Guitar tuners are extremely helpful. They are accurate, they have a huge number of special features, and they are made from high-quality materials that make them incredibly durable.
However, this can make them expensive! This is why it is so handy that you can now find your favorite guitar tuners on your phone.
Many huge companies, like BOSS and Fender, have uploaded their high-tech tuning software onto Android and IOS platforms, which means that everyone can get access to the best guitar tuners around.
We do understand, however, that finding an app that is trustworthy and useful is very difficult.
You never know whether you are going to be downloading an accurate music accompaniment, or a basic app that is plagued with adverts and false promises.
To help you get your guitar sounding its best, we have narrowed down the best guitar tuner apps that can be downloaded straight away!
Fender’s transition to a tuner app is a wonderful accompaniment for any guitarist. It is available to download on IOS and Android, so it can be enjoyed by a huge number of musicians.
Fender Tuner offers either Auto or Manual tuning.
Auto tuning is when the app will listen to your string frequency and deduce how in tune it is, and manual tuning involves a huge number of pre-recorded instrument sounds on the app that you can match your guitar’s sound to!
Their advanced audio technology means that they will be able to determine your guitar’s tuning within a few cents.
You will be able to choose from 22 free tuning options, which means that you can also tune bass guitars, ukuleles, and other string instruments.
This versatility is great for a tuner app – especially if you have a large instrument collection.
When I tested it out, I thought the accurate reading – as well as the handy tips they provide for beginners to quickly tune their guitar – were impressive, and definitely worth downloading the app for!
Once you’ve downloaded the app, you can choose to pay extra for the ‘Player Pack’. This additional feature includes access to learning resources for beginners, like chord shapes and scales.
It also provides even greater accuracy of its tuner with a hertz reference as well.
While these features are great for beginners, it can be frustrating that they don’t offer the greater accuracy of the tuner for those who don’t want to subscribe to the ‘Player Pack’.
As well as this, the subscriber pack isn’t available on Android yet. It is limited to IOS, which means that Android users will be missing out on the chance to have incredibly accurate tuning.
Overall, I would say that this app is easy to use, accurate and useful for tuning, and the options provided for your tuning preference are a great touch.
- Available on IOS and android – This means that most people with access to a device can download it.
- Auto or Manual tuning – This means that you can press a string on the app and tune your guitar to it, or you can pluck a string and the app will listen to that and guide you.
- Beginner-friendly – The app has handy tips for beginners so they can learn how to quickly tune their guitar.
- Extra features – Those with an IOS platform can choose to access the Player Pack, which is full of extra features. This includes even greater accuracy, precision to the exact cents, and hertz reference.
- Player Pack – It isn’t available on Android yet, and those who can access it will have to pay extra.
GuitarTuna is an incredibly popular tuning app that has a huge appeal for both beginners and experts. Available on both IOS and Android platforms, the app is intended to be great for guitar, bass, and ukulele tuning.
The app uses your phone/tablet’s built-in microphone to determine your guitar string’s accuracy, and to do this it has impressively advanced audio recognition software.
This is the same algorithm that powers Yousician, demonstrating how reliable and accurate this tuner app is!
When you use the chromatic tuner, the app will show you a clear visual feedback screen that will change depending on the frequency/tuning of your strings.
It also has an auto mode tuner (a manual tuning system), which has a variety of pre-recorded instruments to compare your own guitar/string instrument to.
The professional accuracy allows you to test alternate tunings, including Drop-D tuning, half step down, etc. As well as this, it has the incredibly useful addition of background noise cancellation.
With this, you will be able to tune your guitar in any environment – even a busy, gig stage!
GuitarTuna gives you the option to pay for their advanced tools. These will include a metronome function, chord learning games, and a chord library.
While these will be fantastic for beginners, they do cost money and you can get some of these features separately on other apps without paying.
However, it is nice that you can have the whole package together!
Some users have found that the app occasionally gives inaccurate readings. These will often be incredibly drastic so you will be able to notice when this happens.
If it does occur, you will have to close down the app and restart it. However, this is a rarity, and other than this issue, the app is brilliant for tuning your guitar.
- Available on IOS and Android – This means that it is easily accessible for almost everyone.
- Auto mode tuner (manual) or chromatic tuner – The option to choose between different types of tuners is helpful, and the chromatic tuner has an advanced audio recognition algorithm that makes it very accurate.
- Advanced tools – You can pay extra to access a metronome, chord learning games, a chord library, and some song tutorials.
