5 Best Clip-On Guitar Tuners


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What’s one of the most essential pieces of equipment a guitarist can own? A tuner. Tuners may not be the flashiest things in the world, but they’re absolutely necessary.

Can you imagine trying to play your favorite song out of tune? We can feel your skin crawling from here! But, as any guitarist will tell you, there are few things in the world worse than an out-of-tune guitar.

If you’ve recently bought your first guitar, it’s time to add a tuner to your equipment list ASAP.

Unfortunately, just one google search will reveal HUNDREDS of potential tuners. Clip-ons, pedals, chromatics… where do you start?

If clip-on tuners are taking your fancy but you’re not sure where to start looking, we’re here to help.

So let us take you through our list of the best clip-on guitar tuners on the market and what you need to consider before you buy one.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started.

KLIQ UberTuner

KLIQ UberTuner - Premium Clip-On Tuner for All Instruments (multi-key modes) - with Guitar, Ukulele, Violin, Bass & Chromatic Tuning Modes (also for Mandolin and Banjo)

First on our list is the KLIQ clip-on guitar tuner. This tuner uses an advanced and incredibly sensitive Piezo sensor, which improves tuning quality and minimizes the amount of time spent tweaking your strings.

When we tested this tuner, we were blown away by its accuracy. Because this tuner detects the pitches that come directly from your guitar’s vibrations, there’s no risk of ambient room noise getting in the way.

This tuner is also incredibly well built – it doesn’t feel too lightweight or prone to breakage, so you can be sure you’re investing in something that’s built to last.

The KLIQ clip-on tuner can be used on guitars, bass guitars, violins, and ukuleles, and it comes with a full color, easy-to-read screen, and a range of transposition settings, from Bb and Eb to F, D, and woodwind and brass instruments.

We felt the clamp felt substantial enough not to be considered weak. It stays firmly in place, and its LED display lights up around the note you’re tuned to.

Want to know just how accurate this tuner is? The KLIQ tuner has an accuracy capability of + / – 1%, which is average for most high-end, accurate tuners.

The only downside we found with this tuner during testing was that it could be slow to power up. The button must be pressed for 2 or 3 seconds before the tuner turns on.

There’s then a short, on-screen animation to see before you start tuning.

Pros

  • Accurate: Not only is this tuner accurate, but KLIQ has provided the exact accuracy capability for peace of mind.
  • Versatile: This tuner can be used on a range of instruments, including violins and ukuleles. If you play more than one stringed instrument, this would be a great addition to your collection.
  • Good Build: This tuner is well made, so there’s no risk of breakage

Cons

  • Slow to Turn On: Unfortunately, this tuner is slow to power on. If you need to tune up in a rush, this might not be the one for you.
Sale
KLIQ UberTuner - Premium Clip-On Tuner for All Instruments (multi-key modes) - with Guitar, Ukulele, Violin, Bass & Chromatic Tuning Modes (also for Mandolin and Banjo)
  • Fast & Accurate: Spend more time playing, and less time tuning. The UberTuner's advanced Micro Processor and highly sensitive Piezo Sensor will ensure your instrument is accurately tuned in a flash.
  • Super Bright Display: The large color display allows you to easily see if you're flat, sharp, or dead-on from any angle. With 3 points of adjustment, you can position the screen in any way you like.
  • Easy to Use: Turn it on, clip it on, and you're ready to tune. Since the tuner detects the pitches directly from your instruments' vibrations, ambient room noise will never get in the way.
  • Reliable: With a strong and durable design, this tuner was built to last. From light use by the music hobbyist to heavy abuse by the touring road warrior, the UberTuner will get you in tune every time.
  • 3-Year Manufacturer Guarantee: In the unlikely event the KLIQ UberTuner stops working, we'll replace it or give you 100% of your money back, no questions asked.

Snark ST2 Tuner

Snark ST-2 Multi-Instrument Chromatic Tuner

Next on our list is the Snark ST-2 Multi-Instrument Chromatic Tuner. This stylish tuner comes in a stunning design with a bold, high-definition display with a super-tight grip clip to ensure a tight and secure fit.

