Are Guitar Tuning Apps Accurate on a Smart Device?

As a guitar player, nothing is more important than having an instrument that is tuned correctly. This can make or break your experience and inspiration to learn. But what if you are not very good at tuning yet. Are guitar tuning apps accurate enough to use?

Yes, guitar tuner apps can be very accurate. But the environment that you are using the app in needs to be just right. Because it’s making use of the microphone on your smart device, the noise level and quality needs to be good. The better these conditions can be, the better the results.

Technology continues to get more powerful around us, this is also true in the guitar world. But perhaps you are not familiar with the tuning apps and want to learn more? If so, you are in luck, in this article we are going to cover all the things you need to know about getting started with a great app!

Are guitar tuning apps accurate

What is a Guitar Tuning App?

As the name suggests, these apps can be used to tune your guitar, bass, or ukulele. Most of the apps use the microphone on your smartphone or device and pick up vibrations from your strings to calculate the pitch. Once it recognizes the string and its current tuning, the display will let you know whether it’s sharp or flat.

You can then simply follow the prompts to tune each string on your guitar. This will allow you to adjust your instrument no matter how badly out of tune it is. They are very easy to use and can also assist with special arrangements.

Some software comes with additional modes that allow you to more than just tune your instrument. The great thing about tuning apps is that they are convenient. Once you know what you are doing with any one of them, it can be faster than using traditional methods. This is music to any guitarist’s ears!

How Do They work?

The first step is to download the tuning app you want to use. There are a few different types that we look at a bit later in this article. The developer of each tuning app has different ways in which they implement the microphone input to determine the strings being played and the quality of sound.

Most will have a needle that moves back and forth across a gauge, similar to what you see on an old-fashioned analog tuner. While some use a scale and name to show you what string you have played and its current tuning.

Whenever string pitch is picked up by the microphone, the display will show you whether your instrument is in tune or not. This can be a great help when tuning, especially when using the app as a beginner to get familiar with the process.

How Do I Tune My Guitar With A Tuner App?

At first, using the app will take some getting used to. But once you have used it a few times, they are very simple. Tuning with an app is as simple as:

  • Open the app and prepare it for tuning
  • Place it in a quiet location where you can see the display well
  • Play a string and let the app detect the sound
  • Follow the direction to either tighten or loosen the string
  • Once you reach the right pitch for the note, the tuner will confirm it
  • Proceed to do the other strings until all are tuned

And that’s it, you are tuned up and ready to play! Just make sure the area is quiet and the microphone on your device will not pick up any other loud background noises. This could give you a bad reading.

The Different Types of Displays

There are many types of guitar tuner apps available for download on your favorite device. They all work in different ways, but they can be equally effective and accurate. Their displays are all different, but most tend to stick to a certain layout.

The Name Display

This is where you are presented with an image of an instrument with names on each string. You simply match the note required to tune your instrument with this display, and you are done. Most apps provide the name for the strings and the tuning arrangements.

The Scale Display

This display is similar to what you might see on an analog tuner or in some apps that come with additional features. You are given a scale that shows you the name of the string that has been played. As you pluck a string, it shows you the tuning and the name along a scale.

The Needle Display

This method works much like an analog tuner, with a needle moving back and forth across a gauge. This method can be pretty fast once you get used to it, and it’s easy to see whether your instrument is in tune or not. The needle tuning method can be great for both beginners and professionals.

Are Guitar Tuning Apps Accurate?

Accuracy is really important when dealing with any kind of tuner. Without proper tuning, a guitar just won’t sound good. Are guitar tuning apps accurate? They can be very accurate if they are used in the right conditions.

When making use of guitar tuner apps, always pay attention to where you are and how loud your environment is. Using it in a quiet room will provide better results. Most apps can handle very low levels of sound, but if there is noise nearby, it might be difficult for them to find the correct pitch.

Most professional musicians use apps when they play alone, but when using them at concerts, they become useless. These kinds of environments are really difficult to tune in as they are usually very noisy. This is not to say that you can’t make use of these apps in this type of setting, just understand that they won’t work as well.

How Apps Can Help

Yes! Many players swear by them, and it’s hard to argue with success. They do take a little getting used to, but once you are comfortable with them, they can become an invaluable resource.

While these apps can be great for beginners, they are equally valuable to professional players. They don’t take up much space because they are built into your phone!

As long as the environment is right, you will have the benefit of accurate tuning very quickly. When practicing alone or when on stage, always having an app that tunes your instrument can help in a pinch.

What About Drop Tuning?

If you like to experiment with drop tuning and other arrangements, the guitar apps for your smartphone or device work great! It doesn’t even matter if you have an extended range guitar, the apps are accurate and will assist you with your favorite tuning.

Once there is pitch detection, they will signal you on the interface and let you know what you need to do. Many guitarists use them for this very reason, but just remember, there is a sensitivity to noise and accuracy.

There are many guitar tuner apps on the market. It can be tough to find the best one, so here is a list of three of the most popular apps that are offered today.

Clear tune

Clear tune is a very popular app that is available for both iOS and Android. It has an excellent name among musicians, and it’s no wonder! It has an interesting pitch wheel and scale system that makes it easy to understand. Not only that, but it also has a bunch of features that will make it even handier. This is a paid app, but very affordable.

Fender Tune

Fender Tune is great and features some good feedback from players. If you are looking for an app to help with your instrument, this might be the one. It, too, has a bunch of different modes from auto to manual tuning and more. It has great accuracy and is very easy to use. This is a free app!

BOSS tuner

BOSS tuner is an app that is very similar to the needle display and works much like one might expect an analog device to function, but is chromatic. It can be great for musicians who are used to tuning their instruments in this manner. It’s also got a cool display of one of their tuner pedals, which is pretty neat! This too is a free app!

Summary

Having a guitar tuner is not only handy, but necessary. It doesn’t matter if you are just starting or have been playing for a long time. Some of the most seasoned players use them and rely on them for speed and accuracy. The guitar tuning apps are perfect for your needs, and being on the phone just makes it super handy and can help you learn to tune by ear.

FAQs

Below you will find some of the more common questions around the guitar tuning apps.

Why Should You Use Guitar Tuner Apps?

While there are convenient ways of tuning your guitar, an app just makes sense. Most people have a smartphone and keep it close to them at all times. Opening an app and using it takes seconds at most, making them super convenient. And because they are as accurate as they are, it makes sense to have one you can use.

Setting up a tuner to use for a practice session could take time. Pulling out the phone and touching up your tuning is just so easy with an app. They can also be handy when you are out testing guitars in a store, the tuner is always with you.

Is the Fender Tune app accurate?

Yes, the Fender Tune app is not only accurate, it is bang on almost every time! They have created a great DSP technology that offers accuracy and has an intuitive interface. This is one great tuning app that makes it easy to get the right octave when it is hard to find by ear.

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Don East

My name is Don East, I'm the editor for Killer Rig. I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and have designed and manufactured products like guitar amps, effects pedals, and more. Over the years I have played in many bands and have a deep love for quality gear. I am an electrical engineer and have a passion for music gear, and now want to share what I know with the community!