar tuners can be replicated by full chromatic tuners.
Pedal Tuners Pedal tuners are used on stage by guitarists and other stringed instrumentalists. The electronic tuner rests on the floor and is used with a “pick-up” mic wired directly the instrument; this eliminates ambient sound. The player has the option of muting or turning off amplification so that he or she can tune without disturbing the audience or other band members. Other features are geared to stage settings, such as extra-bright displays visible outdoors and “bypass” mode which takes the tuner out of the amplification circuit during normal playing. See the Korg Pitchblack True Bypass Chromatic Tuner Pedal as an example.
Clip-on Tuners This modification of the basic pocket electronic tuner clips directly to the neck or bell of the instrument. It “hears” by using direct contact to sense the vibrations of the instrument itself. All tuners function better the closer to the source; this is about as close as one can get. This reduces the interference of ambient sounds, and like a pedal tuner can be used silently on a noisy stage. Feature sets vary, but these tuners tend to be simple to keep the size down. Most models emphasize string and guitar, and can be left attached while playing. Many wind instuments can use them, though the positioning can get tricky. The Intelli IMT500 Clip-on Chromatic Digital Tuner for Strings is a popular example; Korg’s entry is the AW2G Clip-on Chromatic Guitar Tuner.
If you need the accuracy of a contact mic, but want or already have a standard handheld unit, many tuner brands offer contact mic as an add-on, such as the Korg CM-100L Clip On Contact Microphone that works with tuner with an audio input jack.
Pocket Strobe Tuner Pocket strobe electronic tuners use a strobe display instead of a needle, yet are otherwise comparable to other pocket electronic tuners. These use lights that move a circular pattern rather than spinning discs. The Planet Waves Tru-Strobe Tuner has very solid reviews.
Combination Tuner and Metronome One feature many find handy is to have a metronome built into the electronic tuner. This variation can be found among the many styles of pocket tuners. The Korg TM-40 Large Display Digital Tuner and Metronome is an excellent tuner as well as metronome.
Because they utilize built-in microphones, Acoustic Tuners rely on actually hearing the sound of your instrument, it’s as if a professional musician is helping you tune by ear. The obvious challenge for this type of tuner is that outside noise will easily bleed into it’s microphone making it hard to use when tuning with other musicians or at noisy gig venues. While this particular technology may seem outdated, they remain the most flexible because you can use them to tune almost any instrument.
Pedal Tuners with their tank tough metal exterior are the most reliable and durable of the three, making them ideal for gigging musicians. While they maybe bulkier and heavier, the extra protection, better accuracy and bigger display area that they offer, can often spell the difference between a great gig and a gig gone wrong. It’s also worth mentioning that its harder to misplace pedals, so you won’t end up having to tune on stage by ear! These are only of use If you have a pickup in your guitar or you’re using an acoustic-electric and you don’t mind having an extra pedal in your rig.
Tuning in smaller venues is one of the many challenges that gigging acoustic guitarists have to face on a regular basis. Since you can’t totally mute an acoustic guitar’s natural projection, the audience can still hear you pluck your strings as you tune. Although cracking jokes can help distract your audience from the awkward “tuning song”, you often have to soften your attack on the strings as you tune so they don’t over power your banter with the audience. In line with this, you need a tuner that is sensitive enough to let you tune with the slightest pluck or strum, and you also want it to be as easy to use and discrete as possible so you can transition to playing a song quickly. Clip-on tuners, and acoustic tuners work well for these intimate gigs.
In louder band settings or for bigger venues, tuning silently becomes less of a problem, but tuning fast and accurately is demanded, especially when multiple instruments are tuning at the same time and you can no longer trust your ears. These situations require tuners that will let you tune quickly and accurately without having to actually hear the notes yourself. For these types of gigs, you are better off using pedal tuners since you’ll probably be plugged into an amplifier or a PA anyway. Clip-on tuners with bigger displays also work well in this situation.
There are also many tuner apps for smartphones – they’re often free which makes them perfect for using at home, but they’re far too cumbersome and prone to audio interference to use when playing live or at important rehearsals with a large number of other musicians.
