Top Tuner Pedals for Guitars – Guide & Comparison
If looking for the best tuner pedal is what you focus on these days yet the time you have at disposal is not very generous, this guide might be of assistance. To help you find the product you need with ease, we have examined some of the most appreciated guitar tuner pedals for sale and have concluded that the Korg Pitchblack is the first pedal to consider. Providing improved contrast and visibility, the tuner comes with four modes, 100 % true bypass for improved tonal clarity, and a reliable die-cast aluminum build. In case this product is unavailable, another option to keep in mind is the TC Electronic Polytune.
Our Top Choice
Featuring a durable and compact build as well as a variety of specs that will help you enjoy tonal clarity, this pedal is worth considering. It matches all pedalboards and can even power other effects. Due to the four modes featured, you will be able to customize your sound according to your preferences. The materials featured ensure extended use.
At least one buyer says the unit was not solid enough to keep up with intense use.
Explore your sonic personality and customize your sounds with this pedal. It is easy to use, compact, and compatible with all pedalboards.
Committed to providing flexibility and enhanced portability, this tuner comes with features that will up your sonic game without affecting your comfort when traveling. Thanks to the LED display featured, you will be able to keep an eye on the tuner and read it no matter the light conditions. The stylish product is easy to use and weighs only 7.2 ounces.
Some users may find this product a bit expensive, considering its specs.
If you’re a gigging musician on the lookout for a portable tuner pedal, this model might be just what you need. It is easy to use and compact.
Also To Consider
Designed to enable you to tune acoustic guitars or basses quickly, this stylish and compact unit can be easily added to the pedalboard. The product features a bright display you can read regardless of the light conditions of your gig or practice location. The die-cast aluminum housing ensures durability whereas the design and the controls featured make it easy to use.
The display stopped working after several months of use, as one buyer says.
Completing your musical gear is easy with this tuner pedal. The product is compact and highly portable. Moreover, it is easy to use and durable.
8 Best Tuner Pedals for Guitars (Reviews) in 2020
If a good tuner pedal is what you need to enhance your sonic experience yet you don’t know where to start, you might want to check the guitar tuner pedals reviews below. We have examined the specs of some of the most popular products on the market and concluded that the following models might be of your interest.
- 1. Korg Pitchblack Chromatic Pedal Tuner for Guitar & Bass
- 2. TC electronic PolyTune 2 Mini Polyphonic Tuner Pedal
- 3. Snark SN10 Stage and Studio Chromatic Pedal Tuner
- 4. TC electronic Polytune 3 Ultra Compact Polyphonic Tuner
- 5. D’Addario PW-CT-20 Chromatic Pedal Tuner
- 6. Korg PB-AD Pitchblack Pedal Tuner
- 7. Korg PB-CS Pitchblack Custom Pedal Tuner with 3D Display
- 8. Stagg BX-Tuner Blaxx Series Auto Chromatic Tuner Pedal
- Yearly Guide & Report
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. Korg Pitchblack Chromatic Pedal Tuner for Guitar & Bass
Gigging musicians might want to consider the Pitchblack model from Korg if a durable build and tonal clarity are the desired features. Boasting a solid and compact construction, this pedal was designed to match any pedalboard and even power other effects.
The reliable die-cast aluminum body will keep up with extended use both on the road and in the studio. The unit works great with guitars and it can also be used as one of your bass pedals. Even if it measures only 7.3 x 3.3 x 2.5 inches, the pedal sports a large LED meter that ensures great visibility in any light condition.
Thanks to the four modes it features (Meter, Full Strobe, Half Strobe, and Mirror), you can shape your sounds with ease. The true bypass will further enhance tonal clarity. This model is committed to providing the player with high-precision and advanced functionality.
This is one tuner that can serve both guitar players and bassists, and it also comes with a 9V output that can provide power to other pedals.
It also comes with a true bypass function, so you shouldn’t worry that it takes the tune and changes it while you’re not using the pedal.
The pedal is one of the most compact ones and that’s why many guitarists choose it because it takes little space on the pedalboard.
It also comes with a large display that shows the details in bright colors and increased light, so you will be able to see what it indicates at all times.
The tuner is also one of the most responsive ones and it will help you tune your guitar fast.
The battery life is long enough to let you play and use this tuner for 5 hours straight.
