The guitar tuner pedal seems an unnecessary piece of gear to acquire for many electric guitar players. The reason it is often thought of in this way is due to the fact that they don't really make any cool effects to your sound like one usually expects from a guitar pedal. Another reason guitar tuner pedals tend to be overlooked is because clip-on tuner's are much smaller and cheaper. For home use and practice, clip-on tuners are a better choice However, for live gigs, the guitar tuner pedal is definitely the way to go. Tuner pedals for electric guitars are the most professional and efficient way to tune your guitar. I've tried both clip-on tuners and tuner pedals for gigs and can confirm that the pedal is the best choice. In this article I'd like to discuss the tuner pedal a bit more as well as review some of the best guitar tuner pedals for electric guitar.

Boss TU3 PedalTC Electronic PolytuneD'Addario Mini TunerSnark SN-10S TunerKorg Pitchblack
My Top Choice TunerBest Display & VisibilityCompact Tuner PedalBest Budget TunerNot my Favorite

The Advantages of a Guitar Tuner Pedal

When comparing the guitar tuner pedal to the clip-on one can think of many advantages that make it a better choice. It seems crazy that one would have more advantages over the other as their primary function is the same and that is to keep your electric guitar in tune. However, pedal tuners generally have more features and are a better for the following reasons.

  • Can be used on most instruments besides the electric such as acoustic guitar, bass guitar, violins and more
  • When engaged, tuner pedals can be used to mute your electric guitar signal.
  • Most tuner pedals have a 9v DC out so you can daisy chain and power more pedals
  • Requires no fingers to engage.
  • You get a clearer view of the tuner pedal when it is on the floor

What to Look for in the Best Guitar Tuner Pedal?

There are certain characteristics that make a great tuner pedal. Most importantly however, it must be able to keep you in tune on demand when you so wish. The following points below are some things to look for when buying one of these pedals to tune your electric guitar with.

  1. Must be able to tune accurately
  2. The pedal must be reliable which implies tough and rugged build
  3. A large and clear display
  4. The display should be visible in all lighting conditions from bright sun to dark rooms

Over my many years of gigging I've tried many different tuners and I thought it would be appropriate to review some of the ones that I've used, which one I think is the best as well as which one I currently use. I'll be reviewing these tuner pedals as per the characteristics above.

1) Boss TU-3 Tuner Pedal

Best Guitar Tuner Pedals For Electric Guitar boss tu-3

Boss TU3 Chromatic Tuner Pedal

Now there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the Boss TU-3 is the best tuner pedal not only for electric guitar but pretty much any electric stringed instrument you can think of. When it comes to the industry standard for guitar tuners, Boss has been leading the pack for decades now. The reasons this pedal has become the industry standard for tuning guitars is due to the fact that it is reliable and will literally never die. I've never heard of one dying and I can't think of many that have. You will never need to buy another tuner once you've bought this one

  • The Boss TU-3 tunes accurately
  • These tuner pedals by Boss are known for their reliability and durability. They last forever!
  • You can see the display in all lighting conditions
  • Can be used to mute your signal when engaged or can be set to always on
  • Has a daisy chain output to power more pedals
  • Built in buffer

There are only two minor downsides to this pedal I can think of. firstly it is quite big in size and secondly, the display size is quite small when compared to some other tuner pedals. Having said that, this is the tuner pedal I have settled on using and I don't see myself changing anytime soon.

BOSS TU-3 Pedal Tuner Review

2) TC Electronic Polytune 2 Pedal

Best Guitar Tuner Pedals For Electric Guitar tc electronic polytune 2

TC Electronic Polytune 2 Pedal Tuner

The biggest competitor for the Boss pedal above in my opinion has to be the TC electronic Polytune pedal. This tuner pedal is known for its epic polytune feature which I shall explain. Basically, you can strum all six electric guitar strings at once and the TC pedal picks up all of your strings and shows you how sharp or flat each note is. For live playing and gigs, this is an exceptionally quick and efficient way of checking your tuning.

  • The TC Polytune will tune accurately as expected
  • Can see all 6 strings tunings at once thanks to Polytune technology.
  • This tuner pedal is slim and compact in size.
  • The display is large and clear no matter where you are.
  • Built in buffer and daisy chain output

There is only one issue I have with this pedal and that is I found the visibility of the display quite hard to read to read in direct sunlight when compared to the Boss TU-3. However, this should not deter you as its a fantastic choice and you won't really go wrong choosing this or the Boss.

TC Electronic Polytune

3) Korg Pitchblack Tuner Pedal

korg tuner pedal best for electric guitar

Korg Pitchblack Chromatic Tuner

The Korg pitchblack was actually the first tuner pedal I ever acquired for my electric guitar. I found it to be a good pedal for home and studio use but there were some issues that I ran into and I have since stopped using it. I'll start off with the things I liked about this pedal:

  • The display is large and clear indoors
  • Tunes accurately
  • Has a daisy chain output
  • Comes with different tuning modes like the others.

However, there were two major problems I found with the Korg pitchblack tuner. Firstly, the on/off switch failed on me as it wore out due to me stepping on it too much. This kind of reliability was not something I could trust for live. Secondly, in direct sunlight the display is basically impossible to read. If you have an outdoor gig and the sun is shining on your pedal you may as well render this pedal useless.

Korg Pitchblack Pedal Tuner Overview – with Display Modes!

4) Snark Tuner Pedal

Snark SN-10S Pedal Tuner

If you're looking for a tuner pedal on a budget then I highly recommend this one by Snark. Snark is most known for their clip-on tuners however they've taken that epic technology and put it in a rugged aluminum casing pedal for those looking to save some money. Some features of the Snark include:

  • Nice large and clear display
  • Tunes quickly
  • Daisy chain output

I have not owned this pedal so I unfortunately cannot vouch for its reliability or accuracy in comparison to the other pedals featured in this list. I suggest checking out the video below as well as reading some customer reviews on Amazon.

SNARK SN10 Pedal Tuner

5) D'addario Pedal Tuner

D'Addario Chromatic Pedal Tuner

This electric guitar tuner pedal is one by D'addario which I'm absolutely frothing to get my hands on. I have not tried it yet and have only seen videos but from what I can tell, this is one of the best mini tuner pedals out there at the moment for your electric instrument. If space on your pedal board is something of a precious real estate then this is the perfect tuner for you. Considering its small size, the display seems more than large enough and sufficient. I can't vouch for the accuracy or reliability just yet but I know D'addario is an innovative company known for their quality products so I can only assume the same goes for this awesome looking mini electric guitar tuner pedal.

Strings Direct TV | Unboxing D'Addario & Planet Waves Chromatic Pedal Tuner

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