Top 10 Best Tuner Pedals You Can Find in 2020 – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

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Tuner pedals are essential in any guitarist’s pedal rig. Though they might not be the pedals that will help you define your tone or make your solos a bit beefier, they’re the ones that will save you a lot of time, and in certain cases, they’ll even save your show.

By having one in your pedal chain you’ll be able to check out if your strings are in tune and depending on which model you’re using, you can re-tune even in the middle of a song.

Read Related Reading: Best Tremolo Pedal

We’ve handpicked 10 of the best tuner pedals you can find in 2024, so let’s dive straight into reviews.

Top 10 Tuner Pedals comparison chart

Model name Type of tuner Distinguishable features Price
TC Electronic Polytune Noir Mini 2 Pedal Tuner Polyphonic tuner Highly bright LED display, ambient-light sensor,  
TC Electronic Polytune 3 Polyphonic tuner Strobe and LED displays, Cap, Drop, and PolyTune tuning modes  
Boss TU3 Chromatic Tuner Pedal Chromatic Tuner High brightness mode, drop-tuning support  
D’Addario Accessories Chromatic Pedal Tuner Chromatic tuner 32-bit processor, true bypass, lightweight design  
Korg PBAD Tuner Chromatic tuner Superb tuning accuracy, four display modes, DC-out  
Ibanez BigMini chromatic pedal tuner Chromatic tuner  Needle & strobe display types, works for both guitar and bass frequencies  
Snark SN-10S Pedal Tuner Chromatic tuner Bright display, ultra fast response, pitch calibration  
Ammoon Mini Chromatic Tuner Effect Pedal Chromatic tuner  LED display, miniature size, works for most stringed instruments  
VSN High Precision Guitar Chromatic Tuner Chromatic Tuner Big LED display, true bypass, fully analog circuit  
Koogo High Precision Chromatic Guitar Tuner Pedal Chromatic tuner Decently big display, true bypass, very simple to use  

1. TC Electronic Polytune Noir Mini 2 Pedal Tuner

TC Electronic Polytune Noir Mini 2 Pedal Tuner

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TC Electronic Polytune Noir Mini 2 Pedal Tuner

TC Electronic’s Polytune Noir Mini 2 is one of the latest letters in technology. It boasts a huge, brightly lit display, silent tuning, and a miniature footprint that can accommodate any playstyle and any rig. 

Let’s start off with the PolyTune Noir 2. This is a polyphonic tuner with a huge level of versatility. With the PolyTune mode you can tune in all of your guitar strings simultaneously while the Chromatic mode can be used for fine-tuning them individually. Additionally, you can use the Strobe Tuner option for a drastic boost in precision, which is perfect for studio work when pinpoint accuracy is mandatory.

The best thing about this tuner is that it boasts a huge level of accuracy with the margin of error being only -0.1 cent. It also rocks a bright LED screen outfitted with an ambient light sensor. Additionally, it packs the true bypass feature, allowing you to use it even if something goes awry with your pedal board.

Its dimensions measure 3.54 inches by 1.77 inches b y 2.13 inches and weighs only 5.6 ounces, so it’s pretty obvious that Mini Noir 2 is among the most compact tuner pedals available on the market.


  • Multiple tuning modes
  • Superior accuracy
  • Big LED display
  • Small footprint
  • True bypass


  • Expensive

2. TC Electronic Polytune 3 Polyphonic LED tuner pedal

TC Electronic Polytune 3 Polyphonic LED tuner pedal

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TC Electronic Polytune 3 Polyphonic LED tuner pedal

The Polytune 3 is the latest version of the model that pioneered the polyphonic tuner technology. It’s faster, more accurate, and more reliable while still offering the same benefits its predecessors did – a small footprint, multiple tuning modes, and the true bypass feature.

The PolyTune 3 is a must-have pedal if you’re a touring musician. It packs several tuning modes, including the support for dropped tunings, making it ideal for new-wave styles of music. Though it’s a primarily a guitar tuner, it can be used for basically any stringed instrument with a guitar jack – semi-acoustic guitars, ukuleles, even violins.

The PolyTune 3 boasts a huge accuracy rating, and it’s arguably one of the finest studio-worthy guitar tuners available. When in strobe display mode, the accuracy of this tuner is +/- 0.1 cent, but if you use it in the Chromatic mode, its accuracy is +/- 0.5 cent.

