- There are several options for tuning your guitar on the go, with smartphone apps available on both Android and iOS devices.
- GuitarTuna is a popular app for beginners that offers accurate tuning and a wealth of learning resources.
- Fender Guitar Tuner is known for its precise tuning and support for multiple instruments and tunings.
- Pano Tuner is a simple and no-frills app that provides quick and easy chromatic tuning.
- BOSS Tuner is a virtual version of the popular Chromatic Tuner TU-3 pedal and offers support for a wide range of instruments.
What are the best guitar tuner apps? Before the advent of the smartphone, guitarists typically had to tote tuners and tuning pedals. The modern age comes with current solutions.
As such, you’ve got several options for tuning your guitar on the go. The apps covered today are available on both Android and iOS devices. No one is getting left out when it comes to getting mobile tuning on the move.
The Best Guitar Tuner Apps
Here are eight of our favorite guitar tuner apps.
Best for Learning: GuitarTuna
GuitarTuna is offered by Yousician, a learning service for guitarists. This is one of the more complicated offerings available for tuning, but it does come with plenty of learning resources. It is especially handy for beginners.
Tuning stability is accurate, as you would hope with a tuner. You also have the means to learn songs with chord sheets and tablature readily available. GuitarTuna also comes with a metronome. It is as much a learning resource as it is a means to make sure you’re in tune.
|GuitarTuna comes with a wealth of learning resources.||Getting additional features requires a monthly subscription.|
|The app has a metronome and backing tracks.||It is somewhat overloaded as a basic tuning app.|
Best for Alternate Tunings: Fender Guitar Tuner
Fender needs no introduction for guitarists. You’ve likely heard of the Stratocaster, arguably the most famous guitar in the history of the instrument. The Fender Guitar Tuner is built for the whole guitar family, with guitars, bass, and ukeleles all supported.
Tuning is extremely precise, with hard note values and cents provided for each string. You have quite a few tuning options, as well. Open, chromatic, and drop tunings are all readily available. The interface itself is clear and easy to use, with zero ads.
|Fender provides support for guitar, bass, and ukulele tunings.||Tuning can be finicky when using the microphone.|
|Multiple tuning options are available.||Auto tuning and reference pitches aren’t well implemented.|
Best for Simplicity: Pano Tuner
Pano Tuner is an option for users who don’t need much out of their tuning apps. It has a single function, and that’s to provide chromatic tuning. Pano Tuner does assume you know the tuning of your instrument, or rather the ideal tuning.
It doesn’t have support for alternate tunings, so you’ll have to provide those yourself. Where it excels is in being a no-frills app. In addition to letters for the note names, you can also use solfège, or the Do Re Mi convention.
|It is a quick and easy tuner.||Some bare guidelines for tuning specific instruments would be a welcome addition.|
|The interface is clear and simple.||There are no numeric readings for the cent values of a given note.|
Best for Old Gear Buffs: BOSS Tuner
BOSS, a subsidiary of Roland, has been a respected name in guitar pedals for decades. This app serves as a virtual version of its Chromatic Tuner TU-3 pedal. The interface itself is highly evocative of the pedal, complete with the red or blue LEDs showing the note name.
Using the BOSS Tuner is fairly straightforward, so it makes for one of the best guitar tuner apps. You pluck your string and try to get the instrument in tune by getting the green light up to the top to hit the 0 mark on a chosen note. BOSS Tuner comes with support for guitar, bass, ukulele, violin, cello, brass, and much more.
|It provides fairly precise tuning.||The app can be a bit daunting if you’ve never used a pedal tuner before.|
|Multiple skins for the pedal, with light and dark pedals available.||The on-screen notifications can be obtrusive and difficult to ignore.|
Best for Multiple Instruments: gStrings
gStrings is another tuner that trims back the fat and focuses solely on instrument tuning. The app itself isn’t solely focusing on tuning guitars. However, it is one of the best guitar tuner apps due to a bevy of smart features.
You can use it as a simple chromatic tuner, which is perfectly fine. However, you can also opt for using reference pitches to tune your instrument. gStrings is a general-use tuner, so you can use it with any instrument.
|The interface is clear and provides plenty of information.||The autotune feature isn’t well done.|
|gStrings has support for multiple instruments and tunings.||Microphone input can be rather testy, depending on your smartphone.|
Best for Ease of Use: Cifra Club Tuner
Cifra Club Tuner is similar to gStrings in that it’s a general instrument tuner. It has a clear display, with modern design concepts. As such, you can clearly and easily see what pitch your instrument is playing at any given time.
