Best Software Guitar Tuner

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Readers, take note: buying one of the best guitar tuners can be the smartest way to spend your money. It’s not necessarily the most appealing purchase, but a quality, reliable guitar tuner can make the difference between a good gig or recording session.

Best Software Guitar Tuner

Best Software Guitar Tuner

A guitar tuner makes sure that all of your strings (whether you play electric, acoustic, bass, or ukulele) are in tune with each other so that when you play a chord, the intervals in them sound right, producing the sound that it was intended to sound. Good! The best guitar tuner becomes even more important when you’re playing with other musicians – nothing’s worse than when you’re all playing the same thing and one of you is a little down. A band that is very in tune with each other can also help them sound louder.

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Many players can tune by ear, but a good tuner is usually more accurate, plus it means you don’t have to silence the audience to hear yourself while you play live.

You really don’t have to spend a fortune – there’s even a selection of free guitar tuners in this guide. We’ve compiled our list of the best guitar tuners, plus some helpful buying tips, to make sure no one has to plug in an out-of-tune Stairway To Heaven again.

There are some fantastic choices out there, but if we had to choose the best guitar tuner available today, we’d probably go with the TC Electronic Polytune 3 (opens in a new tab). Making subtle improvements over previous models, highly reliable, accurate and easy to read. Being able to tune all of your strings at once can also save time.

If you’re looking for a killer tuning option, our pick is the D’Addario NS Micro Tuner. It’s really discreet, it sits in the back of your head so it doesn’t look unsightly, plus it’s player friendly. It also works in 0.3 cents, so it’s accurate.

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TC Electronic is a first name in polyphonic tuning (which lets you tune all the strings at once), and its latest incarnation is, in our opinion, the best pedal tuner. The third entry in the PolyTune line features a built-in BonaFide buffer that offers players a choice between fully analog buffered bypass and true bypass, which is adjusted via a built-in DIP switch.

Buffer bypass is useful for amplifying signals over long cable runs or large pedals. Elsewhere, the pedal includes the same features as the PolyTune 2, including an ultra-bright LED display, polyphonic and chromatic tuning modes, and +/- 0.02 cents accurate strobe adjustment. Click on the link below to see how we found it in action.

The tuner headstock doesn’t get much smaller than that, but the NS Micro Tuner doesn’t sacrifice functionality thanks to an easily adjustable screen, multiple calibration modes, and even a visual metronome. We found it easy to mount on the front or back of our guitar headstock and out of sight of all but the most discerning of audiences.

Best Software Guitar Tuner

There’s no problem fitting it to almost any headstock instrument, whether it’s electric, acoustic, classical, bass, banjo, mandolin, ukulele or upright bass. Its discreet appearance, low price and fast tuning response make it the best headstock guitar tuner.

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Korg’s Pitchblack design has been refined many times over its eight year life – the mini and polyphonic editions being the most prominent – but with the Pitchblack Advance, the company believes it has created “the ultimate pedal tuner.” Key among the new features is the fantastic 60 hour nine-volt alkaline battery life, as well as the ability to limit power interruptions through “software management”.

The tilted pedal design offers better visibility, aided by high-brightness color LEDs that are nearly double the size of the note name display and easy to see in all lighting conditions. Accuracy in strobe mode is +/- 0.1 cents, while other meter display modes include normal, semi-strobe and mirror modes. A true bypass switch is also available, as is a dedicated, low-noise DC output for sharing 9V power with other pedals.

Known for their accuracy, Peterson’s strobe tuners have long been the choice of professionals seeking the highest quality gear, and in 2019 the company introduced what it considers to be “the ultimate pedalboard guitar tuner” – StroboStomp HD.

With a feature set that far exceeds most of its competitors, you’ll find true and buffered bypass modes, plus 135 ‘sweetened’ settings – micro-adjusted pitch reference points optimized for a wide variety of instruments and tweaked settings. You can even save your own presets.