Its dimensions measure 4.8 inches by 1.8 inches by 2.9 inches and it weighs only 9.6 ounces. It’s slightly heavier than the Mini Noir 2, but it’s still lightweight. With an intuitive design and a small casing, this pedal will easily complement any guitar rig.


  • Multiple display and tuning modes
  • Intuitive design
  • Small footprint
  • Very reliable


  • Variable accuracy

3. Boss TU3 Chromatic Tuner Pedal

 Boss TU3 Chromatic Tuner Pedal

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Boss TU3 Chromatic Tuner Pedal

The TU3 is a classic guitar pedal tuner which rocks plenty of exceptional features. Apart from being incredibly easy to use, it features support for 6-string basses and 7-string guitars, which is why it’s perfect for virtuosos, as well as for beginners and intermediate level players. 

Boss’s TU3 is a chromatic tuner designed for both guitars and basses. It features a brightly lit display, switchable guitar and bass modes, and drop-tuning support. Even though it’s clearly visible, the display is relatively small, making it a bit harder to use in a live setting. However, it rocks a high-brightness mode which boosts up its visibility, though it does eat up the battery a bit faster.

Its dimensions are basically the same as with most Boss stomp-box style pedals, measuring 4 inches by 3 inches by 6 inches and weighing 1.15 pounds.

Nevertheless, this is a very versatile pedal. Guitar and bass modes also feature support for 7-string guitars (or 5-string and 6-string basses). One of the biggest benefits of this guitar pedal tuner is that it features guitar and bass tuning modes, making it suitable for all kinds of musicians.

It only features one display mode, but its huge accuracy and reliability more than make up for it.


  • Exceptionally accurate
  • Supports for 7-string guitars and 6-string basses
  • Bright display
  • Small footprint


  • Only one display type
  • Smallish screen

4. D’Addario Accessories Chromatic Pedal Tuner PW CT 20

 D’Addario Accessories Chromatic Pedal Tuner PW CT 20

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 D’Addario Accessories Chromatic Pedal Tuner PW CT 20

D’Addario’s PW CT 20 sports a slim profile, a lightweight design, and a highly visible display. It’s a professional guitar pedal tuner which allows you to check out your strings and re-tune, even on stage in the fastest way possible. 

D’Addario’s chromatic pedal tuner is one of the slimmest pedals ever invented. It’s so compact that it can fit into any rig while taking up the least bit of storage space.

This guitar tuner pedal features a 32-bit processor which provides an exceptionally fast response. It’s perfect for musicians who need to tune their guitars on the fly, but its big display is what makes it great for live performers as well.

The PW CT 20 is powered by a 9V battery (which comes supplied to it already), but if you’re a touring musician you’d be best off by powering it with a 9V adapter.

Some of the benefits D’Addario’s chromatic tuner can give you include the true bypass wiring, portability, high accuracy, and ease of use. Its dimensions measure 2.8 inches by 2.3 inches by 5.8 inches and it weighs only 12.5 ounces.

It features only one mode and one display type, though, which makes it slightly less versatile than most mid-priced tuner pedals.


  • Very accurate tuning pedal
  • 32-bit processor
  • True bypass
  • Slim and lightweight design
  • Big display


  • Only one tuning mode and display type

5. Korg PBAD Tuner

Korg PBAD Tuner

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Korg PBAD Tuner

Korg’s PBAD guitar tuner comes with a huge battery lifespan, a gigantic display, several display modes, and boasts a massive level of accuracy. You should make a bit of space for it in your signal chain, though, as its massive performances matches its size. 

Korg’s PBAD tuner is a bit bigger than most similarly priced models, but it’s one of the most accurate tuners you could get for the money. Its margin of error is +/- 0.1 cents, and its display is huge, allowing you to fine tune each string to perfection. The PBAD is primarily a guitar tuner, but since it’s a chromatic one, you can use it to tune your basses, ukuleles, and practically any stringed semi-acoustic instruments.

There are 4 display modes for you to choose from and the true bypass feature so that you don’t have to worry about any static interference. This variety of display modes makes it suitable for all possible scenarios – playing in a dim-lit venue, outdoors when lights are blazing everywhere, studio settings, and such.

