I’ve gone through a ton of different guitar tuners since I started playing.

The old kind that you plug directly into.

The kind with a microphone that you sit on your lap.

Even just tuning to songs I know are already in the key of E.

Guitar tuner apps that basically do the same thing.

(FYI – if you’re looking for a guitar tuner app or any guitar apps click here, I like the Pano Tuner app… it’s a free guitar tuner app and works on iOS and Android)

And lastly…. I’ve definitely been through a ton of different kinds of clip on tuners.


What’s the best one?

Short answer:  This Snark Tuner.

Snark Clip-On Chromatic All Instrument Tuner Red

Easy to use + Hard to lose = Awesomeness

Specifically,the Snark Clip-On Chromatic All Instrument Tuner (Red)

If you wanna know why… read on…..

So here are the things I love about this tuner, and the ONE THING that I don’t like (and believe me… it was hard to come up with one thing).


  1. Gigantic display
  2. Easy to find power button
  3. Incredibly durable
  4. Vibration AND microphone
  5. I like the red
  6. Automatic shut off
  7. Price

1. Gigantic display

Seriously… it’s so bright and so easy to read.  The display takes up the majority of the tuner itself.  I’ve had tuners in the past which I could barely see if I was on a dark stage (0r even just a dark room).  This is awesome.

2. Easy to find power button

See that big gray oval... that's the power button.

See that big gray oval… that’s the power button.

Ok…. I know it sounds kind of silly, but it’s a big deal. The power button is easy to reach and easy to find.  I have a few students who use different brands of tuners and it always takes me a minute to figure out how to turn it on and off.  Again, kind of silly, but I think it makes life a little easier.

3.  Incredibly durable

Ok.  I treat my equipment very poorly (to say the least).  I love how durable this thing feels.  I can chuck it in my guitar case or gig bag and I’m not worried about breaking it.  It’s easy to grab and doesn’t seem like a delicate piece of electronic equipment (which is a good thing in this case).

4. Vibration AND microphone

That little switch changes how the tuner picks up the sounds... nice.

That little switch changes how the tuner picks up the sounds… nice.

Ok….. and about the features of the tuner itself.  It has both a microphone and a vibration setting.  The mic setting basically functions like any other tuner (or tuner app on your phone): It uses the mic to pick up the frequency.  Nothing revolutionary here.

HOWEVER…. it also has a vibration setting that senses the frequency through the guitar’s vibration.  I feel like this gives a more accurate reading AND it makes it easy to tune in louder environments (on stage, in a crowded room, or even if you’re trying to tune your guitar and need to be quiet).  The vibration setting is sensitive enough that you can tune your guitar while still being quiet.

5. I like the red

Note the purple nail polish...

Note the purple nail polish…

I like it because it’s bright and different and easy to find.  It doesn’t look like any other kind of tuner, and it doesn’t get lost easily (despite the fact that I have lost many of them).  Really, I just accidentally leave them around at the homes of my students (who also have red snark tuners).  To solve this problem, please refer to the purple nail polish 🙂

6. Automatic shut off

I have had to replace the batteries on my snark tuner (which is easy… they take a CR2032 which I got at the grocery store).  However, they also have an automatic shut off. So as long as it’s not picking up vibrations or other sounds with the mic, it will automatically shut off.  Now, if you leave it clamped onto your guitar and DON’T turn it off… well that’s your fault.

7. Price

This is super inexpensive (but not cheap).  I own a few of them and keep them in various places (guitar case, office, etc).  I like having multiples just in case I lose one (or am too lazy to walk downstairs to get it out of my guitar case).

Do not like:

The ONLY negative thing that I could come up with (which I almost forgot because it’s such a little detail)… on one of my tuners, one of the little rubber grips fell off.  I almost didn’t mention this, but it happened to a student of mine as well.  Now, this could be because I treat these little tuners very rough.  It doesn’t impact the vibration setting (or the mic setting) as far as I can tell.  And if I was super anal about it, I could just glue it back on I guess.  Again…

Not a big deal.

Other things:

This tuner has two other features that are cool… but I just don’t use them very much….

1. Metronome

I honestly forget that it’s there.  It’s a visual metronome (meaning there is no speaker in the snark unit, so there is no audible metronome).  In other words, you have to look at the tuner to get the beat.

2. Pitch calibration

Pitch calibration.

Pitch calibration.

I don’t ever use this.  But if you ever wanted to tune to something other than 440, the snark tuner gives you the ability to adjust this.

3.  It works on all kinds of stringed instruments.

Acoustic guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Mandolin, Classical Guitar… it doesn’t matter.


Bottom Line:  Get this tuner.