Best Online Guitar Tuners For Accuracy & Tuning
Punch "online guitar tuner" into your favourite search engine and
you'll not be short of links. It seems every man and his dog has
But there are three that stand above the crowd in terms of the accuracy
of the chromatic mic/line-in response and the number of preset tunings
offered (e.g. standard, drop, open, alternate etc.) - a great way to
discover new tunings.
While many people now use tuner apps on their phones, there are still
those (like me) who prefer to use desktops or
laptops/notebooks as the window to their digital world. Or there may be
times you don't have your regular tuner to hand. If that's
you, bookmarks at the ready...
Pro Guitar Tuner (My Pick)
Tune by ear by choosing from a huge range of preset tunings, including
general, raised, lowered, dropped, open and modal. You can also select
tunings for 5, 7 and 8 string guitar, and other stringed instruments.
Alternatively, use your external mic (note: internal mics don't tend to
pick up very well) or line input for the chromatic tuner with a -40 to
Offers a good range of tuning presets for ear tuning, including some
more obscure ones such as Hendrix, Wahine and Lute. A nice feature is
the ability to set the frequency at which each string is plucked.
There's also a mic/line-in tuner, although it doesn't allow you to
select presets like the Pro Guitar Tuner. In other words, it will only
measure each pitch in relation to the notes of standard tuning (EADGBe).
Worthy of mention. Although it has no mic/line-in feature, it does
offer some useful features for ear tuning, such as auto advance, note
repeat, instrument voicing and the ability to manually input your own
tuning notes for each string.
There are also a good range of preset tunings you can load, although
not as many as the other tuners.
Being able to match the pitch of your string to one you hear is a skill
that all musicians should work on developing. Not only for convenience
when tuning, but the skill also helps to make your ear more sensitive
to pitch recognition in general.
Always tune UP
to the desired pitch. So down tune the string first before raising it
line with the desired pitch. This will maximise the tuning
stability on your guitar because of how string tension is held more
efficiently when it is tightened as opposed to loosened.
As the pitch of your guitar's string gets closer to the tuner's pitch,
you'll hear a kind of oscillating effect between the two pitches.
Listen closely, it's quite subtle. Tune up as slowly as your fingers
and the peg will allow, until that oscillation is "flattened". When the
oscillation is no longer audible, you're in tune.
A Few Words On Intonation
If you're playing an electric, don't forget to check your intonation
regularly, especially when you've put on some new strings. The most
basic way to check this is to fret the string at the 12th fret and
compare it to its desired pitch on the tuner. If the open string is in
tune, but the 12th fret sounds flat or sharp, you'll need to adjust the
intonation at the bridge saddle.
If it sounds flat at the
12th: Move the saddle towards
from the neck/pickups slightly to shorten the scale length. Retune the
open string and check it against the 12th again. Repeat if necessary.
If it sounds sharp at the
12th: Move the saddle away
from the neck/pickups slightly to increase the scale
length. Follow the same procedure to re-tune.