Digital guitar tuner for $5 with free shipping

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And they’re gone.

When did 440 move from A to G? (or is G for guitar for some reason?)

There’s another one currently available for $8:

It didn’t… They even specify that you can vary the A4 tuning from 435 to 445. Someone just thought that the “G” looked prettier than the “A”, I guess, and photoshopped it.

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I wonder how a $5 tuner stacks up against an iPhone app of a similar price… It seems like the device with $1,000 worth of hardware would win, even if not designed with this particular function in mind, but I honestly don’t know.

Oh no, not this again. Paging Dr. @japhroaig, come in Dr. @japhroaig

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I like this 'un here:

It’s nice because you can tune up your bass plugged into it, and then just amp into its Output port to play. That’s handy because you don’t have to unplug to re-tune.

The Snarks look nice, and I bet you get slightly better accuracy from the thing being clipped to the neck and receiving the vibes directly.

I purchased a Korg CA-1 a few years back, before I discovered that there were many high quality tuning apps for my smartphone (in my case, Android). There are free versions of all the ones I tried. I wound up buying DaTuner Pro for less than one tenth of what the Korg unit cost, and I find it much easier to use. Instead of a small segmented digital display, it has a large multicolor graphical display that provides greater precision and is easier to use. It has dozens of features for custom tuning that I will never use, and is highly configurable. It’s even cheaper than the gadget in this article at $2. As far as accuracy goes, I find that after tuning up using my Note 4, the Korg unit consistently agrees.
I’m not saying that the app I bought is the right one for everyone, but do yourself a favor and try them out before putting another hardware gadget on your shelf.

they are all terrible. the iphone/android tuners are worst of the bunch. analog strobe tuners are okay, but you still need to know how to use them. tuning via overtones, if your instrument is set up and made correctly is the gold standard (except for stretch tuning)


just fuckin’ learn to tune by ear, and if you are playing with others, mutually tune. there is no natural law that 440 is the one, true, A :smiley:

also, just to fuck with guitar players, what hertz is your B string? huh? huh?? And more importantly, why is it that hertz? :imp:


And to fuck with bass players, play say an f# on your bass string, then an f# on your treble string. Are the Hertz/waveforms perfectly divisible? (Unless you have one of those cool basses, the answer is Not Even Close)


Ooh, on conical bored wind instruments, try tuning the first octave and third octave without changing embouchure.

On a piano, play a flat seventh chord (say C and Bb) and tell me with a straight face that’s in tune.

Shit, just play a fifth. just a fifth. And you can hear the ‘beats’.

Know what really grinds my gears? Tuning. Fuckit, #teamcharlesives


Of course I know how to fucking tune by ear, I’ve got a fucking PhD in music FFS. And, I play soprano saxofuckingphone; I’m completely intimate with the kind of embouchure english required to make that thing sound remotely in tune in any context. But, I still own a similar tuner.


  • It works with contact rather than an air mic. It’s hella hard to tune by ear when the noise act that’s on before you is cranking 104 dB into the room.
  • Ear training: I sit and do intervals with this clipped to my horn. For fucking hours. It’s like practicing with a metronome. Do I need to be able to hit those intervals on stage? Probably not. But it helps my control.
  • Evaluating horns and mouthpieces: I go to test an new ax, and it has a whole different set of intonation tendencies than my current setup. It helps me nail down the differences.
  • Playing with singers, I like to be somewhere in the ballpark of a standard pitch. Up/down a couple of Hz isn’t a thing, but you can’t show up rocking 435. This includes when I’m singing.
  • I work in alternate tunings and microtonal scales. When that fucking french composer (you know who you are) asks for that note 1/6 of a tone flat, I need to figure out what that sounds like.

given a root of 262 hertz, what is the natural hertz of it’s nearest third. what is the equal tempered hertz of it’s nearest third. and just for fun, if you are playing with a piano, what is the hertz of the third they are going to play.

(i was a tenor saxomofonist, but i do love sopranos. and seriously, i’m not picking on you–with a phd you know that theory can get as combative as religion)


Totally, tuning is a complex and deep rabbit hole. I do some playing with Middle Eastern and Indian musicians, too, which cracks open another set of questions. I can see how a digital tuner might mislead a beginner into thinking that there is one proper frequency for every pitch, and keep them from learning how to listen. But, along with a trained ear these devices are dirt cheap and pretty helpful.


i’m a contrarian at heart :slight_smile: and i miss tuning in an orchestra to a single lead oboe. i always thought that traditional was fecking ballsy.

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Thought. What about model servos attached to the guitar string tuning knobs? Then the thing could self-tune to another instrument, or retune to a different spec, with ease.

A possible application could be to easily play along with a recording - e.g. youtube song. Play it, find the right frequencies, and tune the instrument.

Why? Can anything be done to make them better?

(Also, what about tuning by oscilloscope? Many modern ones have frequency analyzer.)

Complex, like it has a real and an imaginary part?
I’ll take my coat…


The fundamental problem is tuning is an imaginary construct created by less hairy apes. So agreeing on What Is In Tune is more of a social contract than a physics problem.

I’ll give specific examples in a bit, but tuning is actually an excellent example of the concept or idea of relativity. Not time dialation of course :). But the idea that an observer may experience an event different than a non participant, and they are both correct.