TC Electronic PolyTune Clip
TC Electronic’s innovative polyphonic tuning allows you to strum the guitar and concurrently tune each string instead of the usual one-string-at-a-time method. Thanks to this technology, tuning time is dramatically cut down without sacrificing accuracy or functionality. Now this same technology is made available in clip-on format, carrying over the same tuning precision and innovative multi-string tuning but in a more accessible and affordable format. This impressive tuner lets you tune your guitar in three ways, polyphonic for quick one strum tuning, traditional chromatic if you prefer to tune by string, and an ultra precise +/-0.0cents “strobe” tuner mode which is ideal when you are setting up your instrument’s intonation. One thing that TC Electronic can improve on is the clip mechanism’s limited rotation, which makes it a bit harder to get the tuner into certain positions. Other than that, if you want no less than the best tuning technology then you should get the PolyTune Clip.
Korg Pitchhawk G2
Korg have built their reputation by producing quality gear that goes beyond the confinement of guitar accessories, and as such they have more than enough experience to design and mass produce reputable clip-on tuners. The Pitchhawk Gis the latest version of their popular affordable clip-on tuner, featuring a slimmer body with improved high-contrast high-brightness LCD display. The smaller footprint makes positioning and storage more convenient, and reduces the risk of damaging your beloved acoustic guitar when tuning. The bigger and brighter display ensures that you get great visual feedback whichever position is convenient for you. Other nifty features include over-winding warning for beginners, auto power off and memory backup. While the bells and whistles are limited, you can expect this tuner to have Korg’s brand of quality build and reliability. If you’re looking for a straightforward and practical tuner with impressive visual flair, then this is the tuner for you.
Without a doubt, the Snark SN-is the most popular guitar tuner in the market today, thanks mostly to its affordable price and its flexible positioning mechanism. For something so affordable, this clip-on tuner is packed with quite a lot of extra features. This includes pitch calibration which is useful when matching the tuning of another instrument, transposition when you need to change standard tuning and there’s even a tap tempo metronome which can be handy for practice. Most notable of the extras however is the built-in microphone which complements the internal vibration sensor, which means that this clip on tuner can also function as a traditional acoustic tuner. While the accuracy of this tuner may not be enough for detailed intonation work, the Snark SN-is more than enough to tune your guitar during practice and gigs, you can even lend it to your bassist because this tuner can handle other string instruments. The Snark SN-is proof that you don’t have to pay more to get a workhorse tuner.
Korg GA-40 Guitar and Bass Tuner
The Korg GA-40 is an affordable guitar and bass tuner that is as straightforward and traditional as it gets. It utilizes a built-in mic to detect the pitch of your acoustic guitar, and automatically gives you visual feedback via the LCD needle-style display, letting you know exactly how close or far you are from the ideal tone of a particular string. To make it more relevant, Korg expanded the tuning range of the GA-40 and added 1/4″ input and output jacks, in order to accommodate modern 7-string guitars and 6-string basses. Interestingly, this expanded range allows the tuner to work really well with other instruments, as seen with the consistently positive feedback that the GA-40 has been getting. From guitars, to violins and even for tuning an acoustic piano, the GA-40 does a straightforward and excellent job of getting the instruments tuned quickly and efficiently. There are some who are concerned about its exterior being prone to damage, but with proper handling, this could be the tuner of choice if you are a multi-instrumentalist, who happen to play guitar.
Korg Pitchblack Chromatic Tuner
While more popular with electric guitar players because of its black motif, Korg’s Pitchblack Chromatic Tuner works just as well for acoustic-electrics guitars. Its road tested exterior makes it more than capable of handling the rigors of regular gigging, and its ability to handle downtuned electric guitars and even bass makes tuning acoustic guitars a breeze. The black color is not just for show, because it creates a better contrast for the eleven segment LED meter to shine through, along with large note name display, regardless of light setting. Having said all that though, the Pitchblack pedal is easily the most visually striking among the tuner pedals listed, and can be an easy pick for many based on looks alone. Giving you the incentive to utilize precious pedalboard space on a tuner, Korg equipped this pedal with DC output which you can use to power up your other pedals. Like the Boss pedal, Pitchblack can double as a power supply, making the cost of acquiring one even more justifiable. While it could have been better if it had more features instead of the redundant display options, this workhorse tuner pedal will make a great addition to anybody’s rig.
Choosing an Electronic Tuner
There are a number of different types of electronic tuners. Each type of tuner has features that may or may not make it a better choice, depending on each player’s situation.
A performing guitarist may not have the same requirements as a bedroom player. For example, a performing guitar player needs a bright display that can easily be seen on a dark stage. This feature is not as important to a guitarist playing at home in a well-lit room. When choosing a tuner, consider each feature and how it will work in your playing environment.
