Piezo Tuners - The Clip On Tuner

Posted: 22 March 2012

Synopsis: Instrument tuners come in all manner of shapes, sizes and kinds – and all fit different needs for different musicians. For instance, if you are just playing guitar in a quiet house or apartment, then a standard electronic tuner that uses a microphone to p

Clip-On Piezo Tuners

Piezo tuners are perfect for situations like this, because they register the tuning of a string based on vibration rather than sound. For this reason, they are clipped on to your acoustic or electric guitar, bass, mandolin, ukulele, violin or other stringed instrument to pick up the vibration as you pluck each string.

More Advantages of Using Piezo Tuners

But the advantages of piezo tuners don’t end with the fact that you can use them in a noisy environment – they also are more accurate and easier to use than many other tuners. While tuners registering the sound of a note can be less precise even if they are not picking up an additional instrument or other sound, a piezo tuner is searching for the exact frequency of a vibration to let you know the instrument is perfectly in tune.

Being clipped onto the headstock of an instrument, piezo tuners can remain in place throughout a performance or rehearsal. That way, there’s no down time as you grab your tuner between songs, which can throw off the momentum of a show. You can just quickly glance up at the tuner already in place, tune up, and then you’re ready for the next song.

How Piezo Tuners Work

Piezo pickups are usually the type of built-in pickups used in acoustic-electric guitars because they rely on an electrical charge created in them that is varied depending on the vibration of the string (or strings) they are responding to. Piezo tuners use the same science to read those vibrations to produce accurate tuning.

Piezo Tuners Compared to Other Tuners

Electronic Tuners
As mentioned before, there are other types of tuners available, and each is useful in different situations. One of the most common types of tuners is the electronic tuner that uses a microphone to pick up the frequency of a string. Often, these types of tuners also will have an input jack so an instrument can be plugged into the tuner, therefore eliminating the problem of background noise interference. Some have an additional output jack so the tuner becomes part of the guitar setup and can be used without unplugging the instrument from an amp. These tuners usually display the tune of a string as an LED letter or a digital needle meant to simulate analog tuners that use the same technology.

Stage Tuners
Many guitarists have tuners that are as much a part of their rig as a distortion pedal. Stage tuners are electronic tuners that are fashioned as a stomp box, complete with inputs and outputs. As opposed to the aforementioned electronic tuners, stage tuners can be fitted onto pedal boards and usually have modes that will cut the sound of the guitar from the amp during tuning.

Chromatic Tuners vs. Instrument Tuners

Some tuners are designed for specific instruments, and only register certain notes. For instance, a tuner made just for guitars will read notes in standard guitar tuning (E-A-D-G-B-E). A violin tuner would register standard violin tuning (G-D-A-E) and a ukulele tuner would register (G-C-E-A). A chromatic tuner, however, will register any of the 12 notes.