All musicians can affirm that keeping their instruments in tune is fundamental. Regardless of the skill level or the equipment used, if the instrument isn’t accurately tuned, the music won’t sound good.
For many guitarists and bassists, tuner pedals are a crucial tool in their arsenal, especially those who play on stage. In this guide, we’ll delve into many of the best guitar tuner pedals and highlight what sets each one apart.
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Why Use A Tuner Pedal?
Guitar tuner pedals, often overlooked, are an essential piece of gear. While they might not create cool effects like other guitar pedals, they play a vital role in maintaining the quality of your performance. Here are some reasons why a guitar tuner pedal is a worthy investment:
- Accuracy: Tuner pedals are designed to provide precise tuning, ensuring your guitar or bass is always in tune.
- Convenience: With a tuner pedal, you can tune your guitar quickly and efficiently during live performances without disrupting the flow of your gig.
- Dual Functionality: Some tuner pedals also function as a mute switch, allowing you to tune silently on stage.
- Durability: Tuner pedals are typically sturdier and more reliable than clip-on tuners or handheld ones.
The Best Tuner Pedals On The Market
A wide range of tuner pedals are available, each with unique features and capabilities. I’ve selected some of the best guitar and bass tuner pedals that stand out due to their tuning accuracy, ease of use, versatility, and durability.
1. Boss TU-3 Chromatic Tuner Pedal
A popular tuner pedal that has become an industry standard over the years is the Boss TU-3. This tuner pedal offers a simple and user-friendly design with a display of 21 LED lights for tuning status.
It also supports standard use modes, including true-bypass signal silencing and always-on monitor mode. If you like Boss pedals already, this one is great to add to your collection because it’s reliable and won’t take up a ton of space.
- Guitar Bass Tuner Pedal with High-Brightness Mode f Outdo Visibility
- 21-segment LED Meter
- Drop Tuning Suppt
- Guitar/Bass Mode
2. On-Stage GTP7000 Mini Tuner Pedal
If you’re looking for a tuner pedal that won’t break the bank, the On-Stage Mini Pedal Tuner is an excellent choice. Despite its low cost, it offers ample convenience and utility and, importantly, gets the job done.
This tuner pedal is compact, takes up minimal space on your pedalboard, and provides accurate tuning for both bass and guitar. Overall, this is a great pedal tuner for any guitarist or bassist who is on a budget.
- Compact yet overly capable, it smoothly and stably integrates with your effects board, occupying minimal space
- Designed with a 430 – 450Hz pitch range and +/- 0.5 cent tuning tolerance, and is powered by a 9V DC adapter
- An over-sized, high visibility 4 color regular, strobe or half strobe display provides easily-read note name indication
- True bypass circuitry ensures absolute signal integrity
3. Ernie Ball VP JR Tuner Pedal
The Ernie Ball VPJR Tuner is a premium tuner pedal that combines a volume pedal and a tuner. This combination saves a significant amount of space on your pedalboard. The volume function works by shifting a potentiometer with a long Kevlar string, creating a smooth volume swell.
The tuner itself is embedded into the top of the pedal, providing a clear display for tuning. This tuner is incredibly durable, making it a reliable choice for touring musicians. Sure, it’s rather large, but ultimately, you’ll save space on your pedalboard if you also need a volume pedal.
- Enjoy the same rugged construction and time-tested performance as Ernie Ball’s traditional volume pedal PLUS an enhanced definition digital tuner pedal
- Save space and simplify your pedalboard with this unique 2-in-1 pedal for guitar or bass
- In the heel down position (volume off), the display automatically enters tuner mode, offering a smooth, accurate, and visually pleasing tuning experience
- As foot sweeps forward, the vibrant screen conveniently displays your volume level
- Display can also be set to volume only or tuning only. Simply double tap the touchscreen to select between modes
4. TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Pedal
The TC Electronic PolyTune 3 offers cutting-edge technology to make tuning a seamless experience with features you’ll be sure to love. As you might have guessed from its name, this little tuner pedal allows for polyphonic tuning, where you can strum all strings at once and view the tuning status of each string simultaneously.
Although you’ll be tuning each string individually, this lets you see which ones are most out-of-tune, which can actually save you some time, and its high accuracy also lends itself to that. Like the next one, this tuning pedal also features a strobe mode in addition to a needle and chromatic mode, depending on your preference.
- Tiny polyphonic Tuner gives you fast, accurate tuning and a high-quality tone tool in a single unit
- Quickly tune up with polyphonic, chromatic and strobe tuning modes
- Built-in Bonafide buffer keeps tone crisp through long cables and large pedal boards
- Polyphonic Mode tunes all your strings at once
- Lightning-fast chromatic Tuner
5. Peterson StroboStomp HD Pedal
The Peterson StroboStomp HD is arguably the best guitar tuner pedal available today. It’s a strobe tuner, which means it works a little differently than your average tuner. Strobe tuners have a continually rotating wheel to display tuning points, and the speed at which the strobe spins indicates the distance you are from the pitch.
The StroboStomp HD provides an astonishing 0.1-cent accuracy, allowing you to tune your instrument precisely. It supports multiple instruments and provides 100 different tunings, all guided by string. The screen’s color can be customized and programmed, adding a personalized touch to your tuning experience.
- Full color display
- 100% popless true bypass
- 1/10 Cent real strobe accuracy
- 60+ Sweetened tunings
- Guided alternative tunings
Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a beginner, a tuner pedal can be a valuable accessory for any guitarist or bassist who loves pedals and wants some extra utility to their rig aside from their usual effects.
By investing in a tuner pedal that suits your needs, you can ensure your instrument always sounds its best, regardless of where you’re playing. So, look around, and keep your guitar or bass sounding pitch-perfect!
If you’re looking for more convenience, be sure to check out my guide to the best multi-effects pedals under $500. Having an all-in-one unit that can do just about everything can save you a lot of space and money. Some of these even have a built-in tuner as well, so give these a look if you’re looking to expand your sound!