Accuracy is one of the most important requirements for an electronic tuner. Obviously, the more accurate the tuner is, the more in tune the guitar will be. Some tuners provide very accurate displays, using a needle or a large number of lights.
Tuners are also rated on their accuracy in detecting the current note and determining when the target note has been reached. Tuner specifications will usually note the tuner’s accuracy in cents.
A pedal tuner is a tuner that has a footswitch housing similar to those that hold various guitar effects. This type is usually quite accurate and very durable. A pedal tuner has both input and output jacks, allowing the tuner to be used in the signal chain between the guitar and amplifier.
A player can conveniently tune at any point without having to move a cable. Another excellent feature of the pedal tuner is its ability to mute the signal from the guitar. While the tuner is engaged, the guitar signal is not passed to the amplifier. A guitar player can tune without worrying about the sound annoying or interrupting anyone.
This microphone is similar to a piezo pickup. Instead of accepting a signal via a guitar cord, the clip-on tuner’s microphone picks up the transferred vibration from the played string.
There are some disadvantages associated with using a clip-on tuner. It is generally less accurate than other tuners and is more likely to be lost or broken due to its small size. The clip-on tuner does not mute the guitar signal, so the player must remember to turn down the guitar volume before tuning in order to tune quietly.
A polyphonic tuner is a tuner that can detect and determine multiple pitches at one time. Instead of having to pick and then tune each string separately, a guitarist with a polyphonic tuner can just strum all six strings at once. The tuner will then show which strings are out of tune.
The ability to check the tuning of all six strings at once allows for much quicker tuning, a valuable feature for guitarists who perform in public.
A rackmount tuner is simply a tuner in a housing that is designed to fit in a guitar effects rack. It makes little sense for a guitarist to use a pedal tuner when the rest of the gear is in a rack.
This type of tuner can also have more features than the pedal versions, as the larger size allows for more electronic components and input/output jacks. It is very common to find a rackmount tuner in a recording studio.
I highly recommend that all guitar players purchase a chromatic tuner. The chromatic tuner offers the most flexibility, allowing players to use any possible tuning.
Non-chromatics are usually cheaper and may be easier for beginners to understand, but I think even beginners should buy the best tuner possible. Because most tuners are relatively inexpensive, it makes sense to buy one with greater accuracy and many features.
Polyphonic Tuner: TC Electronic PolyTune 2
The greatest feature of this tuner is TC Electronic’s revolutionary PolyTune technology. The MonoPoly feature detects whether the user is playing multiple strings or just one string, and changes the tuning mode to match. The polyphonic mode determines the pitches of all strings being played and displays which strings need to be tuned.
How the tuner “hears” your instrument will have an impact on the accuracy of the reading, as well. Hand-held tuners (and smartphone tuners, like the Roadie 2) use a microphone to pick up the sound your strings produce and determine whether it’s sharp or flat. This can be less effective in a loud environment, where the microphone has a more difficult time detecting the specific vibrations of your instrument.
Boss’s TU series are the best-selling stage tuners worldwide. The TU-is the latest entry in the series and has made improvements over even the traditionally powerful features of the previous options. If you’re looking for the comprehensive option in pedal tuners, this Boss model is one you need to look into.
The screen is the biggest improvement over previous models. Most LED displays are great for indoor or night-time use but are difficult to read during outdoor performances in bright light. The high-brightness mode they’ve added to the TU-gives you glare-free visibility of your tuner’s screen in every situation.
The TU-has two performance modes. It behaves like any other tuner when it’s in Chromatic mode, but it also has a specific Guitar/Bass mode that gives you the option of tuning by string number. It supports less traditional tunings, like 6-string basses and 7-string guitars. In Guitar Flat mode, you can even check your intonation on drop tunings.
Mini Pedal Tuner
The original PolyTune was the first polyphonic tuner to become widely used, and the PolyTune builds on that tradition. Its main selling point is the fact that it lets you tune all your strings at once. Just strum and the PolyTune will tell you which strings need to be adjusted. This lets you tune more quickly so you can get back to playing.
The PolyTune uses an ambient light sensor and adjusts the brightness of the screen accordingly, letting you use it just as well in any environment without any hassle. They also added a strobe mode, which was missing from the PolyTune, giving you more precision so you can fine-tune your guitar.
This also might just be the smartest pedal you’ll find for any purpose. Along with the automatic brightness display, it also gives you the MonoPoly option, which instantly recognizes how many strings you’re playing and responds accordingly.