What’s more, it packs a huge battery lifespan of 60 hours. Though fitting it into your pedal board might be a bit of a problem, as it measures 3.3 inches by 6 inches by 2.4 inches, the PBAD tuner is certainly worth the buck.


  • Ultra visible display
  • Exceptional tuning accuracy
  • Four display modes
  • True bypass
  • Battery lifespan of 60 hours


  • Quite big

6. Ibanez BigMini Mini Chromatic Pedal

Ibanez BigMini Mini Chromatic Pedal

[amazon fields=”B01NAK1SWO” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_alt=”Ibanez BigMini Mini Chromatic” image_align=”center”]

Ibanez BigMini Mini Chromatic Pedal

The BigMini is a compact tuner pedal with a small footprint and a lightweight design. It supports electric guitars and basses and features two display modes. Ibanez’s BigMini chromatic tuner is a perfect choice for guitarists that rock plenty of pedals in their chain.

Ibanez’ BigMini chromatic tuner pedal is small, incredibly easy to use, and quite affordable. The BigMini measures 3.4 inches by 2 inches by 2 inches and weighs only 6.4 ounces. It’s arguably one of the lightest and smallest guitar pedal tuners to date.

It features true bypass and it was built for both guitars and basses. However, due to its chromatic ‘nature’, it can be used for all electric and semi-electric stringed instruments.

There are two tuning modes at your disposal, including Needle and Strobe. The Needle display mode allows you to quickly tune your guitar while the Strobe mode provides more accuracy.

Overall, this pedal is perfectly suited for both beginners and experienced guitar/bass players.


  • Remarkably easy to use
  • Suitable for both guitars and bases
  • Two tuning modes
  • Small footprint


  • The display could’ve been a bit bigger

7. Snark SN 10S Pedal Tuner

Snark SN 10S Pedal Tuner

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Snark SN 10S Pedal Tuner

If you’re looking for a simple tuning solution, the Snark SN 10S is a perfect choice. It rocks a petite, lightweight design, a bright display, and a surprisingly robust case, which all but reflects its highly approachable price tag.

Even though Snark made clip-on tuners popular, they also have quite a selection of chromatic tuner pedals. The SN-10S is a small, oddly shaped chromatic tuner which can easily fit into any kind of pedal rig. Its dimensions measure 4 inches by 2 inches by 2.5 inches, so it would be pretty fair to dub it a ‘pocket tuner’. Furthermore, with only 4 ounces of weight, the SN 10S is basically light as a feather.

It packs a small, though bright display, it’s incredibly fast, and it rocks true bypass and pitch calibration features. It might not be perfect for touring musicians, but in any other case it’s absolutely great.

Last, but certainly not least, the SN 10S Snark pedal tuner comes in a robust die-cast metal case. It was obviously built to last and to withstand decades of abuse. The only problem it might present to you is the display which could’ve been made a bit bigger. Even so, for a budget guitar pedal tuner, the SN 10S performs marvellously well.


  • Compact design
  • Exceptionally fast
  • True bypass and pitch calibration features
  • Die-cast construction


  • Very small display

8. Ammoon Mini Chromatic Tuner Pedal

Ammoon Mini Chromatic Tuner Pedal

[amazon fields=”B01H53AYLE” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_alt=”Ammoon Mini Chromatic” image_align=”center”]

Ammoon Mini Chromatic Tuner Pedal

A lightweight tuner with a slim profile and a brightly-lit LED display – that would be a perfect way to describe Ammoon’s mini tuner pedal. It’s a simple tuner outfitted with simple features which was made for guitarists and bass players of all skill levels.

Ammoon’s mini chromatic tuner is a great budget tuner pedal. It’s suitable for tuning electric guitars, basses, and acoustic guitars. This tuner features a slim profile and a big LED display which is easy to read even in poorly lit conditions.

The Ammoon’s mini tuner is powered by a 9v battery, or if you own a 9V DC adapter you can use it as well.

It packs a durable metal case which measures 4.8 inches by 2.7 inches by 2.7 inches. Even though it was built like a brick wall, it actually weighs only 7 ounces.

Ammoon’s guitar pedal tuner can easily go toe to toe with most boutique tuner pedals, even though it’s in the budget price point category.