The Snark tuner uses either a vibration sensor or microphone to tune up your instrument. Depending on the instrument you’re tuning, you can choose which method you prefer.

We found both the vibration and microphone sensors to be incredibly accurate on various instruments when testing this tuner.

This tuner also has a tap tempo metronome that would work well not just for amateur players but also for professionals.

You can set your pitch reference anywhere from between 415 to 466 Hz, which would make this tuner suitable for a range of instruments, including trumpets.

Unfortunately, during testing, we found that the finish of the tuner can damage or rub off on some instruments. This may depend on the type of lamination used on your instrument.

Pros

  • Multi-Instrument: This tuner works well with other instruments such as trumpets.
  • Vibration and Microphone Sensors: These dual sensors give you a more diverse and versatile way to tune your instruments. It also provides much greater tuning accuracy than other tuners.

Cons

  • Finish Can Rub Off: Unfortunately, the finish that’s used on this tuner can rub off on your instruments and leave marks, depending on the finish of your instrument.
Snark ST-2 Multi-Instrument Chromatic Tuner
  • Tunes Acoustic Guitars, Electric Guitars, Basses and All Instruments
  • Pitch Calibration
  • Tune with Vibration Sensor or Microphone
  • Tap Tempo Metronome
  • Sturdy "Stay Put" Clip

Fender FT-1 Tuner

FT-1 Professional Clip on Tuner for Guitar, Bass, Mandolin, Violin, Ukulele, and Banjo

Now it’s time to take a look at the Fender FT-1 tuner. You’ll automatically recognize Fender as one of the biggest names in the business.

We knew that this would be a high-quality, functional product straight out the box, and we weren’t disappointed.

The Fender FT-1 tuner boasts a classic clip-on design and an easy-to-read LCD screen. This tuner has a range of tuning modes suitable for guitars, bass, ukuleles, and violins and has a tuning range of B0-B7.

We were impressed with its built-in vibration sensor when we tested this tuner. This worked well to filter out ambient noise and register only the sounds from our instrument.

We even tried this on a 12 string guitar and had no issues tuning the octave strings.

The LCD screen uses a needle to indicate how close or far from your desired pitch you are.

This made it easy for us to hit the right notes, and when we compared the tuning of each guitar string with other branded tuners, the tuning accuracy was confirmed.

The FT-1 also comes with a dual-hinge design that allows you to attach the tuner to either side of the headstock.

The only issue we found with this tuner was that changing settings and switching on and off can be tricky.

The button needs to be held for a few seconds to turn the tuner on and off, and it just needs to be pressed once to change tuning modes. If you’re playing live gigs, this can be challenging.

Pros

  • Dual Hinge Design: The tuner can be attached to either side of the headstock. This is ideal for players who want a little more freedom when tuning up.
  • Vibration Sensor: Gives an accurate tuning experience for almost any instrument and works well at filtering out ambient noise

Cons

  • Can Be Tricky To Use: Unfortunately, turning the tuner on and off and switching modes can be challenging, especially if you’re playing live gigs.
Sale
FT-1 Professional Clip on Tuner for Guitar, Bass, Mandolin, Violin, Ukulele, and Banjo
  • Compact, dual-hinged clip-on tuner
  • Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Violin and Chromatic tuning modes
  • Easy-to-read tuning needle; backlight turns green when note is in tune
  • Tuning Range B0 - B7; A440 calibration
  • Includes CR2032 battery

D’Addario Guitar Tuner

D'Addario Guitar Tuner - Eclipse Headstock Tuner - Clip On Tuner for Guitar - Great for Acoustic Guitars & Electric Guitars - Quick & Accurate Tuning - Black

Now, let’s take a look at a lesser-known brand. Let us introduce you to the D’Addario guitar tuner.

This clip-on tuner has quite a large screen compared to our other clip-on tuners, which will be excellent for short-sighted players or playing in darker environments.

