Picture this: you show up to your big show, guitar or bass in tow, ready to rock! You set up for sound check, plug into your amp and strum your first chord only to realise you’re out of tune! And you’ve forgotten your tuning pedal, what a nightmare! Your band mates look on with distain. Shame and panic creep up your body and stain your face with a tell tale red glow. But then you remember that you’ve packed your handy and portable clip-on tuner, the show and your dignity are saved! Well, believe it or not, these clip-on tuners are so efficient and easy to use that you may do away with your heavy tuning pedal all together and go all-in on this portable tuning lifestyle. Noisegate have road-tested a bunch of the newest clip-on tuners around and here are some of our favourites…
This little piece of genius by TC Electronic is one of only two clip-ons in our list that is able to function as a polyphonic tuner, meaning that it is able to tune all 6 guitar strings at once. With beautiful 108 LED matric display and an adaptive screen orientation, this tuner is malleable for all players regardless of whether they are left or right-handed. The high quality stainless steel clip ensures a secure connection for accurately detecting string vibrations. It comes with a 3-year warranty and features elegant Danish design and engineering.
KORG rocked the clip-on tuner universe when they unveiled their first polyphonic clip-on tuner at this year’s NAMM. It’s the cutting edge OLED screen technology and extremely long battery life, in addition to its polyphonic tuning abilities that really sets the AW-OTG-POLY ahead of its competitors. The tuner comes in two specified models for guitar and bass, each possessing their own unique features (an intuitive chord finder for the guitar tuner, and a tempo finder function for the bass). Of course, the kookiest design feature of this tuner is the 10 original animations that can be used as an alternative to the traditional tuning display. Players can choose to tune using animations of a bowling alley, flowers growing in a garden and a poker machine… Not a revolution in tuning accuracy but definitely a lot of fun!
The second generation of KORG’s popular Pitchclip range, the Pitchclip 2 is KORG’s smallest clip-on tuner weighing in at only 17 grams! Do not let the small stature of the Pitchclip 2 fool you into thinking it’s not a powerful device, this bite-sized nugget has a 24 hour battery life, auto-off power function and incredible pitch detection accuracy especially in lower frequencies. The screen has a convenient reverse function which allows the Pitchclip 2 to be attached to both the front and the back of the headstock, for both left and right-handed players.
The Sledgehammer Pro is KORG’s heaviest hitter when it comes to their clip-on tuner options. A part of the ‘Custom Shop’ range, this tuner is designated as a ‘flagship model that is representative of KORG’s highest levels of technology.’ For this elevation in technology players will be able to use the tuner in three modes; regular, strobe and half-strobe, depending on their preference. In strobe and half-strobe, users will notice more detail reflecting the extreme accuracy of the device displayed on the three-dimensional screen display. The body of the Sledgehammer is a tubular shape and features a shuttle switch that’s easy to operate with only one hand, making it perfect for tuning up during performances. The slightly larger size and more complex functionality means that the Sledgehammer does not come with as long a battery-life as a smaller device, however players will find the accuracy and elegance of this tuner unparalleled.
A more refined version of the original Pitchhawk, this tuner features a very bright, high contrast LCD display and a slim design. The Pitchhawk was the first clip-on tuner for KORG that used a colour LCD display; colour-coding the pitch meter display for dramatically easy tuning recognition. Whilst other tuners that have come out since the Pitchhawk may use more refined technologies, a very cool design feature of this device is the warning function that alerts players when they are at risk of over-winding a string. This, along with its excellence response and accuracy, makes it an ideal tuner for a beginner or professional alike.
Best known in the tuning world for their industry-standard “TU” pedal line, Boss has released a clip-on version of their widely known tuning pedal. The TU-10 may be petite but it still features the patented Boss Accu-Pitch, making it a highly coveted tuning asset. The screen display is a lovely true colour LCD and can be switched into reflection display mode that ensures high visibility in all performance conditions. The battery life is not to be scoffed at either, with the TU-10 running for 12 hours in colour display mode and 24 hours in monochrome display mode.
These clip-on tuners all present something different to the player in need. Depending on your budget and your desire for visibility, accuracy and battery life; the world is your oyster just waiting to be tuned!