  • Small and lightweight
  • Big LED display
  • Suitable for acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and electric basses
  • True Bypass
  • Metal case


  • No major flaws

9. VSN High Precision Guitar Chromatic Tuner Pedal

VSN High Precision Guitar Chromatic Tuner Pedal

[amazon fields=”B07V8JFMR8″ value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_alt=”VSN High Precision Guitar Chromati” image_align=”center”]

VSN High Precision Guitar Chromatic Tuner Pedal

VSN’s High-precision tuner boasts a slim profile, a brightly-lit LED display, and an ultra-durable housing. It’s perfect for both guitarists and bassists. It’s one of the best beginner tuners due to its simple design and method of operation. 

VSN’s chromatic tuner resembles Ammoon’s model in many ways. It’s similarly priced, it packs a slim, lightweight profile with a big display, and it has the true bypass feature. Moreover, the reason why this is a perfect tuner for a beginner is because it packs a light indicator which flickers until you’ve hit the right spot, urging you to fine-tune each string to perfection.

This tuner measures 3.74 inches by 1.77 inches by 1.88 inches and weighs barely more than an ounce. This means that it’s clearly the lightest and smallest tuner pedal you’ll find on the market.

The main difference between the two is that VSN’s model supports 7-string guitars and 5-string basses, making it better suited for professional musicians.


  • Robust construction
  • Very affordable
  • Accurate
  • LED Display
  • True bypass


  • Slightly heavier than average

10. Koogo LT 901 High Precision Chromatic Guitar Tuner Pedal

 Koogo LT 901 High Precision Chromatic Guitar Tuner Pedal

[amazon fields=”B07P7SCR5K” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_alt=”Koogo LT 901 High Precision” image_align=”center”]

 Koogo LT 901 High Precision Chromatic Guitar Tuner Pedal

The LT 901 is basically a pedal adaption of the KT-23 chromatic tuner. It’s suitable for all semi-acoustic and electric instruments, it’s affordable, and it’s highly accurate for a budget tuner model.


  • Decently visible display
  • High tuning accuracy
  • True bypass mode
  • Supports most stringed instruments


  • Doesn’t come with an adapter

Let’s wrap it up with Koogo’s chromatic tuner model. This is a versatile tuner that supports most stringed instruments, including 7-string guitars and 5-string basses. It packs true bypass and buffered modes and its accuracy measures down to +/- 0.5 cents, which is great for a budget model.

The LT 901 is a very compact tuner which measures 3.7 inches by 1.8 inches by 1.9 inches and weighs only 8.8 ounces. It’s powered by a 9V battery (by default), but it features a port for DC 9V adapters.

The only thing you won’t like as much about Koogo’s LT 901 tuner is that it doesn’t come with a power adapter, so you’ll have to buy one separately. Apart from that, it performs amazingly well for a budget tuner.

Buyer’s guide

Types of tuner pedals

There are so many different types of guitar tuners, even the pedal tuner sub-category is pretty vast. Let’s break it down and discuss each type:

Non-chromatic tuner pedals

In essence, non-chromatic tuner pedals are a thing of the past. There may be some of them lying around the market, but they’re substantially less conventional than chromatic tuners simply because they were meant to help you tune in to Standard E tuning (E-A-D-G-B-E).

Many players play in dropped and open tunings, and a lot of bands tune below the Standard E. That’s the main flaw of non-chromatic tuner pedals, although they do the job as intended, meaning that they’re still pretty accurate. The vast majority of companies have pulled out their non-chromatic models from production, so in addition to being less useful, they’re also harder to find.

Chromatic tuner pedals

Chromatic tuner pedals are the most popular type of tuning pedals mainly due to the fact that they’re quite inexpensive and the easiest to use.

A chromatic tuner is capable of ‘recognizing’ other tunings other than the Standard E, which means that it will show the tuning relative to closest semitones. Apart from allowing you to tune to other types of tunings, it can also be used to tune different types of instruments for as long as they have an input jack.

Strobe tuners

The Stroboscopic tuner pedals represent a tuner type with the highest accuracy rating. They serve the same purpose as chromatic tuners by showing the difference between the played notes and the reference frequency, but they’re providing more detailed information. No matter how tiny the difference between reference frequencies and played notes is, the display will show you.

Strobe tuners were invented way back in 1936 when they were designed by Conn. The first Strobe tuner was called Stroboconn and it held up for roughly four decades. Oddly enough, Strobe tuners operate in an analog fashion and were still able to surpass the accuracy of digital tuners.