It also automatically stores all of your preferences, including what mode you prefer, so you don’t have to adjust it again every time you use it. Whether you’re looking for speed, accuracy, or easy usability, this pedal does it all.
The design of this Boss clip-on is its best feature. It has a unique curved casing that’s both attractive and compact. Not to mention it’s built to withstand the abuses of daily use on the road. The Accu-pitch indicator gives you a clear red arrow showing which way you need to adjust your pitch, on a true color LCD screen that’s overall more visible.
Plain and simple.
While it might not be feature-rich, the TUdoes give you the option of calibrating to a different pitch center. It also has an auto-shutoff option, which saves you battery life. That’s especially nice if you have a tendency to forget to turn your tuner off before putting it in your case.
If you’re looking for a great hand-held tuner option, the MetroPitch is a versatile 3-in-device that fits right into pretty much any guitar case. In addition to the tuner, the MetroPitch includes a metronome and a tone generator, making it a great tool for the practice room.
The MetroPitch gives you similar performance to other high-end tuners. It has a wide frequency response range and takes quick, accurate readings.
The TinyTune has it.
It responds quickly with a reading that’s guaranteed to be within.cents of the pitch center. It can detect pitches as low as A0 and as high as C8, and gives you a wider calibration range than many tuners, up to cents sharp or flat of A440. It can even accommodate drop tuning of up to four semi-tones.
The casing isn’t just compact, it’s also incredibly durable, constructed entirely of high-quality aluminum. The colorful display doesn’t rely exclusively on LED lights for visibility, which makes it easier to read in any light conditions.
If you’re on a budget and want to find the best value, Kliq’s UberTuner gives you accurate, easy operation for less than twenty bucks. It doesn’t feel cheap, either, with a strong, sturdy clip that’s attached securely to the adjustable display.
The UberTuner uses a black background on the display to enhance the contrast and makes it easier to read, even from a slight distance. There are three different settings for the angle of the display, letting you tweak it to suit your instrument and playing position.
The performance is impressive, too, especially for the price. The response time is even faster than with some costlier tuners, and it’s accurate within cent—not as tight as some of the higher-end tuners on this list, but great for the price. You even get five different tuning modes, with an all-purpose chromatic option as well as settings for guitar, bass, ukulele, or violin.
Let’s break it down
Like other PolyTune models, this tuner gives you the option of playing in most common alternate tunings and lets you save your tuning settings for easy future reference. There are two modes of operation (chromatic and stroboscopic) that offer up to.0cents of accuracy.
The LED display is large and bright. The multi-string display can be a bit confusing at first, but it’s clear and easy to read once you get used to it. It also senses which way is up and adjusts automatically, meaning left-handed players can just flip it around.
The Roadie Standalone tuner is an innovative product that integrates with your smartphone to tune your instrument to the exact pitch automatically. The Roadie app on your phone makes all the pitch decisions. It’s accurate and lets you choose from a range of popular tunings, with options for a range of string instruments from guitar to banjo to violin. It’s also very easy to use. Open the app, put the Roadie over a tuning peg, and pluck the string. The Roadie will do all the work.
It does all the work.
The app itself is as responsive as any tuner on this list and accurate within tenths of a cent. You will be relying on your phone’s microphone to capture your tone, however. Make sure you have a phone that’s up to the task or else be prepared to fine-tune it by hand.
While it’s easy to use, it’s not necessarily quick to use for small adjustments since it needs to be placed on each tuning peg individually. Where it’s most useful is in changing quickly from one tuning to another, automating the process so you can move seamlessly from one tune to the next through your set.
If you frequently switch between instruments or use alternate tunings, the convenience of the Roadie is well worth the price. If not, you can get similar accuracy and performance for a lot less from other options on this list.
Korg has been making professional-level rack-mounted tuners since the 1980s, and the Pitchblack Pro is just the latest iteration of their design. For a rack-mounted design, it’s very lightweight with a slim profile that means it’s not limited to use on a rack, making it a very versatile piece of professional equipment.
The display of this tuner uses a 3D lighted meter. Along with giving you easy to read and accurate information about your pitch, it’s pretty cool to look at, too, with an overall sleek and beautiful design. The included rack mounting brackets are very convenient, though they’re made of plastic so you’ll have to be a bit more careful with them than you would be with metal hardware.
