Ah… The Chromatic Guitar Tuner – What a Great Device
Guitar tuners have come a long way since I started my musical journey. And I am sure they are just taken for granted by the majority of young, aspiring musicians. The reason I say this is because of the large variety of readily available chromatic guitar tuners. And with so many models flaunting extremely low price tags, there really is no reason for there never to be one around. Some guitars even have on-board tuners.
The very first encounter I had with a guitar tuner was not actually a tuner. It was a pitch pipe. This was before I started playing guitar. I remember watching my dad’s friend tune his acoustic guitar with one. A pitch pipe works by blowing into it to get a reference note. Then you just simply tune the string to that note. I say simply, but this may not be the case if you do not have a good ear. However, this could also be a good way to strengthen your ear. There is still one floating around my house somewhere. I think I am going to have a look for it.
The first guitar tuner I had was one with an analog needle. I never really had any problems with it. It was extremely accurate. Later I had a digital chromatic guitar tuner that had LCD lights instead of a needle. It was effective as well. There is nothing wrong with these kind of tuners, just as long as you’re not planning on venturing out into the band world. They are useless for playing live. You would have to unplug your guitar from the amp, plug it into the chromatic guitar tuner, and then plug it back into the amp after tuning. This is not a logical approach.
So that leaves the pedal and clip-on chromatic guitar tuners. There are a few really awesome pedal tuners available. Check out these models: Boss TU-3, Korg Pitch Black, Fender PT-100, Joyo JT-305, etc. The Boss TU-3 and Korg Pitch Black guitar tuners are often considered the best in the pack, but the models by Fender and Joyo are extremely solid as well. And lastly, the clip-on chromatic guitar tuner has become extremely popular over the last few years. And this does not surprise me. However, my first experience with a clip-on chromatic guitar tuner was rather negative. A guitarist in my band showed up with a few he had purchased from a pawn shop for a good deal. Or so he thought. They were crap. So years later when I still kept seeing clip-on tuners for sale, I was hesitant. But they have come a long way. Nowadays they are cheap, accurate, and can be used in a live situation. And because of the low prices on them, it is easy to own a backup. The one downfall I have found in the clip-on tuners I have used is that they eat battery life very quickly. I’m sure that will improve with new models. Ultimately, a nice pedal chromatic guitar tuner is the way to go, but it’s been great for me to have a few of these little clip on-tuners as well. The ones I have tried are the Snark, the Joyo JMT-01, and the D’Luca LT-21 (also sold as the Rowin LT-21). I prefer the Joyo and the D’Luca over the Snark, but that is because both Snarks I have encountered have quit working. Maybe I was just unlucky. Either way, there are plenty out there to choose from. Do some research and find one you like. Most are extremely cheap. So if it does not tune up your guitar to your liking, no big loss.
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