It does make a slightly annoying popping sound when stepping on the pedal.Buy from Amazon.com for ($119.95)
2. TC electronic PolyTune 2 Mini Polyphonic Tuner Pedal
If ultra-portability and flexibility are the things you’re interested in, the Polytune pedal from TC Electronic is worth considering. The unit measures only 4 x 2.5 x 2.2 inches, so you can easily add it to your pedalboard and to your gear when going places.
The item weighs 7.2 ounces, which further enhances its portability and ease of use. Thanks to the 109 ultra-bright LED the product comes with, you can read the mini guitar tuner no matter the stage and light conditions. You can even read it without any effort when playing outdoors in bright light.
The unique display will allow the user to see the tuning for each string. Moreover, you can save and recall default tuning as well as a reference pitch. You get three ways to tune with this product that will automatically detect if you’re strumming or playing one string and switch modes for you.
You will find out that this tuner pedal is one of the easiest to use.
The most important feature of this device is that it has polyphonic tuning, meaning that you can strum all the strings at the same time and it will identify which of them is out of tune.
For the same reason, the tuner is great for live performances when you need to identify the problems fast.
The tuner is smart and it will know when you’re plucking a single string, transforming in the chromatic tuner mode instantly.
The pedal takes very little space on the board and guitarists with many pedals will appreciate that.
With the help of the ultra-bright and pretty large LED display, you can read this tuner from across the room.
Because it’s so small the pedal is very unstable, no matter how much velcro you use to keep it stuck to the pedalboard.Buy from Amazon.com for ($119.93)
3. Snark SN10 Stage and Studio Chromatic Pedal Tuner
Another option you might want to check before making a decision is the SN-10S model from Snark. Engineered to help you tune acoustic guitars or basses quickly, this model is compact and pedalboard-friendly as well as stylish. The true bypass will allow players to have it in their pedal chain without their signal flow being interrupted.
Offering great visibility, the bright display will allow you to easily read it even when playing in low-light conditions. The unit measures only 4 x 2 x 2.5 inches and weighs 4 ounces. This means you can comfortably add it to your travel guitars and rest assured your instruments will be in tune whenever you need them.
Given its purpose, the pedal was designed for extended use. Hence its solid die-cast aluminum housing. The product is fully chromatic and ensures pitch calibration. It requires batteries or a 9V power supply.
The casing of this pedal is die-cast metal, and it’s capable of enduring even the most demanding strong stamps.
It comes with a true-bypass mode meaning that it won’t take away from the tone of your guitar when you’re not using it.
The bright LED readout is large enough to allow you to see everything you need on the stage.
The pitch accuracy of this small pedal is impressive and the display is smooth and very responsive.
It’s an impressive tuner when used for basses or baritone guitars because it does really well in those lower notes.
The pedal is extremely easy to use and, coming with a single button, it’s clear why.
As other tuners like this also do, this one comes with a 9V battery that can also provide power to other pedals.
It doesn’t come with many tuning options, like polyphonic tuning, and that can leave some players wanting more.Buy from Amazon.com for ($41.03)
4. TC electronic Polytune 3 Ultra Compact Polyphonic Tuner
Designed to deliver accurate tuning as well as a high-quality tone, the PolyTune 3 tuner pedal from TC Electronic is another option you might want to check. The unit is ultra-compact measuring 5 x 3.4 x 2.1 inches and weighing 9.6 ounces, features that render it ideal for street gigs and home sessions alike as it won’t take too much space on your pedalboard or when added to your musical gear.
Thanks to the chromatic, polyphonic, and strobe tuning modes, you will quickly get in tune. The chromatic tuner offers 0.5 cent accuracy whereas the polyphonic tuner will allow you to tune all your strings.
Moreover, due to the built-in BonaFide Buffer circuitry, the pedal will even help you improve your tone for long cable runs. The auto-dimming LED display will further help you enhance your overall experience by providing you with the visibility you need no matter the stage and light conditions.
This tuner is very reliable during live performances and it’s also easy to use so you won’t get stuck trying to tune your guitar.
It’s got a display that is large, easy to read and provides enough light to be read in the dark and under the bright sun rays too.
The construction is a solid one and the materials it’s made of are durable as well, so no matter how much you stomp it, the tuner will last.
Coming with two tuning methods, this pedal will help you if you want to tune a single string or if you want polyphonic tuning for all of your strings.
The tuner has buttons on the sides and they allow you to set the tuning pitch or alter the polyphonic tuning mode as you see fit.