However, due to their peculiar construction and delicate hardware pieces inside them, they were rapidly replaced by chromatic tuners.

Polyphonic tuners

Just like chromatic tuners were revolutionary in comparison to hand-held and strobe tuners, Polyphonic tuners are in comparison to them. This is the youngest type of a tuner pedal, and it’s probably the most versatile one as well.

Basically, polyphonic tuners can help you tune your guitar in a much faster way. Standard tuners recognize only one played note and show you the difference between it and the reference frequency, whereas polyphonic tuners catch the frequencies of all strummed strings.

Guitar players often need to go through all the strings when they doubt that they’re playing out of tune, and polyphonic tuners greatly simplify this issue, making the entire process substantially easier and faster.


A tuner’s accuracy is measured in cents. One semitone is comprised of 100 cents, which basically means that a full ‘step’, being two semitones, has 200 cents in it. It’s safe to say that a tuner with 100% accuracy has not been devised yet, which is why most tuners have a listed ‘margin-of-error’ expressed in ‘+/-‘ cents. The smaller the number, the higher the tuner’s accuracy is.

Display screen brightness and meters

There are different types of tuning ‘meters’. For instance, the most basic screen type (meter) is the ‘needle’ which moves as you use the machine heads to tune the strings. Another type is often attributed to the ‘strobe’ tuner – there’s a disc which moves as you tune your guitar. The last type is the ‘digital’ display which often mimics one of the two aforementioned display types.

The screen brightness should be taken into consideration if you’re playing live shows, otherwise you can easily find a spot with enough light to read the meters.

Tuning range

The ‘tuning range’ refers to the harmonic pitch of all the notes on a guitar. The standard tuning (range) is the Standard E (or Flat E) tuning where the strings should be tuned as E-A-D-G-B-E. There are also ‘dropped’ tunings which are basically variations of Standard tunings with the thickest string being ‘dropped’ by two semitones.

Open tunings, on the other hand, are a very special variation of tunings where strumming all the strings will generate a chord. For instance, the D-G-D-G-B-D tuning generates the G-chord and it’s called the Open G tuning.

Tuning modes

Advanced tuner pedals feature ‘different modes’ of operation. Some modes are just simulation of other types of tuner pedals (for instance, the Polytune is a polyphonic tuner which can simulate a strobe tuner), other modes adjust the display.

By shifting between modes you can adapt to different situations. For example, if you’re a gigging musician who should be up on the stage in twenty minutes or so, the polyphonic mode allows you to trade off some of the tuner’s accuracy for a faster tuning process. On another hand, if you’re going into the studio to record some songs and demand pinpoint accuracy, using chromatic, strobe, and needle modes might make the process a bit longer, but your guitar will be perfectly tuned.

Pitch detection

Basically, pitch ‘detectors’ are meant to detect fundamental frequencies (pitches) in the signal your guitar is putting up as you play. There are gadgets and contraptions that are solely designed to automatically detect these frequencies, but as a guitar tuner pedal feature, the auto-pitch detection works in a relatively simple way.

Simply put, an algorithm is firstly coded and put into the pedals hardware (only digital tuners are equipped with this feature). There are several types of algorithm patterns, including ‘on-the-fly’, Cepstral Pitch, and auto-correlation detection algorithms. The first type segments the signal into smaller parts (frames) and then performs numerous smaller calculations and operations in order to find the pitch. The second type ‘transforms’ the weaker signals into stronger ‘readable’ ones by amping them up to a certain level after which there’s sufficient data to estimate the pitch.

The last type automatically ‘assumes’ that a certain pitch is in question based on the intensity of the frequency. Of course, this assumption is proved ‘right or wrong’ based on hundreds of small calculations, but this type is faster simply because it immediately has a ‘bank’ of starting points where it can begin searching for the pitch.

Microphones and speakers

While guitar pedals utilize mainly analog tuning components and technologies, app-based tuners rely on microphones and speakers to pick up the frequencies and get the pitch right.

Basically, when you plug in your guitar into the tuner pedal it sends the strongest signals into it which are easy to recognize, which is why tuner pedals are superior in terms of accuracy when compared to other tuning devices.