The screen is vertical but can be readjusted to accommodate various viewing angles.

When we tested this product, we found that the tuner’s dual swivel mount worked well and made this tuner easy to use for both left and right-handed players.

It can also tune between 430 to 450 Hz, which is perfect for tuning most guitars.

However, because this is a chromatic tuner, it would work well on any stringed instrument, as long as there’s a place to clamp it on.

This tuner works on resonic vibration so it will work with any guitar, even an electric guitar that’s not plugged in.

Unfortunately, we found that the screen of this tuner is made from a highly reflective material.

Although the screen is large enough to be seen in low light conditions, this reflective material can make it hard to see the screen accurately at a glance.

Pros

  • Large Screen: The screen on this tuner is much larger than other competitors. This makes it much easier to read, especially for short-sighted players.
  • Resonic Vibrations: This gives an accurate tuning experience and makes this tuner suitable for use on most stringed instruments.

Cons

  • Reflective Screen: Although the screen is big, the material is reflective, which can be difficult to read in low light conditions.
D'Addario Guitar Tuner - Eclipse Headstock Tuner - Clip On Tuner for Guitar - Great for Acoustic Guitars & Electric Guitars - Quick & Accurate Tuning - Black
  • Quick tuning : Tune your guitar or bass with ease with the Eclipse Guitar Tuner. Featuring quick and accurate tuning, large screen, and strong clamp that is adjustable for a variety of viewing angles.
  • Extreme accuracy- Great accuracy with a wide calibration range (435-450Hz) assures precise performance. Calibration is also adjustable.
  • Easy to read & adjustable screen: Screen is a vertical, full color display with limitless viewing angles. The dual swivels makes mounting perfect for left handed or right handed players anywhere on the headstock.
  • Strong clamp: The Eclipse clip on guitar tuner can be mounted anywhere on the headstock without worries of slipping.

Fender “Bullet” Tuner

Fender 'Bullet' Digital Chromatic Tuner for Guitar, Bass Guitar, Mandolin, Violin, Viola, and Banjo

Last on our list is the Fender bullet guitar tuner. This tuner sports a unique, round-headed microphone design that provides a staunchly accurate reading with every use.

The bullet tuner is a chromatic tuner that can be used for guitars, bass guitars, mandolins, violins, violas, and banjos.

The bullet has a small screen and a simple display. The screen displays a ring of circular lights, and the center one will light up green when you’ve tuned up accurately.

The bullet uses a noise-proof vibration sensor that provides an accurate tuning for a range of instruments, despite the bullet being the smallest tuner that Fender offers!

We loved the auto-off program when we tested the bullet, which gave us a longer battery life than other high-end tuners. This tuner has a tuning range of between 27.5Hz to 4186.0Hz (A to C) and an accuracy of + / – 1 cent.

Unfortunately, we found that the auto-off setting could be a little unreliable during testing.

Although it worked well most of the time, it tended to switch on and off during tuning, which made it difficult to get an accurate tuning.

Pros

  • Unique Design: The bullet has a unique design compared to other competitors. If you want a tuner with a different aesthetic, this is a stylish choice to go with.
  • Vibration Sensors: We found that the vibration sensors were incredibly accurate. They provided a precise tuning each time.

Cons

  • Auto On/Off Unreliable: Unfortunately, the auto on/off feature could be unreliable and switched on and off during tuning.

Buyers Guide

Now we’ve taken you through our list of the best clip-on guitar tuners; it’s time to explore our buyer’s guide.

Stick with us for a comprehensive list of the most important features you should consider before buying a clip-on guitar tuner.

Clip-On VS. Pedal

Clip-on tuners and pedal tuners have become two of the most popular types of tuners on the market. So, what’s the difference, and is one better than the other?

Clip-On Tuner

Clip-on guitar tuners are a relatively new invention.

These tuners clip directly onto the guitar’s headstock and use sensors to register the vibrations of your instrument and provide an accurate tuning with each string. Clip-on tuners are usually incredibly reliable.

