Musicians may have mastered complex techniques and could in fact be
virtuosos, but if their instrument is not in tune, these skills are of little
This is why many players choose to buy a tuner. While guitarists can often
rely on their ears to let them know when a string has gone even slightly out, an
actual tuner can be far more reliable and accurate.
Tuners are typically small hand-held devices that are either chromatic or
designed for use with a specific instrument. Most on the market are meant to be
used with guitars and basses to make sure they are in the standard tuning of
EADGBE. But chromatic tuners do offer a number of other interesting features.
Indeed, many guitarists often enjoy experimenting with alternative
tunings, which means tuners have to accommodate this and offer more than the
standard option of EADGBE.
For example, many heavy rock musicians like to tune one or two semitones
down from where their guitar would ordinarily be. Lots of guitar tuners have
been designed to accommodate this, with a number of suitable presets available.
There are two basic tuning modes - manual and automatic. The former
requires the user to specify what note they want their string to be pitched at
before they use the tuning peg on their instrument.
But others may prefer the simpler option of auto tuning, which involves
the device analysing the incoming pitch, telling users to go to the nearest note
and displaying the name of it when the desired note has been reached.
Chromatic tuners tend to have the automatic function, but many other
devices allow guitarists to switch between the two options.
Beginners could find that manual tuners are more suitable to their needs,
particularly as users do not need any prior knowledge of how a pitch should
So what are the input requirements of guitar tuners? Most devices have a
built in mic that are particularly useful for tuning acoustic instruments. This
means that they need to be placed close to the instrument or amp. As a result,
it could be tricky in a live scenario where there is lots of background noise.
However, electronic instruments such as electric guitars can be plugged in
via a standard jack lead to the tuner's input socket. This means there is a
clean signal with no background noise, allowing guitarists to tune their
instrument silently on stage.
And the guitar tuner can easily be incorporated into a pedal board, which
means players have quick and easy access to the device during every performance.
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