In terms of features, it gives you everything you’ll need from a professional tuner, including both strobe and chromatic operation and a frequency range of E0 to CIt’s on par in terms of accuracy and speed with the Pitchblack pedal tuner, making it another excellent contender in that price range.
Nordic Essentials Guitar Tuner
Why We Liked It – It is a must have for anyone looking for excellent tuning and improving their guitarist’s skills. It can help you understand and identify the areas you need to work on which makes it better for beginners too.
Those looking for a cheap but highly accurate clip-on tuner should try the Snark SNIt is quite similar to our top pick the SN This is especially great with bass guitars so if you happen to own a bass this is exactly what you require.
The display is bright and legible with 360-degree rotation making it highly user-friendly.
For all these qualities, Snark’s SNqualifies as a great value for money. The price tag that it has compared with the functions is simply remarkable.
Some people still prefer tuning their instrument using their ears but in the real world with real risks, it is better to have a reliable and instant tuner gear with you. Since the ’70’s technology has made it easy to match sound using microprocessors. Still, there are several categories of these you should know about.
These became very popular in the late 70s after the release of Korg WThese small handheld tuners were quite accurate and simple making them instantly popular among guitarists. These nearly became the standard for both acoustic and electric guitars. Today too these are quite common due to their compact size and portability. The only drawback is that handheld ones are not very effective in noisy venues.
Polyphonic tuners are essentially pedal tuners but they allow you to tune all six strings in one play (and thus the name, polytune). These are rather new and carries a higher price too but they are quickly becoming popular. The Polytune from TC Electronic was the first polyphonic tuner and it proved pretty time efficient. The Polytune is perfectly suited for professional guitarists who have complex playing styles. Polytune was indeed a great hit but this year TC electronic has come up with something bigger – it is the Polytune It has all the features of the original Polytune plus various other modern features. If you’re professional guitarists with complex in-stage needs, polytune is an upgrade you must have.
This is the 21st century and that means software can do pretty much anything so you also have smartphone apps that are tuners apart from actual tuners discussed above. That said technology, however smart it is, may not be as good as the actual hardware. These are fun and simple but do not expect a lot from them in terms of quality and accuracy.
Difference between Non-chromatic and chromatic
When looking for tuners you will read the word chromatic a lot. Let us start with a non-chromatic one which simply is designed to tune guitars solely via conventional EADGBE tuning. This means that the tuner tunes each string and tells you how sharp or flat it is based on the corresponding note. However, chromatic tuners are a tad bit different as they tune relative to the nearest semi-note.
In simpler words, chromatic tuners can be used with other musical tools as well as other guitar tunings. If you are only going to be tuning a guitar than a non-chromatic tuner will work for you. However, you get a lot more flexibility with a chromatic tuner.
The battery may not seem like an important consideration when buying a tuner but it should be. Most clip on tuners that are not compact is powered by a battery. And you should know about the life of the battery. Some of them have rechargeable batteries too which can be convenient. This is mostly relevant to clip on tuners as pedal tuners do not necessarily have a battery. You can hook them up to the pedal power supply.
One thing to check when looking for tuners is the accuracy. It is measured in cents and one tuner may be more accurate than others. The accuracy measure is usually given like this +/-0.cents. As a general rule, the lower the unit the more accurate the tuner is.
It’s best to start with the most obvious pedal, one you’ve probably heard of already. Distortion! The term “distortion pedal” is actually used quite a bit as an umbrella term to refer to different types of pedals.
Although it’s not really wrong to do this (they all distort the signal of the guitar) I’m going to be a little bit more specific and split the group up into types – distortion, overdrive and fuzz (these second two are discussed below).
Distortion is can be quit a heavy, obvious effect which provides a good amount of sustain & crunch to your sound. Because it heavily distorts the sound, it can sometimes hide the actual tone of the guitar.
However you can still hear the original tone of your guitar and amp in there somewhere. It just makes everything sound much more aggressive.
An overdrive pedal still distorts your sound, and gives it an extra punch, but it’s great at keeping more of the sound of your amplifier & guitar intact. So it sounds a little bit more natural.
It drives or “pushes” your amplifier more subtly than a distortion pedal so it doesn’t sound too heavy or overpowering. Yet it still gives you that beefy, thicker sound.
It’s often used in classic rock and blues but is a versatile pedal which is on the pedal board of millions of guitarists around the world.