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Of course, this level of geek tweaking is only available to the most exacting tuners – and StroboStomp HD delivers 0.1 percent accuracy. Enough for the most demanding ears.

Boss set an industry standard with the TU-2 pedal tuner in 1998, and its successors offered a number of improvements over the classic format. The TU-3 is quoted +/- 1 cent on its 23-segment LED display, which means it tunes more accurately, something we can attest to. Other features include pitch tuning of up to six semitones and bass tuning of up to three flats.

The new high brightness mode means the maximum current draw has been increased from 55mA (TU-2) to 85mA. Using Boss’s recommended power supply and a PCS-20A daisy chain, the TU-3 will also pass power up to a total of 200mA to seven other pedals. The Boss resists true bypass switching, which might be a problem for the tune-obsessed, but the Boss’ usual buffered output helps when using long leads and lots of pedals.

Best Software Guitar Tuner

While there are some more expensive, full-featured tuners out there, Snark’s ST-2 is aimed at players who want only the essentials. So what are the important things?

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First, the ST-2 tracks fast. Set it to the vibration sensor and it will work fine except for the loudest performances. The mics are for acoustic instruments, of course, so you need some peace and quiet.

Second, the mounting system is robust and the display tilts easily – a very important feature as the clip has to go to the tuning machine for six-string guitar, 12-string, mandolin, bass… you get the idea!

At this price, the ST-2 is worth owning, even if you’re just keeping it in your bag.

A scaled down version of the sequel to TC Electronic’s groundbreaking polyphonic tuner, PolyTune 3 Mini allows players to tune all strings simultaneously, while a chromatic strobe option offers tuning accuracy of 0.-2 cents.

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True bypass switching, an ultra bright LED display that adapts to different lighting conditions, and the option of up to five flat semitone settings just sweeten the deal and make this the mini pedal tuner of choice when pedalboard space is at a premium.

Boss is responsible for some of the most iconic products in the world of guitars. The TU series of tuners, usually a solid piece of metal capable of remotely killing annoying concert promoters, is considered the industry standard by many. The launch of this newest, lightweight portable into the clip-on world is a welcome step.

The TU-02 has an extremely bright, high contrast color display, providing easy visibility for any concert or rehearsal situation. With an astonishing 24-hour battery life and an auto-shutdown feature, you don’t have to waste time worrying about your battery.

Best Software Guitar Tuner

Boss has called the TU-02 a guitar tuner, though it can do a lot more than you might think. With separate tuning modes for guitar, bass and ukulele, as well as a chromatic tuning mode, there’s not much the TU-02 can’t handle. With settings ranging from A0 (27.5Hz) to C8 (4,186.0Hz), we can’t think of many better options for under $/£15.

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Available for iOS and Android, Fender’s first app aims to provide an intuitive, easy-to-use interface that makes it easy for newcomers to tune their instrument, while covering basic tonal tips, including strumming and amp tuning.

The app detects notes from amplified acoustic and electric guitars and offers auto, chromatic and manual tuning modes, including alternative tuning options and the ability to create custom tunings. Additional in-app purchases add more visually accurate Pro Tuner, metronome, and drum beats, plus scale charts and chord finders.

It’s not the first acoustic soundhole tuner we’ve seen, but D’Addario’s Micro Soundhole tuner is certainly the smallest and least annoying. Mounted via an unobtrusive universal mounting bracket, this little tinted tuner is hidden inside your guitar’s sound hole.

Highly sensitive piezo transducers detect vibrations from the soundboard, promising fast and accurate tuning responses, while the bright display makes it easy to see. The NS Micro Soundhole Tuner is designed for acoustic guitar, bass and ukulele and offers a calibration range of A435-455.

Roadie Music’s Automatic Tuners

Automated motorized guitar tuners aren’t all that common – but is that going to change? The Roadie 3 uses its vibration sensors to determine the pitch of the strings and then tunes them to a pre-selected pitch. Just select the machine head and go

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