Guitars

The Top Tuners for Bass Guitars on the Market Today

Guitar tuning

There are so many tuners out there for bass guitars which makes choosing the right one overwhelming. But fear not, because here are some reviews of the top tuners for bass guitars on today’s market. Read on to read reviews of every detail so you can carefully select the best tuner for your bass guitar.

This list required extensive research to share the top bass tuner recommendations. The goal of this article is to simplify the shopping process by taking the guesswork out of deciding which bass guitar tuner will best fit your needs. Here are the top six choices, as well as the information you need to start shopping.

Credit: SNARK

Top Pick: Snark SN1X Clip-On Chromatic Tuner

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This chromatic tuner with sensitivity vibration sensor is capable of tuning to any note. The clip rotates 360 degrees for easy viewing from any angle, too.

Why You Need a Bass Guitar Tuner

Many musicians who try to tune by ear end up with off-key music. It’s unfortunate when those who can’t tune effectively try to use do so as a means of tuning their guitar. Your music will be your absolute best when you tune your guitar right. And the best way to ensure your guitar hits the right notes is by using one of the top tuners for bass guitars.

But you don’t have to spend a lot of money to find a tuner that meets your needs. What you spend is up to your budget. However, you will find tuning a breeze when you find one that is right for the job. You will no longer have to struggle to find the right notes. It will be a much simpler, faster process with minimal costs in most cases.

Standard or Chromatic: Shopping the Top Tuners for Bass Guitars

When you are looking for a bass guitar tuner, the first thing to consider is if you need a standard bass tuner or a chromatic tuner. Here’s the difference between the two:

  • Standard: This type of tuner can seem limiting as it can only tune the E, A, D, and G notes for a four-string bass. However, it may also include the low B for five-string basses. The plus side of standard bass tuners is they are relatively inexpensive to purchase, but you are limited on tuning capabilities. If all you will ever need is to tune are the standard bass notes, a standard bass tuner would work fine.
  • Chromatic – Chromatic tuners include all 12 notes, making it possible to tune to any note you wish. If you plan on playing in non-standard tunings, then a chromatic tuner would be the better choice for you.

Know Your Bass Guitar Tuner Design Options

Also, here are three tuner design options you should consider:

  • Handheld: Handheld bass guitar tuners are generally small and usually only possesses the basic features. These are usually the least expensive tuners. But not all handheld guitar tuners are basic. Most are small and have a clip so they stay in place. They are also easy to use.
  • Pedal: Pedal bass guitar tuners are the most common among bass guitarists who play a lot of gigs.
  • Rack: This tuner goes within rack enclosures and remains hooked up ready to go for any gig or performance. This is the most expensive type of tuner.

Where Do You Play: It’s All About the Display

The top bass guitar tuners come with three different display options:

  • Mechanical Needle Display: The mechanical needle display for guitarists who plan to only play in well-lit areas.
  • LED: An LED display works best if you’re a bassist who plays primarily in dark areas or on stage.
  • LCD: LCD displays can be accommodating for any playing environment as long as they’re backlit.

It is up to you to decide which display option would be the best fit for you. Most bass guitarists prefer the LED’s, but that’s just a personal preference based upon the normal playing environment.

Some Final Factors for Finding a Bass Guitar Tuner

Here are some additional factors to look at in the top tuners for bass guitars:

  • Brand: When it comes to choosing a good quality bass guitar tuner, you should look at the well-trusted brands. There are many suitable off-brand models available today. But if you want something long-lasting, look for a name brand that most bass guitarists trust. Some of the top brands among tuners include Fender, Korg, Rowin, Donner, Snark and D’Addario, just to name a few.
  • Price: While most bass guitar tuners are quite affordable, you should have a budget in mind. This will help you choose a tuner within your budget that also meets your needs. However, with so many tuners available for bass guitars, you should be able to find a tuner within your budget regardless of what you’re willing to spend.

The Competition

After hours of testing and research, here's the final competition.

InstrumentRatingCurrent Pricing
Snark SN1X Clip-On Chromatic Tuner
high accuracy rate and quick response$11.01
Korg GA40 Large Display Guitar and Bass Tuner
Large LCD needle display for easy viewing while tuning$31.00
Rowin LT-23 Mini Clip-On Tuner Digital Tuner
Auto shutoff feature$6.95
Donner Dt-1 Chromatic Guitar Tuner Pedal True Bypass
Makes tuning a quick and easy process$19.99
Fender Clip-On Tuner FT-004
needle makes it easy to know when notes are out of tune$14.37
D'Addario NS Micro Clip-On Tuner
compact design and easy initial setup$11.95

Top Recommendation: Snark SN1X Clip-On Chromatic Tuner

Credit: SNARK

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The Snark SN1X Clip-On Chromatic Tuner is at the top of this list of top tuners for bass guitars. Musicians appreciate the ease of accessibility with the clip. They also like how it rotates 360 degrees for easy viewing from any angle. This is a chromatic tuner capable of tuning to any note, which helps when you want to tinker with your sound and modifications.

The high sensitivity vibration sensor provides on the spot accuracy, which is necessary for perfecting any musician’s music. The high definition LED display makes it easy to see and make any necessary adjustments, too. The fast processing chip also makes tuning a quick, simple process without any lag. This tuner is fast to start up and respond. It maintains a high accuracy rate, as well.