Hand-held tuners and basically all types of tuners that are not connected with the instrument (clip-on tuners, application tuners, tuners integrated in racks and amps, and such) use pre-built microphones to catch onto the frequencies. Some are strong enough to pick up the frequencies emitted by unplugged guitars, in other cases you’ll need your guitar wired up to an amp (and set to certain volume) if you want to tune it accurately.


The original metronome devices are mechanical gadgets that emit a highly audible clicking sound between regular intervals. This helps musicians keep up with the tempo and is often used for practice, rehearsals, and studio recording sessions.

First of all, tuners and metronomes are separate functions that are often featured on Multi FX pedals, effect racks, and digital amplifiers. However, there are several ‘combo’ models that possess both of these features.

For example, Boss’s TU 30 and TM 60, as well as Corg’s TM 50C and TM 50TR are all ‘combo tuners/metronomes’, meaning that they’re supplied with switchable modes.

Tuner Design

Different tuner types are designed in different ways. Not only do they look apart from each other, but they’re also meant for different purposes. In terms of design, certain tuners are meant to be convenient to use on stage (guitar tuner pedals), others are better suited for studio work, while some offer the benefits of compactness and easiness of use.

Original musical instrument tuners

The first tuners weren’t gadgets like modern models, they were actually big, bulky machines. The first instrument tuners were designed by Conn Company in the ‘40s. This type of tuner operated in a similar fashion to ‘strobe’ tuners that came right after, but they were substantially bigger in size.

The original tuners had a base processor unit with a strobe display powered onto a box which stored all the software. On top of these two parts, these tuners also required an external microphone since integral mic technology wasn’t available back in the day.

Handheld tuners

The first ‘modern’ guitar tuners were handheld tuners which replaced the originals and strobe tuners in the 1980s. They were (and still are) rectangular in shape with only a couple of onboard features.

Handheld tuners are smaller than guitar pedal tuners, they’re cheaper, and exceptionally easy to use. The first notable difference between the original tuner design and handheld tuners is that the latter features internal microphone technology.

These tuners connect to the guitar via a 0.25-inch jack. This means that they’re also more accurate since they receive raw signal to determine the pitch of the played notes. However, the built-in microphones can still pick up unwanted sounds and vibrations, lowering their overall effectiveness in loud environments.

Clip-on tuners

Some guitarists call Clip-on tuners ‘Snark’ tuners, which is not necessarily untrue. After all, Snark did design this type of tuner

Pedal Tuners

Pedal tuners feature the ‘stomp-box’ style design, resembling that of practically any other effect pedal.

Choosing the right tuner

1. How to choose a tuner pedal?

Different guitarists have different needs, and you should pick a tuner pedal according to yours. Basic tuners do not come outfitted with special features such as tap-metronome and such, so if you’re simply looking for means to tune your instruments, they could do the trick.

If you’re looking for a tuner for your rehearsals when you need to tune your guitar on-the-fly, a Clip-on tuner is an ideal solution as it could fit into your guitar bag without taking up the space you otherwise need for your other guitar gear.

Touring musicians and professionals who spend a lot of time getting ready for 5-6 performance acts a week generally prefer Polyphonic tuners. They’re as easy to use as chromatic tuners and they provide a quicker tuning solution as they can help you tune every string at once.

2. How do pedal tuners work?

Electronic, or digital tuners measure the frequencies of the notes your guitar emits when you strum them. Each tuner pedal has its own calibration range and its own algorithm, but they all pick up the frequencies made by your guitar.

The only exception is a polyphonic tuner which is capable of picking up different frequencies and recognizing the pitch of every played note.

3. How to choose the right bass tuner?

First of all, the main thing you should be looking for is a tuner that can catch onto bass guitar’s frequencies. Any tuner designed for ‘various/all stringed instruments’ will be able to help you tune your bass. If you’re using a 5-string or 6-string bass (or a bass with even more strings), you can make the tuning process a lot easier if you use a chromatic tuner.

4. How you hook up a bass tuner?

You can use the bass tuner in the same way you should use a guitar tuner. In fact, numerous guitar tuners were invented for various stringed instruments, such as ukuleles, violins, cellos, and basses.

You can plug your bass guitar straight into the tuner pedal and use the readings to tune it in the same fashion you would tune a guitar (only in a different tuning, E-A-D-G). Alternatively, you can use it with a combination of pedals and your amp if you prefer hearing the tones you play.