Fuzz is the most extreme of the distortion effects and kind of sounds like it’s pushing your amplifier to breaking point. It provides a bass heavy and noisy guitar tone and means that it’s very hard to hear any of your original guitar tone.
However it’s still a very diverse pedal depending on how you use it. It can be used to create very heavy attacking sounds, or add more of a discrete buzz which isn’t too overpowering.
The different pedals are differentiated by the amount of the distortion / saturation they provide. Overdrive has the least, fuzz has the most, and distortion is somewhere in the middle.
Delay is another effect which does what it says on the tin. It delays your signal by a varying amount and then plays it back. This creates a doubling effect. The pedal will let you define how long the delay is.
Digital pedals can usually delay for longer, but some people think that these digital pedals don’t sound as good as analogue alternatives. Delay pedals are great for creating experimental effects and sounds, but can be subtle too.
The chours effect sounds like hundreds of different guitarists playing what you are, but very slightly out of time. The effect also creates a mild wobble type noise.
Overall the sound sound rich, full and thick because of the chorus effect.
It can be used effectively both as a subtle effect or a more obvious experimental effect.
Flanger is very similar to chorus, however it can provide a little bit more of an obvious effect.
It’s got more of a wooshing sound which goes up in pitch and then down again. People often say it sounds like a plane flying past.
Unlike the chorus effect it doesn’t sound like there are hundreds of guitarists copying your sound, but still can thicken your tone up.
Again the phaser pedal is similar to the flanger and chorus effects. It creates a sweeping sound by creating peaks and troughs in your guitar tone. You can alter the height of these peaks and troughs by manipulating the controls on the pedal.
The phaser also adds a similar, but not as obvious, effect to the guitar tone as the chorus. So it sounds like there are a few guitarists playing the same as you.
Tremolo sounds like your volume is being turned up and down very quickly after you play a note. However the sounds gets blended together nicely so it doesn’t sound too obvious or out of place. Essentially it proves a nice wobble sound.
The controls on the pedal control how big this volume change is, and how quickly it occurs. It’s not too far away from the phaser, flanger and chorus pedals, but still sounds unique when compared to them.
Due to this fact, I would suggest taking a look at some tuner options and find the best guitar tuner for you. There are many kinds of tuners out there, some cheap, some expensive, some with bells and whistles but most tuners will do what they need to do, tune your guitar! For this review I will be focusing on three types of tuners: the plug-in electronic guitar tuner, the digital guitar tuner pedal, and the chromatic guitar tuner.
Korg GAGuitar and Bass Tuner
The Korg GAis a great and standard plug in electronic tuner. It is easy to use, has solid accuracy and an simple but effective interface. Korg makes great key-boards, electronic instruments and musical equipment and makes everything with solid quality.
The tuner has a basic on off switch, a switch for picking the sound, the semi tone/how flat the sound is if you want to tune flat, and a switch for picking either guitar or bass. You plug your guitar in to one end of a patch chord and the tuner in the other, pretty basic but is awesomely accurate.
The KLIQ UberTuner Guitar Tuner
The Snark is one of the most popular clip-on tuners out there and there is good reason for it. I like the KLIQ better due to the large display, however, the Snark definitely has an accurate reading display although a bit smaller than the KLIQ.
It is a very accurate tuner and is priced extremely fairly which makes it pretty desirable in my opinion. It can also be used on bass guitars or violin so is great to have in a band setting as it can be easily passed between artists.
The Snark SN-also has the ability to be a BPM indicator with a range from 40-250 BPM. You can turn it on via the button on the left hand side and it essentially visually indicates the desired BPM using a flash of an aspect of the display.
Korg AW-LT100G €2 £25.84
The bigger the pedal surface area, or platform, the better the relationship between the cleat and the pedal will be. This helps keep the pedal as comfortable during the fifth hour of a ride as it is during the first, while also providing the most efficient power transfer.
Q factor adjustment
The Q factor is the distance between the centreline of the pedals, laterally. Not all pelvic widths are the same! To produce maximum power, the knee needs to track in a vertical line as this is both most efficient and reduces the risk of knee pain. Look for cleats with good lateral adjustment or, even better, use pedals that are available with different axle lengths.
A cleat and pedal system with a zero-degree or ‘fixed’ float will lock your feet rigidly in place. However, most riders will prefer to have a little wiggle room. Measured in degrees, float is the amount that your heel can move side-to-side before disengaging from the pedal.