The size is also convenient when you want to take it with you to tune on the spot. You will be surprised at how affordable this tuner is at $11.01.

The only downside of this tuner is that it doesn’t allow for a lot of variation in pitch. Other than that, you’ll be satisfied with this bass guitar tuner. It’s the top choice for any bass guitar musician looking for an affordable option.

Runner Up: Korg GA40 Large Display Guitar and Bass Tuner

Credit: KORG Inc

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Here is a close runner-up in top tuners for bass guitars. The Korg GA40 Large Display Guitar and Bass Tuner was a close second choice for this list. While this is not a chromatic tuner capable of tuning all 12 notes, it can tune seven-string guitars and six-string basses. So, this tuner isn’t entirely limiting. It just isn’t meant for someone who may want to tune to any note.

You’ll be pleased with the accuracy of this tuner as well as the fast response time. You’ll appreciate the large LCD needle display for easy viewing while tuning. But the two factors that kept this in the number two spot instead of landing itself in number one is that it is not a chromatic tuner. Also, it is more expensive than the number one choice at $27.70.

This bass guitar tuner is simple and easy to use. While it’s not a chromatic tuner, it can tune seven-string guitars and six-string basses. Most standard bass tuners can only tune up to five-strings max. But the LCD display can be hard to see in low-light areas.

However, if you tune your bass guitar at home, that shouldn’t be an issue. The cost of just under $20 is reasonable, but it put it in second place with the top pick.

Other Tuners to Consider

Rowin LT-23 Mini Clip-On Tuner Digital Tuner

Credit: Amazon.com

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The small design of this swivel clip allows it to rotate 360 degrees for easy viewing from any angle. The backlit LCD screen also provides a clear view in any playing atmosphere. And this is a chromatic tuner that allows you to tune all 12 notes without limitations. The LT-23 is a great tuner for beginners because it displays the string you’re tuning.

This is one of the top tuners for bass guitars because it has an auto-shutoff feature. Many musicians get so excited to play after tuning, they forget to turn their tuner off. This feature preserves battery life if you forget to shut it off, too.

The con is that this guitar tuner is it is somewhat sensitive to background noise. This makes it difficult to tune while you are playing at gigs with crowds. So, it would be wise to tune before leaving for your gig. Lastly, this guitar tuner is affordable at under $10 for even the most frugal musician.

Donner Dt-1 Chromatic Guitar Tuner Pedal True Bypass

Credit: Donnerdeal

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Most bass guitarists prefer handheld tuners, but you may like this pedal tuner. There was no hesitation with this tuner and it tracks instantly without delay. This makes tuning a quick and easy process. The LED display is bright and easy to read, even from a distance.

You’ll be especially impressed with the pitch indicator. Notes appear in a blue-grey color when out of tune and green when in tune. However, you need a power supply for this tuner to work, and they don’t outline that clearly in the product description. And while it does track instantly, when you switch strings, it takes a few seconds to catch on.

The price is affordable for a pedal tuner at $19.99 and that’s why it’s on this list of top tuners for bass guitars.

Fender Clip-On Tuner FT-004

Credit: Amazon.com

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This tuner has a variety of options available. You can choose to use it for bass or chromatic, as well as a few other options. So this is a great product if you’re looking for a versatile tuner. Guitarists will appreciate how compact the design of this tuner is, too.

It comes with a swivel clamp, which allows you to view it from any angle. You’ll also be impressed with the accuracy of this tuner even in noisy playing environments. The needle makes it easy to know when notes are out of tune, appearing white when out of tune and green when in tune.

The main complaint with this tuner is with the initial setup. They don’t install the battery for this tuner. Although they come with the tuner, you have to install the battery yourself. It has a small screw holding that can be difficult to remove. Also, you’ll require a small Phillips screwdriver.

The price at $14.37 is what puts it on this list of top tuners for bass guitars. You’ll be quite happy with the affordability of this simple clip-on tuner for bass guitars.

D’Addario NS Micro Clip-On Tuner

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The final product on this list of top tuners for bass guitars is the D’Addario NS Micro Clip-On Tuner. This chromatic tuner offers both accuracy and quick response times. With its small, compact design you can place it discretely behind the guitar head for in-gig tunings when necessary. The display isn’t full of different colors, making it easier on the eyes in any playing environment.

The initial setup on the D’Addario NS is easy, too. However, there can be problems with the battery life. Also, the clip can wear out over time. Also, there is nothing to protect your guitar from minor scratches from using this clip-on tuner. But, at a cost of just $11.95, this is a good choice for bass guitarists on a budget.

Do you know which of these top tuners for bass guitars you want to buy? If you take some time to think about where you play and your budget, it should be easy to choose the right one for your needs.

Sources:
  • Pouska, A. (2003). Bass Tuners Guide | Bass Gear. Retrieved from StudyBass, https://www.studybass.com/gear/bass-tuning/bass-tuners/
  • Choosing a Bass Guitar Tuner. (2016). Retrieved from Best Guitar Tuner – Reviews, Tips And Info For Guitarists, http://www.bestguitartuner.co.uk/choosing-a-bass-guitar-tuner/
  • Buying Guide: How to Choose Guitar & Chromatic Tuners. (2013, November 5). Retrieved from The Hub – Musicians Friend, http://thehub.musiciansfriend.com/guitar-buying-guides/guitar-and-chromatic-tuners-how-to-choose

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