There is one major difference that should be mentioned, though. Not all guitar tuners are capable of recognizing the instrument you are using. Most hand-held and strobe tuners are designed in a non-chromatic fashion, which means that they won’t recognize the lowest-frequency notes. Instead of showing an inaccurate reading, you might not get any reading at all.

There are two ways you can bypass this common problem. The first, and most obvious one would be to upgrade your tuner to a chromatic one. Secondly, you could play the octave notes on your bass to tune the strings. This way even the oldest tuners will recognize the frequencies.

Frequently asked questions

1. What is a polyphonic tuner?

Polyphonic tuners are basically the newest types of tuner pedals pioneered by TC Electronics. One of the first polyphonic tuner pedal models to have come out on the market was the PolyTune, which has shown a lot of promise in terms of convenience and accuracy it offers.

The idea behind Poly Tuner’s design was to reduce the time a guitarist needed to tune his or her guitar. Polyphonic tuners provide you with a neat overview of all the strings, telling you how far away from the intended tuning each string is.

2. What does ‘true bypass’ mean?

Plainly speaking, if your effect pedal has a ‘true bypass’, it can be routed straight to your amp regardless of how many other pedals you have in your rig.

A pedal with this feature has its signal routed to the amp without any interference or buffering. This means that if something goes wrong with some of your pedals, the one with ‘true bypass’ will still function perfectly as if nothing has happened.

The main benefit of pedals with true bypass comes to show in rigs with plenty of different types of pedals. For example, a huge load is placed on your guitar’s signal if you’ve flavoured it with a delay, reverb, booster, and various modelling effects. Sometimes, the amp simply can’t withstand this bombardment of frequencies. This is when static and feedback problems occur.

3. How do you use auto-tuner pedals on a guitar?

In essence, tuner pedals are to be used in the same way as other types of tuners should, with the only difference being in it that you should plug them to your guitar.

There are two ways you can use a tuner pedal. Firstly, you can connect to it directly and strum the strings you want to tune. Even though in most situations you won’t be able to hear it as loud as you would if the pedal was connected to the rig, the accuracy of your tuner will still be the same.

Speaking of which, the second way to use a tuner pedal is to integrate it to your pedal board, connecting it with other pedals and your amp. This way you will be able to hear the sound of each strummed note, but that’s pretty much the only difference.

4. Which tuners are accurate: clip-on tuners or snark tuners?

Basically, Snark tuners are clip-on tuners. The reason why people think these terms are synonymous is because Snark made clip-on tuners popular. It’s arguable whether this company was first to invent them, but they’re surely responsible for the fame clip-on tuners get these days.

In terms of accuracy, all Snark tuners are basically equal more or less. There are a couple of differences between various models, though, so let’s break them down.

The first Snark tuner was SN-1, it was primarily designed for guitars and basses, it featured the calibration range of 415 to 466, featured a tap metronome, and didn’t have a microphone. The second version was the SN-2 which is almost the same as the SN-1 with the only exception being that it could tune all stringed instruments.

The SN-6 was the first Snark tuner specifically designed for ukuleles. Later models have had minor design changes but they all had the same calibration range, they were all intended for all stringed instruments and came supplied with a tap-metronome feature.

There are other clip-on tuners that are decently accurate, but it’s safe to say that Snark’s models are by far superior.


Many beginner guitarists assume that tuner pedals are designed in the same way, that they serve the same purpose, and that there aren’t many differences between them apart from aesthetics and the price tag. This statement couldn’t be further from the truth.

There is no such thing as picking a ‘right tuner’ pedal as all models will get the job done. However, some are easier to use, some are not as expensive, while some are so versatile that they will be able to help you with numerous guitar-playing ‘chores’ aside from simply tuning a guitar. Check out our reviews of the best guitar tuner pedals and take your pick.

Editors Choice: TC Electronic Polytune Noir Mini 2 Pedal Tuner

TC Electronic’s polyphonic tuners are clearly superior to most, if not all chromatic tuner models, and our choice for today is the Noir Mini 2. Apart from offering the benefits of polyphonic tuning and exceptional accuracy onboard, this pedal is quite petite, yet durable in terms of design.

Everything about this pedal is balanced – its display is decently big and clearly lit, using its features is not followed by clicking or popping sounds, and though small, it can withstand quite some abuse. It’s true that it costs a bit more than an average tuner pedal, but it’s one of the best you can get for the money.


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