A good range and adjustment of rotation
Riders with biomechanical imbalances and lower-limb issues may need a more precise set-up and require more rotation. Speedplay pedals are the perfect choice for this, allowing 15° of rotation right down to zero. Time pedals also allow a large degree of float.
This not only protects your knees against potential damage, but means there’s less chance of you accidentally unclipping.
Time RXS Speed
French brand Time has a great reputation for producing some of the best pedals around for sensitive knees thanks to the available float and action of the spring mechanism.
For this round-up, we’ve included the extremely cost-effective RXS Speed – previously the headliner for Time and still sufficiently good that it remains worthy of consideration.
Using a steel axle and composite body gives a very respectable weight of 246g – an 11g lighter carbon-bodied version is an extra £40 – while a brass connection on the cleat means they’re more durable if you walk on them than many rival systems.
Being the previous generation means they’re not quite as supportive as the current crop, however.
Crank Bros Egg Beater 1
Designed to take a beating, the Egg Beaters are primarily designed for off-road use but thanks to their simple functionality, they make for a great system that we’d suggest for those starting out or crossing over from the dirt.
Any of the four contact points will allow you to clip-in, so getting in couldn’t be much easier – the release angle is from 1degrees.
The predominately steel construction makes for a tough and long-lasting pedal yet they only have a list weight of 286g.
If the Egg Beater seems a little too minimal for you then the Candy range offers the same system but with a small platform around it and starts at £74.99.
Wellgo is one of those brands you’ve probably heard of but aren’t sure in what context.
A significant manufacturer, it mostly supplies budget pedals to bike manufacturers but also makes some worthy clipless versions too.
Three cleat options give either nine, six or zero degrees of float; the red version (six degrees) are supplied as standard.
Shimano SPD A520
Big plastic wedges aren’t for every rider yet clipless connections make sense.
If this sounds like you then the Shimano SPD A520 are probably your thing.
Based around the small metal SPD cleat used by mountain bikers, the A520 is a distinctly road-oriented design.
At 318g and quite minimal in construction, the outer cage helps stabilise the connection between shoe and pedal, but allows the use of SPD shoes where the cleat is recessed into the sole, so does away with the horse sound effects whilst walking.
Single-sided and with adjustable tension, A520 is ideal if you expect to have to walk further than from your front door to you shed and back.
The Korg GripTune is a compact chromatic tuner that lets you tune accurately as possible, down to +/- cent, without the usual bulk and weight. It does not have too many extra features, but you’ll get essential tuning functions, and this makes tuning quicker and hassle free.
These have a built in microphone and can usually be used to tune guitars and other instruments as well. The downside with these is they won’t work very well with acoustic instruments in a noisy environment – particularly if there are other musicians around you trying to tune up at the same time.
Korg GA-Guitar and Bass Tuner
Korg has produced some nice gear that carry good features while retaining an affordable price tag, and the GA-is great example. For something so affordable, it covers tuning both acoustic and electric instruments, thanks to its built in microphone and line-in port.
On top of electric and acoustic compatibility, this tuner also features a guitar and bass mode that allows the unit to accurately monitor two different instruments. The GA-is simply a flexible tool for multi-instrumentalists, and can be an once-and-for-all affordable tuning solution for home studios. You will only need to keep one tuner to tune multiple instruments. Drop tuning and string guitars (7B through 1E) are supported as well as string basses (Low-B and Hi-C), and it can handle both acoustic or electric guitars and basses conveniently.
Chromatia Tuner for Windows
Chromatia is a professional tuner that provides 3alternate temperaments and scales – including historic tunings such as Pythagorean, mean-tone, just, and well tempered tunings, traditional folk scales, stretched piano tunings, and the common equal temperament tuning. It also Supports WASAPI, ASIO and DirectSound for low-latency.
PitchPerfect Guitar Tuner for Mac and Windows
PitchPerfect is a free guitar tuner that is available on all popular platforms. It is a powerful chromatic tuner that comes with automatic note detection.
If you are running a computer with Linux operating system, the gxtuner would be a practical choice. This software is a simple free guitar & bass tuner that will let you tune your instrument via the Linux Jack audio.
Guitar Tuner Facts & Definitions
Automatic tuner – this is an easy guitar tuner to use because you don’t have to tell it which note or string you are playing, it will work it out by itself and tell you which note is sounding and how sharp or flat it is. There are still some older types on the market which require you to tell it which note you want to tune to – we don’t recommend you buy one of those and we haven’t mentioned any above.