Some people complain that the paint job is a poor one and after a few weeks of use you will have an ugly pedal.Buy from Amazon.com for ($96)
5. D’Addario PW-CT-20 Chromatic Pedal Tuner
Combining innovation, a stylish design, and simplicity in just one unit, the Chromatic tuner from D’Addario should not go unchecked. The product was designed to deliver stunning accuracy and keep up with extended use. Smaller than other models available on the market, this unit measures only 2.8 x 2.3 x 5.8 inches and weighs 12 ounces, dimensions that render it ideal for players on the go.
The pedalboard-friendly tuner sports a rugged aluminum case that ensures durability and offers fast note detection. Engineered to provide the player with exceptional tuning accuracy, the unit also features a wide calibration range as well as true-bypass wiring.
The footswitch is easy to use and access. Thanks to the full-color vertical display, you can enjoy quick intuitive tuning whether you’re on stage, at home, or in the studio. The powerful 32-bit processor is a synonym for speed. You can power the pedal with a 9V battery (included) or a 9V adaptor.
With its black finish, this tuner looks way better than other devices out there.
Furthermore, it’s also one of the lightest and compact models on the market so you will be able to squeeze it on any pedalboard.
The 32-bit processor is capable of detecting the note and its accuracy in a split second.
You can also calibrate the tuning with a small button placed on the side of the pedal.
The true-bypass function will be great news for anyone looking to avoid unnecessary fuzz in the sound.
Its display can be the most attractive feature, as it’s so large and bright and it also has bright colors that will help you read the information with ease.
The rugged aluminum case will endure strong stomps and will last for a while.
When pressing the button it will make a mechanical noise which is pretty loud and that can ruin some recordings.Buy from Amazon.com for ($89.97)
6. Korg PB-AD Pitchblack Pedal Tuner
A hit among professionals and amateurs alike, the PBAD pedal from Korg won’t just make sure you enjoy excellent tuning accuracy but will also add to your musical gear thanks to its cutting-edge design. The unit combines the traditional with the revolutionary in an attempt to provide the best of both worlds.
The pedal features four distinct display modes (meter, full strobe, half strobe, and mirror) and the LED meter can be switched between them. Thanks to the true bypass, you will enjoy a pure tone since it runs through the practical Pitchblack Advance.
The unit’s display ensures great visibility no matter where you play, be it outdoors in bright sunshine or in a dark club. Measuring 3.3 x 6 x 2.4 inches and weighing 11.5 ounces, the pedal can fit where many other pedals can’t. It also eliminates unwanted noise and provides up to 60 hours of battery life.
The new Pitchblack Advance model incorporates all the benefits of past Korg tuners but in a more compact shape.
This is one of the most precise tuners in its class, as it can provide tuning that is only 0.1 cents off, which means it’s highly precise.
You get the option to choose between 4 meter displays depending on how you want to read your tuning, with the strobe mode being the most precise one.
As is the case with many other quality pedal tuners, this one also features a true-bypass mode, preventing the guitar signal to be altered when passing through.
You also have the possibility to power other pedals using the out jack, and what separates this pedal from others is its long battery life lasting for more than 30 hours.
You will get no sound when the tuner is engaged and that can annoy some people.Buy from Amazon.com for ($64.99)
7. Korg PB-CS Pitchblack Custom Pedal Tuner with 3D Display
Sporting the first vertical 3D visual meter on a pedal tuner, the PBCS from Korg has gathered positive feedback from musicians who used it for an unprecedented level of visibility, versatile display modes, and excellent tuning. If that sounds like just what you need to enhance your experience, make sure you don’t skip this model.
Engineered to meet the needs of professional guitarists, the tuner boasts true bypass switching that will prevent any tone coloration. It offers extremely accurate tuning with a detection range of +/- 0.1 cents. The four meter display modes make this model ideal for any playing style.
The die-cast aluminum body ensures durability. The item measures 6 x 2 x 3 inches and weighs 12 ounces and is powered by a 9-volt zinc-carbon battery providing approximately 15 hours of life. The DC output will allow you to power other effects pedals.
With a detection range of +/- 0.1 cents, this unit will offer precise tuning when you need it.
The display offers crisp clear images and it does that with sufficient light to allow you to read it in any situation.
You also get different display modes available and you can choose whichever suits your taste.
You also have the calibration button present at the back of the pedal, and you can modify everything from there without running the risk that you accidentally press the button.
It has a die-cast aluminum body and that makes everything more durable.
The battery which can power other pedals too will ensure you 15 hours of playing and tuning time.