- Over 100 tunings available – You can set it to Standard, Drop-D, Half step down, etc. This means that it is brilliant for a range of different string instruments, including bass and ukulele.
- Background noise cancellation – This means that you’ll be able to tune your guitar in any environment.
- Accuracy issues – The app can occasionally give inaccurate readings, so you might have to close down the app and restart it.
Also available from Amazon
Pano Tuner is a simple, all-access guitar tuner app that is available on both IOS and Android devices.
When I tested it out, I found that the chromatic tuning style only takes a few seconds to accurately tune your strings, which will save you a lot of time compared to trying to do it by ear!
It has a beautiful, old-fashioned tuning design that makes the tuning process feel much more exciting and engaging.
Its quick and sensitive response is especially handy if you are under a time crunch, like getting ready to perform on stage. As well as this, you can change the sensitivity of the tuning settings.
This is especially handy if you are going to be recording with your guitar, as you will be able to tune it far more accurately.
While the Pano Tuner is mainly used for standard tuning guitars, it does also have non-standard tuning options like drop tunings, which are particularly useful if you are playing a baritone guitar or bass.
One of the main perks of this guitar tuning app is that you don’t have to pay to access any other features. It simply is a free tuner app.
However, you can pay money to get rid of the ads that occasionally pop up while you are tuning. These ads can be quite annoying, and this is a frustrating element of the app.
Another issue some users found was that the app has varying sensor capabilities, depending on whether you are using it from an IOS or Android device.
The Android devices will have different microphone specifications, which can limit them slightly. However, it is a truly brilliant and easy-to-use tuning app that does what it says on the tin.
- Available on both IOS and Android – Almost everyone will be able to have access to it.
- Quick and sensitive response – It only takes a few seconds to accurately tune your instrument.
- Chromatic tuner – This means it can tune a huge range of instruments, and you can change the sensitivity if you need to tune your instrument more accurately.
- No payment – You won’t have to pay to access anything (other than removing ads and changing temperament). It simply is a tuner with no strings attached.
- Android issues – There are microphone specification differences on an android device, and the sensor can vary.
Pro Guitar Tuner is available on both IOS and Android devices, and it is a popular option on both app stores.
It uses a chromatic tuner to determine the frequency of your guitar strings, as well as manual tuning if you’d prefer to do it by ear.
One of the huge perks of this app is its sources for its manual tuning.
Pro Guitar Tuner includes a varied range of high-quality sounds of real instruments, which you will easily be able to use as a reference point for your guitar.
Not only will you be able to tune your guitar with this app, but you will also be able to do a bunch of other string instruments including ukuleles, mandolins, and violins.
This is incredibly useful if you do happen to have a collection of instruments waiting to be tuned.
The best part about this app is that it can detect musical pitches and tune through other audio components, such as headsets.
This is incredibly useful if you are in a busy area, as it will remove all interference from external sounds. This will limit the risk of mistakes when tuning your instrument.
One thing to bear in mind with this app is the adverts. They are particularly intrusive with this tuner, and the only way to get rid of them is to pay money.
Some users have found that these ads do interrupt the tuning process quite a bit. However, if you are just after a quick tuning process, then the ads shouldn’t be too much of a bother.
- Available on IOS and Android – You will be able to access the app from almost any device.
- Chromatic tuner or manual tuner – The chromatic tuner works as well as a physical tuner, and the app also includes high-quality sounds of real instruments as a reference for tuning if you prefer to do it manually.
- Tunes a huge number of instruments – This includes the guitar, ukulele, mandolin, and violin. If you have a large collection of string instruments, you won’t have to download separate tuning apps for them.
- Can detect musical pitches from headsets – This removes other sounds interfering with the tuning preference.
- Adverts – Many users find that the ads interrupt the tuning process quite a bit.
The BOSS tuner is free to download, and you can access it from either an IOS or Android device. One of its great quirks is that it actually has the same display as BOSS’s TU-3 pedal tuner.
This is a nice touch that makes you feel like you are using the real thing – except this tuner is far more portable. The display is also customizable!
This BOSS app is an all-around amazing tuner to have on your device. Not only will it tune your string instruments, but it can also check the pitch accuracy of singing.
This is rare to find on a tuner app, and it makes it much more diverse and useful.
Its chromatic tuning settings are incredibly accurate, and it will use the built-in mic on your device.
This tuner is actually accurate within 1 cent – this is extremely impressive for a tuner app, and not many other products can say this same thing.
However, you can also get reference sounds on the app if you wish to tune your instrument by ear.
It can be adapted to either a portrait or landscape display, depending on your preference.