Chromatic tuner – Some guitar tuners can only tune the notes of standard tuning – i.e. A E D G B E. A chromatic tuner can automatically tune to all 1notes in the scale making it much more versatile in that you can use alternate tunings and tune other instruments.
Cents – A measurement of interval which is exactly 1/100th of a semitone. Although most people can’t hear the difference between two successively played notes if the difference is less than cents, you still need to tune to an accuracy of less than cents. E.G. if one string is cents below correct pitch, and another is cents above, then the difference of cents will sound out of tune. The accuracy of guitar tuners is measured in cents.
Multi Effects Units
As a beginner you’re probably anxious to try out all of the different effects above and then some. A very costly endeavour to undertake, and where to start!? If you’re taking your first tentative steps into the world of guitar effects then a much more money efficient option is a multi-fx unit. These will generally contain the majority of the effects listed above, enabling you to sample each one and find out which you like the best. As a bonus, multi-fx units will often contain other useful features such as a built-in metronome and tuner. You can absolutely use one of these units in place of an amp while you learn the ropes, all you need is a pair of headphones.
Each unit features 100 effects and amp models, of which can be used simultaneously. They have a built-in drum machine (metronome) featuring almost 70 different patterns for you to practice along with at your own speed. An accurate tuner ensures you are always playing at perfect pitch. Another awesome feature is the built-in looper, which allows you to record up to 30 seconds of high quality audio. A headphone jack allows for quiet practice. Unbelievably at this price, both units also include a well-lit LCD screen for easy navigation of the menu system. An auxilliary input on the back allows you to connect a music source, to allow you to jam to your favorite songs.
Both units can be powered with 4xAA batteries. Alternatively they can be powered with a standard 9V PSU (such as this one), or USB mini cable (such as this one).
Check out this excellent overview and demo video from our friends over at GuitarWorld magazine.
Both units include 70 different high quality effects, amp and cab emulators, and the ability to chain of them together in any order. Other key features include a built-in tuner, drum machine, looper with up to 80 seconds of recording. Three large LCD displays with corresponding footswitches and knobs makes it easy to view and edit multiple effects at a glance.
Computer Based Effects
Electronic guitar and chromatic tuners vary from pocket-sized devices to large rack-mounted units. The most basic models use an LED to display the relative sharpness or flatness of the note being played and may only include the six pitches used in standard guitar tuning (E,A,D,G,B,E). Chromatic tuners allow instruments to be tuned to all 1pitches of the chromatic scale.
Pedal tuners »
This type of guitar tuner is built into a case that can be placed at your feet, making it an ideal type for inconspicuous use by performers. Their displays are designed to be easily read on darkened stages. Many guitar multi-processors and multi-effects pedals include tuner functions among their many capabilities.
The versatile Korg TM-50 tabletop tuner includes a speaker and metronome, and is an excellent teaching tool.
Rack and tabletop tuners » Ranging from very sophisticated tuners for use in studios and guitarist’s stage rigs to simpler units that perform all the basic guitar tuning functions, you’ll should be able to find several models to choose from that meet your needs and budget. In choosing the right one, you’ll want to consider the various features and functions that we discuss next.
The innovative Shadow Sonic mounts in your acoustic guitar’s soundhole.
Built-in preamp tuners » Many acoustic-electric guitars and a few electric guitar models have a tuner built into their preamplifier circuit. Some electric and acoustic guitar amplifiers also include a tuner function. Being built in, they are very convenient to use, and many allow silent tuning—an advantage during performances and in noisy environments.
Apps » If you have an iOS or Android smartphone you’ll find apps that allow chromatic and guitar tuning. However, most lack the accuracy and capabilities of dedicated guitar and chromatic tuners.
Of course if you can plug your guitar into your smartphone with a device like the iRig HD 2, you will be able to give your tuner app a clear signal of your guitar for the best results.
This makes it very quick and easy to tune your guitar and would be a great option for beginners.
While this is a more expensive option that most other apps (plus there are a lot of in-app purchases available), it gives you plenty of flexibility if you want something more than what the free or cheap apps offer.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your tuner pedal wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of tuner pedal
- №1 — KLIQ TinyTune Tuner Pedal for Guitar and Bass – Mini – Chromatic – with Pitch Calibration and Flat Tuning
- №2 — Donner Dt-1 Chromatic Guitar Tuner Pedal True Bypass
- №3 — TC Electronic Polytune 2 Pedal Tuner