To make sure that the tone isn’t altered when you’re not using it, the pedal also comes with true-bypass functionality.
It would be nice if the brightness could be adjusted depending on the situation.Buy from Amazon.com for ($71.32)
8. Stagg BX-Tuner Blaxx Series Auto Chromatic Tuner Pedal
Small enough to easily fit any pedalboard yet great in what it delivers, the BX-TUNER from Stagg is another pedal you might want to examine before making a decision. Designed to last, the chromatic tuner is ideal for both bass and guitar. The sturdy die-cast metal housing will match even road gigs and keep up with long use.
The pedal features a heavy duty on/off footswitch that makes it easy to use it and a LED indicator to ensure great visibility. The item weighs 7.8 ounces and measures 4 x 2 x 2 inches, so you can comfortably add it to your musical gear when traveling.
The LED screen will show you the note and its octave. The item also boasts 1/4″ jack input and output and LED indicators for in tune, sharp note, and flat note. The pedal requires a 9V DC power supply or a 9V battery with an adaptor.
It’s another one of those pedals that fit onto any pedalboard due to how small it is.
The rugged design, with the sturdy die-cast metal housing, will make this thing last for a while under intense pressure.
It’s a great choice whether you’re a guitarist or bassist as it will provide great tuning for low-end notes.
With the heavy-duty on/off switch, you know when the pedal is engaged and when not.
Weighing less than 8 ounces you could take this pedal with you in your pocket.
The LED screen will show you all the needed info, including the note you’re playing and the octave that note is in.
You can also use it to tune your strings sharp or flat, and it will provide power with the help of its 9V battery to all the other pedals.
It would be nice if the screen was brighter or used brighter colors.Buy from Amazon.com for ($46.74)
Yearly Guide & Report
A good guitar tuner pedal is one of the most important things your musical gear should include if you want to enjoy excellent tuning accuracy and make sure your sound stays clean. Finding the best guitar tuner pedal might prove to be time-consuming considering the great variety of such products available on the market.
Just like when you’re looking for an octave pedal or a new phaser pedal, there are some features you need to pay attention to in order to get a product that will meet your needs perfectly. To ease that process, we have highlighted the specs found on quality tuner pedals.
This is the most important feature when it comes to tuner pedals. They are made to help you tune your instrument and do it accurately. Therefore, accuracy is the first thing to think about as you pinpoint the item you want to add to your cart.
The accuracy of such a tool is rated in cents. However, there is a point where you cannot tell the difference between two notes that are closely tuned. This means it is likely that you won’t be able to tell the difference between a perfectly tuned bass or guitar and one that is 0.5 or 1 cent out of tune.
Fortunately, all modern guitar tuners come with an accuracy that is more than you need since, again, the little variations in cents are undetectable to the human ear.
Screen brightness and meters
No matter where you play, whether it’s outdoors in bright light or indoors where it’s dim, you need good visibility. Screen brightness is thus another key factor to consider. Many modern tuners are bright enough to be used under any light condition, though. Some of them even offer the possibility to increase/decrease brightness depending on your gig setting.
Then, many tuners use a needle-based meter to let you know how close you are to pitch as you adjust the string tension. Some tuners, like almost all modern ones, come with LCD displays with LED light arrays or with needle-like graphics that use different colors to let you know whether you approach the correct pitch, you are sharp or flat.
There are tuners that will also indicate the string that is tuned and feature various display segments to fine-tune your guitar. Advanced tuners boast the strobe technology, mainly used by instrument technicians, that shows your relative pitch in real time.
Tuning modes and auto pitch detection
You will see that many models come with several tuning modes in order to match specific instruments like 6-string basses, 7-string guitars, and even baritone guitars. Some tuners support drop and capo tunings. You might want to consider that as well before making a decision. Advanced models will allow the player to tune to different tuning modes and tempered scales.
A higher-quality tuner pedal will automatically detect the tone you play and show its relation to the true pitch. Cheaper or older tuners don’t come with such features and you will have to set the target pitch for each of your instrument’s strings.
Muting your signal
Another feature you will find helpful is the ability to mute your signal. Such a factor proves to be of great importance especially if you play an electric guitar. A quality tuner pedal will allow you to tune your guitar in silence as it will mute your signal and you can do that by simply hitting a footswitch. This way the audience won’t listen to your tuning.
Plus, muting your signal won’t just help you when you tune your instrument but even when you change guitars or when you want to reduce the hum of your guitar amplifier if you’re not playing. Even if some amps come with built-in tuners, many musicians and experts recommend using a tuner pedal if you play electric guitars.