The display also has a 21-segment meter, which will accurately pinpoint your instrument frequency, and additionally, there is a clear note display and visual indicators to make it very simple and fuss-free to tune your guitar!
Overall, when I tested this app out, I thought it was brilliantly easy to understand, and the tuning is very accurate considering that it is simply using a built-in microphone from a device.
- Use on IOS and Android – This means that this app is available for almost any device.
- Free download – There are no extra payments for this app, which is great for such an accurate tuner.
- Tunes diverse instruments – It doesn’t just tune string instruments, but it can also check pitch accuracy when singing.
- Chromatic and manual – The app does chromatic tuning, and it also has reference sounds for tuning by ear. The chromatic tuner uses a 21-segment meter, note display, and visual indicators for easy tuning.
- Accurate within 1 cent – This is very impressive for a tuner app.
- No cons!
Have a read of our useful buyer’s guide, which lays out the most important factors to consider when choosing a guitar tuner app!
Type Of Tuner
There are a few ways of tuning your guitar through an app. You can do it by ear, and the app will have a set of pre-recorded instruments for you to match your strings to.
While this method does work and is some musicians’ preference, it can often be difficult to match the two sounds exactly – just by ear.
The most common type of app tuner will use chromatic tuning. A chromatic tuner will use your phone’s built-in microphone to detect the frequency of your strings.
By this, it will then let you know how close your string is to the true note – normally with a sound level meter.
A chromatic tuner will help you to do standard tuning, but it is also great for non-standard tuning. This will include Drop-D tuning, or even if you just want to go a semitone lower than standard.
The final tuner you will find in mainstream tuning apps is strobe tuning. Strobe tuners are said to be the most accurate you can get from a tuner – clip-on or app.
Their precision is second to none (within 1/10th of a cent).
As with chromatic tuning, strobe tuner apps will use your built-in microphone to analyze the frequency/vibration of the sound.
Strobe tuning uses a rotating motion to dictate whether a string is close to the intended note.
However, strobe tuners – while more accurate – do tend to be more limited in their uses. For example, they aren’t as good for drop tuning.
For this reason, you will be most likely to find chromatic tuning on the most popular guitar tuner apps.
This is a big issue for guitar tuner apps. There was a time where only certain platforms, whether they were IOS or Android, would have one brand of tuner app.
There was no crossover. Now, they are slowly being shared across all platforms – but there are occasional glitches in this cross-over.
For example, with the Pano Tuner that was originally on IOS, the Android version struggles to pick up on some of the sensitivities in note tuning.
This is because its microphone specifications were built for IOS, and it hasn’t quite caught up with the change.
There are other examples of platforms limiting tuners – particularly with the Fender app.
While the tuner is accessible for both IOS and Android, Android users are still unable to get the extended ‘Player Pack’ which has a huge range of other features for musicians.
They say that it will be coming soon, but it is something that should be researched beforehand, depending on the platform you use.
Some tuning apps will have in-app purchases. While these are often for extra features, such as metronomes and learning tips, it can still be frustrating when they hide certain items behind a paywall.
If you don’t mind paying a bit extra to have full use of the app then tuners like Fender Tuner and GuitarTuna will be great. These are often only one purchase, then you will have complete access to the app.
However, if you don’t want to pay anything whatsoever on the app, then Pano Tuner is a good option for you!
As mentioned above, some tuning apps will offer extra features to persuade you to buy their app.
These are often very useful, particularly the features that teach beginners how to perform certain chords and songs.
If you want an app that has lessons, chord charts, and song tabs, then they are worth having a look at – especially if you aren’t teaching yourself to play.
However, if you simply want a tuner, then have a look at what the app offers on its product description before you buy it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Guitar Tuner Apps Reliable?
Guitar tuner apps are very reliable, especially with how developed phones and tablets are. Their microphone and sound features are second to none!
It is estimated that guitar tuner apps are accurate within 2-3 cents (tuning measurement) which is very little, and often unnoticeable by the human ear.
However, there are some apps that may be suited to one platform more than another – particularly when you are dealing with the differences between IOS and Android.
Make sure to check out the reviews and see if a tuner app is compatible – and accurate – with both platforms.
Is A Guitar Tuner Necessary?
100% yes, a guitar tuner is necessary – especially if you are a beginner.
While there are other methods of tuning a guitar that you can do by ear, you need a starting point to make sure that all of the strings are being tuned correctly.
The guitar tuner will act as this starting point!
If anything, it just makes your life much easier as a musician as you won’t need to stress about your guitar’s sound (other than how you play it).