Thursday, May 3, 2012

Electronic Acoustic Guitar Tuner - Why Should I Need This?

There are many old guitar hands who insist not to use an electronic acoustic guitar tuner and that the only way to tune a guitar is to do it by ear.But, for a beginner, that can be a problem.

For most people new to guitar playing, tuning by ear is a skill that hasn't been developed yet. 

Ear tuning is a skill that can take years of practice to develop, and hone to a skillful level. For that reason, among others, an acoustic guitar tuner is one of the first accessories a new player should buy. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that learning to play the guitar can sometimes be frustrating enough without having to worry about learning to tune your instrument by ear. 

Investing in a good tuner will save you a lot of frustration and a lot of time. Time that could be used more profitably learning to play your instrument.

Choosing your electronic acoustic guitar tuner will be determined more by price , I think, because there are so many styles and price ranges to choose from. You can find a free Online Acoustic Guitar Tuner, although, with these you still must depend upon your ear to tune correctly. 

You can even find a free acoustic guitar tuner download, but again, that only lets you hear the notes for each string and you still have to tune by ear. There are several moderately priced tuners to choose from which will do the job quickly and accurately, saving you time and frustration. 

As with most purchases, you'll need to do some research, especially in the lower price ranges, to ensure the quality and to determine if that particular tuner is capable of doing what you need.

Electronic Tuners

Probably, the two most popular types of acoustic guitar tuners today are the electronic tuner and the clip on tuner. Electronic acoustic guitar tuner, usually digital, are small tuners that incorporate a highly sensitive microphone to pick up sound when a string is plucked. 

A digital pointer will indicate left or right of 90 degrees to indicate which way the string needs to be tuned, with the pointer at 90 degrees indicating that the string is in tune. These tuners will vary greatly in price and quality. Prices can range from $10 or less and up to several hundred dollars. 

Some will have features such as pitch pipe features, digital metronomes and others depending upon brand and price, but, for $30 to $40 you will be able to find a very good tuner that will fit your needs.

Clip On Tuners

Another type of acoustic guitar tuner that is very popular is the clip on type. This small tuner is just clipped onto the guitar, usually on the headstock, and tunes by picking up vibrations when a string is played. They are not affected by any noise around them since they do not use an integrated microphone to pick up the sound of a played string. 

For that reason, they are very popular with bands during gigs and tuning sessions. These also can vary greatly in price, but a good, accurate clip on tuner can be found in the $30 to $50 range. Of course, you can spend a lot more than I have described here if you want, but, for the beginner and the recreational player the tuners in these price ranges will be more than adequate.

Summing Up

Back in the day, tuning by ear, using a tuning fork or using pitch pipes were about the only options, but, using a good electronic tuner gives very accurate results, and is much less time consuming and frustrating. That's why, in my opinion, the first accessory the beginning guitarist should buy is a good electronic acoustic guitar tuner.

Special thanks to Gavin Tapp for the photo.


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