However, some cheaper brands can struggle to filter out ambient noise, resulting in an inaccurate reading.

Pedal Tuner

Pedal tuners are considered one of the best options for gigging guitarists. With pedal tuners, you can tune up your guitar by simply pressing the footswitch of your pedal.

This saves having to clip anything onto your guitar, and you won’t have to use your hands to tune up. This saves time, which is convenient if you need to tune up quickly before your gig starts.

Now, let’s ease any confusion about the most common tuner buzzwords.

Microphone

Microphone tuners do exactly what they say on the tin. These tuners rely on an in-built microphone to determine the frequency of your notes.

Unfortunately, microphone tuners have a bit of a reputation for being the least accurate tuning methods. They can be quite unreliable, especially if you’re performing live or tuning up in a noisy environment.

Unfortunately, some microphones cannot filter out background noise well enough to provide an accurate reading.

Unfortunately, some microphone tuners will only work best when you’re tuning to standard tuning. This means if you’re using alternative tunings, it can be hard to tune up to semitones.

Chromatic

Chromatic tuners are the most common tuners on the market. If you’ve made it through our round-up, you’ve probably heard of the term already.

Chromatic tuners can be found in various formats, from clip-on and pedals to microphones.

If you’re a novice guitar player, you might not be familiar with the term. Fortunately, chromatic simply means that your tuner can tune up to all notes on the chromatic scale – this is all twelve notes between octaves.

If you’re a regular user of alternative tunings, chromatic tuners are a great option. If you’re a beginner, you probably won’t need all the capabilities of a chromatic tuner.

However, if you’re an experienced or regular player, these can be an excellent option.

Polyphonic

Polyphonic tuners are another relatively new invention; however, their capabilities are impressive.

For example, with the polyphonic tuner, you can play all your guitar strings at once, and the tuner will determine exactly which strings are out of tune.

Instead of working through your instrument string by string, you’ll have a comprehensive overview of your guitars tuning all at once.

Of course, you won’t be able to tune all of your strings at once. However, with the polyphonic tuner, you can see how the tuning of one string will affect the tone of your others, and it makes tuning much quicker.

You won’t have to pluck each string individually to determine what’s out of tune, and you can save time by targeting only the strings that are out of tune.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve just bought your first ever guitar, you will UNDOUBTEDLY need a guitar tuner. If you haven’t got one in your arsenal, your playing capacity will soon hit a dead end.

There may be plenty of tuners out there to choose from, but we hope we’ve shown you that a clip-on tuner is one of the greatest tools you could ever buy.

Not only are they notoriously accurate, but their clip-on design makes it easier than ever to tune up on the go and get a reliable tuning every time. If you haven’t bought a tuner yet, there’s no time to waste!

Instead, make use of our research to buy yourself a new, reliable tool for your collection, and enjoy playing in tune and style every time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Clip-On Tuners Better?

Clip-on tuners provide a high level of accuracy, and they’re great for hobbyist guitarists and professionals alike.

However, we recommend using a pedal tuner instead if you’re looking for something to tune up with during a live performance.

Clip-on tuners can be less reliable in noisy environments and more tricky to use if you need to keep your hands free.

Do Clip-On Guitar Tuners Work?

Clip-on tuners work well for acoustic guitars and electric guitars, bass guitars, violins, ukuleles, mandolins, and more. They’re a versatile tuner that musicians of all ages and abilities favor.

Where Do You Put The Clip On A Guitar Tuner?

Clip-on guitar tuners attach directly to the end of your guitar head. This is because the vibrations from the strings can be easily picked up in this position.

How Do I Choose A Guitar Tuner?

To buy the right tuner, you’ll need to consider several factors. These include:

  • Seeing if your guitar is left or right-handed
  • Considering the layout of the headstock
  • Identifying the type of headstock
  • Measuring the borehole
  • Factoring in your playing environment (e.g., if you need to tune in a live gig environment, you may need a pedal tuner rather than a clip-on)