True and buffered bypass
Tuner pedals are further divided based on the bypass options they offer. You will find pedals that use a buffered bypass, a true bypass, or both of them and the possibility to choose the one you want. Pedals that boast such specs won’t color the signal sent to your amp.
A true bypass tuner will offer the truest tone reflection of the guitar tone on any side of the pedal and enable the signal to flow through. The difference when using a buffered bypass regarding the signal is so minor, though, that you can hardly notice it.
Build and other features
Another thing to look for even if your budget only allows you to get cheap tuner pedals is the size and durability of the product you buy. If you use several pedals and you also travel a lot with your musical gear for all sorts of gigs, you might want to go for a small and lightweight tuner that will easily fit your pedal board.
Most pedals available on the market are small and weigh little. Also, check the materials used for the case. It is best to go for solid metal ones taking into account that you will use it extensively and even take it from one place to another.
If you are a beginner, you might want to look for a tuner pedal that comes with guitar metronome functions. Such models are ideal for students. Plus, tuners that come with microphones will detect the tuning acoustically and are thus great to tune many instruments.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What does a tuner pedal do?
As its name suggests a pedal tuner is a digital tuner that acts as a link to the player’s guitar. It is very practical when touring as it enables the guitarist to tune up its instrument without a lot of effort.
Just like other tuners you can find online, a pedal tuner works by measuring the frequencies that are produced by your instrument. Then, the product matches the sound to a particular note and it displays it on a backlit LCD screen. This way, you can be sure whether or not you are playing correctly.
They are highly appreciated by guitar players because they are highly accurate and very simple to use. These devices are portable and simple to set up and they are very popular among students and novice players, as well as seasoned guitarists. Some models that you can find for sale can also be used with other instruments as well.
Q: Do I need a tuner pedal?
It depends. If you are a seasoned musician that has a perfect pitch and that feels confident using a harmonica or another instrument to do the tuning, chances are that you do not need a tuner pedal. However, there are some situations where having a device of this kind is rather useful as it can save you quite a lot of time.
For instance, if you are a novice that cannot distinguish between musical notes, or if you simply do not have a good pitch, it is highly recommended that you use a device of this sort instead. In other words, you should use one if you want to make sure that your guitar is perfectly tuned.
Furthermore, if you are a musician that often plays at gigs, a pedal tuner is essential. After all, as you probably know, tuning a guitar in a noisy environment is almost impossible.
Q: How do I use a tuner pedal?
Tuner pedals are very simple to use. To start, you have to plug the tuner directly into the guitar by using a jack cable. This is necessary because, differently from other tuners, this device does not use a microphone to pick up the notes that you are playing.
Once you connect the tuner to the guitar, you just have to turn it on by pressing the pedal that it features and to start playing. When the device is not on, the signal is not registered and the signal passes through to the amp that you are using.
When the signal is registered, the tuner itself will start to show the note that you are playing on the large display that the device features. This kind of tuner is the ideal gadget to have around if you are a touring musician that has no time to waste tuning his/her guitar on stage by only using his/her pitch.
Q: What are the differences between tuner pedals?
All tuner pedals for guitars share, in general, the same design. However, each model comes with a couple of features that differentiate between one model to the other. For instance, not all devices have displays that are the same in size. While some products come provided with large and bright displays, others are much more compact.
Another aspect that differentiates between various models is the battery life. On average, a tuner of this sort can be used for between 5 and 60 hours at a time before they need to be recharged.
Next, you also have to consider the materials that were used to make the tuners. From this point of view, some of the available units are heavier because they are made using high-quality metal housings that make the choice likely to pass the test of time.
Finally, as a glance at the available options indicates, not all tuner pedals share the same design.
Q: Do true bypass pedals drain battery?
There is not a straightforward answer to this question. As we are sure you already know, all electronics that are in bypass mode take a bit of time to power up when you turn them on. To avoid this issue, manufacturers have designed their tuners in such a way so that they are always kept powered up.
This way, when you decide to tune your guitar, you can do so in a matter of seconds, without having to wait for the device to “wake up”. One aspect that you should be aware of is the fact that when in bypass, these pedals do not consume that much energy so that the battery that powers them is completely drained.
In fact, most of these products have a battery life that ranges from 5 to 60 hours, depending on the type of battery that is used to power the tuner. You can ask the manufacturer of the model that you like for more info on this topic.