What makes this one of the best guitar tuner apps is just the simplicity of it as a whole. You aren’t going to stumble through multiple menus just to get where you want to tune an instrument. Instead, it is a quick and tidy process.
|A beautifully designed interface makes tuning a breeze.||Not accurate enough for adjusting the intonation of a guitar.|
|It provides a string-by-string tuning guide for beginners.||Android users have reported the mic not staying on long enough to actually tune to pitch.|
Best for Accuracy: CarlTune
CarlTune is another basic tuning app. It has a somewhat more in-depth interface despite offering basic chromatic tuning. What marks CarlTune apart is the interface, which goes so far as to provide note names and their location on the staff.
CarlTune’s analog clock interface can be a bit trying for beginners to use. However, once you get down to it, the app is highly accurate in terms of pitch accuracy. This may be one of the best guitar tuner apps, but it is usable by players of all pitched instruments.
|CarlTune is extremely precise with its tuning.||The interface itself is a bit of an eyesore.|
|The interface shows you where a given note is on the staff.||Reference pitches require some menu diving.|
Best for Ease of Use: Fine Tuner
Fine Tuner looks to offer a fairly basic chromatic tuning experience. That said, the simple and clear interface also has quite a bit of functionality to it. What makes this one of the best guitar tuner apps is the great accuracy and precise Hertz values for each note you play.
Fine Tuner does have support for alternate tunings and learning resources. However, you’ll need to ready yourself for a nominal fee to unlock additional tunings. That aside, it is a great tuner for just basic functionality.
|The simple interface leaves everything easily seen on a single screen.||Unlocking alternate tunings requires an IAP.|
|Fine Tuner has support for learning materials and alternate tunings.||There is zero support for custom tunings.|
Best for Vintage Inspiration: Cleartune
Cleartune rounds out this list and is yet another great guitar tuner app. Cleartune has an interface more evocative of old analog studio equipment. Note values are provided in cents, so you can easily see if a note is too sharp or flat.
Cleartune also comes with pitch pipes, so you can go off perfect reference tones to get your tuning up to par. There are a few drawbacks, namely that it is a paid app instead of the free offerings seen on most of this list. That aside, it is a great choice if you’re looking for something with a vintage interface.
|It’s rather feature-based for a paid app, especially when compared to free options.||It is a paid app.|
|The tuning is accurate, with readings of -20 to +20 cents.||It’s rather feature-bare for a paid app, especially when compared to free options.|
What to Know About Choosing the Best Guitar Tuner App
Not all guitar tuners are made equal. This is something that has plagued guitarists for decades as even a well-regarded guitar tuner can be prone to inaccurate readings. As such, there are a few considerations to keep in mind when choosing your guitar tuner app of choice.
Note accuracy is paramount with guitar tuners for a variety of reasons. If you’re learning songs, you’re typically tuning to the same tunings as your favorite artists.
If the tuner isn’t calibrated correctly or inaccurately, you won’t be matching up to the recording when it comes time to practice. You want an accurate tuner, but thankfully the ones provided on this list are all perfectly suitable for guitar usage.
The interface of your tuner is another important consideration. In the past, you didn’t really have a say in what sort of interface a tuner might have. You’d simply just purchase one that provided accurate readings or you would improve your relative pitch over years of playing.
Thankfully, those days are in the past, as you have the option for modern and vintage-inspired interfaces. Really, which one is better will come down to personal preference. Modern interfaces have the benefit of providing clear and concise information.
Microphone and Line In Support
Most acoustic players will likely opt for their smartphone’s built-in microphone for tuning purposes. Given how clear and present the sound of acoustic is, this is certainly a worthwhile use. If you’re primarily an electric player, you’ll want an app with a line in support.
Both the iPhone and Android have options for hooking up electric guitars and basses to your smartphone. It might be an additional expense, but it certainly beats trying to make sure your surroundings are quiet enough to actually capture the sound of your unplugged electric guitar.
Using the Best Guitar Tuner Apps: What It’s Like
Using a guitar tuner app is like using an old-fashioned tuner but with a few additional perks. For starters, you’re likely carrying your smartphone or tablet with you to most locations. This means you’re carrying less gear, which leaves room for more useful things like cables, picks, and other accessories.
Guitar tuner apps are quick to use and generally don’t require much aside from a bit of your attention to get the instrument in tune. Of the many advantages of smartphones, this is one of the strongest benefits for musicians.
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